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Freedom of speech applies only to alderman?


Freedom of speech applies only to alderman?

I read the article in the Tribune (“Alderman’s ‘cancel DNC’ calls in front of burnt flag draw ire,” March 27) showing Chicago Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez standing with protesters a foot or two from a charred American flag, which was burned by a veteran who was among the protesters objecting to U.S. support of Israel. I was frustrated by it but not overly troubled. Free speech is a right we enjoy, and many have fought and died to defend that right.

Then I saw a TV news report saying that some aldermen, all military veterans or in active service, called on Lopez to apologize. They believe an elected official is held to a higher standard, and they were offended by his disrespect of the flag. Lopez’s response was to stand on the technicality that he didn’t light the flag on fire and that the aldermen objecting to his actions are “puppets of the ruling class” engaging in “political theater.”

So I guess the right to free speech extends only to those who are speaking in support of Lopez’s view of the world. And regarding his “political theater” comment, he had the audacity to use that disparagement after anti-Israel protesters disrupted his colleagues’ conference — again, some of whom are veterans or in active service. How incredibly awful.

Who is this man, and why does he think he alone has the moral high ground? Why can’t he express regret that those who served our country were offended while also noting that he feels so strongly about the suffering in Gaza that he stands by those who burn the American flag to try to address it?

— Clare Connor, Chicago

Sigcho-Lopez critics are hypocrites

The backlash against Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez for allegedly endorsing American flag burning at an anti-Israel rally has been launched by self-serving aldermen masquerading as patriots.

They wish to censure Sigcho-Lopez and remove him from the chair of Chicago’s Housing and Real Estate Committee.

Sigcho-Lopez last Friday spoke at the rally about the need to end the Israeli attack on civilians in Gaza. He said that, rather than on war, America needs to spend money on affordable housing and solutions for the city’s refugee problems.

However, he was not even present during the flag burning. An Afghanistan War veteran burned the flag to protest U.S. support for Israel.

What Sigcho-Lopez’s detractors should be more concerned about is the $3.3 billion in annual aid the federal government gives to Israel. Hardworking Chicagoans would dance for joy to get such largesse, given the inflated costs they pay for food and housing. But there is not a peep from the City Council “patriots” that addressing the needs of Chicagoans over Israelis was the core of Sigcho-Lopez’s speech.

— Caise D. Hassan, Chicago

Sigcho-Lopez acted irresponsibly

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is terribly mistaken in his opposition to a censure motion against 25th Ward Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez that is supported by several members of the City Council, including my representative, Ald. Debra Silverstein. Sigcho-Lopez has conducted himself in an irresponsible manner supporting attempts to wreak havoc at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. He has also endangered the Chicago Jewish community as a whole by his cavorting with avowedly anti-Israel groups such as IfNotNow.

One can only hope the City Council sees fit to vote up the censure motion when it comes before aldermen as a whole.

— David L. Blatt, Chicago

A balanced approach to justice

The Cook County state attorney’s primary race, with its razor-thin vote difference between the two candidates, highlights the nuanced desires of our community for a balanced approach to justice — one that prioritizes the needs of both victims and taxpayers. As a state representative, I am deeply committed to working collaboratively with the state’s attorney to ensure our laws are punitive and focused on rehabilitation, aiming to prevent senseless deaths, deter crime and foster safer streets.

We must strengthen Illinois laws to effectively address the complex challenges facing our criminal justice system. By enacting legislation emphasizing punishment and rehabilitation, we can create a framework that holds offenders accountable and allows them to reintegrate into society as productive citizens. This balanced approach would serve the interests of justice, and it aligns with our collective goal of building safer communities for all.

Moreover, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must ensure that our public safety budgets are allocated wisely and yield tangible results. By prioritizing evidence-based initiatives and strategies, we can maximize the impact of our investments in law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. Through strategic budgeting and accountability measures, we can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our public safety initiatives, ultimately delivering better outcomes for our community while respecting taxpayer dollars.

In the wake of the state’s attorney’s primary election, it is clear that the residents of Cook County are demanding a comprehensive approach to justice — one that upholds the rights of victims, protects taxpayers’ interests and prioritizes public safety.

Together, let us seize this opportunity to build a criminal justice system that is fair, equitable and focused on the well-being of all Cook County residents.

— State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, 8th District

Meeting CTA riders’ expectations

Growing up on the Far Northwest Side of Chicago during the 1970s, I like many students relied on the CTA to get to and from school daily. One memory that stands out is waiting at a bus terminal in snowy, blustery conditions and being forbidden by the bus driver to board the bus until it was scheduled to depart.

Upon returning home recently after a delightful dining experience in Chicago, I witnessed a woman and her young child desperately attempting to catch a CTA bus. Ultimately, the bus driver drove off. This incident brought back unpleasant flashbacks of my high school days and why I dreaded having to rely on the CTA to get to school.

Therefore, I am respectfully reaching out to CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. and Mayor Brandon Johnson. If they want to increase ridership on the CTA to pre-pandemic levels, they must provide people a compelling reason to take public transportation. Everyone riding a bus or the “L” deserves a clean, safe and efficient mass transportation system.

Furthermore, instilling empathy in all CTA employees should be paramount. CTA riders are customers and have an unflinching expectation of exemplary customer service and an efficacious travel experience. I don’t think that is asking too much.

— Lawrence E. Bonk, Roselle

Fans denied TV access to game

Could someone explain why — here in Chicago — we are forced to watch the Alabama versus North Carolina March Madness game on WBBM-Ch. 2 while at the same time we can only listen to the Illinois versus Iowa State game? Who’s the genius behind this decision?

Ahem, news flash: Not everyone has cable.

— Arlene F. Gottardo, Mount Greenwood

Submit a letter, of no more than 400 words, to the editor here or email [email protected].

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