The Cleanup | S1 E9
Hi, everyone Robin here before we start this week's episode. I need to share some sad news with you. Henry Henderson died last week. If you've been following along with the show, you know that Henderson was the lawyer turned Chicago environment Commissioner who was one of the few city officials to do anything about the northbound L mountain. He spent years battling John Christopher's illegal dumps. However imperfectly. Henderson had lung cancer, and he had recently entered hospice care, he was just sixty six years old after Henderson left city government. He went to work for the natural Resources Defense Council or NRDC a kind of legal aid fund for the environment. As the group's longtime midwest director, he spearheaded a host of initiatives. They were all aimed at keeping our air land and water clean and at protecting vulnerable communities from the hazards of pollution and industry. Under Henderson, the NRDC sued the city of Flint and the state of Michigan forcing them to replace the service lines that had caused so many Flint residents to develop lead poisoning. The group took on BP forcing the oil giant to install air pollution controls at its massive refinery in whiting, Indiana, and the NRDC went after a subsidiary of the coke brothers after the. Trucked black mountains of petroleum coke into a residential neighborhood on Chicago's south east side. Richard m Daley the former Chicago mayor and Henderson's former boss said of Henry, he has long been instrumental in the environmental movement here long before cities care to acknowledge the need for such initiatives for us here at the city. Henry Henderson was also instrumental in helping us get to the bottom of this particular environmental story. So perhaps there is no better place to begin this week's episode. It's called the cleanup. In January nineteen ninety six just a few days after operation, silver, shovel became public. One of Chicago's US congressman called a press conference at the site of the north Lonsdale. Dumps dick Durbin was the highest ranking politician to publicly acknowledged the dumps now he was there to demand a cleanup. Heavy snow is falling Durban wears a black wool overcoat with the lapels turned up protection from the wind behind him. The mountain looms covered in a thick dusting of white. It looks almost pastoral but read dump trucks and yellow bulldozers crawl over the site. You can hear them being in the background. Durbin turns to face the cameras operation, silver, shovel is called our attention to what is a blight on the city of Chicago and our state these legal dumps in a residential neighborhood are absolutely shameful to north. Lonzo residents though, what was shameful with how long it had taken dick Durbin and other high level elected officials to pay close attention to the dumps Durban had shown up nearly six years after residents at I killed to public officials for help. I'm calling on the US Birmingham protection agency to come forward and determined I whether there's any evidence of hazardous waste at any of these operations, silver shovel sites, the EPA has the authority to respond immediately. If there's evidence, I might tell you that Mr. of course, the EPA had already been to north Lonsdale. Two years earlier, the Illinois and US EPA as had removed roughly a hundred fifty truckloads of hazardous waste, including barrels of mystery chemicals. But they had left the six stories of debris behind. The federal agencies behind operation, silver, shovel had no intention of cleaning up the dumps either they didn't see it as their responsibility. But ultimately, the investigation was a catalyst for change for nearly six years. It was if no one outside north Lonsdale could even see the six mountain in the middle of the city, but suddenly almost magically operation silver shovel. And the association of these dumps with an undercover corruption probe made the mountain visible to everyone political figures who hadn't so much as mentioned it in the past we know shaming others for ignoring it, silver, shovel set off a flurry of activity that residents welcomed, but it came with the bitterness of knowing that it could have happened six years sooner. The beeping trucks and bulldozers behind dick Durbin were there to clean up the dumb to dismantle the mountain. He's by piece, the bulldozers scoop up bucketful after bucketful of concrete slabs, asphalt chunks and dirt and drop them into the backs of the dump trucks and each full truck. Then drives out of the lot and takes its cargo away. But even this cleanup repeated many of the same wrongs that put the mount in there in the first place, black neighborhoods would get dumped on white neighborhoods would benefit companies would profit and the people responsible would suffer few serious consequences. It all happened. Again. Only this time in reverse. I'm Robin Aamer and from USA today. This is the city. All through the winter of nineteen ninety six the cleanup continued removing the debris was as big undertaking as building the mountain had been block club. President. Gladys Woodson had watched in those early days as John Christopher set up shop and allowed trucks to dump a block from her home. Now, she watched the process, slowly rewind goon. Wow. Now, we valley is gone. It's going to be gone. Can you tell that was