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Chopping down trees in Jackson Park shouldn’t be taken lightly

Cut trees in Jackson Park, across from the Hyde Park Academy High School. | Rick Majewski/For the Sun-Times.

The arbitrary cutting down of mature trees in the “Jackson Park Historic Landscape District and Midway Plaisance,” which is posted in the National Register of Historic Places, is no trivial matter.

It was to facilitate construction of the disputed Obama Center project that is the subject of a lawsuit pending in the federal court, which they have continually attempted to stall while they engage in their arboreal blitzkrieg.

It is a calculated corrupt act in defiance of the court hearing the case and the protections of our legal justice system. Why do defendants and their legal advisors need to rely on these kinds of shenanigans if their position had any merit?

Hundred-year-old trees cannot be replaced in the lifetime of any Chicago resident living today. For these public officials to commit such an irremediable act without even a thought about permitting the presiding judge in the matter to hear and decide their fate is further evidence of an egoistic exercise of power and miscarriage of justice that the park district and mayor have engaged in from the very beginning to achieve their illegal ends.

It is telling that these defendants, fearing to answer the complaint against them, knowing the legal sanctions for false pleading, have continued to stall in court while freely tearing up Jackson Park to create irreversible fait accompli on the ground.

It’s crystal clear, they have no shame!

Herb Caplan, president,

Protect Our Parks, Lake View

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Cupp’s mistake

I hate to say it, but the recent column by S.E. Cupp is a new rendition of Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” mistake (“Trump and the N-word: His fans wouldn’t mind if he said it” — Wednesday). If Trump’s opposition can’t restrain themselves from demeaning his voters and arrogantly strutting their own moral and intellectual superiority, they’ll get him re-elected in 2020 for sure.

S. Randolph Kretchmar, Wilmette

Forget police academy, spend money on opioid epidemic

Over Fourth of July weekend in 2017, Rahm Emanuel announced plans to construct a $95 million police training academy in West Garfield Park, an area hit particularly hard by the current opioid epidemic.

We know that criminalizing people who use drugs only makes them less safe. Increased police presence forces people to hide their use in fear of arrest, which can mean using alone in places they are not likely to be found if they overdose. It forces people to turn to less reliable sources for drugs, and makes them less likely to seek help for fear of facing further criminalization.

The current budget’s only mention of responding to the current opioid crisis refers to licensing prescribers, making no mention of heroin or fentanyl.

The $95 million that Emanuel plans to invest in the police academy should instead be used for community-based programs that seek to reduce the harms involved in opiate use, such as housing services, naloxone distribution, mental health clinics and schools.

Ann Tartakoff, Oak Park