The editorial “Chicago’s priority in 2019 — Keep pushing that homicide rate down,” (Jan. 2) should give some of the mayoral candidates, most notably Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Gery Chico, some food for thought on firing Police Supt. Eddie Johnson.

Preckwinkle is on record saying she would fire the superintendent because he has a different opinion than she does on the so-called ‘”code of silence” among police. In my opinion, differing opinions are not a bad thing. And in the last two years, Chicago has seen significant double-digit declines in killings and shootings. Who is leading that effort?

The editorial points out that “as we consider what’s behind the declining homicide tally in Chicago in 2018, we see proof that our city’s cops are pros. They continue to do their jobs despite pressure and criticisms — often in the service of reform, and necessary — from many sides.” Do we want to fire the man who is the leader of that effort because he has a different opinion on some issues? Chicago’s police department was in dire need of leadership when Johnson was hired, and the entire city is finally seeing some results in its fight against violence.

The next mayor would be very smart to retain the man who is at the head of that effort. The fight by no means is over, but credit should go to the man in the arena. Johnson has earned the right to continue that fight.

Bob Angone, retired Chicago police lieutenant, Miramar Beach, Florida

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What about Nelson Algren?

I was a bit surprised that none of the mayoral candidates surveyed by the Sun-Times for its New Year’s Day editorial “Best Chicago book ever?” mentioned Nelson Algren. “The Neon Wilderness” and “The Man with the Golden Arm” put the reader on the streets of Chicago as convincingly as anything ever written about this city.

I also add an honorable mention to Ovid Demaris’ “Captive City” on Chicago and the Mafia.

John T. Riley, Galewood

Do homework before critiquing socialism

Randy Rossi’s Jan. 1 letter, “Fans of socialism should listen to folks who have lived under socialism,” with its black/white portrait of ‘socialism bad-capitalism good’ is hilarious in its misunderstanding of simple political economy.

Rossi is shocked that a majority of young voters and Democrats favor socialism over capitalism, setting up the straw man of Venezuela, the worst-run socialist nation. He ignores the great majority of better run, more prosperous nations with varying degrees of government control and strong social welfare systems that produce more happiness among citizens, such as Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand and Belgium.

Rossi is simply parroting the right-wing playbook. If you point out the worst, most callous and criminally run government, socialism can be pretty bad. But of course that applies to any such poorly run capitalist economy as well. 

Rossi closes with a gratuitous insult, quoting his idol John Wayne to characterize American socialists: “Life is tough Pilgrim. It is really tough if you’re stupid.” I’m not going to charge Rossi with being stupid — just not doing his homework.

Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn