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Olympic Pothole Quagmire Raises Aldermanic Ire

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Mar 20, 2009 8:20PM

Ald. Jackson
Yesterday's "revelation" that roads near proposed Olympic venues are getting preferential pothole repair treatment is now allegedly raising the ire of alderman. Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th). Jackson took Transportation Commissioner Thomas Byrne to task for giving Olympic-related streets precedence, wondering if Byrne had "been forced to do something like this because of an Olympics that we may or may not get."

"I think any alderman can give you a list of streets that have potholes that are more heavily traveled ... than this street that surrounds this park," Jackson said.

Byrne said he selected Washington Park "because of need."

"That patch that we made there yesterday will be enjoyed for a long time for the people of Washington Park and the neighborhood that it's in. We're not just going to roll that up after today or the Olympics, when they drive by. I'm not going to tear it up and put it back in the condition it was," Byrne said.

After Jackson ticked off a list of other streets she said were more important, including Lake Shore Drive, Byrne asked her, "What do you want to prioritize from one to a hundred?"

Still, such posturing fails to feel genuine given the City Council's tendency to bend to Daley's whim. Sure, it sounds good for an aldermen to express outrage of the potholes, but if the Mayor doesn't care, does it really matter. And, as the Reader's Whet Moser points out, this is nothing compared to what will happen if we are actually awarded the 2016 Olympics. [Tribune]