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Exelon should stop its panic peddling over nuclear plants

We’re pleased that the Sun-Times Editorial Board recognizes the outrageousness of Exelon Corp.’s claim without proof that three of its nuclear sites need “legislation that might give it a greater competitive edge.”  [“Report data show Exelon must make case for rate changes,” Jan. 8].  They’ve spent the better part of a year panic peddling the Legislature and public about dire consequences to Illinois which the state Agency Report says are unlikely to happen, instead of making a sound financial case for all to review.  Still, we remain baffled that state government is now expected to be the guarantor of a private corporation’s profitability (we thought that was the responsibility of Exelon’s CEO and Board), using ratepayer wallets, no less.

LETTERS TO EDITOR

We take issue however with the assertion that Exelon’s reactors “produces environmentally clean energy.” While their nuclear reactors may not release carbon while generating electricity, they do create large quantities of highly radioactive wastes which must be kept out of the environment for tens of thousands of years – hardly a “clean” process. We believe that Exelon’s co-opting the EPA carbon rule to subsidize uneconomic nuclear reactors is nothing more than trading more plutonium for less carbon.  This is just plain dumb energy policy, given the availability of viable energy alternatives, which the Agency Report asserts exist.

David A. Kraft, Director. Nuclear Energy Information Service

Watchdogs off the scent this time

In today’s paper, the “Watchdogs” reported that former CPS CEO Huberman owns a company that does business with the Chicago Public Schools. This story describes that Huberman’s company provides schools with an assessment tool used in the hiring of teachers.

Let me make sure I get this straight: Huberman, after leaving the CPS, started a company that matched his background and experience. Then, that same company, that provides a service to schools, happens to do business with the largest school district in the state. Did anyone expect Mr. Huberman to stay out of the field of education for the rest of his life?

There are other more pressing issues in the state; perhaps the “Watchdogs” should focus their energy on them.

Chris Newsom, Elgin

Give grants to students

Once again our president has shown his heart is in the right place but his head gets in the way. Free two-year community college education is a good idea, but forcing the taxpayers and states to come up with the money isn’t making it free. He is throwing his money at the problem in hopes of fixing it, just like the Solyndra debacle.  Half a billion dollars wasted for a single manufacturing company that in the end couldn’t keep up with China. If you give that $500 million to consumers to put solar panels on their homes, everyone wins. The nation gets a little greener, American companies get business, homeowners get free power.

In the case of college, put the focus on the student, not the college. Take money from the wasted billions we send oversees (do we really need to pay 75 percent of NATO’s budget?) and make that money available in more grants to lower income families, and everyone wins. The colleges get more students, the country gets smarter, and the student is on a better path in life to succeed.

Scot Sinclair, Gurnee

Rauner’s  mountain

When billionaire Bruce Rauner decided to buy the Illinois governorship last February, he looked westward for inspiration. Sadly, for Illinois, he didn’t look far enough.

Rauner’s gaze beheld Brownback Mountain, a.k.a., Kansas, governed by Sam Brownback, the most fiscally irresponsible governor in America. In 2012, to ensure his re-election two years hence, Brownback cut taxes on small businesses and partnerships, to zero. That’s right, not one red state cent. ”Tax revenue will actually rise,” cried Brownback. Two years on Kansas is broke and in violation of its balanced budget law. Brownback’s solution? Borrow money from public employee pension funds. If that doesn’t work, take more from health and environment, at a time when a Kansas court chided Brownback for already underfunding K through 12 education.

Rauner’s Illinois version of Brownback Mountain consisted of eying the $6 billion Illinois budget shortfall and promising cutting personal and corporate taxes by a total of $6 billion. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? And further channeling his new mentor on Brownback Mountain, Rauner promised to increase funding for education and other critical services.

As Bruce Rauner ascends to the Illinois governorship, he should rue the day he stopped his westward gaze at Brownback Mountain. He should have extended his vision to California where another Governor Brown, as in Jerry, closed a $25 billion budget deficit in 2010, with sensible spending cuts and tax increases.

Fasten your seat belts, Illinoisans. We may be seeing a replay of Brownback Mountain turning into Brokeback Mountain.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn