Point/Counterpoint: Jesse Jackson, Jr. and the Future of the Peotone Airport

Commentary on the Peotone Airport


Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Obsession with the Proposed Peotone Airport May Have Been An Early Sign of Bipolar Disorder

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s obsession with the proposed Peotone airport may have been an early, unheeded warning sign of bipolar disorder, which often includes a tendency to make grand and unattainable plans. Jackson’s proclamations about the airport were, at best, wildly unrealistic—even in his recent letter of resignation from Congress, he claimed that an airport at Peotone would employ 300,000 people.

Jackson could never accept the fact that market forces do not support the airport and that Chicago political and business leaders would never allow it. In demanding that he get his way, Jackson alienated important Democrats including Mayor Daley, Governor Blagojevich and Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, thus undermining his effectiveness as an elected official.

It’s a shame that Jackson’s career, which started out like a modern day Camelot, turned into a Greek tragedy, complete with hubris–grandiosity– leading to the fall. And it’s a shame that thousands of residents in the 36 square mile site of the proposed airport have had to live under continuous threat for so many years. And it a shame that tens of thousands of economically distressed residents in the south suburbs were fed false hope about jobs for so long. Perhaps the next congressman will be reality based.

Hitting bottom psychologically is often the precursor to emotional and spiritual growth. At 47, Jackson still has immense potential to help make the world a better place. I wish him well.

George Ochsenfeld,
President of STAND (Shut This Airport Nightmare Down)
Monee, Illinois


Some May Not Like It, But More Folks Are Recognizing the Reality that the Airport Will Be Built

If it’s “hubris” and “grandiosity” that lead to a fall, then George Ochsenfeld might want to look in a mirror, given some of the sweepingly distorted comments in his letter. While true that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has done more than any other political figure to date in moving forward the concept of the south suburban airport, he was not the first elected official to advocate this project and he will not be the last. Mr. Ochsenfeld may not like it, but increasingly more folks are recognizing the reality that the airport will be built, even if disagreements still exist on what the airport governance structure might be. Even these governance issues, however, move closer to resolution every day. 

I have known George Ochsenfeld for a number of years and, although differing with him on issues, always have found him to be an individual whom I respected. That he would use Congressman Jackson’s health issues as a jumping off point for his personal propagandizing and pontificating causes me to reconsider. 

Mayor John A. Ostenburg
Village of Park Forest, Illinois
Vice Chairperson of ALNAC

Related Articles:

Nov. 14, 2012 – South Suburban Action Conference Vows To Work Even More Aggressively To Get The South Suburban Airport Built In Light Of Congressman Jackson’s Absence

Sept. 17, 2012 – Illinois Reaches Milestone Toward South Suburban Airport Approval


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