Mayor won't say what he might do about Trump sign

Chicago Tribune (IL), 2014-06-13


June 13 --Mayor Rahm Emanuel today said that he's asked his staff to look at possible changes to the city's regulations to ensure that another "tasteless" sign like the new one on the Trump Tower is never allowed again.

"I want to make sure that on a future basis that we have the planning development and all the ordinances in a way that reflect the city's beautiful architecture," Emanuel said. "And if we have to tighten that up, I've asked my staff to look at it so a situation like this doesn't emerge in the future."

After an unrelated news conference, Emanuel was asked what he could do about removing the Trump sign. He did not address the question, instead focusing on what could be done to prevent similar signs from being placed on skyscrapers in the future.

"People from all over the world come and are just shocked by the beauty of our architecture, the beauty of our natural landscape in the sense of both the lake, the lakefront and the incredible river that runs through the city of Chicago and all our parks," Emanuel said. "It's been said we're the city in the garden, and I want to preserve that."

Asked what he thought of the sign, Emanuel echoed the statements he released earlier this week through his press office. The sign "scars the architecture, beauty and taste" of the Trump Tower with "a tasteless sign," Emanuel said.

The Trump letters are 20 feet high and will be backlit at night on the city's second-tallest building.

There was no mention of the sign when the City Council approved the building in 2002. In 2009, after the tower opened, the City Council approved the 3,600-square-foot sign.

Earlier today, real estate mogul Donald Trump called into NBC's "Today" show and defended placing his name in big bright letters across the 96-story skyscraper.

"Frankly, I will tell you that we're getting tweets and letters and phone calls," Trump said during his phone interview. "We have people that just love it. We are getting calls by the literally hundreds and thousands, including tweets on Twitter that people just love it."

The Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin has called the sign a "poke in the eye." In a sharp exchange of tweets with Trump on Thursday, Blair added that it was an "ugly, unpopular sign."

Today, Trump took a swipe at Kamin.

"This was started by a third-rate architectural critic for the Chicago Tribune , who I thought got fired," Trump said. "He was gone for a long period of time. Most people thought he got fired. All of a sudden he re-emerges and to get a little publicity, he started this campaign."

In 2013, Kamin spent most of a year on hiatus while completing a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University -- a fact Kamin had told him by tweet on Thursday.

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