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If commercializing national parks is bad, so is building the Obama Center in Jackson Park

Why validate a 23-story-tall tower replacing hundreds of historic trees in a migrating bird flight path, in a public park designed by the iconic Frederick Law Olmsted?  

Earth-moving equipment in Jackson Park on Aug. 6, 2018. Hyde Park High School is in the background. | Rick Majewski/For the Sun-Times

Why, in the words of a Sun-Times editorial, is it “hard to buy” the Trump administration rationale of “underused” to justify allowing businesses in the national parks when columnist Mary Mitchell has characterized Chicago’s Jackson Park as “underused” to justify construction there?

Why object to the Trump administration’s commercialization of the national parks but support the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, turning it into a tourist attraction?

Why acquiesce to the Obama Center’s entrance and parking fees?

Plenty of ordinary people can’t afford it.

Why accept turning Obama Center’s upper floors into rental units, with gift shops?

Most “wretched” of all, why validate a 23-story-tall tower replacing hundreds of historic trees in a migrating bird flight path, in a public park designed by the iconic Frederick Law Olmsted?

Charlotte Adelman, Wilmette

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Welcome any law that fights for ending animal abuse


Columnist Jacob Sullum is criticizing the constitutionality of the PACT Act, a federal law that safeguards helpless animals from being tortured, crushed, burned or drowned, by more severely punishing perpetrators.

I don’t purport to be able to analyze the fine points of the law here, but I wonder why Sullum has chosen to highlight this particular law in his apparent goal of advocating for limiting the powers of the federal government.

Animal cruelty is a sadly ubiquitous anomaly of our society and any law that gives pause to the abusers is much needed and most welcome!

Perhaps he should focus on criticizing the unfair laws that allow industries to pollute at will or weaken FDA protections instead of denigrating a law that protects helpless sentient creatures against abject cruelty.

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

The Daily Northwestern must learn from their mistakes

Kudos to the Sun-Times for calling out the journalism wannabes at the Daily Northwestern for their repudiation of the practice of good journalism and reportorial ingenuity which I, for one, learned and practiced at Medill as a student in the graduate school decades ago.

I know I speak for my classmates and every working journalist who says “Congratulations!” to the resourceful reporters on The Daily who found a way to track down protesters to obtain comments about their participation in the rally against Jeff Sessions.

I remember the time I managed to contact a Niles clergyman active in a protest against some proposed event at the local high school.

When I tried to engineer a quote for him that he wouldn’t give me, per se, he said, very calmly, “Look, you can write whatever you’d like. I’m not saying anything you can use. By the way, I’m also a Medill graduate!”

At that point, I said, ”Thank you,” and hung up.

The protesters contacted by Daily reporters could have said the same thing, without crying about the harm to their delicate sensitivities.

George Haber, Long Island, New York