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A spent cartridge (right) and live ones are displayed by Kenya Wildlife Services game rangers after being recovered from suspected poacher at Lake Nakuru National Park, some 140 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, on Saturday. (AFP/Getty Images)

Letters: We must help stop poaching, embrace wildlife conservation

SHARE Letters: We must help stop poaching, embrace wildlife conservation
SHARE Letters: We must help stop poaching, embrace wildlife conservation

It was elating to read a March 27 article regarding the Brookfield Zoo working with Misericordia to inspire people with disabilities to embrace wildlife conservation. The best means to save majestic, exotic and exquisite endangered species is to educate and enlighten people of all ages, races, genders and religions to recognize the monumental importance of preserving these creatures and their waning habitats. It’s morally imperative for benevolent wildlife conservationists to prevail against malevolent poachers, trophy hunters and profiteers who viciously massacre the animal kingdom.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

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

Risky idea

With China’s reputation for graft, kickbacks, underhanded dealing, non performing loans, over valued collateral, shady accounting, unaudited results and black market banking, theAsian Infrastructure Investment Bank may just be another vehicle for enriching bank officers, party officials and building contractors.

Thomas Cechner, Lockport

Vote on Lucas Museum

As mayoral contender Jesus “Chuy” Garcia brought up at the last debate, Chicagoans were never asked if we wanted the George Lucas Museum in Grant Park, or anywhere else, for that matter. I know, we were told the museum would not be paid for with tax dollars, but we’ve heard that before, about a lot of projects, yet, we inevitably get stuck with the bills, and they never wind up with producing the permanent jobs initially promised, just tax-exempt “insider” owned venues, like the Park Grill! Tell us, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, why not conduct a citizens’ referendum on elective building projects, like the Lucas Museum?

Richard A. Kosinski, Edison Park

Mismanaged commission

In your March 26 editorial, you refer to hurdles that should be “kicked over.” The only hurdles standing in the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission’s way are attributable to its own mismanagement, questionable ethics decisions and ineptitude.

TIRC is a noble effort that has failed to deliver results or value for taxpayers. The former executive director “retired” under pressure by Gov. Pat Quinn after conducting illegal and unethical activity on behalf of the commission. Several claims referred to the courts by TIRC have been rescinded because of this illegal conduct. Other claims have been dismissed by the courts due the Commission’s refusal to understand or comply with the law. Since TIRC began its work over 5 1/2 years ago, it has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars but has absolutely nothing to show for it. Not a single claim examined by TIRC has resulted in a new trial or freedom for a convicted inmate. None has even come close. Several claims have been dismissed outright by different judges.

Meanwhile, Judge Paul Biebel created a “special master” process that supersedes and duplicates the work that TIRC has been unable to accomplish. Dean David Yellen accomplishes the same work as TIRC and does it for free. He has not been allocated a single dime of taxpayer money to accomplish his work, yet his efforts are showing signs of progress. On Dec. 9, 2014, the special master submitted his first list of names to Judge Biebel. The list contains 19 names. At least 13 of these individuals have already filed claims with TIRC. See the redundancy yet?

TIRC is funded through the Illinois Human Rights Commission. TIRC’s budget for FY 2014 was $300,000 and has an additional $300,000 for FY 2015. Currently, TIRC has 108 unresolved cases that must be investigated and disposed of. In its five-year existence, TIRC has been able to dispose of only 36 claims, for an average of just over seven cases per year. At this rate, it will take TIRC 15 years at a cost of over $4.5 million to dispose of all 108 cases. There are an additional 128 unresolved claims filed with TIRC that are not under their jurisdiction.

Senators Iris Martinez and Kwame Raoul want to expand the commission’s jurisdiction to allow them to investigate these claims — and probably more. If their bill becomes law, it will take an additional 18 years and an additional $5.4 million taxpayer dollars to hear these 128 claims. If you think TIRC has righted the ship, consider this: Three claims were set to be heard by TIRC on Nov. 19, 2014 — the last meeting of 2014. However, a quorum was not reached. This occurred at a meeting where the family of murdered Chicago Police Officer William Fahey was in attendance and prepared to testify. The commission’s general lack of decency, responsibility, and competency continues and shows no signs of letting up. And the Sun-Times apparently endorses this behavior. Since its inception over five years ago, this commission has accomplished absolutely nothing but to replay the nightmare for families like mine and the Faheys, a fact that your paper has conveniently and deliberately ignored.

The Sun-Times has earned a reputation for holding government accountable. But for some reason, it has given the commission a pass. It should hold this commission to a higher standard.

Joe Heinrich, Elgin

Discriminatory law

In reaction to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allows businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds, some Indiana businesses are placing stickers in their window that say, “We Serve Everyone.” Businesses that want to exercise their religious freedom by discriminating against LGBTQ people ought to place signs in their windows that say, “We Serve Everyone Except LGBTQ People.”

Every religion has some version of the Golden Rule, which simply states we should treat other people as we wish to be treated ourselves. Thus, businesses that discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds should have no objection if LGBTQ people and their friends discriminate against them on religious grounds.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

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