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LETTERS: New Jackson Park golf course may have many hidden costs

The Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary next to South Shore Beach in Chicago. A plan to create a championship golf course there would require that the sanctuary be moved. | Tom McNamee/Sun-Times

Reviewing the various proposals for a new golf course in Jackson Park, the one item that stands out is the lack of candor when it comes to the costs and who will be responsible when the bills come due. I have attempted to determine what the costs would be with the belief that when the governmental agencies in Illinois proclaim this will be the total cost the initial bid is always to low and cost overruns will occur.

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  1. Cornell Drive & Marquette Road closings and traffic re-routings will be paid for by the taxpayers, but I could not find any estimate of the cost.
  2. The parking garage and bridge for the Obama Presidential Library will cost at least $50 million and will be paid for by the taxpayers.
  3. The Metra Station at 59th Street & 60 Street will cost $9 million. I estimate the taxpayer will be responsible for $6.5 million, and the University of Chicago has agreed to pay $2.5 million.
  4. Jeffery Avenue and 67th Street pedestrian underpasses will cost $15 million to $20 million, and the taxpayer will be responsible for the cost.
  5. Shoreline improvements between 67th to 71st Street will cost $15 million to $20 million, and the taxpayer will be responsible for the cost.
  6. Golf course renovations, new clubhouse for the golfers, extension of the driving range, etc. are estimated to cost $30 million, Chicago Parks Golf Alliance’s Brian Hogan claims his group will raise $24 million and the taxpayers will be responsible for the remainder. I believe that this claim of the total cost for the Tiger Woods Golf Course is a low-ball claim.
  7. Former President Barack Obama has floated the idea that his center will have a new Chicago Public Library branch, but it is not clear who will bear the responsibility for the cost of this facility.
  8. If a new Jackson Park field house and athletic facility are built, I believe the taxpayers will be responsible for its cost.
  9. Will the Chicago Police Department’s mounted unit depart its current facility at the South Shore Country Club park? If so, the taxpayer will be responsible for the associated costs?
  10. The Clarence Darrow Bridge needs to be rebuilt, and that is another cost that the taxpayer is responsible for.

I call on the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District to inform us of the true costs of their future desires and explain to the public how they intend on paying the bills.

Michael Hoke, Hyde Park

Hard to believe Trump

Donald Trump just gave a rousing speech condemning hate groups, naming the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists in particular. This speech was designed to beat back national outrage that he did not make stronger statements in the aftermath of the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. I look at this speech in light of other speeches he has given both before and after he was elected.

I have trouble believing anything this “president” says. I might begin to believe his promises in this recent speech, if he would go into the Oval Office and immediately tell his resident white supremacists, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sabastian Gorka to clear out their desks. Then, only then, will I begin to believe what comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.

Karen Wagner, Rolling Meadows

Where does it end?

Now that our ever-so-wise Cook County Board of Commissioners passed the Cook County sweetened beverage tax ordinance, I feel that they should now look elsewhere for income streams. Bakeries would be a good beginning because, as we all know, baked goods are chocked full of sugar. Next look at breakfast, luncheon, and dinner menus at various fast food and full service restaurants to scout out and identify other ingredients that could be harmful to one’s health. Where does it end?

John Livaich, Oak Lawn

Unfair tax

Consider the recent implementation of the beverage tax in Cook County. Homeowners in Cook County already pay thousands of dollars in property taxes, so the relative proportion of increase in money they pay to Cook County due to the beverage tax is small.

However, renters in Cook County, who have less lifetime savings and less annual income than homeowners, do not pay property taxes, so for them the beverage tax is disproportionate and comes directly out of their after tax, disposable income. Therefore, the beverage tax is really tax on the poor. So much for democratic ideals ruling in Chicago.

Secondly, the tax is not really a proportional tax on sugar, from which the beverage tax is based. A one-half gallon, healthy, passion fruit drink which contains only 23 grams of sugar is taxed 64 cents for containing 64 ounces of beverage. Conversely, a 16.9 ounce soft drink, which contains 50 grams of sugar, is taxed only 17 cents. If taxing beverages that contain sugar, why not tax in proportion to the amount of sugar in the beverage, not its volume? But that might smack of the 1764 Sugar Act enforced in the colonies that led to the Revolution. And city officials certainly don’t want to go down that road, do they?”

Marc Seeger, Evanston