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Sunday letters: Congress ignores threat of Zika virus

Jackson Park is the site of the proposed Obama Presidential Center. / Associated Press

This do-nothing Congress has done nothing all year. Now, they’re off on another vacation sojourn. They have yet to act on the pathogenic national health threat of the Zika virus. An outbreak has begun in North Miami, with 14 cases of the virus having surfaced in the past week. The travesty is that appropriation congressional funding to fight this scourge should have been implemented last February when the president offered his first-case funding proposal. Over a month ago, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma asserted “don’t worry, we’ll fund the Zika fight.”Anytime a politician says “don’t worry,” it’s time to worry. Will the virus spread to your town? Maybe, maybe not. The time has come for the American people to wake up to this potential danger if Zika and tell this Congress to get to work on it.Earl Beal, Terre Haute, IndianaSEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Obama Library missed a chance

I grew up in Chicago and worked most of my career in Chicago, including four years in Hyde Park. I was saddened to see that President Obama chose Jackson Park for the site of his presidential library. The South Side needs more open park space, not less. I hoped he would choose an area of Chicago that needed development and investment and not take away from those places that already have been developed for the public use. Surely there are places along the Dan Ryan, Stevenson or Eisenhower expressways that are also close to public transportation that would have provided safe, easy access to the library and at the same time put some money into an area depressed by years of neglect and poverty.Who will get what?Larry Craig, Wilmette

The final paragraphs of Lynn Sweet’s column on Thursday (“The first of many steps to revitalize South Side,”) tell the story in regard to the Obama presidential library, and it’s a Chicago story to be sure, but one that needs, perhaps, a bit of explication. It will all come down to who gets the contracts, and who won’t. Who will get the jobs, and who won’t. Which neighborhoods will benefit from the project, and which ones will not. And all will be decided by committees, consultants and advisory groups of political insiders, assuming they can get the bureaucracy up and running.

What will be interesting here, but unfortunately unseen by the public, will be the looks on various faces when they learn they have been left out, rather than let in. In the meantime, another piece of public land will be lost to the monied and the privileged.

All of this proves that Mr. Obama is not a true Chicagoan, as one of the characteristics of which is the ability to recognize a good deal when it’s offered to you. The offer of free land at the now “dead” 87th Street/Lakeside Project could have possibly saved that imaginative and bold enterprise. And the deal offered by Columbia University was even better.

John Vukmirovich, Lemont