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Voters must hold politicians accountable

The Illinois General Assembly’s passage of a half-billion dollars in new taxes to bail out the CTA was an abdication of their collective duty to provide responsible stewardship of the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

Upon passage of this massive tax increase, headlines expressed relief at the avoidance of the “doomsday scenario” and DuPage County politicians cheered at the notion that hundreds of government jobs were “saved.”

This situation, however, goes to the heart of what is wrong with our elected government here in Illinois. Despite the continuous news coverage of the bloat, waste, fraud and corruption that plagues our state, county and city budgets, no efforts are ever made to streamline these budgets.

At the state level, the governor (willfully enabled by the legislature) continues to propose new, large government programs that we can’t afford. Mayor Daley proposed similar spending increases, and the city council passed a huge tax increase to pay for them. In Cook County, Todd Stroger has proposed huge increases in the already-bloated and patronage-laden county payroll, and is trying to push through a billion-dollar tax increase to cover these costs.

Unfortunately, due to the bipartisan combine in this state, the tax-and-spend virus has even infected members of the Republican Party, who have abandoned their party’s traditional principles of less government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.

We are left with a one-party system that runs roughshod over the best interests of the taxpayers, in favor of rewarding political donors and cronies with taxpayer-funded contracts, jobs, and pork projects that do little more than gain headlines for smiling politicians.

For years, we have been asking if the voters have “had enough.” But for years, the voters have continued to enable these politicians by not holding them accountable at the voting booth.

The time has come for republicans, democrats and independents alike to rise up and make their collective voices heard. If their politicians won’t listen, then recruit new candidates to run against them.

Call and write your legislators. Write letters to the editor. Force your elected officials to listen to your concerns and represent your interests – rather than the interests of the lobbyists and insiders in Cook County and Springfield.

This is more than just about the politicians robbing your pocketbooks to pay for their mistakes. It’s about protecting the heart and soul of the democratic process and saving our state from falling further into the depths of incompetence and corruption that have made us the butt of jokes for the rest of the country, and left our hard-working families footing the bill.

Tony Peraica, Cook County commissioner – 16th District
Riverside

Misplaced priorities responsible for ban

I’m a Forest Park resident all my life, less four years served in the military. I don’t mind making sacrifice’s for my country, friends or relatives. I just can’t get why you can’t smoke in a bar where no children come in or food isn’t served. They can raise the taxes so high that they’re more expensive than gas, but you can’t smoke anywhere.

It hurt my friend’s business so bad already that last week he had to pay his employees out of pocket. I just think they keep taking more rights from the people but don’t stop upping taxes. It seems the little guy don’t matter anymore.

James D. Hasty
Forest Park

A guide to educational merit

Answering the general but complex question of accountability is fundamentally addressed by the following questions.

These key questions have a bottom line that benefits the current and future educational needs of our PTHS students. They also are applicable to our feeder districts. They all merit our discussion and are intended to stimulate our need for a common language.

This series of questions provides a framework to help us increase our understanding of testing and assessment.

  • Where do assessment data come from?
  • Why do schools collect assessment data?
  • What exactly is being assessed?
  • Against what criteria are assessment criteria being measured?

Couple that series with this series of questions that should drive our District 209 work, especially PLC work of focused engagement toward monitoring student proficiency and improvement of the learning environment.

  • What is it that we want our students to learn?
  • How will we know if each student has learned it?
  • How do we respond when some students do not learn it?
  • How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?

There are also the soft skills exhibited by this last series of desired student expectations. The four qualities of a mature and conscious contributor to society are:

  • Personal integrity
  • Workplace literacy
  • Civic awareness
  • Academic proficiency

When we talk about education right know, we still concentrate on the last one, academics, just as we did 40 years ago, and consider the others as somehow outside the discussion. That is our central educational mistake.

Bob Cox, District 209 board member
Forest Park

Kudos to new local firefighter

Congratulations on your outstanding achievements with both the police and fire departments (“Trailblazer says father inspired her career path,” page 6, Jan. 16). You should feel very proud of all you have accomplished.

Mark Levy
Chandler, Ariz.

Follow the dollar to see the logic

As a reader of both publications I am surprised by the reaction Ms. McKune had towards the Post and the mayor (“Consider the source,” Letters, Jan. 16).

Last I checked this was still a free country and we are entitled to what we want to say and where we want to say it. The Forest Park Review is like the Post; a paper that wants to make money and I am sure that they swayed options the way the publisher/advertisers want when they were told to do so and for whatever reason they were told.

You are correct other issues plague Forest Park and should be addressed, however, it’s a free newspaper! You, yourself advised you enjoy even reading some of the articles.

One thing I would suggest instead of complaining, make your word spoken at the ballot box or better yet, run for office yourself! But before you do that make sure you make good friends with one of the papers’ advertisers. Then every time you want something nice written about you, have that great source of revenue the paper counts on advertise over articles about the opposition, and find a few folks that will say nice things about you be the ones your favorite paper talks to only.

John Tidd
South Haven, Mich.

Democrats must find courage

I am disappointed in the democrat-controlled Congress. The democratic leadership has done too little to end the occupation of Iraq or to hold the Bush administration accountable. Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate are still trying to retroactively grant immunity to telecom companies that violated the constitutional rights of Americans both after the Sept. 11 attacks and before. Yes, the Bush administration asked telecom companies to help spy on U.S. citizens in the United States before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Forest Park voters south of the Eisenhower will have a chance to give their opinion on the democrat leadership in Congress. People who support the democrats capitulating on Iraq and civil liberties should vote for the incumbent, Rep. Dan Lipinski. People who want Congress to use the power of the purse to end the occupation should vote for Mark Pera in the democratic primary. Pera also supports protecting civil liberties.

There are two other candidates in the race. Jerry Bennett is the mayor of Palos Hills. He entered the race late. I suspect he is running a preliminary campaign to prepare for a more serious campaign in two years when Lipinski will probably retire. (Lipinski needs to serve one more term to qualify for a lifetime pension, including health care.) Jim Capparelli, the other candidate, favors staying in Iraq until the generals recommend leaving and shares Lipinski’s views opposing abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

Lipinski is one of a handful of democrats across the country who may be defeated in a primary. I hope defeating Lipinski will help other Congressional democrats to find the courage to do the right thing on security issues and not cower because the establishment media windbags tell democrats that they need to go along with failed republican policies to appear “tough.” If democrats won’t do the right thing on the merits of policy then we need to make them fear the voters more than they fear the blowhards peddling the Beltway’s conventional wisdom.

If you want to get involved in the Pera campaign his website is www.Pera08.com.

Carl Nyberg
Forest Park