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Thursday letters: Air and Water Show just ‘bread and circuses’

Air & Water shows, says a letter writer, simply divert the public's attention from the massive amount of taxpayer money spent on military weapons. | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

Reminiscent of the way the Roman Empire offered “bread and circuses” to distract the common people from the waste of government spending is the annual Air and Water Show insanity on Chicago’s lakefront. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been gifted to the major weapons dealers, whose profits are beyond the dreams of avarice. It would be wise for the throngs of spectators who cheer lustily the obnoxious cacophony of these weapons to take a moment to realize what they sacrifice for their weekend entertainment. That money could have gone a long way toward providing much-needed pay for cops and teachers, let alone toward addressing the needs of the poor, insuring they receive the same quality of education as their most fortunate counterparts.

Edward David Juillard, Beverly

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

Teachers union must accept some blame

David R. Stone’s letter about the sacrifices of Chicago Public School teachers came across as both passionate and frustrating to read.

Stone’s assertion that CPS teachers are required by law to live in Chicago is incorrect. There is no such law; it’s a residency policy shared by all city workers and most CPS teachers and staffers. In fact, there are a decent number of CPS employees living outside Chicago, either from being grandfathered-in with the old policy or receiving 3-year renewable waivers to live outside Chicago. Employees receiving waivers work in need-based areas and initially were hired as non-Chicago residents. The irony here is that Stone could be living outside Chicago, as his area of special education is a need for CPS.

Stone is partially correct in blaming his employer, CPS, for skipping payments into the pension fund for many years, However, he doesn’t direct any blame toward the Chicago Teachers Union for allowing this to go on and not expecting a problem in the future. Where is the blame on the CTU for not protecting their members’ pensions while getting raises for them year after year?

Stone mentions that pay raises promised in the contract had been canceled, “even when we were asked to work longer school days and to work more days during the school year.” The misleading point here was after the last strike, the CPS teachers were given a 7 percent pay raise to be doled out over three years and none of those raises were canceled by CPS. And, in terms of the longer school day and year, CPS had one of the shortest school days and years of any major city in the US before the strike.

Finally, Stone mentions, “We (CPS teachers) have gone into debt earning the certifications and knowledge to make us the best teachers we can be.” But Stone fails to mention that CPS teachers and many staffers can earn higher salaries by getting step/lane increases along with getting cost-of-living increases and paying only 2 percent of their own pensions. Also, it was Stone’s choice to go to college to attain a teaching degree, not the taxpayers.

Walter Brzeski, Irving Woods

Blago’s desperate appeal to Obama

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I find it deliciously ironic that Blago’s last ditch appeal to obtain his “Get Out of Jail” card is aimed at the man who’s senate seat he tried to sell to the highest bidder. That’s right, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants President Obama to commute his sentence. The audacity is beyond words. Maybe he should offer Jesse Jackson Jr. a million bucks to act as a lobbyist on his behalf.

Scot Sinclair, Third Lake