Letters: A reformer? Rauner? No way

SHARE Letters: A reformer? Rauner? No way

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. File photo by Derik Holtmann, Belleville News-Democrat, via AP.

In a classic case of buyer’s remorse, theSun-Timesbends over backward to justify its unabashed cheerleading of Bruce Rauner as the right governor for Illinois. This is despite his insistence on savage cuts to heat aid, essential housing and health services for the elderly, toddlers and the poor. Despite Rauner’s radical attacks upon working people, their unions, their retirement security and the essential services they rely upon, theSun-Timescontinues to trumpet his credentials as a reformer.

We cannot forget who Rauner really is. He is a rich stock trader who specialized in corporate takeovers.

Illinois is not broke. Illinois is flush. The problem is that those who can pay, don’t. The effective state income-tax rate for the poorest 20 percent of earners in the state is double what the wealthiest 1 percent of people pay.

If Rauner and his friends on Wall Street were truly serious about providing a high standard of living to the people of Illinois, they would join their fellow billionaire Warren Buffett and ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. If Illinois were to sue banks for toxic swaps and predatory fees, restore progressive elements of the state corporate and income tax, properly tax La Salle Street and profits that are sequestered in off-shore tax-free accounts, and tax luxury services, we would have state surpluses instead of deficits.

The new governor would do better to solve our budget woes by using his bully pulpit to demand tax fairness and put Illinois on the path to fiscal recovery.

Jesse Sharkey, Vice President

Chicago Teachers Union

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com (Please include the name of your suburb or town, and a phone number for verification.)

Rauner not a champion of the middle class

For the Sun-Times to even suggest Gov. Rauner is the middle-class champion is ridiculous. Rauner will cut $400 million in state services while not even considering raising taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Of course, he won’t because it would impact Rauner and his rich buddies.At a time when corporations are raking in record profits, not paying taxes,receiving millions in subsidies while using loopholes not to pay their fair share,Rauner will make painful cuts in programs assisting the elderly and the disabled.

To accuse Democrats of not cooperating is not true.Republicans in eight years brought our nation to its knees. Both parties can share blame for our financial crisis but to imply Democrats are all to blame is shameful and false. As a faithful reader of the Sun-Times, I expected more truthfulness and balance in your editorials.

Ann Gutierrez, Tinley Park

Joke of a governor

The Sun-Times continues to support this joke of a governor known as Bruce Rauner, or as I prefer to call him: Ruiner. The thing to remember is that while you are blaming the Illinois House Speaker and Democrats for Illinois finances, the fact is Republicans held the governor’s office from 1977 to 2003. Rauner is not qualified to be a governor.

Jim Irwin, Crest Hill

Chicago needs cooperation, not cynicism

As a proud, self-described Illinoisan on assignment away at school in Washington, D.C., I constantly find myself being a spokesman and cheerleader for Chicago. As such, I can’t help but feel a growing sense of unease on the eve of the city’s summer months. For too many Chicagoans, it’s a time of the year defined not by beach trips but by tragedy.

What’s required for real progress to be made in communities’ crusades against crime lies not just in the purchasing of body cams or the recommendations of a task force. What’s truly requisite is an unshakable, long-term commitment to a recalibration of the bond between law enforcement and the communities they serve. As it stands now, there’s a crippling amount of mistrust between embattled local law enforcement and residents who at times feel under siege.

In the coming months we can’t forget that it’s the obligation of police to protect, respect, and proactively engage the community. Likewise, it’s the obligation of the community to respect and proactively engage with the police. It’s also the obligation of the community to follow the law, so long as the law in question is not unethical. There’s no rational reason for any person acting in good faith to ever deviate from these core obligations.

If we all, private citizens and law enforcement alike, play our part, progress will be made quietly and without fanfare in the decades, not days, to come. It’s up to all of us to not fall ill with the plague most antithetical to progress: cynicism. We can’t give in and let it envelop us, because that would be letting it win.

Christopher Monaco, Washington D.C.

Chicago stuck with ‘Chiraq’ tag

More than 40 years ago, the cause of urban riots wasexplained by the Kerner Report, authored by Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner. It laid out theeconomic and social deficits inflicted on theblack community that need to be corrected ifit is expected to be like the surrounding general community not penalized the same way.

Butchange meaningful enough to matter didnot follow. Despite surface improvements in race relations, today economic conditions are essentially the same. The most notable change is the inflow of guns made easier by the NRA, the Supreme Court and deliberate gun flooding from neighboring states worsening Chicago’s gang gun violence.

Stephen Franklin’s hand-wringing over the tag “Chiraq” alleged as the title for Spike Lee’s upcoming documentary on gun violence here (“‘Chiraq’ tag dangerous to Chicago in many ways” — June 4) thus falls on deaf ears in the affected communities.

Chicago got no similar nickname in the ‘1930s when bootleggers shot up the town, but it was enough to get Tommy Guns outlawed becauseinnocent citizens were being killed — in white neighborhoods. Overseas, Chicago still has itsrat-a-tat 1930s image, which hasn’t slowed the tourist traffic.

In Englewood and Austin, “Chiraq” is an apt title for the relentless gunfire harming innocents and gangbangers alike. Their concern is bullets,not embarrassment. Only Mayor Emanuel’s black aldermanic operatives protest the tag.

The shooting shall diminish once the fundamentals reverse upward, but severe fiscal weakness hampers the remedial action needed even if Chicago’s power elite choose to implement it. So “Chiraq” it is likely to remain in the nation’svocabulary for the foreseeable future. It reflects reality for thousands of residents.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

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