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1_PROPOSED_MARQUEE_VIEWWhile we wait on more information regarding the Chicago Cubs’ talks with the rooftop owners, it sounds like the Cubs are taking the same “parallel fronts” attitude to funding the renovation as they’ve taken to roster building. That is to say, the advertising signage issue that involves the rooftops is only one aspect of the Cubs’ funding plans for the renovation. Another is the ability to have more night games, more concerts, and street fairs.

And, for the most part, that means convincing the community that such things will not ruin their neighborhood (insert comment about knowing that you’re living next to Wrigley Field and gladly accepting the benefits thereof, while simultaneously complaining about the inconveniences).

Yesterday, the same day that management was meeting with the rooftops, Alderman Tom Tunney – who represents the 44th Ward, in which Wrigley Field sits – discussed a plan involving those issues, floated to him by the Cubs. According to a report from DNAinfo, Tunney disclosed that plan at Monday’s Southport Neighbors Association meeting at the Mercury Theatre, which was also attended by Cubs VP of Community Affairs Mike Lufrano. It would appear that the Cubs and Tunney are working together on this, but you can never be quite sure.

So, what is the plan?

In short, the Cubs are requesting an extremely modest near-term increase in permitted night games, from the currently-allowed 30, to a still-small 33. The Cubs would also like to increase the number of permitted concerts from three to four, and would like to be permitted to conduct street fairs on Sheffield Avenue, which is already closed on game days. At the meeting, Tunney indicated that he comes into the picture because the Cubs would like him to introduce an ordinance at the February 13 City Council meeting which would increase the night games to 33 and the concerts to four, among other things. (The street fair issue, Tunney indicated, could take longer to formally take shape, because there are a number of issues to work out.)

The response – by that particular neighborhood group, anyway – was largely negative, according to the DNAinfo report, which called the two-hour meeting “heated.” Jill Peters, President of the Southport Neighbors Association, called the plan to push for the ordinance a “backdoor deal,” according to DNAinfo, and said she felt like an “ant being stepped on by giants.”

Probably not the start the Cubs were hoping to get out to with the neighborhood. This is a process, though, and I’m sure hurdles weren’t entirely unanticipated.

It is amazing that, at every turn, regardless of how reasonable the Cubs appear to be, they are met with intransigence and power grabs. As outsiders, we don’t know enough to say for certain that the Cubs are the victims in all of this, but, man, if I’m a little frustrated, I can only imagine how they’re feeling right now.

Still, as with everything since the Ricketts Family took over, the Cubs are in this for the long haul, and I’m sure they’re willing to put in the work.

My sense is that the Cubs are looking to get as many of the changes in place as soon as possible, and causing as few waves as possible. In the long-term, there’s no way the Cubs are going to be content to increase the night games by just three, and the concerts by just one. But, if it’s a first step they can take and get in place before the 2013 season, they might as well get the ball rolling. The proposed ordinance would last only through 2015.

Now we’ll see how much of a fight the neighborhood puts up, and what the Mayor’s support is worth. Is the Mayor’s support the reason Tunney seems amenable to helping the Cubs? Or is it the Cubs’ seemingly new-found willingness to discuss a deal with the rooftops? If the Cubs can’t get a deal done with the rooftops, do they lose Tunney’s support on the other issues?

The political angles, man. I can barely keep up with them.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Just wanted to say I’m digging the new “obsessive Wrigley renovation watch” standard picture. The “respect Wrigley” one was getting pretty stale.

    Go Cubs!

  • http://collegefootballnewswire.com Talmadge East

    The Cubs will never leave Wrigley unless it actually does fall in on them. Period. It would be the dumbest financial move of all time. I generally think we should give the Ricketts some leeway, but screw night games. 30 is already 30 too many.

  • Barroof

    Poor Mick is a slave to a day job. Boo Hoo. While you’re stuck on the job checking the score to the Cubs game I’ll be working on my tan. Sucker. If you read what I said … IMO. but you must have missed that. Was your boss screaming for the TPS reports again ?

  • Pete

    The more and more i read these articles about the neighborhood, roof top owners, and the city giving the cubs so much fin problems i would just tell the neighborhood and roof top owners bye bye….no more revenue from me…. go out of business and watch your home values go through the floor, and tell the already deep in debt city im moving to dupage county!

  • Mr. Coffee

    When this discussion comes up, I always wonder how long some of these Lakeview residents have lived in their current location. If someone moved into the neighborhood prior to about 1984, when things were dramatically different, I’ll listen to what they have to say. For anyone who moved in after about 1988, once the lights were added, sorry, you knew what you were signing up for. For anyone who has moved to the neighborhood in the last 10 to 15 years, I say, go take a long walk off a short pier. You bought there, you got everything that goes with it, good and bad.