like? Dusty? With the trucks coming in to get the the. But at least they spray the street down, which Chris John never did never did. Northland L residents had conflicting feelings about the cleanup. And all this new attention being paid to their neighborhood on one hand, they were glad to see the dumps go on the other hand, they resented the public figures who had not seemed to care about their neighborhood before the corruption probe. Here's Rita Ashford who had protested the dumps and her daughters, Sharon and Michelle loan. We out the fighting that. Shovel, bro. And it was all like a puff of smoke. And everything changed his appeal. Right. It's just was there. One day going to Nick. They will be rolling all night long getting it out of that once it broke. And when you looked up the pow went from, you know, the kids used to run up and then on the top it went from being up. That's it just like a horse if it hadn't been for civil shovel. We still would have been dealing with down probably right now today. Yes. If it hadn't have been specific shovel, we would've still been fighting that. Others asked the obvious question. Where was all this attention and scrutiny when the problem was simply illegal dumping in a black neighborhood. Here's MS Woodson. Again, we live through five years of this stuff. You know? This people that don't hate Asmaa tech, the people that own own oxygen machines that you know, we have few people to move out of the neighborhood just move because they could no longer stand the dust and stuff. In late February nineteen Ninety-six about five weeks into the clean up the environment focused public radio show living on earth, central porter. Shirley, Jehad to check on the cleanup. She visited north Lauderdale and talk to people who lived in the two apartment buildings that stood on the very same lot as the dump one of the people she interviewed with Keith wardlow, a father of two who worked as a custodian at a local university the view from Keith ward, lows back porch isn't pretty, but it is awesome. It is simply called the mountain seven hundred thousand tons of debris. The mountain UCI tol at this. See I tol at is. Why? Now that amount. Heath wardlow, expressed many of the same sentiments as his neighbors. The feds should have cleaned up this dump years ago rather than letting it continue to grow while using John Christopher as a mole to catch politicians taking bribes weren't crook Jonah prosecute. To me. You know, if you so concerned about what the head. What why are you into the neighborhood trying to see who got infected from from the dirt, you know? You know? That's that's what you should have been doing firs who took some money. The wardlow family had suffered for years living next to the dump now the damage to their home, and they believed their health continued during the cleanup. He's one of those shakes every time trucks roll in and out of the dump site. He always keeps his windows closed and covered with plastic. Innovation effort to prevent dust blowing off the heat from settling in his apartment. He says his four year old son Keno has contracted severe asthma. The boy's mother. Deborah wardlow says the child has to breathe through a machine a nebulizer. He's on twice a day. And sometimes that machine doesn't work. So I had to rush him to the emergency room, the company doing the cleanup was Lindahl. Brothers. A well connected firm that had been owned by the same family for three generations, it had dug the trenches for the handcock building and other downtown skyscrapers and built the international terminal at O'Hare airport. And Linda brothers was here to do the clean-up because they were also one of the companies that had dumped there in the first place Lindahl brothers and eight other companies had allegedly saved millions of dollars by dumping and John Christopher's lots rather than taking debris from their job sites to illegal permited landfill. The city had dropped these companies from its lawsuit against John Christopher hoping they would settle and participate in a cleanup that had not worked the companies denied dumping. So in nineteen ninety-five the city sued them again window brothers agreed to settle with the city. But a judge only approved the settlement after the takedown after the pressure and media scrutiny sparked by silver shovel. Under the terms of the settlement. Lindo brothers did not admit to breaking the law, but the company agreed to remove one hundred thousand cubic yards of debris from the dumps. That's a quivalent to more than nine thousand trucks full of debris. The city later said that it settled with nine companies, including window brothers for total of nine hundred thousand dollars, but that was a fraction of the overall cleanup costs. Reporter Shirley Jehad was able to talk to a construction formed from Linda brothers. A man named Rick bore because Linda brothers wouldn't talk to us for the story. It's the only tape we have of someone from the company talking about the cleanup. Damn long show. Hi supreme. Do you have coming in out of date truckloads off them out? One hundred twenty. How long were you at all? It's reform much. Real while. Lindo brothers agreed to pay for its share of the cleanup. They even agreed to pay the city ten dollars for every truckload dumped at designated disposal sites. But the terms of