Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More on Preservation Chicago: In Defense of Jonathan Fine

An anonymous commenter stopped by the other day and took issue with this post about last week's stunning Chicago Commission on Landmarks' meeting.

S/he wrote:

"It seemed a tad unfair as a first-timer to the scene to criticize Jonathan Fine as somehow missing an opportunity to defend the Farwell Building.

Mr. Fine has been an outstanding advocate and a consistent voice at CCL.I have personally watched him plead at CCL mtgs. and know he has attended every one for five years (without pay) to defend the Landmark Ordinanceand introduce new ideas including the demoliitiondelay ordinance.

Preservation Chicago, and in particular Jonathan, are often the only advocates for our increasinglythreatened architectural legacy. The group works tirelessly in public and behind the scenes.

Perhaps phone calls and letters aboutthe ill-advised project produced little sympathy in the days leading up to the CCL meeting. Maybe there was an impression the heavily-cloutedJon Rogers projected would pass. . . . Fine is not part of the problem.He is a hero. But he is also human and entitled to moments of disappointment and fatigue. . . . Hope you will check out and get involved.

First, thanks to the commenter for stopping by and taking the time to write this thoughtful rebuttal.

Second, what I wrote was an honest and truthful account of what I heard and what I felt at the meeting. As a first-timer who heeded the call that something big was shaking down, the concession, as I've already noted, was disappointing. One of my first thoughts was, "Well, if they knew there was no chance of defeating it, why the heck did they bother sounding the alarm?"

That being said, I'm perfectly happy to agree that the comment was a tactical error and nothing more. In retrospect, I have no doubt it came from a place of genuine frustration and, likely, exhaustion.

The preservation issues in this city are challenging, sticky, and incredibly relevant. Fine and his organization are to be lauded for their efforts and commitment.

I've got no argument there.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Chicago blogsphere, The Broken Heart of Rogers Park has been waxing on Fine's virtues as well. Read more here.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Jennifer. Your refreshing honesty and
true interest in issues is the reason I regularly
check this site. I appreciate the response.

Jennifer said...

Well, thanks for (I'm assuming) both comments.

It's really nice of you to say these things as well. Please do come back again.