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City pensions take a hit while Neely gets special deal

What ex-treasurer Stephanie Neely was allowed to do with her pension, moving it to a special system for politicians in order to be eligible, is a direct slap in the face to every city worker active or retired. This perk should have been the first thing to go when Mayor Emanuel started talking about reform. Let’s do the math: I work 33.5 years for the city, only to see my pension cost-of-living increases gutted and my health care eliminated. Neely works for the city just eight years and joins a secret retirement club and life goes on. Wake up, citizens. It’s not the city worker getting a free pass after retirement; it’s the elected officials ripping the city off.

Anthony Megaro, Hegewisch

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Take your hands off our lakefront
In 1890, mail order tycoon Montgomery Ward brought suit to have the Chicago lakefront kept open forever. He continued the fight for 20 years. Finally, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld Ward’s arguments, on Dec. 21, 1910. More than a century later, Montgomery Ward is the man who saved Chicago’s lakefront for the people of Chicago. And it remains unobstructed as of yet from DePaul University’s gymnasium and George Lucas’ terrible tents. Come on — no discussion. Just stop even considering any building on the lakefront. I’m 83 and have enjoyed biking and hiking along the lakefront all my life. Keep it open for my children, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Chicago has the most beautiful Lakefront in all the world. Keep it that way.

Marianne Moravek, Riverside

Video gaming helps Chicago neighborhoods
As we head into 2015, some major changes are on the way for our state government in Springfield. The video gaming industry is ready to work with our new leaders to support our local neighborhoods and rebuild our economy.

The Illinois Gaming Machine Operators Association, on behalf of the video gaming industry, wants to welcome Gov.-elect Rauner, the 15 new legislators taking office in January including city Reps. Pamela Reaves-Harris and Will Guzzardi, and the returning members as they come to serve at an important time for our state.

Video gaming is doing its part to help get Illinois on a better track. There are now more than 18,600 video gaming machines operating in nearly 4,600 locations around the state. Those machines have produced nearly $160 million in state and local tax revenue in 2014 through October.

Those dollars are supporting thousands of local jobs, helping local governments shore up their budgets and afford infrastructure projects and providing critical money for the state’s capital construction program — repairing and building roads, bridges and transit systems and putting people to work. This is local entertainment that draws people to bars, restaurants and fraternal organizations and provides hope to so many business owners hurt in recent years by the economic downturn. Video gaming is strictly regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board, and our industry made up of a collection of responsible small businesses is proud of the progress since video gaming terminals were turned on in fall 2012.

IGMOA and our partners in the Support Main Street Illinois Coalition see video gaming helping neighborhoods every day. We look forward to educating our new elected officials on how video gaming is making a difference for our state, and to working together to keep more entertainment money for local benefit.

Michael Gelatka
President, Illinois Gaming Machine
Operators Association

Lansing