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Making public Ella French’s shortcomings does not diminish her sacrifice

Facts are facts. Let COPA do its job without fear of political reprisal, which is why COPA supposedly exists in the first place.

the funeral of Officer Ella French
Hundreds of Chicago police officers and other law enforcement officers gather outside St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel for the funeral of Officer Ella French on Aug. 19.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

An explanation is due. Is the Civilian Office of Police Accountability supposed to judge and report police officer accountability objectively, according to specified job standards of conduct as required, without fear, favor or exception. Or is it to bend to fickle political will depending on which way the wind is blowing at a particular time?

Yes, all Chicago is saddened by the death of any police officer. Yes, we mourn for every one of them killed protecting the rest of us. But if for emotional reasons, not objective reasons, we disregard the reporting standards for one officer killed in line of duty, in this case Ella French, where does it end? To do so risks collapsing COPA’s entire mission to report findings objectively, rendering it an empty, non-credible shell subject to political whim.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot and those agreeing with her that the minor shortcomings of Ella French’s job performance should have been kept hidden are risking a major credibility debacle. To collude in concealing minor shortcomings of a hero cop is wrong. Making public Ella French’s shortcomings does not diminish her sacrifice.

Why overrreact as if it does? Facts are facts. Let COPA do its job without fear of political reprisal, which is why COPA supposedly exists in the first place.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Pair infrastructure bill with legislation to address climate change

President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure plan with great fanfare. Rebuilding our country’s infrastructure — a long overdue objective — is necessary and important. This bipartisan legislation also shows Americans can still come together and solve our most pressing challenges.

But Congress must pair this infrastructure bill with comprehensive legislation to address climate change. It is irresponsible not to tackle these problems simultaneously. Without addressing the cause of climate change, any infrastructure we build will falter against more severe heat waves, droughts and storms. With increasing regularity, our infrastructure fails in the face of extreme weather resulting in tragedy after tragedy. This nightmarish drumbeat will only accelerate if Congress and the world do not act swiftly.

There is a bipartisan solution that Americans across the political spectrum support that promotes sustainable growth around the world: carbon pricing. The EU recently advanced this system to combat climate change. So has Canada.

By putting a price on carbon that reflects its cost and placing tariffs on the imports of nations that refuse to also price carbon, this policy would spur American innovation to solve our climate crisis. Pairing carbon pricing with a dividend paid to Americans from the revenues collected would also counteract increased costs.

Everyone from Mitt Romney to Dick Durbin, Bernie Sanders to Exxon has promoted this solution in some way. To ensure the safety and livelihoods of Americans and the integrity of the infrastructure we are building, Congress must act boldly to address climate change now.

Tim Parilla, Old Town