the settlement also gave Lindahl brothers permission to use any debris it removed for its own purposes, including reselling it to other companies to use in their road repair projects, which meant that technically the company could make money off the cleanup. And there would be no long term consequences for the company's very lucrative relationship. With the city. Lindo brothers was not barred from doing business with the city quite the opposite since the cleanup began more than twenty years ago, Lindahl brothers and its joint ventures have scored hundreds of millions of dollars in city contracts. But more importantly for north Lonsdale. This portion of the cleanup was only one part of the solution. As reporter, Shirley, jihad noted even after Lindahl brothers cleans up its share of the mess, though. Six hundred thousand tons of crash will remain and at this point in the winter of nineteen Ninety-six the city had not figured out who would clean up the rest. Put this stuff too. Will get sick probably got all kinds of health habit in the first place. Rex cats goals. Just a health hazard. You can look at it entail. When John Christopher. I started dumping in north Lauderdale Gladys Woodson and her fellow block club captains had written letters to every public official. They could think of who might be able to help them city agencies mayor Daley at least one member of congress. We wrote everybody from who's who to who's that? Ms Woodson says they also wrote to civil rights groups like the AA C P and to Reverend Jesse Jackson, the civil rights activist whose rainbow push coalition is based in Chicago. We told him what with happening neighborhood, and we're skim could he come and MS Woodson says they never heard back from Jesse Jackson at least not until the camera. Crews arrived the sewage show story broke. And then the thing I saw was Jesse Jackson standing on top. Pals in. Oh, yeah, we did this. And and then you didn't. In credit for a lot of the stuff that had been done. But that was way after the fight. Jesse Jackson, the iconic civil rights activists and Baptist minister had I come to Chicago in the early nineteen sixties to attend seminary. He would later March with Martin Luther King junior in Selma and push for an end to apartheid in South Africa. But over the decades, his critics have also accused him of jumping from media storm to media storm of seeking the limelight as much as he sought Justice. To understand how Jesse Jackson helped ensure the cleanup of the Northland dealt dumps. But also alienated some north Lauderdale residents. We have to go back to his work on a program called operation. Breadbasket the program organized boycotts against white owned businesses like soda pop bottling companies and grocery store chains that made big profits in black neighborhoods, but didn't employ black workers on the heels of his success in that campaign. Jackson started hearing from small black owned trucking companies. Here's Reverend Jackson. And so for example, we guys who. Two or three trucks. And they would just kinda hustling as basic these truckers complained that they were not getting as many waste hauling contracts as their white counterparts. They weren't getting them from white owned businesses like grocery store chains that needed commercial trash pickup. And that meant that they were missing out on a lot of money. Good c three contract with trains tool. Six cans day. You can take live intent you little credit. You get new trucks real business. They were not getting as many contracts from the city. Either local news reports from the time said that black owned firms got just fourteen percent of city contracts, even though black people then made up about thirty seven percent of Chicago's population. And city contracts were where some of the real money was. A city contract for hauling waste or sludge as Jackson jokingly calls it could be worth millions of dollars. And we realize this is legit flood. If you own the trucks, but said, sludges fudge if you're on the truck, you'll trucks what does that mean that is concerned dirty work? If you'll drugs is very lucrative business. The way Reverend Jackson tells it when he learned about operation, silver shovel and the mountain of debris in a black Westside neighborhood. He realized the cleanup presented a unique opportunity a potential silver lining to a really bad situation. John Christopher had dumped in a black neighborhood, and he had helped take down black politicians. And if you recall he'd done it in part by scheming to get contracts intended for black owned businesses. It was one of the scams he had used debris. The alderman Jackson did not fight for compensation. For people from north Lonsdale whose homes had been damaged or whose children had been harmed. But someone was going to get paid to clean up that site and Reverend Jackson believed that if anyone was going to make money off the site. Now, it should be black owned businesses ROY remove the community goes on going to be in good. Lucrative job. Someone to have the job better them. He reasoned than white owned firms like Lindahl brothers firms that had been responsible for the dumping in the first place. Ooh. One in from local news and community. From removing was you lose have the right to get paid for moving. So in January nineteen Ninety-six as Lindo