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  1. Has no one heard of hyperbole and metaphor as poetic license to make one’s argument? Can no one express justified anger without being criticized? If one disagrees with Mr. Bordo, why not simply counter his arguments with one’s own? Killing the messenger doesn’t change the message. Oops! I used a violent image to make my point. “She must be angry; stop her!”

  2. Good letter, Tony Bordo. There is yet more to chew on …

    The playing field of the new stadium is planned to be 20 feet below street level, which raises many issues:

    A.) With the playing field situated so far below street level, the site will have to be “de-watered” continuously and indefinitely. (De-watering involves installing pumps and piping to constantly remove the groundwater.) This water will have to be discharged into the North Shore Channel, which will involve tearing up streets in the neighborhood to install piping. The impact of installing this otherwise unnecessary storm water piping would be an unacceptable hardship and disruption, and generate yet more noise on the immediate residential neighborhood.
    B.) De-watering will cause some degree of uncontrolled settlement of existing buildings, roads, alleys, and sidewalks in the surrounding area. Permanent deeply drive, permanent steel sheeting could minimize this, but it’s expensive.
    C.) The impact on local traffic will be unbearable, as thousands of truckloads of material are transported out of the City in dump trucks; most likely down Central Street. All that heavy truck traffic will cause damage to the City streets and yet more noise, micro-plastic particles from tire abrasion, and pollution.
    D.) There will be street damage and congestion from all the truck traffic that will haul in new materials to build the stadium; and yet more noise, micro-plastic particles from tire abrasion, and pollution.

    Northwestern University should be a leader and an example by minimizing their climate footprint, rather than expanding it. This project will impose a massive amount of direct and indirect CO2 emissions, pollution, as well as construction debris. Concerts will impose yet another series of ongoing and entirely unnecessary climate footprint impacts. Renovating the existing stadium should be the first alternative considered.

  3. This letter had the complete opposite of the intended effect upon me. I’m turned off by the tone, the author’s seemingly unhinged anger, and his appeal to his supposed authority since he’s lived here for 30 some odd years. Why should he have more of a say than me, who has only lived here for six years? Why is his anger more righteous than mine, me who sees a city badly in debt, predicting major deficits, and who knows that the new Ryan Field would create more jobs and bring in a ton of new money for the community? Why do old timers get a pass on their refusal to accept the changing nature of Evanston? We aren’t a city with a university anymore, we are a university with a city, and we dang well better accept that before Northwestern does something truly drastic. Well done, Mr. Bordo—I am now all in for this new stadium.

    1. I am surprised by the fact that you are stumbling with the tone of this piece rather than the content and that your response to it is to push you so far that it has made you in favor of the commercial concerts? Read the letter again my brother.

    2. Mr. Coates,

      Do I understand correctly that before reading Mr. Bordo’s letter you were not in favor of NWU’s proposed rezoning, and that because you don’t like the tone of Mr. Bordo’s letter you now support the rezoning? That would be noteworthy — having the perceived attitude of someone you presumably do not even know control your decisions.

      On another front, Mr. Bordo does not have more of a say than you, taking into consideration that you submitted your comments and they were published, and that I read them with interest, as I’m sure others also did. The fact is that we have no way of knowing whose opinion is going to have sway over our representatives in City Government.

      Nor is Mr. Bordo’s perceived anger any more righteous than yours— no one is saying that. Sometimes, in order to make a strong argument one may resort to vivid metaphors and hyperbole. That’s how effective debates work.

      Finally, so-called “old timers” are as justified in trying to maintain the status quo as “newcomers” are to overturning it. In fact, I’m sure there are “oldtimers” who want to change the status quo, and “newcomers” who want to preserve it. That dichotomy is just not valid, and demonstrates further how NWU’s tactics are dividing our community.

      1. I left out one thought from my reply to Mr. Coates, regarding his observation that “We aren’t a city with a university anymore, we are a university with a city, and we dang well better accept that before Northwestern does something truly drastic.”

        Why not just make NWU a country, like the Vatican? That way we can always know what NWU is up to by watching for the color of the smoke?

  4. Thank you Mr. Bordo. NU should do was is fair and just to the beautiful city of Evanston and it’s citizens. A partnership to benefit both.

  5. I think it’s worth pointing out that this situation in Evanston highlights the toxicity and predatory nature of the American football enterprise. Both the NCAA and NFL. And Evanston might just be in a unique opportunity to demand better of this enterprise.

