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Time to change Illinois’ redistricting process

The state should take a page out of Iowa’s book for redistricting, where new maps are drawn by a bipartisan commission made up of citizens.

The House Redistricting Committee hears testimony from Andrew Ellison during a hearing at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on Oct. 20.
Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP

With the recent passage of new congressional maps, it is time for a change in our redistricting process. The new congressional districts that are awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature look like a jigsaw puzzle gone wrong. We can all agree that these maps show how much of a disaster redistricting can be when you let the party in power, Republican or Democrat, control the process. New maps that have no logical boundaries confuse voters and those running for office.

Princeton’s Gerrymandering Project gave our final congressional maps an “F” in partisan fairness, competitiveness and geographical features, and that is something we can all agree needs to change.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 350 words.

It is time we take a page out of Iowa’s book. Under Iowa’s model, new maps are drawn by a bipartisan commission made up of citizens, but the state legislature can approve or reject the proposals. Additionally, if the legislature rejects the first two proposals, it can marginally alter the third and final map. Ultimately, this process allows the General Assembly to continue to have its voice heard while allowing maps to be drawn based on fairness to voters and keeping communities together. This process would create districts with normal size and shapes instead of districts that look like the alphabet.

Although the next time we redraw districts will be in 2031, we should focus on reforming the broken system before this topic drifts into the background. If you would like to show support, sign the petition at Change.org/illinoisredistricting.

Josh Millard, Arenzville

A crime summit is exactly what Chicago doesn’t need

The Sun-Times last Monday published an editorial calling for a summit to stop violence and suggested bringing together “criminal justice experts, knowledgeable law enforcement experts, involved community activists, and others.”

That’s exactly what we shouldn’t do.

Chicago’s gun violence is principally the result of gangs, under drug prohibition, competing for gang and drug turf. This violence triggers endless retaliatory shootings and makes gun-toting a norm of life. These elements, working together, create the lawlessness we are experiencing.

The “experts” who support drug prohibition invited this mayhem. These experts, and community activists, accept drug prohibition as a given. When they gather to discuss how to stop violence, all options are “on the table,” except no, we can’t legalize drugs.

These experts represent the exact opposite of what needs to be done to stop the violence.

In a letter, one of those “experts,” Peter Bensinger, a former administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, chimes in to support the call for a summit with experts like him. Bensinger was also a member of former Gov. Jim Edgar’s Task Force on Crime and Corruption, which issued a report that mentioned drugs 124 times but did not make a single suggestion regarding a change in drug prohibition policy.

Drugs should be legalized to take away the profit motive, stop the shooting, and stop people from overdosing on street drugs that are not regulated.

The trouble is finding “experts, activists, preachers, pols and leaders” who are not drug-prohibitionists.

James E. Gierach, former executive board vice chair, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

Vaccination is sacrifice for the greater good

I find it difficult to understand why some rank-and file-Chicago police officers, under the direction of their union leader, John Catanzara, are refusing to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

I understand that that the First Amendment protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression, but that does not apply here.

We all have sacrificed some of our freedoms through government interference for the greater good. For example, we can’t smoke on airplanes, we are required to walk through metal detectors and children are required to receive immunizations.

We need to continue making sacrifices to end this horrible pandemic and get our freedom back. The motto of the CPD is “to serve and protect” but it’s hard to believe officers are serving and protecting Chicago residents when they are not vaccinated. Let’s follow the science.

John Livaich, Oak Lawn

Aaron Rodgers, from MVP to AWOL

Apparently the Chicago Bears aren’t the only ones to be victimized by Aaron Rodgers’ assorted deceptions. So are the Green Bay Packers, as well as the entire NFL.

But in the end, who’s fooling who? Last year’s MVP will now be AWOL for at least one game and possibly more after he tested positive for COVID-19. Even worse, this mask-less super hero, who isn’t vaccinated, was in close proximity to teammates and reporters for weeks, putting them at risk.

It was a classless act of arrogance, and while it may be true that he “owns” the Bears, he has no such claim on the truth or his own personal integrity.

Bob Ory, Elgin