Friday, March 27, 2009

Joe Moore, Serial Ribbon Cutter

Ribbon cutting ceremonies are a useful tool for a politician, but only if they are not abused. For example, say a new shopping mall or a new train station is opening somewhere. You get your usual bunch of officials and locally known community figures gathered up, say a few words of dedication to the project, cut the ribbon, pose for photos, shake hands, and that's the end of it. When you have a ribbon cutting ceremony to open something, you should have another ribbon cutting to open the same thing again. On June 13, 2008, Chicago's 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore announced a ribbon cutting for the still-being-renovated Howard CTA train station. "CTA President Ron Huberman and me as we cut the ribbon for the new station on Saturday, June 14th at 2 p.m.," he wrote in an email blast to residents of Rogers Park. Moore still has that posted on his website today (emphasis added): Topping off the events is the official Grand Opening of the new Howard El Station. Join CTA President Ron Huberman and me as we cut the ribbon for the new station tomorrow (Saturday, June 14th) at 2 p.m. The new station is located immediately north of the CTA parking garage at Gateway Centre. Thousands of CTA commuters have already used the station since its unofficial opening last Monday, and I've heard rave reviews from many. It's certainly a significant improvement over the old station. If you haven't had a chance to visit the new station, stop by the ribbon cutting ceremony and check it out! Okay, the "new station" was "unofficially" opened in June, 2008. But what was the point of a ribbon cutting for an "unofficial" opening, and why "open" it if it isn't officially open? Actually, the station was never even closed. Notice Moore's use of the phrase "Grand Opening." Think of a store that has a grand opening. That's not the "official" opening, it's a chance for people to come and get a preview of the store before it is "officially" opened. So, then, can we expect a third ribbon cutting by Moore months from now, when the Howard Station finally "officially" opens? You can place your bets now that there will be and not lose sleep over it. CBS2 Chicago, earlier this week, had this silly headline: "Howard CTA Terminal Back In Full Operation." Huh? It was never really out of "full operation." The Purple, Yellow and Red Line trains continued to provide service throughout the renovation work. Thousands commuted to and from the station. It was never closed, it was never not "in full operation." Today (March 27, 2008), Moore sent out an email blast announcing the second ribbon cutting for the station: Please join Mayor Richard M. Daley and me as we mark the official opening of the NEW HOWARD EL STATION! The ribbon cutting will take place tomorrow, Saturday, March 28th, 10:00 a.m., at the main entrance to the new station, which is located at 7519 N. Paulina Street, immediately north of the CTA parking garage at Gateway Centre. The multimillion dollar project took more than three years to complete. It ran over budget. Pigeons still crap on people as they enter and exit the station on crime-ridden Howard Street, and the two neglected stations just south of Howard (Jarvis and Morse) are still public urinals where narcotics are regularly bought and sold. Neither is handicapped-accessible. But Alderman Moore is very proud of the Howard Street station. It's a showcase, a vanity bauble for CTA. It's an excuse for serial ribbon cuttings, and ribbon cuttings make good press. Moore abuses ribbon cutting ceremonies like a junkie reuses needles. Same dirty needle over and over again. Same ribbon cutting for the same projects over and over again. He is addicted to the pomp and ceremony of ribbon cuttings. He's a photo op whore, like most politicians, but unlike most politicians Moore is too stupid to understand that having a ribbon cutting ceremony for the same project more than once looks idiotic. There is one ribbon cutting ceremony that Moore keeps avoiding, however. The Morse Avenue Streetscape has been promised for years now. That shouldn't stop Moore, though, who could have a ribbon cutting for the "unofficial opening" of Streetscape. It would be proactive, generate a photo op, and nobody would remember it if Moore runs for re-election in 2011. They will notice, however, that a Morse Avenue Streetscape will still not exist. For Moore, taking credit for somebody else's project, such as CTA's Howard Station renovation, is much easier and a lot more fun than actually getting off his larded rear end and pushing through his own badly needed, long overdue, falsely promised, ribbonless projects. RELATED: Howard Street El Entrance to Open Friday Morning (Moore's website, 3/19/2009) CTA Press Release - Renovation of Old Howard Red Line Station ... Howard El plans unveiled by CTA Budget whoa - Time Out Chicago Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Cool Stuff...