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Monday letters: Unions protect middle class

Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey last month joined more than 100 members of the union at a march outside City Hall. Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin.

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A self-proclaimed member of a union, Mark Brown, in his recent criticism of the Chicago Teachers Union, misses the very point why unions exist — to preserve the existence of a middle class (“Time for CTU to put down bullhorn, talk to members” — July 14). And in Chicago’s case, to attract and retain strong professionals willing to work in Illinois’ most challenging schools. As Charles Blow pointed out in the New York Times this week, the monied, predominantly white classes of this generation have failed to provide the public dollars necessary to fund true ladders of upward mobility for all citizens of this country. Teachers cannot perform at their best if they are forced to take a second job.

A CPS veteran myself, I shared a classroom with Jesse Sharkey. I found him always to be a well-researched, measured and good-humored thinker with an unwavering commitment to a better classroom, school, city, state and country. He recognizes that CTU’s work reverberates well beyond the statehouse in Springfield. Chicago can be a national exemplar for a strong teaching corps, if privileged citizens can be convinced to invest.

Ross Freshwater, former CPS teacher, Milwaukee

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

Gary Johnson for president

Why is the Sun-Times avoiding any kind of coverage of Gary Johnson? Maybe, like 80 percent of the country, you have never heard of him, so I will help you out. He is the Libertarian candidate for president. He was the first governor in the history of New Mexico to serve two consecutive four-year terms. He is socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Does that help? Or, maybe you are afraid that someone will steal Hillary’s thunder yet again. Give Americans a chance to get behind someone that does turn our stomach. As governor he cut taxes, reduced the size of government, built roads and invested in education. Sounds like a game plan for America if you ask me.

Scot Sinclair, Third Lake

Weed out bad cops

To some folks I’ve dialogued with, the issue of cops versus criminals is a zero-sum game. Any criticism of the police as a group detracts from good law enforcement which protects all us law-abiding folks. One even claimed the shooting of Laquan McDonald started out as a “good” shooting that went wrong only because the officer kept shooting after McDonald was motionless, setting off civil unrest. In his world view, excessive police force on either innocent citizens or non-life-threatening offenders doesn’t exist.

That mindset needs to change. Cops versus criminals is not a zero-sum game. Retrain or remove such cops and public trust of the police will increase, and fewer citizens will be unnecessarily harmed or even killed. We should no more allow an unfit cop to protect us than we would allow an unfit surgeon to operate on a loved one. Every segment of society, especially including the vast majority of good police, must work together to weed out the unfit so the vast majority can do effective police work to protect us all.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn

On board with Steinberg

I am a longtime subscriber of the Sun-Times and find that with the addition of all online news, my reading time is stretched pretty thin. What keeps me locked into the Sun-Times (besides my husband’s love of the New York Times crossword) is columnist Neil Steinberg. I consider myself a pretty non-confrontational person who has been moved to extreme frustration and anger with the atrocities of our daily news and this damn election. Mr. Steinberg hits the perfect notes of outrage, absurdity and compassion in what has now become our way of life. It is heartwarming to have someone who thinks like I do and has the great ability to express it.

Bobbie Bolociuch, Irving Park

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