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Letters to the Editor

Ed Burke scandal points to necessary election reforms

14th Ward aldermanic incumbent Ed Burke federal extortion charges 2019 election ashlee rezin

14th Ward aldermanic candidate and incumbent Ed Burke, shown here outside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse earlier this month. Federal prosecutors have charged him with extortion. Burke is staying in the aldermanic race. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The case of Ald. Ed Burke, charged with a federal crime on Thursday, dramatically demonstrates that elected officials should not be involved in side businesses and major fundraising efforts that distract them from serving ordinary constituents.

Elected officials should be paid enough that they do not need outside employment, especially law practices that haul in fees for reducing property taxes for corporations and the wealthy. The result is higher property taxes for ordinary people.

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On a related point, public funding of political campaigns would end the blizzard of pay-to-play favoritism that benefits only the big donors. Every big contribution creates an obligation for the recipient, usually fulfilled in some form.

How about creating an election system that channels politicians into working for all constituents?

Richard Barsanti, Western Springs

A way to pay for the wall

If we want Mexico to pay for the “wall,” we should tax the remittances (person-to-person wire transfers of money) sent back to Mexico.  How does two percent sound? Mexico received more than $26 billion in remittances in 2017. Remittances are one of Mexico’s top sources of foreign income. This idea was squashed in Congress in 2017, but should be reintroduced.

Mike Rice, Jefferson Park