suntimes
DECENT 
Weather Updates

opinions

Secretive aldermen pull down blinds

EDITORIAL: If the legislative inspector general could dig to the heart of the City Council, here’s what he’d find: It makes aldermen nervous when anyone probes too deeply. That’s what was behind the Council’s 41-6 decision Wednesday to strip the power to investigate aldermen’s campaign finances from Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan and return to it the seven-member Board of Ethics. Which hadn’t asked for it. And didn’t want it.

Cheap shots  don’t help

EDITORIAL: This is not helpful. This does not save children’s lives. On Monday, West Side Ald. Jason Ervin scolded Mayor Rahm Emanuel for failing to attend the funeral on Saturday of Shamiya Adams, the 11-year-old girl allegedly killed by a gangbanger’s bullet. It was a baseless criticism. It did nothing to make other Chicago children safer, and served only to set back the cause by creating unwarranted ill will.

Sanctions reject Putin’s meddling

EDITORIAL: Cautious Europe took a big step on Tuesday, approving the most sweeping sanctions against Russia since the Cold War. It’s high time and a welcome development in the effort to isolate and punish Russia for its backing of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Watchdog needs independence

EDITORIAL: It’s not enough for an inspector general to understand how things work behind scenes. An IG must also be clearly independent. The General Assembly’s acting inspector general, J. William Roberts, qualifies on the first point. As a former U.S. attorney, Sangamon County state’s attorney and counsel to former Gov. Jim Edgar, he certainly has the experience to do the job. But a Better Government Association report in Monday’s Sun-Times shows Roberts does not have the outsider status an IG needs.

A pardon for actual innocence Gov. Quinn should grant

EDITORIAL: Gov. Pat Quinn is the first Illinois governor in almost four decades to have given no pardons based on actual innocence. Rod Blagojevich, George Ryan, Jim Edgar and James R. Thompson all got out their pardon pens for innocent people. But Quinn, in his fifth year as governor, has not. The case of Gordon “Randy” Steidl would be a good place for him to start. Steidl spent 12 years on Death Row and five more in prison for a 1986 double murder he didn’t commit.

City, not drivers, should do the red-light review work

EDITORIAL: Mayor Rahm Emanuel has it backward in responding to alleged flaws in the city’s red-light camera system. Emanuel said last week the city would begin sending letters to at least 9,000 drivers, giving them 45 days to request a review of their ticketed violations by email, phone, mail or person. But what about the presumption of innocence? Drivers shouldn’t be force to request a review.

A humane approach to the border

EDITORIAL: As the United States struggles with an influx of children migrating alone from Central American, the Obama Administration is contemplating allowing Honduran children to apply for refugee status at home, before they make the dangerous trek to the southwestern border of the U.S. The proposal, though not without risks that must be worked out, appears to be a smart and humane way to serve two important goals:

New fuel isn’t right mix for Chicago

EDITORIAL: Supporters of requiring a new fuel blend at Chicago gas stations haven’t made their case this is the time or place to do it. On Monday, the Finance Committee is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would make Chicago the first jurisdiction in the nation to require filling stations to offer a higher ethanol blend called E15 at their fuel pumps.

Chicago’s good guys can help turn the tide

EDITORIAL: It’s an important start. Chicago police arrested a teen gang member in the shooting death of an 11-year-old girl killed at a slumber party. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy attributed the quick arrest to help from neighborhood residents. This newspaper and others have long urged this kind of community response. And look what happens when neighbors step forward: a law-abiding community is empowered, an alleged murdered is apprehended.

For its own security, Israel must finish the job it started in Gaza

EDITORIAL: For years, Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, imported tons of concrete into Gaza, material that could have been used to build desperately needed schools and houses. But what did Hamas do? It sold out its own people, doing nothing to better their lives while secretly using all that concrete to reinforce dozens of tunnels from which to wage endless war. Hamas has used the tunnels to infiltrate Israel and hide weapons.

Appellate court  misdiagnoses  Obamacare

EDITORIAL: Congress enacted Obamacare to offer health insurance to as many as uninsured Americans as possible. Is it even remotely plausible, then, that Congress deliberately included language in the bill that would thwart that intent? That question is at the heart of two conflicting federal court decisions Tuesday.

A welcome ray of sunlight at the Police Department

EDITORIAL: In law enforcement, the “Untouchables” are supposed to be the good guys — law officers who are absolutely incorruptible. Unfortunately, there’s another class of law enforcement “untouchables,” bad apples who have hidden their depredations behind secret files and a code of silence for so long they feel no one can touch them, and that they can get away with anything. Not anymore.

Elite CPS high schools need to reconsider race as factor

EDITORIAL: It’s time for the Chicago Public Schools to consider re-introducing race as a factor when picking freshmen for its elite selective enrollment high schools. CPS in 2010 dropped race as one admissions factor for these test-based schools, insisting it wasn’t legally permissible in light of a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision. A review of the legal landscape, however, suggests a second look is way overdue.

Jet tragedy gives Putin opportunity for peace

EDITORIAL: The search is on for “black boxes” that could shed light on what happened when a missile apparently downed a Malaysian jetliner Thursday afternoon, killing all 298 aboard. Too bad there are no diplomatic “black boxes” that would reveal how to defuse what is shaping up in eastern Ukraine to be the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

City must invest in mass transit

EDITORIAL: Officials from the Africa’s five richest nations are coming to Chicago this month to see how transportation can make a city successful. But if those African officials look closely, they’ll see a regional transit system that is struggling. It needs about $20 billion just to catch up with deferred maintenance and replacement. And simply catching up won’t be good enough, especially for Chicago’s booming downtown.