Coming from New Orleans where a Herculean effort is underway to restore City Park, it's been jaw dropping to watch Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich close 21 parks and historic sites this year.
On the everything must go list, a Lincoln log cabin, a Frank Lloyd Wright home, the original state legislature building and Carl Sandburg's birthplace. This in addition to the governor's alleged efforts to take down the Chicago Tribune editorial board, block a Wrigley Field sale, and sell Barack Obama's vacated senate seat.
Caught on tape dropping epithets all the way by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Eff-Rod seems to have stopped just short of publicly slapping a puppy. Since no publicist in the world could adequately spin this, the governor may be able to de-Grinchify on the way out the door with a gesture for everyone who loves history, poetry, architecture and trees - rescind the Illinois public lands closings.
How to find the funding? Possibly by paying the state back for his $6,000 helicopter trips to Springfield and selling commemorative Illinois Obama inauguration coins - I'd buy one to help keep Moraine View park open just up the road. Times are tough, and sometimes it helps to go to the park, sit on the end of a dock and watch hawks circle the hills. Not to mention the joy of watching a jumping fish although my husband points out that jumping is usually a sign of a bigger fish trying to hunt it down and kill it.
Will saving the parks save Blagojevich's political hide? Probably not, but nature lovers have been crying foul since the environmental and conservation funds were redistributed from 7 parks and 14 historic sites. Re-opening all 21 could help bring the state together as our president-elect leaves for Washington, and future senators start saving up to buy his seat.
Unless a new governor can say goodbye to all that in a cleaner, greener prairie state.