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To stop Chicago’s gang violence, bring back ‘stop and frisk’

Street cops have a sense of the streets they patrol, and with the proper supervision, stop-and-frisk works.

Police place evidence markers on the street at the scene of a shooting.
Police place evidence markers on the street at the scene of a shooting involving multiple victims in Austin.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

When Mayor Lori Lightfoot holds her first meeting with the top brass of the Chicago Police Department, I wonder if any of them will say what most of us retired or veteran cops are thinking: After the bloodiest weekend of the year, in which 52 people were shot, eight of them fatally, it’s time to at least consider two strategies that will go a long way in the fight against gang violence.

The first is “stop and frisk,” a proven deterrent to stopping armed shooters from getting to their targets. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the practice in Terry vs. Ohio. Street cops have a sense of the streets they patrol, and with the proper supervision, stop-and-frisk works. Chicago desperately needs to have another look at the agreement it signed with the American Civil Liberties Union that, in my opinion, has hurt law enforcement’s ability to curtail gang violence. The last two weekends in Chicago have been horrendous, and bold steps are badly needed.

The second suggestion I’m hoping the police brass pitch to Mayor Lightfoot is the need for a citywide gang unit that includes CPD officers and federal agents, working with federal prosecutors and federal courts. The current system in Cook County is failing. The weather seems to be the best crime deterrent the city has, and that has to change.

No amount of blame or words are getting through to gang shooters. Violent, anti-social behavior needs to be confronted.

Bob Angone, retired Chicago police lieutenant, Miramar Beach, Florida

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The GOP adds no value to the ‘fair tax’ debate

The debate over improving Illinois’ tax structure moves from the Legislature to the voters with the bill that puts the Fair Tax constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot.

Sadly, the Illinois GOP has abdicated contributing anything of substance to the debate. All 44 House Republicans spoke, and not one added value to the question of how to solve our financial problems or fix our outmoded, unfair and inefficient tax structure. Some examples:

“The vote was a foregone conclusion... the end result of the Illinois Democrats’ historical, reckless, irresponsible budgeting and spending.” — House Republican leader Jim Durkin.

“We need to address the underlying drivers and we need to get our financial house in order, and this amendment does none of those things.” — Rep. Margo McDermed

“Do we need tax reform? You bet we do. We need a global review of our entire tax system ... with an operating system that tracks our economy, that doesn’t create class envy and class warfare and take money from those who are the most productive in our society. We need a tax system that tracks our economy.” — Rep. Steve Reich

These legislators refuse to acknowledge two decades in which critical services were cut to the bone. They refuse to offer any substantive adjustment to the eighth-worst regressive tax structure in the country. They applauded four years in which their governor offered only wildly unbalanced budgets, because he had nothing left to cut and nothing to offer for additional revenue.

By all means, let’s have a serious debate before the amendment is voted on. But to have a debate, both sides must contribute substance.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn