Meigs fracas moves to the plodding stage

 - October 12, 2007, 5:56 AM

A pair of lawsuits against Mayor Daley and the city of Chicago are working their separate paths through state and federal courts, and legislation has been introduced in the Illinois state Senate to expand O’Hare Airport. Meigs supporters are rallying to try to have language attached to that legislation requiring preservation of the lakeside airport, as was done in the ill-fated 2001 agreement between Mayor Daley and then-governor George Ryan. Supporters are calling for others to urge Illinois state legislators to vote against Senate Bill 802, “unless and until language is added to reopen and preserve Meigs Field.”

In the lawsuit filed in state court by the Illinois Association of Air and Critical Care Transport v. Richard Daley et al, a three-hour hearing was held on May 16. As part of its defense, the city cited the expense that would be incurred to repair the mangled runway. Plaintiffs’ lawyers compared the argument to the old saw of the child who murdered his parents appealing to the court for sympathy on the basis of his status as an orphan.

Separately, the AOPA suit had its first day in federal court on May 15. Here, too, the city filed a motion for dismissal and a briefing schedule was set. AOPA has until June 11 to respond and the city has 11 more days to reply. No date for a ruling on the motion was set.

Finally, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission filed a formal resolution calling Daley’s destruction of the runway at Meigs Field an “act of domestic terrorism.” The Oklahoma resolution called for the reopening of Meigs Field and called for a ban on the use of state funds to convert the airport to a park.