Thursday letters: Taking down Trump Plaza sign a waste of time

SHARE Thursday letters: Taking down Trump Plaza sign a waste of time
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The Chicago City Council voted in 2006 to install honorary “Trump Plaza” signs outside the Trump International Hotel & Plaza. Now, they’re voting to take them down — though earlier this month, someone beat them to it. City officials confirmed one of the signs had gone missing. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

Oh boy, the alderman are really getting tough on Donald Trump because he called Chicago a “war zone.” They removed an honorary Trump Plaza street sign. How about if they get tough on the murder rate in Chicago that has topped 600 homicides this year and made our city a “war zone”? Trump didn’t embarrass us on a global scale, as several aldermen have said. The mayor and alderman embarrassed our city and let down our citizens by worrying about street signs and Cubs playoff tickets instead of focusing on the real problems.When are they gonna get a clue?

Mike Kirchberg, Forest Glen

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Board of Ethics stands up to aldermen

Thanks to William Conlon and the Chicago Board of Ethics for taking a stand and telling the aldermen when they can and cannot accept World Series tickets at face value. Bravo! In the past, I don’t remember the Board of Ethics being much more than as a figurehead, serving no other purpose than to say the city had a board of ethics. I’m hoping that the board, under Conlon’s leadership, will continue to investigate and release findings relevant to city employees.

M.L.Chin, Lincoln Park

Better way to control rats

For more than ten years Chicago has had on opportunity to efficiently and humanely reduce its rat population by baiting areas where they congregate with feed laced with potent contraceptives. This environmentally-friendly method makes female rats infertile. Their populations will gradually decrease. Poisoning rats is cruel and also results in the deaths of innocent squirrels, chipmunks and other creatures that haplessly consume the pernicious poison.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

Good public transportation keeps folks here

As a lifelong Chicagoan, I read with great interest Andy Shaw’s “Love Illinois? Many would rather leave it” column on Monday. I’d like to add the region’s public transportation system to the reasons for residents to stay.

CTA, Metra and Pace provide more than two million rides each weekday, doing so consistently with the lowest operating cost per passenger mile of the major cities in the U.S. and for several years in a row, traveling the longest distance in service without experiencing major mechanical failures compared to our peers. The RTA regional system is an important part of the region’s economic engine. When the CTA (whose proposed 2017 operating budget freezes base fares for an eighth straight year) invested in the Brown line capacity expansion project, median home values near the Brown Line grew over 40 percent and the City of Chicago’s recent work to promote Transit Oriented Development, which the RTA helps to make reality every day in the city and suburbs, makes our region more safe and livable. Illinois residents save more than $11,500 a year by switching their daily commutes from a car to public transportation and, even if you don’t ride, studies show that transit saves rush hour drivers more than $400 a year by reducing the number of cars on the road.

Our system is the envy of cities around the country and is a proven magnet for employers and employees. Though, as you point out, millennials are more likely to move, they comprise a third of our region’s workforce and demand transit like no other generation. It’s no coincidence that 42 companies have actually relocated their headquarters to Chicago in the past six years. In a city and state that makes the news on a near daily basis for its financial problems, the RTA’s credit rating is among the best in the public sector making it possible for us provide financing to support a portion the Service Board’s operating and capital budgets, which directly benefit riders every day. And, due to good planning, the RTA employee pension is solvent. Public transit investment returns almost four dollars in economic benefits for every one dollar spent. Finally, how would we ever get all those Cubs fans to the World Series at Wrigley Field and hopefully, millions to a victory parade, if not on our world class transit system. Where transit goes, community grows!

Kirk Dillard

Chairman

Regional Transportation Authority

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