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City is turning its back on retirees

Updated: December 29, 2012 6:19AM

My dad worked for the city of Chicago for 48 years. Never made a ton of money, he often took a second job to make ends meet, but was proud to say he was a city worker. When he retired he had EARNED his pension and health benefits.

When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and before he passed away, he assured my mom her health care needs would be taken care of for as long as needed. Well, mom called me the other night, saying she received a letter from the city stating it was not legally required to provide insurance for retirees or their families. I could hear her voice cracking as she told me, and my heart broke.

While I understand pension reform is a hot topic, and something that needs to be addressed, are the powers that be really ready to turn their backs on senior retirees and their spouses? It seems as if politicians are more concerned with giving help to the people who have no desire to help themselves. I strongly urge any hardworking, dedicated retiree, and their family members, to stand up and tell the mayor and aldermen, many of whom are “double dipping,” to do right by our seniors.

It is time to stop punishing the people who do the right thing and EARN what they get. I’m sure the mayor can come up with a better plan. How about if I take an interest in my mom’s health, and go to the doctor with her, Rahm gets me a $25 gift card from Walgreens for her prescription!

William Marszewski Jr., Oak Lawn

Death penalty is always arbitrary

In his column subtitled “Execution ban right — even if he deserves it” Mark Brown argues that the decision to end the death penalty in Illinois was right because our legal system makes mistakes and we were putting innocent people on Death Row.

That’s an oversimplification when you look at the other side of the coin, the convicted murderers who don’t end up on Death Row, a list that includes mob hit men who cut deals, women, even mothers who kill their children, the criminally insane, people who can afford a good defense, the list goes on. Drawing the death card depends also on attitudes jury members bring to their task and whether or not emotional pre-sentencing statements by bereaved relatives are allowed.

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “Capital sentencing procedures must be constructed to avoid the random imposition of the penalty, akin to being struck by lightning.” He started out as a death penalty proponent, but after a long career on the bench concluded that such a test of fairness could not be met, not just because error can’t be avoided but due to the very nature of the judicial process.

Thomas W. Evans, Mundelein

Don’t hold a primary

Gov. Pat Quinn has set the date for the special election, mandated by the U.S. Constitution, to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. as the U.S. representative of the 2nd District. He is asking for it to be on April 9, when there are some municipal elections slated, ostensibly to save taxpayer money. However, he does want to spend taxpayer money for a party primary on Feb. 26.

Yet Article I, Section 2, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution calls only for an “election” to fill the vacancy; there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that calls for or requires a party primary first. Which is not surprising since neither the term political party nor their concept appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.

So, why are the taxpayers of Illinois being asked to pay for a party primary, when all the Constitution requires is a single “election,” especially when party primaries are not, in actuality, an election at all? Once the votes of a party primary are counted, no one has been elected to any governmental office at all. If the political parties that have both houses of the U.S. Congress held in a stranglehold of gridlock, recrimination and finger pointing want a primary; then let them pay for that primary with party funds and not with the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars.

The April 9 special election should be a winner-take-all, non-partisan, open election as the framers of the Constitution intended it to be.

Walter R. Kowalczyk, Jefferson Park

Allow concealed carry

I read today that there is a new push to block a conceal carry bill from becoming law in Illinois. Being the only state in the entire country that does not allow a law abiding citizen to protect himself against the crazies of the world, what are our lawmakers afraid of? Certainly the gangbangers in Chicago are already packing. They are already committing murder on our streets every single day. Police can’t be everywhere all the time.

Studies have shown that conceal carry laws actually reduce crime, not make it worse. A gun in the hand of an honest man is not a threat to anyone other than someone who would be a threat to that man. The guns are already in the hands of those who would them it for ill-gotten gain. Forty-nine other states get it, why can’t Illinois?

Scott Sinclair, Gurnee

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