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Sometimes landlords who evict a tenant are the good guys

Some of my neighbors think the ban on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic is a license for them to behave badly.

Dean Thompson holds the keys to her South Side apartment.
A tenant holds the keys to her South Side apartment.
Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

I read the article on landlords using illegal means to evict tenants. I feel badly for tenants who are going through tough times financially. I know how difficult it can be to find work in a down economy.

Still, I am troubled by how landlords are usually portrayed as the bad guys. These situations are not always so black-and-white. Tenants have some responsibility too.

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In my building, for example, some of my neighbors believe the ban on evictions allows them to behave badly. Early in the pandemic, a neighbor had a party, with people gathered together in close proximity without masks or social distancing. I called police, who assured me they had stopped by, but the party was not broken up.

Several neighbors have played loud bass music at all hours of the day and night, so loud that my unit shakes and I feel it through the floor from below.

Further, our landlord has banned all smoking, including tobacco and marijuana, to ensure the health of all tenants, especially those with asthma and allergies. Still, some neighbors believe it is OK to smoke within their units. They seem not to realize that the smoke wafts through walls and floors into others’ units.

And one night around midnight, a neighbor got into a fight with an alcoholic friend, and my baseboard heating unit was torn off my wall from the impact of the physical altercation on the other side. I called the police, but my neighbor did not open the door. The landlord later told me there was damage in the neighbor’s unit too.

I believe the landlord is doing the best he can, but without the stick of an eviction, what more can he do? In several cases, neighbors disregard police as well.

I want tenants to be protected and to have rights, but along with those rights comes responsibility.

Melanie Rogers, Edgewater

On those historic statues

I am of Native American (Arapaho) and Irish descent, and my family has seen as well as been a victim of horrible injustice at the hands of people in this country.

I had family members who were killed at the Sand Creek massacre in 1864, or who were thrown off their land or survived religious persecution. Some of the people who started or ordered these injustices are celebrated with statues. But I am disturbed that these historic statutes are being destroyed by young people and removed by governments.

This country doesn’t have a pretty history. I despise some of the people who are celebrated, but we need to keep those statutes up to remind us of our past and to ensure these injustices never happen again. The statues should ignite emotion and be there to remind the whole world about the way people were treated.

We should look at them and remind us of what not to do, not just what they did.

Terry Cornell, Evergreen Park

Stop with the loud fireworks

Summer in Chicago is finally here, and due to COVID-19 many of us are trying to enjoy the time in our backyards and front porches.

Unfortunately, illegal fireworks and deafening M80 firecrackers are back. This illegal activity begins in late spring and continues throughout the summer. Emergency rooms are busier with injuries, frightened dogs run away, and backyards are strewn with debris.

Pity the elderly, the sick, those with PTSD, and pets. It’s probably a lost cause, but if these pyromaniacs are going to continue this activity, call the police.

Many of us want to crawl out of our basements, walk our dogs without having to suffer random “kabooms,” and go to sleep.

Bridget Ozolins, Norwood Park

A Supreme Court shift?

I shudder when I think of President Trump being re-elected. The thought of four more years of Trump appointing Supreme Court justices is perhaps the most horrific aspect of a second term. Imagine a court that is 6-3 or even 7-2! Even the current 5-4 court has yielded some outrageous decisions.

But there is a small ray of hope. There is a history of conservative Supreme Court justices evolving toward more moderate, if not progressive, positions, often surprising and disappointing the Republican presidents who appointed them (see John Paul Stevens, for example).

Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the four progressive justices on LGBTQ rights and protection of the DACA program. On the former, he also was joined by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch. Needless to say, they both caught hell from the far right. Roberts already had felt that wrath after voting to protect the Affordable Care Act.

No doubt we’d be in a better place had Sen. Mitch McConnell not blocked the Senate’s confirmation the Supreme Court of Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee. But I see hope that the historical weight of the decisions that justices must make might compel one or more of the court’s more conservative justices to do the right thing.

Who would have thought Roberts would become a (kind of) swing vote when he was appointed?

Having said all that, let’s make things easier and get Joe Biden in the White House!

Michael F. DeSantiago, Niles