The cover of the 498-page report looking at jet-engine noise around Midway International Airport. --Supplied image

The cover of the 498-page report looking at jet-engine noise around Midway International Airport. --Supplied image

Neighbors blast ‘secretive’ MDW update

Few knew of ‘public’ webinar

By Tim Hadac

It was a public meeting of importance to hundreds of homeowners (if not more) in the neighborhoods around Midway International Airport.

But almost no one in the public knew about it.

The meeting was billed by the Lightfoot Administration as a “Virtual Public Workshop” regarding the draft Midway Part 150 Noise Exposure Map (NEM) Update. It was held online Sept. 1.

Held in webinar format, the online meeting featured a 30-minute recitation by Ryan Anderson, an employee of Landrum & Brown (an international aviation firm hired by the Chicago Department of Aviation). He summarized a 498-page document which, in essence, said that projected noise reductions around Midway between now and 2026 will mean fewer homeowners will qualify for government-sponsored soundproofing windows and doors.

CRRNH MDWReportCover 090821

The cover of the 498-page report looking at jet-engine noise around Midway International Airport. –Supplied image

That assertion is based mostly on the projected phasing out of older, noisier passenger jets—most notably the Boeing 737-700—and the phasing in of newer, less noisy jets like the Boeing 737-MAX8.

The recitation was followed by a 15-minute period in which citizens were allowed to ask questions, in writing.

But both Anderson and Department of Aviation Deputy Commissioner Aaron Frame declined to answer a number of questions directly, even refusing to say how many people were participating in the webinar. (In the webinar format, participants were blocked from seeing and hearing each other.)

“This was like going to a public meeting to discuss public business, but then the bureaucrats in charge make everyone wear blindfolds so you can’t see who’s here or even how many people are here,” said West Elsdon resident Frank Gonzalez. “This is a very undemocratic way of doing things. I’m surprised that Mayor Lightfoot, who campaigned on promises of transparency and open government, is doing things this way. What happened to her?”

Blasting the update on multiple fronts was Chrysler Village homeowner Pam Zidarich, possibly the most astute, active and vocal critic of the Department of Aviation in the city.

She first criticized the CDA for failing to notify Midway-area residents beyond what she called the bare minimum.

The Aviation Department sent out no advance notices of the webinar to neighborhood news organizations, civic associations or other community groups. They defended their actions by stating that they had purchased “legal notice” advertising in the Chicago Tribune, as well as its Spanish-language supplement, Fin de Semana, which they said satisfied their minimum outreach requirements under the law.

Several webinar participants commenting on social media said they participated in the webinar only because the day before, a local online news organization (which found out about the meeting through a source) posted about it on Facebook. Even the aldermen whose wards border Midway learned of the webinar via email, only 24 hours in advance.

“This is secret government, and it’s unacceptable,” Zidarich said. “We’re all being kept in the dark. They throw a 500-page report at us, with no time for anyone to review it or formulate questions about it. Then they hold this ‘public’ online meeting, which almost nobody knew of…then the CDA lets a private consultant regulate public input and shield the CDA and the mayor from public accountability. This is shocking. This is a clown show.”

She also doubted Department of Aviation projections about airport noise.

“It is shameful that [Anderson] would not answer my question about next-gen aviation,” she said, adding that passenger jets are flying lower longer than ever before—which means thousands more households nowhere near airports are experiencing jet noise for the first time.

“I think [Department of Aviation] data is greatly impacted in their favor of reducing the size of the [Noise Exposure Map],” Zidarich added. “This is more shameful and deceitful behavior from the CDA and our mayor where these airports are concerned.”

Clearing and Garfield Ridge resident who missed the webinar may still review the 498-page draft and enter comments into the public record. A link to the document is here: https://www.flychicago.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/Community/Noise/Midway/Midway_P150_NEM_Update_Draft.pdf, and comments may be emailed by Oct. 3 to [email protected]

2 Comments

  1. Pamela Zidarich on September 8, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Great article Tim!



  2. Pamela Zidarich on September 8, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Nail on the head Tim. Great article.



Local News

Mary Stanek

Restaurant wall comes alive with art

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Soar up high with the beauty and grace of a butterfly–Unknown author. My favorite watering hole in years past, Andy’s, at 57th Place and Pulaski, has been a restaurant now for a few years. I recently noticed…

Peggy Zabicki

Something to be truly thankful for

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 Thank you, one and all, for the texts and calls. I wasn’t feeling well last week and couldn’t write my column. I didn’t have COVID-19. I had that before there were vaccines for it. For me, COVID-19 was no big deal. On my worst day…

Jeanette Arteaga

Congratulations, Jeanette Arteaga

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Congratulations to Jeanette Arteaga, who has been chosen as a contributing author in a new book debuting this month. The title is Business Divas and focuses on Latinas in different stages of their business: some just starting out,…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Basketball: Marist, Brother Rice stay unbeaten through two weeks

By Steve Millar Correspondent Marist came into the season with some question marks after losing a pair of key players to transfers and elevating several newcomers, including three freshmen, to the varsity roster. The young RedHawks are, however, off to a blazing 6-0 start. They held on for a 57-55 win on the road Nov.…

