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Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians deserve generous benefits

Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra strike in front of Symphony Hall on March 12. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

I am dismayed by the conflict between the Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians and the CSO board. Our Chicago Symphony Orchestra is an amazing and world-class orchestra. They are ambassadors of arts and culture around the world, an inspiration for new generations of artists, and one of the prides of this city.

They deserve generous (not simply adequate – but competitively generous) pay that reflects the quality of musician we deserve in Chicago and that reflects the time, work, and money that goes into the formation and development of a world-class musician. They deserve health care that reflects the toll that musicianship takes on their bodies. And they deserve generous pensions that allow the CSO musicians to be guides and mentors for new generations of musicians.

There are hundreds of years of music that to deserve to be interpreted and shared and not all musicians can do this with the art of the current CSO and their conductor, Riccardo Muti.

I hope that the board of the CSO will grant the musicians their terms, save our CSO, and be lauded as true benefactors of our national arts.

Rev. Hilary Krivchenia, Palatine

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No more R. Kelly front pages

Please, I am so tired of seeing R. Kelly’s face on the front page of the Sun-Times. If you must report on this sad person, please bury the news on a back page.

Neta Jackson, Evanston

For starters, Chicago needs rent control

I am a renter. So are at least 43 percent of Chicagoans. My fellow renters already want rent control — referenda in wards all over the city have approved of rent control by 65 percent to 70 percent. Rent control is a necessary step to ease our housing crisis.

But I want to tell my fellow Chicagoans that rent control alone is not enough to save our city from developers’ relentless drive to profit from our basic human need for housing, and their power over city government.

It’s time for large landlords and developers to give us a rationale for why they can amass unprecedented wealth from our basic human need for a home. It’s time for the City Council to end the thinly veiled bribery of letting the real estate industry fund their campaigns, then funding the real estate industry with our tax money and cheap land.

Developers benefit from our pooled resources like public infrastructure, parks and schools, then loot our treasury. Just last week, the City Council gave development companies Sterling Bay and AECOM tens of millions in tax breaks and cash, putting our city further in debt for controversial projects.

Though it is just one step, rent control encourages Chicagoans to ask: what if we built a city guided by the needs of its citizens, rather than more profits for the wealthy few?

We could make a massive investment in affordable housing, which would encourage just economic development in neglected neighborhoods. We could ban tax breaks for development companies, so that only economically viable projects are undertaken, instead of over-budget cash grabs.

Shelter is our basic human need, not an opportunity for the rich to get richer.

Brian J. Bennett, Andersonville