brothers was removing its portion of debris from the site. Reverend Jackson came forward with a proposal. He wanted the city to hire black owned trucking firms to clean up the rest of the dumps. But according to Jackson mayor Richard m Daley was hesitant to sign onto the plan. Roseling? There was resistance because. Those who use a good. He's gonna job demanding there to get them. And the we demanded the right of that system. We reached out to former mayor Daley for comment, but he didn't respond. So Jackson turned to the same kinds of protest tactics. That had worked for him time and time again an impressive display of solidarity and power. The Northland residents could have used years before Roma's trucks. And the men removers una frigid Saturday in early February nineteen Ninety-six dozens of diesel trucks and bulldozers lined up along Drexel boulevard around the corner from Jesse Jackson southside office black truckers had plastered. There rigs with signs that read we want our fair share and hire us to clean up the dump. Then in a slow deliberate processional the convoy headed for north Lonsdale do full mile trip across the city, drove in miles. Now would just folks and practice and trailers and stirs the we land the and move across the city stop Trevor with rows. This mobile protest of black truckers was meant to draw attention and to prove that they were capable of the cleanup LaRussa could remove bad. Dumpsters and trailers and trucks and drivers and everything was required. Jackson led the caravan as they drove they were followed by police escort. Onlookers raised their fists in a gesture of solidarity. When the trucks arrived in north Lonsdale. They encircled the dump and blasted their horns, they were not given a warm. Welcome window brothers was still in the process of removing its portion of the debris. Knowing the caravan was headed, it's way, the company had blocked the entrance to the site with a three-foot mound of dirt and a pair of bulldozers. According to the Chicago defender to police cars, also blocked the entrance. Jackson accused police of siding with Lindahl and told reporters this is not Lindahl. Dump according to the defender Jackson, then told to black truckers to squeeze through the two police cars and mowed down the blockade. But before that could happen the police negotiated a kind of fruits and the convoy was able to enter the lot and rally. It was then that Jackson hopped on a tractor to address the crowd. Jackson threatened to continue the protests into the summer when the democratic national convention was scheduled to come to Chicago. The Tribune characterized his threats this way, give us what we want or watch as we have it on your big important party this summer. It was only then that daily agreed to hire black owned firms to clean up the dumps those protests and it worked. On a blustery Tuesday afternoon in may nineteen ninety six almost six years to the day from when John Christopher showed up and started dumping mayor Daley held his first press conference in front of the dumps. He was there to announce a deal struck between the city and Jesse Jackson's group of black owned trucking firms the city had agreed to pay them to remove another nine thousand or so trucks worth of debris from the north. Lauderdale. Dumps daily stood behind a lectern emblazoned with the city seal. He were checkered tie and looked solemn as the wind whipped up dust from the dumps and blew through his hair Jackson stood to the mayor's right with his hands clasped in front of him. In his remarks that day mayor Daley depicted the deal as a triumph for the city and the neighborhood saying, quote, it is an agreement that benefits everyone, especially the north Lonsdale community that is lived with this monstrosity for years. It is a major victory. I thank them for their persistence and their help we will work tirelessly to pursue every dumper who contributed to this mess until the site has been totally cleared and can be an asset to the north Llandough community instead of a liability. But these were hollow words coming from a mayor who had basically ignored the Northland L dumps for almost six years. Yes Northland del residents had been persistent. But their persistence seem to fall on his deaf ears daily had personally stepped into shutdown a dump in a white neighborhood without speaking out against this one in a black neighborhood. He had shown no interest in the unfolding corruption scandal when I briefed by the feds. It was this discrepancy that made miss Woodson and other north Llandough residents cynical about the city's ultimate response and the role of political figures like mayor Daley and Reverend Jackson a believe a lot of hooped in and took critic once they name the civil Shiva lot of people in and claim victory over civil when we had been since Chris Joan was dumpsite by the following spring. Black-owned firms had sent in trucks to begin this second phase of the cleanup, a reporter Wilson Sayer got hold of some of the trucking manifests and other documents related to this part of the cleanup. So Wilson give us a sense of how this cleanup unfolded. So there are a bunch of different trucking companies involved and most of those companies had several trucks doing the removal. So like, here's a manifest from Tuesday may twenty seventh nineteen Ninety-seven honeybee trucking company had truck number thirty nine. And that removed five lows of debris for the day. Then there was a hard rock trucking company and their truck number thirty removed six lows of debris for the day. Then there was an w trucking company and one of their trucks had five loads for the day. So the total number of truckloads remove that day was sixty seven loads and that continued day after day after day for months, and so how much the cleanup eventually cost the city. So even though mayor Daley said publicly that the settlement money from the illegal dumpers would pay for the cleanup. That's not exactly what happened the cost was much higher than the nine hundred thousand dollars in settlement money they've gotten from the companies in two thousand one the city's top lawyer sent the federal government a Bill for the cleanup that Bill was for nearly seven point four million dollars. The letter was addressed then Attorney General John. Ashcroft and then FBI director Robert Muller it mentions two sites. John Christopher had dumped on during his time as an informant the one in north Lonsdale and another one on the south side, it states that quote the property damage at these two sites was caused by operation silver shovel and the use of John Christopher as a government informant. The city accuses the FBI and the DOJ of allowing the illegal dumping to continue during the investigation because it furthered the purposes of operation silver shovel. And did the feds ever pay the city back. No, at least we couldn't find any evidence that they did. It took almost two full years. After silver shovel broke for the cleanup to be completed that was eight years after John Christopher I showed up north Lauderdale, but by nineteen ninety eight John Christopher's dumps were gone. Daiki Nichols was in high school when the cleanup started you've heard from him before he used to attend summer elementary school and played on the mountain of debris, and Deke doesn't recall the particulars of the cleanup. But he remembers the transformation at sparked. It was hard to miss where there had once been a six mountain. There was now an empty lot. Heels goal is like again going back to me being a kid. And took out hills away. But like us it may grow into the man, I am now really appreciate wisit mill. Lou is gorgeous flaws what a used to loop. But once all that debris was removed. Where did it go? That's after the break. So you need to hire. Where do you go to find that right fit? 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The story often ends when congress passes a law, but on the impact that's where the story begins. The impact focuses on the human consequences of policy making its first season looked at healthcare policy and its second season looks at policy experiments in cities all across America from housing to education to family leave. The impact is traveling to cities and states that are fundamentally rethinking the way we do things you can listen to season two of the impact or been season one right now check out the show via apple podcasts or ever. You're listening. Okay. Back to our story. Earlier this spring. I went to visit old guild gardens a sprawling public housing complex on Chicago's far south side all killed gardens is a hundred and thirty blocks south of the loop as far south as you can go and still be in Chicago theory feels isolated now. But it's two story row homes were originally built in nineteen forty four to house black workers from the cities nearby steel mills there were once dozens of mills here that employed hundreds of thousands of workers the steel mills have long since closed, but the area still wrestles with the legacy of their departure, the vacant land waste facilities and thirty industry. That's come to take their place and out gardens is still home to nearly seven thousand residents almost all of whom are black and low income. I came to old guild gardens because it was the home of Hazel Johnson. Johnson who died in twenty eleven is often called the mother of the environmental Justice movement in Chicago. She was one of those activists who fought alongside Dr Robert Bullard, the Houston sociologist we met in our last episode. Here's Hazel Johnson's daughter, Cheryl, mother, loved him. So is it wasn't just an aberration. She loved that man light. He was her out Cheryl Johnson still lives in old gardens. And now runs people for community recovery. The environmental action group her mother founded like Dr Bullard Hazel Johnson spent her whole adult life trying to protect black and Brown neighborhoods for being disproportionately affected by pollution starting with old guild gardens, which she dubbed the toxic doughnut. She called nape with the toxin Donut, you know, as she was trying to clean that Donut. That was. Mission as she said that people have a right to be educated. And or at least knowledgeable about urban environmental problems Hazel Johnson called gardens the toxic Donut because it was completely surrounded by so many different sources of dangerous pollution. Can you just describe like if we went around the clock like twelve to one to two to three like all around the neighborhood around the Donut? Can you describe what surrounds your neighborhood? Well, twelve o'clock used to be Chevron whipping company in the water recommendation