Move forward on bold North Branch redevelopment

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It’s not every day that Chicago has the opportunity to redevelop land for generations to come. When opportunity knocks, as we now see with the redevelopment plan of the North Branch Corridor, it’s important to move forward with a bold plan to further secure and grow Chicago’s economic future.

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By opening up zoning restrictions along the 760-acre strip from Kinzie Street to Fullerton Avenue, city officials would allow developers to move away from traditional manufacturing spaces and create office and commercial buildings, all with the intention to attract up-and-coming industries such as technology to the area. Not only would this allow for greater economic development, but it would lead to more job opportunities, which would effectively draw more residents to the area.

The proposed plan also calls for needed transportation improvements throughout the corridor, including recreational green space. This means reconfiguring roadways and bridges as well as enhanced pedestrian walkways — a move that reinforces Chicago’s claim as a major transportation hub in the Midwest, which serves as a major draw for businesses looking to call Chicago home.

We urge the Chicago Planning Commission to approve the city’s plan to redevelop the North Branch Corridor on May 18, signaling to all employers that the North Branch Corridor is open for business.

Theresa E. Mintle, president and CEO,
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

No place for invented truths

Of late, the stifling of free speech on college campuses has brought criticism in defense of the First Amendment which guarantees it; the idea being that all views deserve a hearing, and that truth wins out in the end.

From Berkeley, this student-led shutdown has spread to historically black colleges such as Bethune-Cookman and Texas Southern, where Betsy De Vos and John Cornyn respectively were silenced as commencement speakers.

Others may be next. Has traditional democratic principle and theory been revised by developments along the way? Examples include denial since World arW II by some
that the Holocaust occurred, despite overwhelming evidence. It took the penalties
of a lawsuit finally to silence those deniers.

The truth of global warming is also denied despite melting polar ice caps, new weather patterns, and warming seas, defying our common understanding of truth as of 1791 when the First Amendment became part of our Constitution.

Today our laws are written and enforced with bias against the poor and minorities, making a mockery of what is called just and fair. Then came The Trump doctrine declaring “alternative facts” are equal to objective, actual facts. In the popular mind of those thus offended by this series of untruths and partial truths, resistance seems to be materializing among those most trampled on, protesting by refusing to listen to more untruths as already seen in the record
of said rejected commencement speakers. Is this what happens when years of denial of equality and justice for all in effect rewrites our nation’s sacred principles?

Democracy is supposed to be an all-or-nothing bargain. There is no place for partial
respect and second-class citizenship for some, or for invented truths. Is this what
our college students are trying to tell us?

Ted Z. Manuel Hyde Park

List all tax breaks

The Watchdogs story in Sunday’s Sun-Times failed to include Donald Trump’s $14 million tax break on Trump tower. As an accountant, I would like to see a total of all the Cook County property tax breaks that the taxpayers are shouldering.

Cynthia Hilding, La Grange

Remember the golden rule

How dare President Donald Trump speak of God during his commencement address at Liberty University? Perhaps he might read the Ten Commandments again, particularly the one that speaks of bearing false witness.

And as far as his Republican accomplices and enablers and the people who claim to be Christians, perhaps they need to be reminded of the golden rule: to do unto others as you wish them to do unto you.

What a great idea it would be if every single person who disdains abortion would adopt and raise a child that is born of parents who cannot or will not be able to care for them. Do we seriously think they would put their money where their mouths are?

There is no sane American citizen who believes the Russia investigations have a thing to do with Democrats being upset that they lost the election nor do we believe that Mr. Trump or his campaign have had no dealings with Russia. The fear shown by the Republicans in Congress of not wanting to see Mr. Trump’s tax returns is remarkable as well as their blindness to his many shortcomings. There should never be a place where loyalty to a person comes before the good of the people of the United States.

Barb Minarik, Logan Square

Not the CEO

The U.S. president is not the CEO of the country. He is an elected representative of the United States, not a contract officer of the Corporate States of America. Today, most federal employees are protected from arbitrary firing under civil service rules, with the exception of certain term appointees. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s remarks showed why she is unsuitable as a representative of the country. Haley was speaking for the corporate Republican vision of the future.

In September 2016, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., introduced a bill, H.R. 6278, to remove civil service protections from federal employees. New federal employees would become “at will” employees like non-contract employees in corporations, who can be fired “at will,” that is without cause. This dangerous bill is speciously entitled, “Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency Act.” The bill was immediately referred to committee, where it waits.

Muriel Balla, Kenwood

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