Letters to the editor from Oak Park, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Naperville, Wheaton, Berwyn and Western Springs.
Influence of the wealthy
In regard to your April 3 editorial supporting the Supreme Court decision to eliminate limits to total campaign contributions, I think your viewpoint is quite skewed. Where you say "Government policy is too important for those with resources not to try to influence its direction," I would respond, what about those who do not have the same level of resources? Could not government policy affect them?
Yes, as you also said, some will always have more influence with elected officials than others, but these are entities such as companies, organizations and unions that may represent many and who, because of their influence in providing such things as votes or jobs, will have the access to officials that others don't and can, therefore, present their case forcefully.
What this ruling does, however, is to allow wealthy individuals, simply because they are wealthy, to have considerably more influence than the vast majority of the populace, and that is simply undemocratic and wrong.
This court already has made it easier for the wealthy to more easily and effectively influence elections with Citizens United, and this ruling just provides them another tool. Nowhere in the First Amendment does it say that money constitutes free speech, and this ruling just creates a perversion of the right of free speech that should be equally available to everybody.
— Charles Gradle, Oak Park
In the recent Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice John Roberts voted in favor of lifting certain limits on political contributions noting that the caps that have been in place "seriously (restrict) participation in the democratic process."
Apparently the many among us who lack sufficient funds to make $2,600 contributions to an unlimited number of candidates do not get to enjoy unrestricted participation in the democratic process. This allows the few who have those resources the opportunity to unduly affect the outcome of an election.
It's out with the old and in with the new.
"One man, one vote" has been replaced by "one dollar, one vote."
Welcome to Democracy Lite.
— John Garceau, Warrenville
When the government wants to discourage a behavior such as smoking or drinking alcohol, it slaps a high tax on it.
So are Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan now attempting to further tax wages to discourage people from working?
— Louis J. Berardi, Downers Grove
Survival of fittest
The phrase "survival of the fittest" takes on a new significance today. It has become all too true in education and elsewhere in our culture. "Survival of the fittest" suggests that the most fit will survive and prosper. Those less fit, won't.
Fitness is of critical importance in most aspects of today's challenging world. With regard to education, The Chicago Tribune's April 3 editorial "'Illinois is going the other way'; As in: The wrong way on teacher standards" brings this into focus. It points to our Illinois State Board of Education's "wrongheaded solution" for better preparation of teachers is to "ease the standards." This, by definition, lowers standards.
It follows that students in need of strong teachers will increasingly be deprived of what they need most. To improve fitness levels of students, lowering fitness levels of teachers will not achieve desired results.
— Russell T. Harwood, Naperville
I have no opinion about athletes at Northwestern University unionizing. I do, however, want to clear up a misconception that student quarterback Kain Colter has perpetrated. He has said that Northwestern's expectations of him as a football player have prevented him from going to medical school, as required courses to get into medical school conflicted with team practices.
Like countless physicians, I went to medical school several years after completing my undergraduate degree with virtually no science courses. After I spent a year taking the courses necessary for my application, I was accepted to medical school.
Despite his statements to the contrary, Colter can do the same thing, then pursue his dream of becoming a physician. He is either dumb, lacking in good counseling or disingenuous.
— Dr. James Whalen, Oak Park
Has anyone considered implementing a head tax on passengers through O'Hare and Midway airports to supplement the pension deficits of the pension funds in Chicago? Millions of passengers travel through the airports annually. How about a $3 surcharge per passenger, and leave the taxpayers off the hook for this time?
— Randy Shableski, Wheaton
Taxes for pensions
Do not ban plastic bags. Add a per-bag surcharge — 25 or even 50 cents per bag. How much money do you think that would generate for Chicago or Cook County?
Hey Rahm! I just solved your pension crisis.
— Mike Coughlin, Berwyn
Here are some of the differences between President George W. Bush and President Obama Barack: Under Bush we had millions of Americans wanting a job but unable to find one. Ditto for Obama. Under Bush we were involved in fighting in other countries that was questionable if the situation really affected American security. Ditto for Obama. Under Bush we had divided government and a lack of compromise. Ditto for Obama.
Time moves on but nothing really changes except for the name of the party in charge.
— Mitch Johnson, Western SpringsCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun