A proposal by some of Chicago’s leading community organizations to form a seven-person Commission of Public Safety that would have oversight of the Chicago Police Department and carry with it the power to remove a police superintendent has some merit. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability would also be answerable to this commission.

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However I believe a better solution would be to call for the Police Board to be elected by the people. When Eddie Johnson was picked by the mayor to be police superintendent, it was considered an end run by the mayor. The Police Board interviewed several candidates from all over the country and Chicago. By city law, they turned over the names of the three best candidates for the mayor to make his choice. None of the three candidates was selected by the mayor.

Should one man have the power to make this selection and bypass his own Police Board’s recommendations? Having an open election of Police Board members with no ties to the mayor (Police Board Members are selected by the mayor) would eliminate any sort of back door maneuver. Chicago needs to get politics out of the selection process for this critical appointment. Let the people decide who will select Chicago’s police leaders.

Bob Angone, Miramar Beach, Florida

Intellectually dishonest

Robert Reich’s column printed in the Sun-Times Thursday is intellectually dishonest. Reich describes Ayn Rand as an intellectual enemy of the “common good.” Rand wrote that the source of much that is evil in the world is the belief that people have a duty to sacrifice their freedom and welfare to something greater than themselves, to an higher cause. This belief underlies the Cultural Revolution in China, the collectivization of agriculture under Stalin, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the Holocaust in Europe, not to mention wars and other atrocities done in the name of a long list of religions.

Ayn Rand

Rand never posited that we do not have common interests. In fact, it is just the opposite: she championed free trade between and among persons. For Rand, the common good was the good that was freely chosen by people, not the “good” imposed on them by an authority, whether political or religious.

It is absurd to link Donald Trump to Ayn Rand regardless of Trump’s identification with a character Rand created in one of her books. Trump’s imposition of tariffs and punitive actions toward individuals who come to this country seeking freedom for the pursuit of happiness show how far Trump is ideologically from Rand.

Reich also fails to acknowledge the difference between Reich’s view of “selfishness” and Rand’s view. Rand said that people’s interests do not conflict; that my happiness does not stand in the way of yours. The actions that Reich attributes to “selfishness” are, seen from Rand’s perspective, acts that are self-destructive, not selfish.

Bert Rice, Hyde Park

Legalize marijuana

Yes, we have two problems, and we can solve both with one step. Opioids kill, and they are very good at it. We need a solution.

Marijuana is illegal, and we destroy lives and spend our tax dollars by locking people up for using it.

The two-fer solution: Legalize marijuana. Marijuana is a great pain killer, and it doesn’t addict or kill people.

Lee Knohl, Evanston

Keep jobs in America

If the goal of American trade policy is to bring products to the American people at the lowest possible prices, then, by all means, free, unfettered trade is the way to get that.

But when businesses close and jobs move out of the country due to free trade, then the cost to our country is greater than the desired benefits.

We lose the tax revenues from both corporate profits and the workers, and we end up paying the people who aren’t working anymore. All this puts pressure on the government to raise taxes, borrow money, print money and still add more to our growing debt that can someday collapse.

The question is not tariffs or no tariffs, trade wars, free trade, fair trade, or treaties. The goals should be keeping American jobs in America, bringing the jobs back that have left, and creating the environment for people to start and grow companies here.

Larry Craig, Wilmatte

Government overreach

Illinois’ proposed gun store state licensing bill is ripe for government overreach in controlling business. The liberal-left-controlled Legislature can create the regulations so onerous and set the license fees so high that it would be virtually impossible for 99 percent of the gun stores to comply. This would, in effect, run them out of business. This is what they are really after.

John Deal, Dolton