    A lot of these neighborhood groups simply seem obsessed with power, and the idea of being relevant. As someone said earlier, the only people who attend these meetings are the complainers. Unfortunately, the angry people, no matter how few of them, always own the room, and get all the press. I’m not saying that property owners in the area don’t have a right to voice their opinion, but at the end of the day, it’s just that: their opinion. And the Cubs and the city are under no legal obligation to agree with them.

    • Pat

      One could say that Tom Ricketts, who only bought the team three years ago also knew what he was signing up for. No?

      • Mr. Coffee

        I suppose. But then again, it could also be argued, if a Lakeview homeowner or business owner invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in their home or business they have a right to do whatever they want with it, shouldn’t the Ricketts, who invested closer to $1 billion in their business have that right also?

        I guess what has always baffled me is why someone would move to that neighborhood if they weren’t a baseball fan, or even if they are a fan, if they are so opposed to everything done by the organization that quite literally made that neighborhood what it is today. As a lifelong Cub fan who is currently condo shopping in the city, I would love to buy in Wrigleyville, but I simply can’t afford it. Why would a non-baseball fan buy there, when there are so many other less expensive areas, or if cost is no issue, neighborhoods with so much less traffic, congestion, etc. related to baseball crowds. I guess that’s the part I have never understood.

        • caryatid62

          Regardless of how much money a person invests in their property, they actually don’t have the right to do whatever they want with it. Zoning laws, regulations, the permit process are all ways in which the state exerts control over private property.

  • macblue22

    Guess I should’ve checked twitter earlier, missed out on a chance to win an autographed Almora card!

  • Jerry

    The Cubs should find or threaten to find somewhere else to go, either in Chicago or the Suburbs. Once Wrigleyville becomes a ghost town, the city and state will wonder why they were fighting with the team.

    • Eric

      Why do people continue to suggest the Cubs should move or threaten to move? In spite of all the trouble with the city and the neighborhood the location is a gold mine and the Cubs know it. I own a condo in Wrigleyville and completely agree that the reactions by the neighborhood groups are ridiculous but I imagine that’s what the Cubs expected, regardless of how sensible their plans are.

      Suggestions to move to the burbs are as ridiculous as some of the Campana love around here.

      • Toby

        Whatever location the Cubs choose to move to, if they do indeed decide to move, will be a gold mine as well. The main difference is that Ricketts will most likely own all the surrounding business because he’ll build those from scratch along with the new ball yard. I hear people saying that moving to the burbs or another part of Chicago is ridiculous, but I’ve never heard a good reason to back that claim up. I think that moving away from all those bars would make going to the park more of a post game family friendly experience, and would eliminate a lot of the drunks who pound drinks before entering the park.

      • Jimmy james

        They won’t do it and the neighbors know it….I dont even think they will ever seriously
        threaten. I do wonder what would happen if they did though (threaten, not actually do something)

        • medler

          Everyone needs to drop the “Cubs should threaten to move” talk because it ain’t gonna happen. Why? Easy. The Cubs make money on the fact that they have Wrigley Field…it’s a destination for the non-Cub fan out there. Hell! There’s a whole contingent of Cub fans who are Wrigley Fans.

          Move to the ‘burbs? Suuuurrrre…fill those balloons with lead.

          As far as criticizing the neighborhood. I get it…and I agree. You buy in Wrigleyville/Lakeview, you get everything that goes with it. However, the neighbors will also remind the Cubs that while Wrigley’s popularity since 1983 has increased property values, this isn’t completely related to Wrigley because property values were increasing along Clark Street for about a decade prior. If anything, the leaders of Uptown throttled a complete gentrification (good or bad) from North Avenue up to Loyola.

          But I digress…the neighbors do have a complaint because their pristine properties, restaurants (not merely Bro bars), boutique shopping, etc, give Wrigley even more charm. While we can see what the Cubs bring to the neighborhood, the neighbors believe they give to the Cubs.

          Now, do I agree to the point of the neighbors being difficult? Probably not…but I get it.

      • cub2014

        there are several reason to move to the burbs but ricketts
        doesnt want to move. I am sick of this mayor, it has to
        work for everyone. the mayor is what is wrong with this country

  • Casey Stengel

    I’ve said a thousand times. These people of the. 44th ward (where I spent the first 18 years of my life) are mostly wonderful but these Wrigley people are inane. So, 4 more nights a year are an issue? Most people in live structures that are 3 or higher floors–does some bleacher bum vomiting bother you on 12? Where would their property values be with no Wrigley? Not like near the Cell, but lower. Here’s what they miss–fight 3 night games and no one gives a darned about your bigger concerns (to which I have zero sympathy, but others do). Tunney is to be commended. He knows that Cubs and supporters can easily make up the 100,000 grand in campaign donations (not that the dude would lose anyway). Tunney owns restaurants and has worked with mayor closely on other hugely important issues. Why would he piss of a mayor of great power? He may want to expand one day himself.

    If Brett is annoyed (or getting there), it’s a sign. He is amazingly even handed.

  • North Side Irish

    An apparently 12 year old Ben Linderbegh (editor in chief at BP) on CSN tonight talking about the Cubs…he thinks the Cubs have moved into the 70-75 win range for 2013.

    http://www.csnchicago.com/pages/video?PID=6cLLTB-5mr645d8sr3YW_hrgVEXtfTQcW35brLs

  • Casey Stengel

    I should add in the slew of comments about moving:

    1) while the asked fairly for tax money they are getting none (and Rahm says no)
    2) the cubs easily could have moved elsewhere in the city (many argue no Wrigley no cubs which is a bit absurd–we love our team when they play on the road. Is keeping Wrigley key? Sure). But they had the right to move. They never spoke of it–showing respect for history and fans. And the Trib almost moved to the Burbs in the mid 1980s. The sox to Tampa in 1988. Al Davis. The Vikings. All these teams (ignoring those who did move) got new stadiums with taxpayer money. Miami anyone?
    3) remember privately held team, private park huge taxes and restrictions. White sox have a better deal and they don’t have the fan base or own their park.
    4) often ignored are all the street work–infrastructure stuff that the city and state dole out. Cubs are not asking for that either. Closing a street takes a saw horse, so if you want to be really bare knuckles there ya go.

    I still am amazed.

    • medler

      I will never…ever…support a rooftop. If someone has a free ticket? Maayybe… Murphy and the LBC and all the newbies who feed off of the “tradition of rooftops” can find another hobby.

      I will always understand/listen to the complaints of a neighbor. Why? They’ve placed an investment in the neighborhood: kids, dogs, garages, whatever. I don’t agree with their stances on certain issues, but I get it. I live in the city where a lot of events are scheduled without any consent from any neighbor (except those who will profit) and neighbors always get the shaft. This lack of trust in the process is part of the problem with Tunney of the 44th Ward…Tunney protects the business owners (rooftops, vendors, bars)…many/some/all live outside of his Ward. As a neighbor, I’d be pretty upset at the Cubs, Tunney, Rahm, and the businesses along Clark (especially South of Waveland) because they’re running the show right now.

  • Steve

    My mind is boggled about the street fair objection. In my experience, most of the street around Wrigley (Clark and Addison excluded) are closed off typically or are just overwrought with people that it might as well be closed.
    How much different could an actual street fair be?
    Granted I have no idea what they’d be doing in their fair.

  • Casey Stengel

    And those businesses wouldn’t exist without the Cubs and the 3 million they bring. 2.8? And while many workers live outside the ward–the owners often don’t and those complaining are residents as well. Tunney is no dummy. He owns a restaurant in the area. And campaign dollars. Not unethical. But, lets be honest the Trib was no easy foe. Wind screens? Remember those? The Ricketts family is bending over backward.

    They can’t win. 3 more night games?

    Come on. It’s the city. I’m allergic to dogs. My buliding didn’t ask me when they changed policy to allow them. I survived.

  • Voice of Reason

    I have one message for the Wrigley Field residents who feel they are like ants being stepped on… deal with it!
    If not, then I hope the Cubs leave Wrigley and then what will those same residents have? Property values that will drop like a rock and an area that will become depressed very quickly.
    Then those same people will be crying like babies!
    Those people moved there knowing Wrigley Field was there and that was probably part of the charm that lead them to that area.
    Screw those people! We’re talking about big business and a lot of money. Not only for the Cubs, but for businesses and people around the area.

  • MichiganGoat

    Alright can we just stop with the whole move to the burbs, threaten to move, leave Wrigley talk. It is not an option that Ricketts is considering and it’s not a good move for the Cubs. Making a threat about moving is empty and useless.

    • Die hard

      Like many of your musings

      • MichiganGoat

        Um okay because my comments are sooooo crazy.

    • Voice of Reason

      Threatening to leave is empty and useless. In the business world it’s called leverage!
      And, it’s the biggest piece of leverage that the Cubs have.

      • Pat

        What leverage? The Cubs would lose tens of millions annually.

        • MichiganGoat

          Precisely. They’d lose money, lose fans (no more Wrigley and do you really think more fans would come to the burbs than come and experience an updated and classic Wrigley), and lose identity. There is no leverage.

      • MichiganGoat

        Leverage is only useful if it a real possibility, Ricketts is not moving the Cubs everyone knows it so using an empty threat as leverage doesn’t help with negotiations. If Ricketts was seriously considering moving he wouldn’t unveil remodel plans, pay for it with his own money, and then work with the neighborhood to find a plan that makes everyone happy. Moving is not an option anybody with an financial interest. That’s why it’s a useless and empty threat. I don’t think you understand the meaning of leverage in business.

  • Spriggs

    I could never do what Mike Lufrano does. Standing up diplomatically in front of a so many angry, whining people — with such one-sided and often uninformed points of view – would just be too hard to stomach.

  • rich

    The people should stop whinning without wrigley field it would just another neighbour . these crybabies houses are more money because of them . The rooftops especially have no damn complaints either.

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