Thursday, March 19, 2009

Carol Marin's "Hole" Disappoints

Look, I love Carol Marin. Yada, yada, she's great, wonderful, blah blah blah, et cetera. But what the hell was that mess she presented on NBC5 last night? It was titled "One Hole of a Mess," and it was hyped up in advance as if it was going to be some big expose of 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore. However, Marin's "investigative" piece was as empty as the empty hole it was based on. After months of local word of mouth buzz, after NBC5 buys a quarter page ad to hype the 3-plus minute piece, I felt very let down. Insiders to the story were whispering for weeks about a "gotcha" moment with Joe Moore that never came. Or maybe I was too busy yawning and missed that part. Mind you, I'm no friend of Joe Moore. I was hoping for a "gotcha" moment. But it just didn't happen. One Rogers Park blogger put up the hysterical headline "ALD. JOE MOORE MUST BE ILL THIS MORNING..." and started her post with "...SUFFERING FROM A SUDDEN CASE OF "NERVOUS MELTDOWN"! (Yes, I know, the all-caps treatment is as annoying as a waterboarding session, but that's how she writes.) The real point of this is that some people are viewing the Marin report as a kind of condemnation of Moore. It wasn't. I saw no evidence that Moore was having a "nervous meltdown." I doubt seriously that Moore was "ill" this morning. Pissed off, yes. But "ill?" Doubtful. The only one having a not-so-sudden case of "nervous meltdown" is that blogger, who's wetting her panties today over a story that presented nothing of any real substance. The whole Marin piece can be summed up with these major points of the story: 1) The once-popular but abandoned Adelphi Theater in Rogers Park was demolished to make way for a condo development. 2) The developer made contributions to Joe Moore prior to Moore making a zoning change that made the project possible, but Marin pointed out that there was nothing illegal about the contributions. There was almost a gotcha moment when Marin asked Moore about his previous pledge to not take contributions under such circumstance. Moore freely admitted that he may have made a mistake. But as pointed out, there was nothing illegal about it. 3) The developer has run into financial problems, and for two years the only thing on the site is the cement foundation with pipes and conduits sprouting up from it. In a silly attempt to dramatize this, Marin stood in the middle of the sprawling foundation and noted that the sprawling foundation was not yet a completed development. Okay, and...? 4) Marin interviewed two residents on the street, both of whom agreed that the empty foundation, unimaginatively dubbed "the hole" by neighbors, is an eyesore. Okay, so...? 5) Local blogger Craig Gernhardt was interviewed in a sit-down session and got about 10 seconds of face time. To paraphrase, he said that Moore has not been transparent. Okay, and...? There was no there there, no beef, no news. The Marin piece was seriously presented fluff, exposing nothing and revealing no illegal activity. As I said, I love Carol Marin. Yada, yada, she's great, wonderful, blah blah blah, et cetera. I am no friend of Alderman Moore. But for God's sake, someone as experienced and as sharp as Carol Marin is should have either gone for the jugular or - having missed the artery entirely - just given up. She chose instead to remind us that she went for Moore's jugular - but missed. Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Cool Stuff...