Letters: For democracy to prosper, vote locally

SHARE Letters: For democracy to prosper, vote locally

A voting booth in the 7th Ward last February. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

With the World Series now behind us, it’s a good time to think about our government’s World Series. The presidential election.

As candidates are vying for our votes, we should once again discuss how to encourage more people to vote. The problem is not, as some say, that it’s not convenient. The problem is that there is not enough incentive. A 30 percent voter turnout rate (less in non-presidential election years) should make that obvious. The real reason is that too many people feel powerless or disenfranchised. They feel the “game is rigged”. That their vote doesn’t matter. Or that there is always the same old group of evils they have to choose the lesser of (pardon ending the sentence with a preposition).

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People need a good reason to make the time and effort to vote. And I have the answer: Think baseball. A good major league baseball team has a good farm system from which to continually draw good talent. The “farm system” for our federal government are the state, county and local offices, because the big politicians of today were the small politicians of yesterday.

If you’re just voting for federal offices, you’re doing too little, too late. You need to also vote for state, county and local offices as well. Because it is at the state, county and local primaries and elections where you weed out the bad politicians, while they’re small. That is how you make your vote count. That is how you improve your government. And that is how you really effect change. Because that’s the thing about democracy: We get exactly the government we deserve.

Jim Tomczyk, Forest Glen

Wise up, Chicago

Chicago, when will we learn? Mike Ditka is loyal to the person, business or alien with the biggest bank account who is willing to pay him what he wants.

James Guthrie, North Aurora

Emulate PAWS

It’s disheartening that both the Chicago and Cook County Animal Care and Control Departments still do not have the proper staffs to humanely and professionally aid and assist dogs and cats. They both need employees who are all dedicated animal experts with experience, skills and a commitment to felines and canines. PAWS CHICAGO is a perfect role model that is nationally recognized for its excellence in this field. Chicago and Cook County’s animal departments should emulate PAWS CHICAGO.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

Easy questions

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” featured an interview with Charles Koch on Tuesday. Joe Scarborough dominated with Mika Brzezinski interjecting a stray friendly question or comment here and there. The Republican presidential candidates would have loved to have been treated in the worshipful and fawning manner Charles Koch found at the hands of these hosts.

Koch emphasized how hard he had to work since he was a young child. He didn’t mention how he and his brother, David, inherited billions from their father. Also ignored were the tons of toxic waste that Koch Industries is dumping into Florida’s St. Johns River. We did not hear about millions spent by the Kochs to fund climate change deniers. The Kochs have major investments in fossil fuel industries.

It’s no surprise that Charles Koch picked “Morning Joe” for a rare television interview. He knew he would have no fear of probing questions. Koch was obviously trying to enhance his image. That he felt the need to do this is significant, given that the Kochs have spent decades in the background.

It is said that sunshine is the best medicine. Charles and David Koch’s activities behind the scenes desperately need to be brought out into the bright light of day. That they feel it necessary to go public makes me think they sense a need to reform their images. They must realize that Americans see them as grasping for profit while avoiding taxes, controlling government officials, and polluting our environment. If such scrutiny helps the Kochs to change, let’s have more of it.

Karen Wagner, Rolling Meadows

Help the homeless

The South Side of Chicago still endures 20 percent unemployment. There are 6,786 known homeless people in Chicago and 2,000 of them are teenagers, an 8 percent increase over last year. The estimated actual number of homeless is 100,000.

What major Western city anywhere has 100,000 homeless citizens? It is especially discouraging that many mentally ill people are among the homeless and the rest are being housed in the county jail, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. There isn’t funding for facilities to care for the mentally ill.

Recently, Sen. Mark Kirk, D-Ill., did an investigative report, on the lack of funds for adequate care and housing for military veterans recovering from war injuries. Gang warfare rages on as the endless supply of guns proliferates. Funds are lacking for an increase in police hiring or for more social service hiring that might discourage gang membership in the first place. We are broke! I am embarrassed to see American men sitting on the sidewalk begging on State Street and men sleeping in front of the Chicago Cultural Center.

Mr. President, please reverse the decision to bring 185,000 Assyrian refugees to the United States. I’ve read that 1,500 have already arrived. Even that is more than we can or should afford. Federal funds that would help them to get settled should go to shelters and help homeless American citizens.

Kathie Newhouse, Hyde Park

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