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Mario Caruso, Chicago

Laws and LegislationPublic OfficialsGovernmentLetters to the Editor2012 Democratic National ConventionChicago Cultural Center

Age: 76

Writing letters since: 1977

Life story in 100 words or less: Grew up in Chicago Heights with two brothers, two sisters and his parents. Parents owned a mom-and-pop grocery store, where the whole family worked. Completed seminary school in southern Indiana. Married his wife, Rose, in 1975. Worked at his parents' store, then worked as a claims representative for the Social Security Administration. Attended DeVry University; became a computer programmer; retired in 1998. Worked as an usher for the Chicago Cubs during the 2004 season. As a retiree, enjoys biking and exploring various cultural centers.

Self-description: Caruso describes himself as outgoing "to a certain degree," moderately conservative, friendly, pleasant and easy to get along with. He also enjoys doing things outside.

Writing experience: Caruso does not have much writing experience; however, as he grew older, he began to write short letters about happenings in the news. "I try to keep on top of things." He writes letters to the editor to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Magazine. He has had 85 letters published in the Tribune and 15 others in local papers.

Unique trait: Caruso is a people person who knows what is going on in the news and in his neighborhood. He frequently volunteers throughout Chicago, including for the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago Marathon and the 1996 Democratic Convention.

— By Alexandra Kukulka, Tribune reporter

Caruso's latest thoughts: I love Chicago, but not its politics, nor that of the county and state.

I do not understand all the double- and triple-dipping of pensions and jobs. I do not understand how a public employee can receive a pension from one job yet work at another public-sector job.

I do not understand how the same people get promoted to nice, plush jobs or how the same person can serve in the legislature, plus have another job or jobs with the city or county, or how an elected position is passed down through a family for generations, as if there are no other qualified workers in this big state.

I do not understand how an alderman, who works for the city, can handle clients' lawsuits against the city without there being a conflict of interest.

I do not understand how a judge can be impartial when handling a case brought by an elected official to whom this judge may be indebted for his or her job.

I do not understand how a state legislator can be a lobbyist for the city (or vice versa) without there being a conflict of interest.

I cannot understand how a state representative, who is elected by a relatively small number of voters, can have so much power for so many years and can melt the backbones of other members of the General Assembly.

I cannot understand how virtually every bill presented in the City Council passes almost unanimously.

So why do I live here?

As I said, I love Chicago but hate its politics.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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