district. Then if you go to. Between one and three you'll land up in lake industrial area where you know, you have four motor compainies. You have Paxton lagoons accidentally feel and a hazardous waste incinerator that burned. PCB's a known carcinogen. When you get to from three to six lot of manufacturing and lot opus space Catan Nate, but often. And Landfields is air USA. Carry fifty lands. Fifty landfills just think about everything, you know, about landfills from our trip to Houston, the rotting trash the stench and the impact on property values now factor in the impact of hazardous waste barrels of flammable chemicals or toxic waste known to make people sick now. Multiply those effects by fifty fifty landfills, including a hazardous waste landfill that received dirt from John Christopher's illegal dumps. Thousands of tons of dirt were removed from John Christopher's dumps some of it had been contaminated. And the city department of environment took charge of moving all that dirt to a hazardous waste to landfill. Just a few blocks from guilt gardens in the process, this contaminated dirt was affectively moved from one black community to another one that had been fighting environmental battles for decades. The landfill near guild gardens was one of the few hazardous waste disposal sites in Chicago. At the time. The city didn't have many other options, but it's not an accident that this facility and others like it were all clustered in this formerly industrial area. That's also home to all felt gardens. This is something we talked about with Dr Bullard during our trip to Houston. If you look at what happens in the real world, you generally don't find one facility us to have a cost or you have to you have three and the way it works in the real world. If you have three facilities and a company wants to put the fourth facility there is easy to get the fourth facility if you have three. In two thousand seven Dr Bullard was part of a study the look at the demographics of people living within a two mile radius of nation's hazardous waste sites. The results of that study revealed that fifty five percent of people living near these sites where people of color, whereas people of color only made up about twenty five percent of the country's population. So that shows you that people color are more likely to face risks associated with has us wastefully than white people. The environmental Justice movement came up with a term for areas like old gardens and other neighborhoods where dangerous pollution is clustered sacrifice zones is almost like saying for the good of all this particular area will have to sacrifice we'll have to sacrifice the land the environment. And the people I told Dr Bullard about the efforts to remove the stories of debris from north Lonsdale and about how some of the dirt was contaminated. Do you wanna guess? They took the contaminated dirt the south side, not the salsa shameful next door to although gardens. That's right. I've I've been there. That's what it took. It will again environmental injustice when you get Justice one place, you still don't get Justice because there's a limited number places that people consider where you can put this stuff, and that's not Justice partial victory, impartial Justice. Cheryl Johnson did not know that the contaminated dirt from the Northland dealt. Dumps had ended up in a landfill in the toxic Donut until I told her, but she didn't seem shocked by it. Although Cheryl has taken on her mother's mantle and has now been fighting for years to protect an advocate for her neighborhood. She also seemed almost resigned the fact that in Chicago her neighborhood has already been designated as the destination for this kind of waste we cared most fifty documented landfilled than the other air city. Anyway, would you want it to go to someone else? At least she said the legal dumps in north Lonsdale had been dismantled and the waste had not been sent to another illegal dumb. I'm just saying that if that's the vice that we have to may least we know going to a place where it's been monitoring regulate. For the waste from the north Lauderdale dumps that was not hazardous there were other options ones in which no neighborhood had to be sacrificed. And the city took this other approach in a white neighborhood with ties to Chicago's most powerful family, although the contaminated dirt from John Christopher's dumps was taken to the hazardous waste landfill near guild gardens. The bulk of the material nearly all the concrete slabs and chunks of asphalt ended up in Palmisano park. Hamas on a park is a twenty seven acre Greenspace in Bridgeport, a neighborhood about three and a half miles southwest of the loop. When the weather's nice. It's a great place to walk your dog or have a picnic or take a date. I've been on dates here. There's a fishing pond and a terrorist walkway and natural landscaping with native wildflowers. The tip off that this place was not always a beautiful public park comes from the massive grassy three hill in the center of the park. It's like Dr Bullard said in Houston, Chicago is completely flat. So if you see a mountain be suspicious landfill. Home Asano park used to be a limestone mine called Stearns quarry it opened in the eighteen thirties around the same time Chicago became a city at first it was the edge of town. But