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A statue named Young Lincoln at Senn Park in Chicago in Winter. It is on the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee.

Abraham Lincoln and Chicago go way back, from his visits here as a traveling lawyer to his nomination for president at the 1860 Republican National Convention. His connection is one of the proudest claims of our state — official slogan, “Land of Lincoln.” Every child grows up learning his incomparable place in the history of Illinois and of the nation.

But some people think Abe’s sins cancel out his achievements. On one hand, he was elected vowing to stop the spread of slavery, waged a successful war to preserve the Union and worked to achieve constitutional equality for Black Americans. On the other, he represented a slave owner trying to recover escaped slaves, sometimes expressed bigoted sentiments and allowed the execution of 38 Dakota men during the U.S. war with their tribe.

Facts like those account for the scattered calls that he be relegated to the dungeon of America’s villains. Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks he may be problematic, judging from the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee. It includes several statues of Lincoln. Also in the dock: George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley and Leif Ericson, among others.

We have no objection to periodically reassessing public monuments as new information emerges and old information gains new pertinence. Chicagoans are not obligated to defer to the judgment of previous generations. But let’s not revel in proclaiming our superiority to yesterday’s heroes.

Apparently, some critics think every person we memorialize must be perfectly blameless by the standards of modern America. In that case, we’d have to raze just about every statue. If purity is the threshold — purity based on today’s standards against the cultural and political dynamics of our ancestors — there will be no monuments. A better approach is to weigh the good done by those who have been honored against their shortcomings, and in the context of their generation, not ours.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

Related:Column: Crime, taxes, closed schools or clogged side streets. But Lightfoot focuses on statues.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s team announced last week it will enlist federal Disaster Survivor Assistance teams to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cook and St. Clair counties. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give Cook County $49 million to help with vaccine distribution.

That’s entirely appropriate because so far, Illinois’ rollout of vaccinations has been flat-out disastrous.

It’s as if seniors across the region have had to come out of retirement to take on a new full-time job — tracking down the ever-elusive vaccine injection. They’re spending hours — and days — cold-calling potential vaccination sites and scrolling through the internet for injection appointments. Refresh. Refresh.

And how about these optics? At the same time elderly Illinoisans maddeningly scour their communities for a shot at a shot, Pritzker put state lawmakers at the front of the line. On Wednesday, members of the General Assembly were offered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a state police facility in Springfield. One Tribune reader, Phillip Tutor of Schaumburg, wrote to us, “How about we have a law that no Illinois politician gets his or her COVID-19 vaccination until all Illinois residents get theirs? I then would bet that this vaccine rollout fiasco gets fixed in record time.”

The vaccine rollout in Illinois has been, well, as Tutor says, a “fiasco.” As of late last week, Illinois ranked 37th among states and D.C. in terms of rate of shots injected and that was actually an improvement. Of the vaccines it has received from the federal government, Illinois has injected 66.2% of those doses, which puts the state under the national average of 68%. As of late, distribution has been improving in Illinois, but the question remains: Why has Pritzker’s vaccine distribution management been so subpar, compared to other states? And why does he keep pretending it hasn’t been?

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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Indian Lakes Hotel, Bloomingdale

Village leaders in Bloomingdale may well be wondering what they could have or should have done to avoid the weekend mayhem that resulted in multiple shootings and one death at the Indian Lakes Hotel.

And they’re wise to examine their practices and polices — and for reacting decisively regarding what Public Safety Director Frank Giammarese described as the scene of a “drastic spike in crime” in recent years.

But they certainly cannot be faulted as having done nothing. They’ve pressed for years, by the hotel’s owners’ own description, to try to “ensure the safety and security of all guests and associates of the hotel.” And as recently as last December, they imposed fees and restrictions on short-term rental properties — including a minimum 30-day stay — following a shooting in neighboring Roselle over the summer in which one person died and six were hurt.

A short-term home rental is no hotel, of course, and the very nature of a hotel or motel complicates the actions a community can take to fend off problems from large parties. Indeed, for weddings, birthday celebrations, conventions and all manner of public events, hotels and banquet halls are important community centers.

The point is that, even so, Bloomingdale has not been blind to the potential for trouble when large gatherings occur. Nor have many other suburbs. In 2016, Lake Barrington passed an ordinance prohibiting rentals of less than three months following a shooting at a rental property in the village. Barrington Hills already had a zoning law in place outlawing parties like the one that led to a fatal shooting there last April. Naperville imposed a short-term rental ban last August, and Roselle imposed strict regulations governing short-term rentals following the fatal shooting at a short-term rental. Even Airbnb itself has announced a global ban restricting rentals to occupancy of no more than 16 people.

Continue reading the Daily Herald editorial here.

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Restaurant owners aren’t giving up. They’ve struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, retrenching to stay in business, investing in safety protocols, re-imagining their menus to offer takeout and delivery fare. They’ve shown indomitable spirit. Most have played by the state’s strict rules. Now it’s time for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to give them a reasonable break.

Governor, reopen the dining rooms.

Pritzker shut down indoor dining in October when the coronavirus outbreak spiked, renewing hardships on a crucial jobs sector. That spike has now tapered. Takeout food is an option for customers, but it’s not the same draw for cooped-up residents, many of whom would be eager to go out to eat, assuming all proper social distancing and hygiene rules are in place.

This is a matter of being fair, reasonable and protective of the economy. “The rules are lopsided against restaurants,” chef Brian Jupiter of Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods told the Tribune. In December, we saw shopping malls bursting at the seams and that wasn’t an issue. We are sanitizing the living s— out of everything. Wearing masks. But we still can’t operate.

