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Police oversight commission won’t be as transparent as you think

6th Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer (right), chairman of the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus, and 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman (left) will join forces in proposing an elected district council that would play a role in a new system for investigating police wrongdoing. | Rich Hein, Tom Cruze/Sun-Times

I was stunned to see the Sun-Times headline declaring: “Power to the People,”  about a proposed ordinance for an elected commission to oversee police (“Power to the people” – March 9). Chicago is not known for its transparent, robust democracy, and certainly at no time in recent history have city leaders advocated for “power to the people.”

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My excitement quickly turned to disgust as I read further. This proposal calls for representatives to be elected from 22 districts (and you thought electing judges was hard!). This commission would then form a selection committee responsible for soliciting applicants for police chief, Civilian Office of Police Accountability chief and members of the Police Board. But all are subject to mayoral and city council approval. The only language left out was a provision for superdelegates appointed by the mayor, but maybe someone on the council will suggest this as a friendly amendment.

Seriously, this proposal is about as democratic as the electoral college, and needs to be quashed before it is introduced.

It uses vague language to give the appearance of community control while, in reality, it creates more bureaucracy and merely disguises the ability of police to kill with impunity.

The mechanism for true police accountability already exists in the Civilian Police Accountability Council, an ordinance sponsored by Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, which calls for an elected civilian police accountability council. CPAC is direct democracy with no smoke and mirrors.

Sarah Simmons, North Center

Gun control puts representatives between a rock and a hard place

We must have pity on GOP congressmen; they are caught in a no-win dilemma. For years they have faced the prospect of knowing that if they voted for gun control — even reasonable, sensible, even the slightest gun control — the National Rifle Association would mount an assault that would vote them out of office.

Their dilemma now is “you lose if you do and you lose if you don’t.” Voting for gun control brings the NRA’s assault, yet not voting for gun control brings the student-led attack to vote them out as well.

 Lee Knohl, Evanston

Let’s get down to business with business

I am not at all impressed with the business section if the newly formatted Sun-Times. The USA Today business section was much better although it too could have used some improvement. Can’t you give us more in-depth business/market coverage?

Dale May, River North