It was with much sadness that I read about the passing of Jimmy Piersall. He was certainly entertaining, and he and Harry Caray were the only reason I was able to watch the White Sox during some pretty terrible years.
Unlike Hawk Harrelson who is so loyal to the Sox that you have to wonder if he’s watching the same game that you are, Jimmy really told it like it was. If a player was dogging it or if they made a bone-headed play, he ripped into them. Jimmy could be over the top in some of his commentary, but there was no denying he knew his baseball.
Much has been written over the years about his legendary lack of a mute button for his thoughts and words as well as his inability to control his temper. I was fortunate to see Jimmy in person on two occasions. I don’t remember the exact year, but when our family lived in Willowbrook, the towns of Willowbrook and Burr Ridge formed a league for kids from those two towns. International Harvestor donated some land so the towns could develop several baseball fields. Jimmy Piersall was invited to give a brief talk at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Well, long story short, whoever was in-charge of getting a PA system only brought a very small speaker. Consequently, you could barely hear Jimmy speak. So now people started talking which made it even harder to hear. Well out of the blue, Jimmy yells, “Hey! Shut up! I’m talking.”
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The very next day, I am heading to my health club and fighting some heavy traffic. I’m trying to make a left hand turn to get into the club parking lot. The oncoming traffic just keeps coming in what seemed like forever. I saw what looked like a little break in the traffic and started to move forward like I was going to make the turn. My instincts got the better of me and I stopped. The next thing I hear is the guy behind me is honking his horn. I look in the rearview mirror and see a guy shaking his fist and it’s Jimmy Piersall. I immediately think, this is awesome. Jimmy Piersall is yelling and honking at me. I’ll never forget it.
I got a lot of mileage with that story.
John C. Fawcett, Burr Ridge
An impression of Trump
Once again Gov. Bruce Rauner has indicated that he will veto additional funding to help CPS using the old argument that it isn’t fair to other parts of the state to pay Chicago’s bills. One has to ask — with tongue in cheek — whether some people in Springfield understand the concept of taxation as it exists in the U.S.
Most taxes in this state are voluntary based on the ability-to theory: simply, those who can afford to pay more do so. This benefits those who are in need of the same or similar services, but who are unable to afford them, thus creating a more equitable distribution throughout the society. Rauner’s continued refusal to aid those most in need goes contrary to this concept.
But even putting that aside, if Rauner’s argument is accepted all one has to do is look at where the tax dollars in Illinois come from. Cook County, which included Chicago, supplies approx. Seventy percent of money collected from individual tax returns. Cook and surrounding counties supply 51 percent of all sales tax collected throughout the state. So even buying Rauner’s premise, since Chicago and the collar counties provide the lion share of the income, shouldn’t they receive a larger share of the distribution?
Unfortunately this is just another attack on public education and particularly CPS by a governor who greatly favors charter schools. Apparently our governor besides being a billionaire and a politician does impressions. Right now he is doing one of Donald Trump, and it is a perfect one.
Angie Dodd, Oak Park
Open Letter to The Honorable Rahm Emanuel
As members of Chicago 350.org, an organization dedicated to fighting climate change, we commend you on recently publishing the now unavailable EPA pages on climate change that President Trump and EPA chief Scott Pruitt ordered to be removed. In making this climate data available on the city’s Climate Change website, Chicago has countered the current administration’s spirit of obscurantism and offered the public a much needed and appreciated tool.
Climate change is real — beyond the point of a belief — with over 97 percent of all scientists behind it. Burying our heads in the sand will only worsen the dire consequences. But Chicagoans can be proud to read on the new webpage that “here in Chicago we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it.”
In December 2016, Chicago 350 offered the city a new weapon in this battle, a city council resolution. Introduced by Alderman Arena and directly endorsed by 39 aldermen, this resolution asks the city to fight climate change by fully divesting all city funds from fossil fuel holdings over the next 5 years.
Cities like Copenhagen, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe and San Francisco have already committed to divestment. With our survival at stake, divestment by a city the size of Chicago would send a powerful message that the era of fossil fuels is over.
Indeed, climate change will damage Chicago in the following ways: more intense and frequent heat waves will increase heat-related illnesses, degrade air quality and escalate costs associated with electricity, landscaping, road maintenance, police and fire fighting; heavier storms will bring more flooded streets and basements, disrupted transportation, polluted waterways and crumbling infrastructure. But maybe even more catastrophic will be the effect of climate change on agriculture. With our growing zone becoming equivalent to that of northern Alabama today, by the end of the century with rain patterns becoming more extreme, food production will be severely affected.
It is the duty of our elected officials to take measures mitigating this disastrous impact to the greatest extent possible. With the Trump administration reneging on its obligations per the Paris Climate Agreement, it is particularly vital that local governments redouble their effort to fight the effects of climate change. We count on you, our mayor, and we urge you to rapidly pass the divestment resolution that is in front of the city council. This will benefit Chicago and the world.
Christiane Rey, Chicago 350