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Letters to the Editor

For pedestrian safety, keep red-light and speed cameras up and running

A sign warns motorists of the presence of a red light camera in Chicago in 2015. | M. Spencer Green/AP file photo

I have seen the frightening truth behind Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld’s recent contention that “’More people would die’ if red-light and speed cams removed.

Twenty years ago, on a bright morning, I was following the guidance of the walk light using the crosswalk at Clark St. and Jackson Blvd. as I approached my Loop office. A speeding car whipped around the corner, struck me and I was thrown into the air — immediately fearing being run over by oncoming traffic when I landed in the street. The titanium hardware embedded in me and the pain I still experience are regular reminders of that harrowing experience.

There are few ways to protect pedestrians from careless drivers like the one I encountered. But speed cameras — which Scheinfeld astutely noted have been proven through research to really work when deployed and used properly, not just to create revenue — are one of them.

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My personal experience fuels my efforts as volunteer president of AARP Illinois, which is working with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the non-profit Vision Zero to prevent pedestrian fatalities. It’s an urgent matter for older Chicagoans, who represent a significantly higher percentage of pedestrian fatalities. Of the 38 pedestrians killed in Chicago crashes through October of 2018, most were over the age of 50.

Scheinfeld was right to acknowledge that red-light and speed cameras are a political piñata, especially as mayoral candidates make quick, uninformed promises while trying to win over car-driving voters.

Let’s hope that the candidates making these promises realize that it’s not just a piñata getting hit. It’s real Chicago pedestrians who will not all be fortunate enough to survive and tell their stories.

Rosanna Marquez, volunteer president, AARP Illinois

Can Mitt Romney save the GOP?

History indicates that a president tends to gravitate to the center of the political spectrum, no matter their prior political leaning, once they take office. President Trump has not done that, and the nation sent him a message with the November elections.

Even though the Republicans resorted to every tactic they could come up with (gerrymandering, onerous voter I.D. laws, etc.) they couldn’t retain control of the House. The recent comments by Mitt Romney, criticizing Trump, appear to be an appeal to his fellow Republicans that it is time to move away from the extreme right, where Trump resides, and come back to the middle, where most American voters can be found. Hopefully Romney will be successful, but when you read the comments by Romney’s niece, Ronna McDaniel, there still seems to be a resistance to what many voters want.

It is ironic that she wrote “For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack…”, when that incoming senator has significantly more experience in government than the president she defends. SOme people are so immersed in their own agendas that they fail to see or acknowledge the desires of the majority. Eventually, that attitude may cost them everything.

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park