Thank you to the Sun-Times for its excellent editorial on the importance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [“Chicago cleaner, safer because of the EPA,” April 3]. This editorial was particularly valuable because it highlighted specific work done by the EPA and Illinois EPA to protect our neighborhoods from new pollution and to clean up pollution that has occurred in the past. Every day, whether we know it or not, the EPA is looking out for the health of Chicago area residents. Chicago is a more healthy place to live and work due to the efforts of the EPA.
This important work is threatened by President Donald Trump’s misguided budget proposal that would severely reduce funding and cut EPA staff that does the important work outlined in the Sun-Times editorial. The EPA budget has been cut repeatedly over the past 10 years-enough is enough. Chicagoans can display their thanks for the EPA by contacting their members of Congress to demand that they reject Trump’s proposed EPA budget cuts. The Chicago metro area and its residents deserve a strong, fully funded EPA.
Mark Kraeme, Wilmette
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Jared Kushner’s “portfolio,” all his jobs within the Trump administration, includes: working on Middle East peace; preparing for the state visit of the president of China; reorganizing the federal government utilizing business principles; involved in relations with Canada, China and Mexico; and he is tagging along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Iraq. And his wife, Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is being given some sort of position in the White House as well. All you Trump voters: Did you realize you were electing a ruling family?
Michael Hart, West Ridge
A recent editorial correctly declared that President Donald Trump’s harmful decisions weakening the environmental protection agency will be detrimental to the Chicago area. Fortunately, we have excellent conservation organizations including Friends of the Parks, Friends of the Chicago River and Friends of the Forest Preserves who protect nature, the environment, ecology, wildlife and marine species. They’re also thousands of individuals, interest groups and many political leaders who care deeply about safeguarding Lake Michigan from polluters and other destructive entities.
Brien Comerford, Glenview
Chicago’s lamentable, preventable violence is rife and becoming increasingly ubiquitous. It is known and talked about everywhere — locally, nationally, and internationally. While the details of how to manage this outrageous societal experience are “committee work,” the following, nevertheless, will help to provide the framework for all courageous, civilized leaders and citizens to think about and employ if quelling this debacle is the goal. I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer and have done my share of denying, and rationalizing about numerous painful, disagreeable life events. Nevertheless, I prefer to remember that one’s history does not imply one’s destiny. I hope that that mantra will apply to such social disasters as well.
The following two reasons are the primary causes of our city’s nightmare of violence. One, the collapse of the intact family as we have known it (meaning, two effective, on-duty parents in the home) — fathers are conspicuously absent in the homes of the most violent perpetrators (usually men). Two, there has been a move away from a committed connection to a respected organized belief system or religion. Without a significant involvement with both of the above, the predictable behavior of many young people will resemble that of untrained pit bulls off a leash.
The sad reality is that leaders of the most dysfunctional communities have not spoken out about the obvious absence of fathers in the home. They have become determined to scapegoat others for the failings described above. Are we likely to see such a return of effective fathers any time in the future? Not likely. There’s no blame or judgment here, simply observation and description. Furthermore, none of this has anything to do with race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political preferences, etc. Jobs and education (which we hear about daily) are, of course, important and necessary. However, they come 10 to 20 years too late. Behavior and its training begin at birth, if not before. It is naive, inaccurate, and irresponsible to imagine any other scenario. Our city’s violence is a kind of societal cancer and, as with any form of cancer, after being identified, the first goal is to seek to prevent it. If that is not successful, then to cure it. And if that fails, then at least to limit or arrest its spread.
At the moment, the most important issue is to contain the violence and to reduce its chance of spreading. If Chicago’s goal is the immediate interruption of that egregious behavior, then the following is the only solution in a civilized world. When dealing with “terrorists” of any kind, there must be a show of force that is superior and external to that of the wrongdoers. It’s just that simple. After the horrendous behavior is halted and contained, commanding leaders of character and conscience can then examine the best ways to reconnect people to families, belief systems, and the traditional settings that have always provided the necessary structure and boundaries for civility.
Our city’s dreadful violent circumstances have affected and have had an impact on the lives of countless millions of people, including the victims, their families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, those who dealt with diverse aspects of their cases, and myriad others around the world who have learned about such happenings. Nevertheless, and as difficult as it may be, we must not become desensitized to violent behavior.
Chicago’s reputation has nowhere to go but up. There is no time to waste.
Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View