It’s impossible to say with precision when the relationship between North Side representative Ezzard Miller and this newspaper began to deteriorate.
It most likely followed an editorial we wrote years ago commenting on a demonstration Mr. Miller was leading outside the Government Administration Building on Elgin Avenue. He and his acolytes were making a racket about one thing or another, and we wrote something to the effect that “BS, bellowed through a bullhorn, is still BS — only louder.”
Soon thereafter, communications between the elected member and the Compass, more specifically the publisher, broke down, but, in truth, this was not necessarily a consequential thing. The Compass continued to cover without bias Mr. Miller’s legislative duties, including floor debates in the House and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meetings he chairs.
All of which leads to a story which appeared on the front page of yesterday’s newspaper and warrants our editorial support of Mr. Miller’s position.
Very briefly: For at least four years Mr. Miller and fellow North Siders have been trying to get decent ground covering for the playing field of the Edna M. Moyle Primary School, so the kids can play sports and romp around in safety. Currently, especially following rainy weather, the field could pass for either a series of large puddles or a small pond.
Mr. Miller repeatedly took his request for a proper playing field to government without success: Nada; no action.
Then, a few months ago, a North Side citizen and Good Samaritan had the opportunity in Chicago to purchase a large quantify of artificial turf at auction. He spent $20,000 of his own money, shipped the artificial turf to Miami and forwarded it on to Grand Cayman, where for months it has been languishing in storage at the Port Authority. To date, the storage fee from the port is approaching $30,000 – and increasing every day.
Preventing this whole project from moving forward is, you guessed it, government, in particular the civil service and the Ministry of Education (Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, acting Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho and others who yesterday issued a statement). They say the artificial turf was designed for indoor use and could present a health risk to the children if used outdoors. The manufacturer disagrees about the health risk, Mr. Miller disagrees, and, given what we have learned to date, we disagree. (As we indicated earlier, this Editorial Board knows BS when we see, hear or smell it.)
However, because this is our “Field of Dreams” editorial, we will share with you our dream:
Mr. Miller and the good people of North Side somehow prevail, the field is completed and opening-day ceremonies are in full swing. In gratitude, North Siders hoist Mr. Miller atop their shoulders for a victory lap around the periphery of the new field to the wild applause of students, parents and voters alike.
Spotted on the sidelines in this scenario, however, are various civil servants, Minister O’Connor-Connolly and acting Chief Officer Cacho. They are hardly noticed, perhaps because they are silent, hands folded, teeth clenched. They appear bitter. But, of course, North Siders are ebullient, even jubilant.
That’s our dream. It could happen. In fact, we have to make sure that it does.