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Let’s move on

In this Jan. 31 2010 phoBeyonce arrives Grammy Awards Los Angeles. JustBieber Lady GagMichelle Obamare giving helping hBeyonce.  Obampop

In this Jan. 31, 2010 photo, Beyonce arrives at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama are giving a helping hand to Beyonce. Obama and the pop stars have signed on to support Beyonce and the global campaign for World Humanitarian Day, which is Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

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Updated: March 1, 2013 6:39AM

Let’s move on

A dozen of us ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out) had lunch together this week. I took an informal poll, asking, “How many care if Beyonce lip-syncs?”

Nobody raised a hand, but one fellow asked, “What’s a beyonce?”

Dan McGuire, Bensenville

7th Ward needs full-time alderman

A recent column written by Mary Mitchell titled “7th Ward residents deserve voice” was excellent. As a 25-year resident of the 7th Ward, I have seen the good, bad and the ugly. I appreciated Ald. Sandi Jackson’s effort to revitalize the community, and her commitment to decrease the crime that has ravaged our neighborhood. However, a part-time alderman is not an effective alderman.

The 7th Ward needs an alderman who is dedicated to his or her constituents 24 hours a day. My ideal alderman would walk the streets of the ward, interact with the residents, listen to their complaints, suggestions and approvals. A leader with a continuous dialogue with the various groups within the ward. Indeed, the 7th Ward needs a leader who wakes up every morning with the primary goal of improving the quality of life to every woman, man, boy and girl in their ward!

Joe T. White, South Shore

Get national anthem right

I agree with your editorial (Jan. 24, 2013) that our national anthem should not have been purportedly lip-synched by Beyonce at the presidential inauguration. However, I disagree with your comment “We really thought Beyonce was nailing it live.”

She did not nail it, she sang it incorrectly. So did Jennifer Hudson at Super Bowl XLIII. In fact, it is a rare occasion when someone actually does sing it correctly. Granted this song is not the easiest to sing, which is all the more reason to learn to how to sing it. Millions of our military men and women have been put in harm’s way and so many have died. Is it too much to ask that we respectfully remember them by singing our national anthem correctly?

William F. Creighton, Westmont

Fighting CPS violence

It seems the only way to stop the violence at the CPS sporting events is to have no fans at the stadiums and courts, like they did last fall at one of the football games.

David Behm, Edgewater

Keeping them honest

There has been coverage in the news lately about the potential for litigation that could result from consumers posting comments online. In my experience, it’s very rare for a company to take this drastic action.

This year marks my 18th year in the consumer reviews business. To me, the idea of consumer reviews has always been clear: Americans have the right to free and honest expression, and we shouldn’t shy away from exercising that right.

Consumers are increasingly turning online first when considering a purchase or a hire. But this isn’t new behavior at its heart. We relied on the opinions of others long before the Internet became such a routine part of our every day. We just got that information through face-to-face conversation. Those same conversations that occur online simply happen at a faster pace and among a much wider audience. I think it’s clear that reliance on online consumer reviews is going to increase in the future, not decline.

As our reliance on these reviews grows, so does our responsibility to offer reviews consumers can trust. But carrying out this responsibility isn’t as difficult as it might seem.

Consumers need to provide honest opinions based on facts.

Companies like mine need to lead the way on accountability. In my mind, that means an end to anonymous reviews. Anonymous reviews don’t carry the heft of reviews that are given by people who stand behind the words; they may even encourage consumers to drift beyond honest opinion and the facts.

Congress should adopt federal legislation to increase the barrier for lawsuits aimed at stifling free speech, and specifically protect consumer reviews as they are matters of public interest and deal with issues of public concern. A majority of states have adopted anti-SLAPP laws, designed to weed out strategic lawsuit against public participation, but the protection of the individual differs depending on the state law. Every person offering honest opinion and facts should be protected against efforts designed to silence them.

Just as I strongly encourage consumers to share their honest experiences, I strongly encourage companies to embrace the concept of online reviews. They are great , immediate customer surveys. They provide insights into how businesses actually deliver service, not how they think they deliver it.

It’s pretty simple really: Consumer reviews should serve to improve the level of customer service consumers receive whether it’s health care, home improvement or anything in between. It’s up to all of us to make these reviews as reliable as possible.

Angie Hicks, founder, Angie’s List,Indianapolis, Ind.

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