Jaeden King of St. Xavier gets ready to score one of his 39 points against Trinity Christian College on Nov. 30. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Transfers shining for Saint Xavier in early going

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The transfer portal is turning college athletics upside down, and Saint Xavier men’s basketball coach Robert Ford is enjoying it. And taking advantage of it. Jaeden King came to SXU in 2021 after transferring from NCAA Division II Tiffin University. Prior to that he played at Western Illinois. He is…

SXU sophomore Kaleigh Ritter, shown in a match earlier this year, had 63 assists in a five-set loss to Cornerstone in the NAIA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: College of DuPage repeats as national football champ

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The College of DuPage, the only junior college in Illinois with a football program, won its second straight National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with a 14-12 victory over North Dakota State College of Science in Glen Ellyn. Former Richards’ standout Marquel Porter caught a 25-yard pass for the…

Mary Stanek

Hang out your socks for St. Nick

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Hang out those socks on the night of Monday, Dec. 5. St. Nicholas day is here on Tuesday, Dec. 6. St. Nick was known for selling all of his possessions and giving to the poor. He may…

Kathy Headley

Thanksgiving was fun, and delicious

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Hope your Thanksgiving was as fun and happy as ours. As always, the aroma and taste of home cooking and holiday desserts were a big part of the day. I feel comfortable telling you where we picked up…

CRRNH_SweetSaluteRhineVFW_112322

A sweet salute to veterans

Rhine VFW Post 2729 members William Haas and Jerry Dipasquale survey some of the bags of candy, pastries and other treats given to the post earlier this month by the students of Sahs School in Central Stickney. The Sahs boys and girls also wrote personal letters and made patriotic posters expressing their thanks and appreciation…

Runners get off to a fast start at the Orland Park Turkey Trot, where a record 1,000 runners signed up. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park man wins Turkey Trot; St. Laurence runner takes women’s title

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The number 19 meant good things on Thanksgiving morning. The top two finishers in the 34th running of the Orland Park Turkey Trot had “19” as part of the number on their bibs. Brandon Lukas, 25, of Orland Park, wore No. 7519 and took first place with a time of…

Neighbors

Nael Digital Ad2
State elections board certifies 2022 results

State elections board certifies 2022 results

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Elections certified its election results Monday, putting the final stamp on another Democratic sweep of statewide offices. The board reported that 4,142,642 out of 8,115,751 registered voters cast ballots in the election, a turnout of roughly 51 percent. That’s down from…

Holiday displays – including the Satanic Temple’s – return to Illinois Capitol

Holiday displays – including the Satanic Temple’s – return to Illinois Capitol

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Satanic Temple of Illinois debuted a new display in the Illinois Capitol rotunda Tuesday, taking its place next to the annual Christmas and Hanukkah displays. For Christmas, that means the Springfield Nativity Committee has once again placed a manger scene featuring Mary, Joseph and Jesus.…

State elections board certifies 2022 results

State elections board certifies 2022 results

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Elections certified its election results Monday, putting the final stamp on another Democratic sweep of statewide offices. The board reported that 4,142,642 out of 8,115,751 registered voters cast ballots in the election, a turnout of roughly 51 percent. That’s down from…

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers last week passed significant legislation dealing with electric vehicle manufacturing incentives and the availability of hygiene products for prisoners in the state’s correctional system. But some weightier issues, including a possible assault weapons ban, will wait until a lame duck session scheduled for early…

CAPITOL RECAP: SAFE-T Act changes head to Pritzker; unemployment debt deal advances

CAPITOL RECAP: SAFE-T Act changes head to Pritzker; unemployment debt deal advances

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Thursday passed a long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform’s provisions that will eliminate cash bail when the calendar hits 2023. The measure expands the list of crimes for which a judge can order pretrial detention, adds to what a judge can consider when determining…

Lawmakers advance $1.8 billion unemployment fund bailout

Lawmakers advance $1.8 billion unemployment fund bailout

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – On the final day of their fall veto session, Illinois lawmakers on Thursday advanced a pair of bills that would infuse $1.8 billion into the state’s unemployment trust fund, which was depleted during the economic shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan agreement came…

Pretrial detention changes to SAFE-T Act will head to governor

Pretrial detention changes to SAFE-T Act will head to governor

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Thursday passed a long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform’s provisions that will eliminate cash bail when the calendar hits 2023. The measure expands the list of crimes for which a judge can order pretrial detention, adds to what a judge can…

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] An appellate court on Wednesday reversed several contempt of court citations that were filed in recent months against Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith for failing to comply with court orders to place state wards in appropriate settings. The court found that Smith did not…

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House gave final passage Wednesday to a bill aimed at prohibiting state investment in assets tied to Russia and Belarus in retaliation for their participation in the war in Ukraine. House Bill 1293, by Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, urges the state’s five retirement systems…

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Two days before lawmakers were scheduled to adjourn for the year, one of the lead negotiators of the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform filed a long-awaited amendment detailing several changes to the landmark cash bail overhaul. Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, filed a 308-page amendment to House…

DVN Damar Kaminski Funeral Home House Ad
Regional Papa Joes House Ad