In my 59 years, I have never had a need to have a gun on me while growing up in the southwest suburbs, attending college/living downtown Chicago or residing in the north suburbs raising children. My father lived 85 years, never needed one. My mother is alive and well, has never needed a gun. In fact, not one single family member, friend, acquaintance, co-worker or neighbor I’ve ever known has come upon a situation where a gun would’ve been useful. But there have been instances I’ve experienced where I can imagine an emotional outburst with a gun in hand may have been deadly. I think this “need to carry” is overkill. It seems to me we will live and learn the hard way.
Donna Pemberton, Wilmette
Why we need concealed carry
Ordinary citizens might want to carry guns for the same reason that aviators wear parachutes: You will probably never need it, but if you do need it, you need it mighty bad.
Winslow Price, Portage Park
Too much testing
There is too much testing for 11th-grade students. In 2015, the state wants to add the PARCC assessment and is considering eliminating the ACT in order to spare students from the added burden of standardized testing. The state has it backward. Eliminate PARCC and retain the ACT. The PARCC is a money making swindle for someone, and it does not benefit students.
We want our students to be college ready and have access to college admissions. The PARCC serves neither function. Colleges aren’t going to use to use the PARCC for admissions, so why should students take it? The ACT is a good predictor of college readiness. It is research based, and colleges trust it. What will colleges use PARCC for? Nothing.
The PARCC assessment isn’t there to help student and has zero impact on their futures, namely their college admissions. What’s the point?
The money and time sunk into the PARCC should be considered a sunk cost, lost forever. Help students succeed in college. Be brave and speak up for eliminating PARCC and keeping the ACT.
Bastry Brian, Near West Side
We need Ashland rapid bus plan
As transportation professionals, we disagree with claims by a retired transportation engineer about the proposed Ashland rapid transit line. (“Engineer: Ashland Ave. transit project won’t work.”) He over-emphasizes the negative traffic impacts of building the line, which are actually quite modest, while overlooking the negative impacts of not building it.
For example, forecasts show that thousands more people each year will need to move through the Ashland corridor, yet because the streets are not getting wider, traffic problems will ensue. Transit is the only way to add more people in the same amount of space while managing congestion and improving mobility.The new Ashland line will be more reliable and move passengers nearly twice as fast as the current Ashland bus. It also creates a crucial north-south connection that circumvents downtown and connects to 37 bus lines, seven CTA stations and two Metra stations.
Passengers won’t have to go all the way downtown — or take a slow moving bus — to connect with train lines for trips outside downtown. All of this makes tens of thousands of additional jobs accessible by transit, according to the Metropolitan Planning Council. This is especially important for people who cannot afford cars. With 99 schools in the Ashland corridor, the new transit line will also help students get to school and back home. But the Ashland line benefits the city as a whole, because everyone relies on transit in one way or another. Most of us ride transit at least occasionally, and even when driving we benefit because transit keeps cars off of congested roads and contributes to the vitality of a great urban region.
The city and CTA should make reasonable design changes to address local concerns and then proceed with this crucial north-south rapid transit artery, something transportation planners have wanted to build for many years. We’re pleased it’s finally going to happen.
Randy Blankenhorn, executive director,
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Joseph Schwieterman, director, Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development,
Steve Schlickman, executive director,
UIC Urban Transportation Center
Ron Burke, executive director,
Active Transportation Alliance
Parking meters hurting businesss
The parking meter debacle has gone full circle now that small businesses are being severely affected. The two blocks west of the six corners location on Irving Park Road (Irving, Cicero and Milwaukee avenues) has numerous vacant storefronts since the start of this preposterous parking deal. This privatization deal is easily the most bone-headed deal ever. But I have faith that Mayor 1 Percent will outdo this mess with yet another deal for the good of the city.
Mike Koskiewicz, Portage Park
Don’t blame Rahm
As someone fond of visiting European cities to view masterpieces created over the centuries on display in public spaces, I’m a fan of public art. But is the Sun-Times really criticizing the Emanuel administration for going slow on this kind of expenditure when the city’s ability to fund essential services is being threatened by pension obligations?
Thomas W. Evans, Mundelein
Use nature to decorate city
Why decorate Chicago with artificial electric lights? Decorating the city with natural landscaping composed of the shrubs, trees, flowers and grasses that are native to Chicago is the way to make it more beautiful, healthful and environmentally sound.
Studies show that landscaping with native plants provides the community with enormous benefits. Installing native landscaping is crucial to both the success and happiness of the individual and the public. Beautiful parks and landscaping reduce crime rates. Drivers are more at ease on roadways with natural landscaping. Parks and urban green spaces impact people’s health by providing them with an inexpensive (often free) and convenient recreational service. Native landscaping increases the city’s populations of native birds and butterflies. According to studies, being outside in a natural environment helps improve memory performance and attention span. Moreover, beautiful natural landscapes not only improve the aesthetics of the community, they also affect resident’s perceived quality of life.A high quality of life, in turn, benefits the entire community, because residents spend more money and positively affect the economy and social pulse of the town and can also attract new businesses.
Becoming famous as a city that treasures and builds on its regional native plant heritage is the farsighted, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally responsible approach for Chicago.
Charlotte Adelman, Wilmette
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