The folks over at the new Planned Parenthood Aurora (PPA) blog have just dubbed me an “anti-choice rabble rouser.” I’m sure they intended to slight me with that moniker, but it’s really much more insulting to you, dear reader—one of the rabble! Unlike we who have nothing to fear—because we are right—they won’t publish comments from the opposition over there, so I will respond here to their claim that in my remarks to the City Council Tuesday I was “stooping to outright lies and misinformation.” My remarks were to the effect that Planned Parenthood, as a not-for-profit medical facility, required a “special use permit,” and I stand by them. I also suggested that having needed that permit from day one, PP should be ordered to demolish their building, and I stand by that remark too. It might be helpful here to recall the definition of the word “lie”: “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive.” Now, I may be wrong about this “special use permit” business, but I don’t think I am. So I wasn’t lying about it. No—a lie would be something more like this: To fill out, say, a signage permit declaring that you didn’t know who the tenant of your building would be, when you actually did know who your tenant was, but didn’t want anyone to know. Or to say on the same form that you didn’t know what your sign was going to say, when you actually did. Is there anyone who really thinks Gemini/Planned Parenthood didn’t know what the sign outside that building was going to say? There’s been some obfuscation (Judge Norgle’s word) about “which division” of Planned Parenthood would be moving in, but does anyone honestly believe there was ever any doubt this wasn’t built specifically to say “Planned Parenthood”? Please. I think everybody‘s figuring out who the liars are here in Aurora. The unnamed author of the PPA blog goes on to call the special use permit issue revelation “outright misinformation specifically crafted to confuse and muddle the issue.” Now that, I think, might be a fair description of the City’s claim in today’s Beacon:
The center occupies land that was part of a 4,000-acre annexation in August 1973, the same one that brought the Westfield Fox Valley mall into Aurora. This area has its own zoning laws, through planned development district rules, and those laws don’t require a special-use permit for medical centers, said Carie Anne Ergo, the city’s public information officer.
As far as it goes, Ergo’s right: a “medical office” does not require a special use permit. However, the problem isn’t that PP is a medical facility, but that it’s a not-for-profit medical facility, a use for which there is a separate category in the zoning codes. And our reading is that the land Gemini/PP built on requires a special use permit for that use. Unless there’s some very unusual document which the City has failed to cough up despite numerous FOIA requests over the past three months, PP can’t legally do business at 3051 E. New York Street. Why doesn’t the City see this? Why do they refuse to enforce their own ordinances against Planned Parenthood (who continue to occupy this building without an occupancy permit), while going out of their way to construe other ordinances so as to abridge our First Amendment rights? I don’t know—but I hope the answer isn’t as chilling as I fear it might be. Update: Read Vince Tessitori’s 9/28 memo, sent to the Mayor, Aldermen and Corporate Counsel for the compelling and well-documented legal argument that Planned Parenthood requires a special use permit to operate at 3051 E. New York Street.