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Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

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Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Old 12-26-17, 03:17 PM
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Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Before Barack Obama ran for political office, he was a community organizer in Chicago.

Now that he is an ex-President, he is planning to build his presidential library in Chicago.

However, the city’s other community organizers have accused Obama of not practicing what he preaches:


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...512_story.html

Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

November 7, 2017

CHICAGO — When the Barack Obama Presidential Center opens in 2021, it will sprawl across 20 acres on this city’s densely packed South Side. A museum will occupy one towerlike building; another, dubbed “The Forum,” will house a test kitchen, recording studio and auditorium. The library itself won’t literally house his papers, since they plan to digitize everything, but will feature a rooftop park to complement the complex’s community garden, sledding hill and playground.

The 44th president says he wants it to serve not as a monument to himself but to bigger ideals — democracy, citizenship, civic engagement. Still, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet spoke for many when she predicted that the complex will one day be known around here as “Obamaland.”

For now, as Obama is busily raising the hundreds of millions needed to construct and endow it, ahead of a planned groundbreaking next year, he is once again navigating the tensions and attempting to finesse the politics of the town where he got his start.

Building on public land in a city is always a messy endeavor, and the excitement and pride the city holds for the Obamas is tinged with concerns.

Earlier this month, the former president stopped by the Gary Comer Youth Center to make a surprise visit to a training class his foundation held for local activists. Its director, Ayoka Mota Samuels is a fan and booster, but she has heard the grumbling from some of the neighbors about the prospect of having a massive tourist attraction in their midst.

How will traffic be mitigated? Is the plan to replace the parkland where the center is being built sufficient? Who is going to get the construction jobs?

“It wouldn’t be Chicago if we didn’t have complaints about everything. . . . People are definitely excited about the library, without a doubt, but they are concerned about ‘how does it impact me?’ ” she said. “Chicagoans are like that about everything. . . . It means that we care about what’s going to happen in our neighborhood.”

In what local pundits are calling the irony of ironies, Obama — who cut his teeth as a South Side community organizer — is now in the bull’s eye of the area’s community organizers.

Dozens of groups have asked the city, the Obama Foundation and the University of Chicago (the official library host) to sign a legally binding pledge to protect low-income housing and homeowners, set aside 80 percent of jobs for immediate neighbors and bolster support for black-owned businesses, among other things.

At a community meeting last month, Obama said he wasn’t interested, according to the Chicago Tribune. Agreements such as those, he said, can be highly successful for communities dealing with for-profit developers.

“But here’s the thing,” he said. “We are a nonprofit and aren’t making money. We are just bringing money to the community.”

Obama’s deep connections to his adopted home town were on display last week during the first summit of his new foundation. His mother-in-law, a Chicago native, sat in the audience, and the city’s role in his life story was a constant refrain.

“I arrived here, and for the next three years, I traveled all through the South Side and worked with leaders in churches and block clubs and community organizations,” he said during the opening session. His own successes were modest, he said, but he learned that “ordinary people in local communities can do extraordinary things when they’re given a chance, when their voices are heard.”

Michelle Obama reminisced about life in a neighborhood packed full of her extended family.

“We lived in a house above my maternal aunt,” she said. “We lived around the corner from my grandmother and another aunt. My grandfather, my mother’s father, [and his wife] were separated, never divorced but living right around the corner from each other. That’s black Chicago for you. It’s functional dysfunction.”

Still, there’s no indication they plan to move back. The Obamas recently purchased a home in Washington, where their daughter Sasha is still in high school, and the New York Post claims that the couple is shopping for an Upper East Side apartment.

The couple considered sites in Hawaii and New York for the presidential museum and library before settling on Chicago. The plan quickly drew backlash from preservationists devoted to Jackson Park, which was designed in 1871 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the legendary landscape architect of Central Park fame.

The nonprofit Friends of the Parks initially pushed for the center to be built instead on vacant land across the street from a different Chicago park. Executive Director Juanita Irizarry acknowledges that their case can’t prevail legally, so instead, “we want to make sure the least damage to the park takes place and that we get green space back elsewhere in the community to make up for the green space amenities taken up by the library.” She is pleased that the foundation now seems to be rethinking a plan to build an aboveground parking garage on the site, which she said would be a “further encroachment on the local green space.”

And while rejecting calls to sign the “community benefits agreement” pushed for by activists, the foundation has been making nice on that front. Mike Strautmanis, the foundation’s vice president of civic engagement, said the real problem with the contract is that “it’s not inclusive enough” and that Barack Obama wants to see more aggressive steps taken to launch South Siders into lasting careers.

Some activists remain unconvinced, and they are leaning on the city to sign on to the binding contract they want. “The sort of musical-chairs game that is at play with low-income and working families across the city has to stop,” said Jawanza Malone, executive director of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, which in 2015 organized a hunger strike to get a neighborhood school reopened.

