The Obama Library is very quickly proving to be the worst kind of neighbor, the one who says he likes your neighborhood and then insists you change it.

Leave aside the question of whether, on the South Side, where there are so many vacant lots, it ever made sense to sacrifice parkland. Focus only on the current proposal to build an above-ground garage. Where is the need?

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For the 13 existing presidential libraries, the average first year attendance was only 323,000. Attendance falls by 50 percent in the following years.

The highest attendance in a library’s first year was at the Kennedy Library (583,000) and the Lyndon Johnson Library (521,000). There is no reason to think the Obama library would ever exceed those numbers, let alone come close.

Compare the Museum of Science and Industry, where, in 2016 there were 1.5 million visitors. That is three times the attendance at any presidential library in its opening year, and six times the attendance a presidential library can expect after twenty years. The Museum of Science and Industry has not needed to close Columbus Drive, and has not thought it necessary to add lanes to Stony Island Avenue. As a good neighbor it has actually added green space to Jackson Park.

So why, for the Obama Library, should we reroute traffic and sacrifice green space for parking? Or are these “needs” just fantasy, fed by ego and wishful thinking?

Howard Helsinger, Hyde Park

Protect DACA recipients

The Trump Administration announced today that it is rescinding President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  program. We call on every member of the Illinois Congressional delegation to denounce this action, and immediately work to pass legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for the nearly 800,000 DACA:  individuals living across the country, more than 41,000 of whom live in Illinois.

We urge Congress to do everything in its power to protect Dreamers by making sure the bipartisan Dream Act 2017 become law so that DACA recipients gain protection under the law.

Joellen Sbrissa, CSJ
Congregation of St. Joseph, LaGrange Park

Good government value

As the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, I would like to respond to the article titled “Why the small governments must go.”

There are three main functions of township government: 1) Providing general assistance for those in need including food, shelter and emergency relief, 2) Assessment of real property for the basis of local taxation, and 3) Maintaining 71,000 miles of roads and bridges outside federal, state and local jurisdiction.

Townships also provide a host of other local services such as programs for youth, senior citizens and the disabled.

Illinois townships provide these services at a lower cost to the taxpayer – and that’s a fact, not just a talking point we use to ensure our survival.

Public policy researcher Wendell Cox discovered that smaller governments have lower costs per capita than larger governments. He also found that in Illinois, the smallest governments generally spent half as much per capita as those with local governments of populations between 10,000 to 250,000 residents.

Can Illinoisans afford to have these critical services eliminated or delivered at a higher cost? Taxpayers and elected officials need to understand the facts about what would be lost.

Bryan Smith, executive director,
Township Officials of Illinois

True agenda

Once again Gov. Bruce Rauner shows us what his true agenda is with the veto of the No Salary History Act. Again, Rauner attempts to undermine the ability of the worker to make a decent, livable income while the employers continue to reap significant profits.

Rauner has made it clear that he would love to establish Illinois as a right-to-work state. Unfortunately his concept of that is for workers to work for whatever wages an employer chooses to pay. Is it no wonder that people are leaving this state in large numbers?

Like Trump, Rauner has chosen to abandon the will of even his fellow Republicans to advance an agenda that only is favored by himself and employers like him. No matter what Rauner tries to portray in his campaign messages, his actions clearly indicate that the concerns of the workers of Illinois is not compatible with his agenda.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

Wrong message

With staunch allies like the United States, who needs adversaries? Isn’t that what we’re telling our so-called friends on the Pacific Rim?

North Korea launches long-range ballistic missiles and tests another nuclear device, and our response is to threaten South Korea with the cancellation of our mutual free trade agreement.

What sort of a message does this send to Japan and Taiwan — even China, our largest trading partner by far? For sure it doesn’t indicate we have their backs in a time of crisis. But it goes a long way in telling the world that North Korea isn’t the only country with a reckless leader and a conflicted foreign policy.

Bob Ory, Elgin