as the new city expanded and the population boomed, the densely populated neighborhood of Bridgeport grew up around the Corey we found this incredible black and white aerial photo of the Corey it shows densely packed rose three story apartment buildings and bungalows and workmen's cottages. Built right up against the edge of this massive pit three hundred eighty feet deep. That's so deep you could fit the statue of liberty inside it. The quarry closed in nineteen sixty nine but the pit remained. You could drive through Bridgeport, down hall, stead street and peer into the abyss. And by the mid nineties when city officials were casting around for a place to take the debris from the dumps in north Mondale the head another problem on their hands. We heard about it from environment. Commissioner Henry Henderson the old quarry Stearns quarry. It was falling in. There was a good gloss ability. If the quarry was not filled that part of hall stood would go directly into the bottom of the you know, two hundred feet into the bottom of the of the quarry filling Stearns quarry with debris from John Christopher's dumps solved. Two problems at once. Hauling quarry was a way of dealing with the Stearns Corey problem into remove a lot of stuff from the facility. This project may have also had special meaning for mayor Daley because Bridgeport was his neighborhood. He. Grew up in a red brick bungalow just a half mile or so from the quarry. Although Bridgeport today is home to a large number of Chinese and Mexican families. The neighborhood has long been mostly white an Irish Catholic and the seat of the Daley family's political power. In other words, the waste ship to Bridgeport a white neighborhood with ties to the dailies was transformed into a beautiful park the waste shipped out guilt gardens a poor black neighborhood without access to the halls of power was not. The transformation from limestone quarry to public park was actually alluded to in boss. A short lived TV show that was basically a thinly. Veiled dramatization of mayor. Richard m Daley's time in office Kelsey grammer starred as mayor Tom Kaine midway through season, one mayor Cain becomes embroiled in a political scandal that seems loosely based on the story of the north Lonsdale. Dumps mayor Kane had given the green light to an illegal dump that then poisoned the water supply of a nearby suburb. And now the town's residents are threatening to sue the city. As the media pounces on the story. Mayor Kane ducts their questions and goes back to his old neighborhood to find solace in his favourite local watering hole. He's known the bars owners since he was a political neophyte the two of them take a walk around palmesano park. Where trio of boys are standing by the water. Refer. Mornings. They come to watch the birds. Chemical dumps Buchan garden of. Before that. Somebody coming on convinced the city to build condos next to the fishing. Linda something else. In real life after the debris was removed from north Lonsdale. The lot that had been home to the mountain became an empty twenty one acre lot one of the biggest undeveloped parcels on Chicago's west side. So in nineteen ninety eight the city moved to buy the land and redevelop it and in order to redevelop the land the city began to try and convince the residents of north Lonsdale to let them turn it into something else as mayor Kane put it and that meant forcing out some of the residents who had lived through the worst of the dumping. Where they claimed he was going to be a big movie theater was back me. He's in a big movie theater. But every time we go to Chicago. He knew he'd never seen them. But if delay. I'm be teased. My wife while he made his move up. They really bait as move with nothing. That's next time on the city. The city is a production of USA today and is distributed in partnership with wondering you can subscribe to the show on apple podcasts. Spotify over every you're listening right now, if you like the show these rate and review us, be sure to tell your friends about us our show this week was reported and produced by Wilson Sayer Jenny Kaas Sam Greenspan and me Robin EMA this episode was edited by Amy pile with additional editing for Matt dig Ben Austin's, our story consultant, original music and mixing is by Hannah's Brown legal review by Tom Curley additional production by Taylor. Megan Phil, Corbett, Isabel cockerel and Bianca media's our executive producer is Liz Nelson. Chris Davis is our VP for investigations, Scott Stein is our VP of product the USA today networks president and publisher is marabout Wadsworth. Thank you to our sponsors for supporting the show and special. Thanks this week to eight hun- MacAulay, Michel Yousaf and Daniel sped cove. Our audio courtesy of WGN and living on earth. Additional support comes from the fund for investigative journalism and the social Justice news nexus at Northwestern University. I'm rob Aamer. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter at the city pod or visit our website where you can see photos of the cleanup and more our live event in Chicago on December fifth with WBZ is sold out. Thank you to everyone who reserved tickets for anyone who was not able to get tickets. We're going to have a livestream of the event. For more information, go to our website. That's the city podcast dot com.