The fact that it took a single temporary court order, with respect to a soda tax, to apparently place county operations on the brink of disaster should be a sign to everyone that massive reforms are needed in Cook County.

The county’s budget process deserves even more transparency going forward. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle ought to choose collaboration over intimidation.

The county has a responsibility to its taxpayers to never again put them in the impossible position of having to choose between a regressive tax and essential, life-saving services.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

I continue to urge President Preckwinkle to call a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners in August to consider an emergency package of spending reductions and reforms.

These reforms must include the elimination of the more than 1,500 vacant positions in County government. They must also include an immediate hiring freeze, with the exception of court ordered positions.

The citizens of this county deserve better than a government that lurches from crisis to crisis, reaching into the taxpayer’s wallet every time an unanticipated challenge presents itself.

The critically important work of reforming the county budget process must begin immediately.

Richard Boykin
Cook County Commissioner, District 1

South Side championship golf course ‘no different than a skyscraper’

Last week I played 18 holes of golf at Jackson Park. Early in July, I rode my bike to the South Shore Sanctuary. Occasionally my friend and I swim at South Shore Beach.

The situation is much more than simply the cost of golf (or butterflies). As the Sun-Times July 30 editorial quoted, it’s about “playing golf, going to the beach, walking along the shoreline and attending different events, about barbecuing, those kind of things.” And bike riding and butterflies.

No golf course will allow those kinds of things.

You know, over 100 years ago Montgomery Ward campaigned against skyscrapers and for public access to the lakefront. This golf course seems no different than a skyscraper.

Lowell Plavec, Cary

Where are the Republicans?

Sen. John McCain showed courage last week when he cast the deciding vote against the Senate Republican health care plan. He also delivered a fine lecture on the importance of scaling down the vitriolic debate and the necessity of accomplishing some major legislation. Some critics said that he could afford to be courageous given his recent cancer diagnosis. But McCain has worked too hard to achieve major bipartisan legislation throughout his career. One great example was the McCain-Feingold law that limited campaign contributions.

The question is, where are the other Republicans?

For the last decade they have blocked any legislation that was supported by any Democrats. McCain again reached out to Democrats to come up with an immigration solution (McCain-Kennedy) that even former President George W. Bush fought for and they still rejected it.

The U.S. Senate is supposed to be the highest deliberative legislative body in the world. Members serve six-year terms. They represent entire states so they have to be more moderate in their approach. They are elected to see the bigger picture and to study the long-term consequences of their decisions. Republican Sen. Susan Collins remarked that earlier in the week she did not even know which version of the health care bill she was voting on. The fact that only three Republicans voted against a bill, of which even the “skinniest” version would deny 16 million people of health insurance, is outrageous.

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

‘The World is watching’

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday, “Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace…and go to 51 votes (nuke option), get Cross State Lines & more.”

While it is unclear that the world is actually watching America’s health care debate, it is quite likely at least some people around the world are wondering how a candidate was elected president of The United States after losing the popular election by over 2.7 million votes. This president would do himself and the nation a noble service by boning up on rule of law along with time tested, reliable — though sometimes frustrating — inner workings of the Senate.

Mark Stearns, Skokie