Politicians should not be funded by those they regulate

If we want sound regulations that protect the public, we must have public funding of election campaigns so debate is fair and government decisions are based strictly on merit.

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Portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio.

Portions of a Norfolk Southern freight train that derailed Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio.

Gene J. Puskar/AP Photos

Sensible regulations could have prevented the Norfolk Southern train derailment and spill of toxic chemicals in Ohio near the Pennsylvania border and many of the other over 1,000 train derailments every year.

Any community near railroad tracks could be next.

After the Obama administration proposed improved train braking systems, the railroad industry lobbied against it as too expensive and contributed $6 million to Republican candidates in 2016. President Donald Trump repealed the brake rule and the Biden administration did not restore it.

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Norfolk Southern recently reported record profits as its rate of accidents increased in each of the last four years.

“For years the railroads have fought all kinds of basic safety regulations—modern braking systems, stronger tank cars for explosive materials, even information about what’s in trains passing through communities—based on an argument that it simply costs too much to protect our lives, health, and our air and water,” Kristen Boyles of Earthjustice, an environmental group, told the New York Times.

Politicians should not be funded by those they regulate. It is clearly a conflict of interest. If we want sound regulations that protect the public, we must have public funding of election campaigns so debate is fair and government decisions are based strictly on merit.

Richard Barsanti, Western Springs

Rethinking single-use plastic cups

At the theater recently, some in my party decided to purchase a beverage at intermission. Trying to avoid plastic (water was only available in plastic bottles) they asked for a Coke® and a sparkling water, which were in single-use recyclable cans. The servers refused to give the drinks in the cans and insisted on serving the drinks in non-recyclable, single-use plastic cups. The entire can was poured into the cup.

While I can understand using additional cups for bulk beverage service, it makes no sense for single-serving beverages. This practice is essentially adding cost to the beverage service and more plastic to the landfills.

The lack of thought and the abject absurdity amazes me.

Claudia Jackson, Fulton District

The cost of consequences

We don’t like it.

This is in regard to the letter published in the Sun-Times: “Like it or not, crooked lawmakers earned their pensions.”

Sorry, if they committed a felony/crime during the performance of their job, they should lose their pensions. If you think they shouldn’t, then tell that to ex-Bolingbrook police sergeant Drew Peterson, who lost his pension for committing a crime on duty, as well as many other police officers and other public servants who lost their pensions after committing a crime.

So tell me again, why shouldn’t any lawmakers lose their pensions for a felony conviction arising from their job paid for by tax payers?

Play stupid games, win, stupid prizes.

John Moravecek, Naperville

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