He still wants to see the center built, though. “This effort is not anti-Barack Obama,” he said. “It is not anti-Obama presidential center.”

Obama may be facing more contention about the construction of his library than most former presidents. But others have typically tucked theirs into sprawling suburbs or university campuses. Obama is intent on building his in the city, playing on the flow of an urban community and focusing on the power of community organizing as a central principle.

“It’s very much of and part and by Chicago while also being something that pretty much anyone in the world can participate in,” said Glenn Otis Brown, chief digital officer at the Obama Foundation.
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Old 12-26-17, 03:38 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Something new for Trump to tear down!
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Old 12-26-17, 03:41 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Wow, this is big news!
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Old 12-26-17, 03:41 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

If there was any justice in the world, Obama would build a "Barrack Hussein Obama Federal Penitentiary" where Trump gets to spend the rest of his days.
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Old 12-26-17, 03:46 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Trump won't need a library for his fucking tweets.
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Old 12-26-17, 05:03 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Grappling with politics, I tells ya.
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Old 12-26-17, 05:28 PM
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Old 12-26-17, 05:56 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Looks like that racist black bastard is up to no good again! Why is he so evil?
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Old 12-26-17, 06:50 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

“But here’s the thing,” he said. “We are a nonprofit and aren’t making money. We are just bringing money to the community.”

That’s one right out of the Trump Foundation Playbook.
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Old 12-26-17, 07:03 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Psi View Post
Trump won't need a library for his fucking tweets.
So you're saying his library will be a NYC Verizon store?
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Old 12-26-17, 07:22 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Bacon View Post
So you're saying his library will be a NYC Verizon store?

All joking aside, your comment is more accurate than you seem to be aware of. Obama's library will not contain any actual documents. Everything will be digitized. So for all practical purposes, they could just as well put it at a Verizon store. With consumer USB flash drives now being sold that hold a trillion bytes of text, every person could have their own copy of the Obama library.
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Old 01-11-18, 12:09 AM
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Old 01-11-18, 12:10 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Wow, that's going to be an amazing place for all.
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Old 01-11-18, 02:48 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

I wish him luck. America has many of these "great urban parks", from Grand Central in New York to Balboa Park in San Diego, but they were all built 100 years ago. I'm not aware of any successful modern attempts.
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Old 01-11-18, 03:28 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
I wish him luck. America has many of these "great urban parks", from Grand Central in New York to Balboa Park in San Diego, but they were all built 100 years ago. I'm not aware of any successful modern attempts.
Millennium Park in Chicago opened to the public in 2004. Parts of it had been part of Grant Park, but large portions were reclaimed from/built over parking lots and a railroad right-of-way. It's now considered one of the top parks in the U.S.
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Old 01-12-18, 02:10 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Sounds like an expansion.
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Old 01-12-18, 02:38 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
I wish him luck. America has many of these "great urban parks", from Grand Central in New York to Balboa Park in San Diego, but they were all built 100 years ago. I'm not aware of any successful modern attempts.


Sure you do.

By the way, Jackson Park is already there, there are just talking about putting the center in an existing park location.
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Old 01-12-18, 04:47 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Sounds like an expansion.
Sounds like you're incapable of admitting you didn't know what you were talking about when you said there hadn't been any successful modern attempts to build a great urban park, but you do you.

But if you don't like Millennium Park, I'd love to hear your excuse as to why Governor's Island in New York doesn't count.
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Old 01-12-18, 08:04 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by WCChiCubsFan View Post


Sure you do.

By the way, Jackson Park is already there, there are just talking about putting the center in an existing park location.
Oh, I didn’t realize that. The video sounds like they would be building all this stuff.
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Old 01-12-18, 08:27 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to be outraged about? It sounds like the city of Chicago is being a dick about the whole thing. But you know what, they “earned” that right. So whatever.

I keep meaning to check out the BWB museum since it’s just up the road from me, but haven’t.
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Old 01-13-18, 10:57 AM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Oh, I didn’t realize that. The video sounds like they would be building all this stuff.
This is where the library would be:

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.7861...7i13312!8i6656

You can go south along Stony Island (the street we're on in my link) or Cornell (the street you can see to the east) for about two or three blocks to see the current state of the park where they're proposing building the library.
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Old 01-13-18, 04:24 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
I keep meaning to check out the BWB museum since it’s just up the road from me, but haven’t.


Big Women's Bosoms?
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Old 01-15-18, 03:08 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post


Big Women's Bosoms?
Oops...G.W.B. It’s at SMU (Southern Methodist University).
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Old 01-15-18, 03:49 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

This thread...

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Old 01-15-18, 06:06 PM
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Re: Barack Obama is building a library — and grappling again with Chicago politics

Originally Posted by slop101 View Post
This thread...

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