Metra, enforce your mask mandate and keep all of us passengers safe

Many passengers either remove their masks as soon as they get on the train or never wear one at all. I have been told that Metra will only try to “educate” passengers, not “force” anyone to comply.

SHARE Metra, enforce your mask mandate and keep all of us passengers safe
A reminder to wear a mask is posted on a Metra train at Metra’s Western Avenue Coach Yard at 2801 W. Grand Ave.

A reminder to wear a mask is posted on a Metra train at Metra’s Western Avenue coach yard.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

New cases of coronavirus are spiking to record levels, we are likely facing a “second wave,” and it is abundantly clear that the virus can be spread by aerosol transmission.

Metra has finally made it clear, by way of signs and notices on its website, and sometimes even by announcements made on the trains, that passengers are required to wear masks. However, the policy seems to be to do absolutely nothing to enforce the rule.

As a result, many passengers either remove their masks as soon as they get on the train or never wear one at all, endangering everyone else. I have repeatedly complained and begged Metra’s safety director to enforce this rule in the same way it enforces all the others — that is, to ask passengers who do not wear masks to leave the train, just as they do when passengers use profanity, evade paying fares or put their feet on the seats.

But I have been told that Metra will only try to “educate” passengers, not “force” anyone to comply. This is inconsistent with Metra’s obligation to keep passengers safe and will only contribute to more sickness and even deaths that could be avoided.

Lynne Plum Duffey, Villa Park

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Vote for Toomin, send a message

For too many years, the slating and election of judges in Cook County has been a process in which Democratic Party bosses and their chosen judiciary candidates were joined at the hip.

This tradition gives the impression that democracy is taking place, while in reality, backroom political deals give politicians too much control.The op-ed by Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinckle against the retention of Judge Michael Toomin is a prime example of how politics obstructs the justice system in Cook County.

The Cook County Democratic Party puts out county-wide mailings to an overwhelmingly Democratic-leaning electorate. Numerous Chicago and suburban committeemen distribute palm cards to voters. The Democratic machine has considerable, and unhealthy, influence, especially down the ballot where few voters know the candidates. This is not civic education or an appropriate way to inform voters. When money and politics are the driving force behind judicial endorsements, the people lose.

Preckwinkle, head of the Cook County Democratic Party, is urging voters to vote against a judge who is highly recommended by the vast majority of bar associations whose members interact with judges on a daily basis and can evaluate the quality and character of judges in our legal system.

Preckwinkle says, ”The call for change in leadership neither begins nor ends with the Democratic Party.” She fails to mention that there should be no place for party politics if our county is going to have an independent and fair judicial system.

We need more independent judges willing to stand up to powerful political influences, not fewer.We need different, apolitical methods to inform voters of judges’ qualifications. Preckwinkle and the Democratic party are going out of their way to oust Toomin and keep the party’s control over judges.

As a civics teacher and a Democratic party voter who believes in an independent judiciary, I urge voters to send the Democratic Machine a message and support Judge Michael Toomin — and other judges who won’t let politics get in the way of their duty to be impartial and uphold justice.

Froylan Jimenez, civics teacher, Pilsen

The Civic Federation’s self-interest

So the Civic Federation opposes the Fair Tax Amendment, but is in favor of a system of graduated tax brackets. Its opposition isbased upon the specifics of the tax brackets to be imposed.

That’s like saying you’re in favor of fire prevention, but you oppose the purchase of all hoses because those under consideration are too big.

The Civic Federation has taken a position that clearly identifies them as acting out of self-interest.If they truly believe a graduated income tax is something the state can benefit from, then they should support this amendment. It is the only way to implement such a system in our state.

If they have a problem with the brackets proposed, then they can approach the Illinois General Assembly later about altering them.TheCivicFederationknows all too well that the creation of income tax brackets depends on the passage of this amendment this amendment is defeated, the likelihood of a second attempt to create a graduated tax will be very poor.

This is the Civic Federation’s attempt to straddle the political fence while keeping the drawstrings on their purses closed tight.Their position is a shameful display of self interest.

David Eppenstein, Hickory Hills

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