Read more of the Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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Let’s hope it’s a great one!

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Tom Roeser

Closing of businesses in Illinois is controversial.

I operate a manufacturing business with 500 employees. We are designated as an “essential” business and have never been required to close.

Our experience with the virus is illustrative of how a business can remain safely open. We have had only one case where an employee contracted the virus at our workplace. Our procedures have kept our employees safe and kept their families solvent.

We have a strict policy for systematic employees to call in rather than come in. Those that can work from home (about 25) are equipped to.

Doors are propped open to reduce contact opportunities and extra cleaning is in place. Hand washing, masks and social distancing work.

If employees feel ill while at work, we send them to get tested. If positive, we send the entire production line home for 14-day quarantine.

There are many other “essential” businesses with a similar safety record. It is irresponsible for our government to discriminate against some businesses, churches or other public spaces, requiring them to close.

Governments could have gone to those open businesses to experience which easily-implemented safety measures have kept them safely open.

Fear of the virus has allowed our government to hide from making decisions. Does the science tell us that schools should close? Is there data that shows that restaurants are mass spreaders? Does one really think that a 5,000-square-foot church can only accommodate 50 parishioners?

The vaccines will put this virus behind us, but the judgment of our elected leaders will remain and the carnage of businesses and family finances will be their legacy.

• Tom Roeser, of Barrington Hills, is president of OTTO Engineering in Carpentersville.

Source

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We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our readers and wish you all a very

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Merry Christmas!

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Ralph Martire’s Dec. 6 op-ed got it all wrong, as did Pritzker and the Illinois Democratic legislature (Republicans are irrelevant in Illinois).

Mr. Martire claims the money spent by a few billionaires sold Illinoisans a bill of goods, and thus the “fair tax” amendment failed.

He doesn’t mention Pritzker and others spent as much pushing the graduated income tax.

The reason it didn’t pass is simple: Illinoisans have been bamboozled by our Democrat-controlled government many times before (bond issues placed to shore up the huge state pension deficit with the money raised being spent elsewhere, etc.)

Illinoisans rightfully don’t trust their state legislature.

The amount that would have been raised wouldn’t even cover the current year’s deficit.

Illinoisans knew in future years taxes of every kind, on everyone, would be raised.

We want to see fiscal responsibility in government and we want control of our state’s budget to be taken back from the public employee unions.

As long as Democrats buckle to those unions, a graduated income tax in Illinois should never pass.

Over several decades, Texas passed amendments to its constitution that include a debt limit, a welfare spending limit, a pay-as-you-go limit and a limit on the growth of certain appropriations.

I will continue to vote against it until it is presented in a fiscally responsible package of amendments to the Illinois Constitution.

W. Andrew Wright, Barrington Hills

Source

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Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

When Illinois voters rejected Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s request for permission to alter income taxes, they twice defied the wealthy governor, embattled House Speaker Michael Madigan and the dominant Democratic majority in Springfield.

They voted No on a constitutional amendment to switch from a flat tax to a graduated tax. In doing so, they said No to the defining characteristic of this state’s Democratic problem-solving, which tends to be: throw more money at it. Streamline government? Consolidate taxing bodies? Allow voters to enact term limits? No, just raise taxes or create new ones.

From such moments of voter frustration, political rebellions can be born. There is no question in our minds that Madigan has overstayed his tenure as speaker and represents an obstacle, rather than the agent of change, for Illinois, which must fix its broken finances. Adding pressure: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Wednesday and Pritzker on Thursday joined us in saying, time for Madigan to step down as party chairman.

Election Day provided several more signs that Illinoisans are willing to challenge the ossified, self-centered and damaging fiscal policies of Madigan and the Dems. Madigan, who is linked to an unfolding federal corruption investigation, saw Republicans appear to take two House seats from his supermajority. Not a big change, but every loss means something, even given the Democrats’ overwhelming position.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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On September 26th, The League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Palatine Area, lwvpalatinearea.org, conducted a virtual non-partisan candidate forum for three candidates running for the 52nd District of the Illinois House of Representatives; Martin McLaughlinAlia Sarfraz and Marci Suelzer. The YouTube recording of the meeting can be viewed here.

We listened intently to the recording and felt we would be remiss if we did not share at least one excerpt we believe is critical for voters to hear or read. The LWV asked candidates to,

“Think of a person that is, or has served in Springfield, that’s made an impact for the better in our state.”

Marci Suelzer’s response to this simple question was,

Marci Suelzer

I’m somewhat at a disadvantage in this question in that I did not grow up in Illinois. But I do think that Governor Pritzker has made an impact in saving lives in Illinois.

I wish that I had a better base of historical knowledge to go back two decades or whatever, but I simply don’t.”

The question and her response can be heard here.

Though she admittedly lacks experience, that has not stopped significant contributions to Suelzer’s campaign which only began less than three months ago. Her campaign committee has amassed upwards of $400,000, primarily from Democratic Party of Illinois ($129k), Democratic Majority ($94k), LIUNA Chicago Laborers ($58k), Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC ($58k) and Friends to Elect Kathleen Willis ($45k).

Clearly with this overabundance of political funding, Marci Suelzer does not need to worry about her lack of experience, since if she is elected, her well-financed handlers will tell her how to vote.

Martin McLaughlin has been running for the 52nd District for nearly a year with funding of about 20% of that of his opponent. What matters most when considering which candidate to vote for in an election;

  • (a) one who has been successfully leading a Village for eight years or
  • (b) one who, although inexperienced, has substantial financial backing from the current State leadership?

You decide!

Campaign finance references: Marci Suelzer Campaign Committee, Martin McLaughlin For State Representative

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