Oprah Will Waltz Down Michigan Avenue

The Magnificent Mile will not be so magnificent when a section of Michigan Avenue (from Ohio to Wacker Drive) will be shut down to vehicular traffic starting Sunday night just past midnight and will not re-open until Wednesday at 5:00.a.m. so Oprah can shoot an episode of one of her shows Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. from an “outdoor studio” on Ohio Street. When asked by reporters about the inconvenience to downtown motorists, Daley said it's worth it. "I think they'll understand how important this is dealing with jobs, dealing with international exposure...this is a great opportunity," Daley said. If jobs are so important to Mayor Daley, why didn’t he lobby Springfield to meet the tax credits Connecticut was offering to the Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos shows? Hundreds of jobs were lost in Chicago when the shows moved to Stamford taking the cast, crews, producers, etc. Millions of dollars in revenue was lost by hotels, airlines, restaurants, limo services, etc when guests stopped coming to town for tapings. Who can even estimate the tax revenue lost to the city by the Springer and Wilkos shows leaving Chicago? But Jerry and Steve are not her highness Oprah. Daley said Harpo Studios will reimburse the city for the costs of the show. Will Oprah compensate stores along the closed stretch for the economic opportunity lost from shoppers avoiding the area on Labor Day? Will Oprah pay for my blood pressure medicine for two days as I am greatly unconvinced and aggravated by what she is doing to interfere with the quality of my life? Will she reimburse all the unsuspecting, naive tourists who will find their purses and wallets have been pick -pocketed in the jostling crowds? I don’t think so! When Apple announces that they will be offering a new product for sale, the computer geeks start lining up the day before in front of the store at the SE corner of Michigan and Huron and spend the night. That one little corner becomes a nightmare—imagine the horrendous crowds for blocks for a chance of an Oprah ticket or sighting? The city announced that overnight camping will not be allowed, but I guarantee you, there will be sleeping bags littering Boul Mich on Sunday and Monday nights in anticipation of the Tuesday taping! The city also reports that pedestrian access will remain open at all times. Another myth to those of us who been blocked entrĂ©e to the sidewalks when street performers like the Tin Man and balloon guy are practicing their craft and perambulators bring traffic to a halt as they stop to watch. “This is a great thing we are doing,” Daley said to the Sun Times. “Wish we could do it every day. How much publicity we’ll receive throughout the world.” Chicago is in the international news almost every day already with stories of corruption and clout. But I guess clout is acceptable when it is used to benefit Oprah.
Editors Extra: We agree with Kathy Posner on this one. All my friends lost their jobs because Chicago would not match other offers to keep The Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show there. I can not imagine all the jobs lost and all the hotel revenue lost. You can read more from Kathy Posner Here....
Photo By: Sara De Boer/Retna