    Football is obviously a massive entertainment and media business. And for good reason, it’s an entertaining game. It’s got our attention, and literally no expense is spared to keep it (kinda like the social media business model). And for wealthy investors and university endowment funds, it’s been giving good returns for a long time, so it’s no wonder it keeps snowballing. More and more resources and attention get poured into it every year. No wonder there is so much power associated with it all.

    What I get so sick of seeing is exactly what is described in this letter. Whatever the football executives want to push, they find a way to get. Don’t like it? Don’t move by a football field, right?

    Or maybe, just maybe, Tony Bordo is onto something. Maybe there is more to life than the business of football and the trickle down revenue it promises to bring to the communities it’s in. No, I don’t have the stats or exact numbers on how much that is, but there sure are a lot of interesting tax structures you hear about that are set up around some of these, all in the name of “serving” the fans. Good for the citizens of Evanston using their voices.

    Not everyone sees it this way, of course, but can we say that about anything in our community? At least the discussion is being had in the first place. I’m not a gambling man, but I’d bet most people in football communities don’t quite have the ability to do this, of it falls on deaf ears. Funny how the new facility is always seen and promoted (by the program itself) as “what is best for the community, obviously”, without any real transparent discussion about things like quality of life or environmental impacts of the project.

    My personal take? Despite the toxic elements of football, it’s been a part of my life since childhood, and damn it, I just can’t quit it. A consequence of growing up as a Midwestern American, I guess, but I keep watching every year no matter how much it pisses me off. And as for NU football, that toxic culture in the locker room was horrible to hear about. But I still love the old school feel of Ryan Field as it is. Some of the football snobs out there trash it for being what it is, but there’s something special about seeing a game in the same place your grandpa did 60+ years ago. Tailgating across the street when it’s 20 degrees out in November, or grabbing a dog from Mustards last stand. I love hearing the sample of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica every defensive third down, and hearing it echo around the place by the old PA system. I love what the fall weather patterns off the lake do in adding a challenging dimension to the game. It’s old school grit. And it’s a dying breed in football. This place is the Fenway park or Wrigley field of college football, and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

    Is it out of the question to demand an independent engineering analysis be conducted on the existing structure to see a real, unbiased cost/benefit analysis of keeping the existing field vs bulldozing it and building the new one? Is it really so unfeasible to consider working with the current stadium, and spending some of that ungodly huge chunk of change instead on upgrading some accessibility features, and upgrading it to be a leed certified facility that runs on 100% renewable energy? And maybe even serve concessions that are in biodegradable and (truly) recyclable packaging? The carbon footprint of football is a lot bigger than is talked about when you think about the constant travel and energy/material resources involved with filling stadiums full of thousands of people once a week for at least 1/4 of the year. Considering that, the waste involved with tearing down a functioning facility on top of the normal operations that football requires really doesn’t sit all that well with me when you think about it holistically. Especially when we know there really are more important things than football to be focusing on in our communities and in the world as a whole. What if we could combine the best parts of the current Ryan Field with state of the art technology and innovation (something NU supposedly stands for in a lot of their programs), and forge a more sustainable path forward… something that all sports, not just football, seriously need to get their act together on. And look, if they can show that the most sustainable path forward is indeed this new facility, then that’s what gets my vote.

    We all know there are some toxic things associated with football. But it really can provide opportunities, structure, and discipline for thousands of young people – and boy, do we ever need things like that in our society. And despite the injury risk, I think it can be a net positive in our American culture and is something we need to preserve. So let’s do it the right way. And demand something that can be sustainable, and a model for the future of football in America.

  6. NU didn’t ask for a zoning ordinance when they rebuilt the basketball arena. They shouldn’t need a change in zoning now. Just rebuild it. No concerts.

  7. Whoa; this is one scary letter! Predators lying in wait, pouncing, crevices oozing, probing for weakness, easy targets, and freakin fire trucks !! Yikes! With all this rage, establishing a real relationship might be kind of difficult!

  8. Wow! Tony Bordo speaks his mind harshly, but I have to say that I agree with much of what he says.
    I am totally opposed to N.U. Creating a for profit concert venue in north Evanston. They have consistently taken land, built their buildings, and thrown breadcrumbs to the city, all with the approval and smiles of the City Council who have been their willing and accommodating henchmen.
    It’s time for the city to stand up, at long last, to the corruption of N.U., whose football program has been rife with sexual abuse and harassment for years that has traumatized its players.
    There’s no way they should be allowed to get away with this plan to change our zoning in order to make more money for themselves and disregard the true needs of their students and the community.