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'Moose' Left Out in the Cold

Sunday, December 28, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times
Editorial

Time passes too quickly, even when measured in 20-year increments. And as gently comic as it was to see Jim ''Moose'' Murphy camping out every year to be first in line for a Cook County Forest Preserve picnic permit, now that he has announced that he will sit out this year, we can't help but feel a little bereft.

True, there is an immensely practical reason for Murphy's decision. Before this year's deadly fire, the permits were handed out downtown, where Murphy could wait in heated comfort. Now they will be distributed from the Forest Preserve District's headquarters in River Forest, where camping indoors is not permitted.

So Murphy is bowing out.

He doesn't mention it, but this can't help but seem yet another indignity heaped upon the Forest Preserve patrons. First, growing mountains of garbage, then scandal involving managerial shenanigans. We've stopped trying to predict what the Forest Preserve will do, in the face of the gross negligence and mismanagement that has characterized its recent administration. But if it were up to us, we'd reserve that first permit for Moose whether he shows up or not. Because his zeal and good faith represents something great about our city and county.



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