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Encourage native plants

Ald. George Cardenas(12th) City Council chambers 2009.  |  Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Ald. George Cardenas(12th) in the City Council chambers in 2009. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

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Updated: May 25, 2013 6:29AM

“Green engineering” using permeable pavers and native plantings that absorb storm water are practical solutions to Chicago’s problem of basement flooding. But in Chicago, administrative law judges harshly fine residents who choose “native plantings.” Why?

Because Chicago law in Section 7-28-120 of the Municipal Code defines “weeds as vegetation that is not managed or maintained by the person who owns or controls the property on which all such vegetation is located and which, on average, exceeds 10 inches in height.”

“Native plantings” — composed of native Illinois trees, flowers, grasses and shrubs — often exceed the 10 inches in height provision. Vegetation that is “not managed or maintained” is a subjective standard with which compliance is impossible. The result? Chicago residents pay $600-plus fines, and their basements get flooded.

For a practical and resident-friendly step to enable residents to choose “native plantings” that will help control future flooding (and support butterflies and birds), Chicago must immediately repeal this subjective and arbitrary law.

Charlotte Adelman, Wilmette

Gov. Perry’s gall

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s exhortations to Illinois businesses to move to Texas “before it’s too late” promote that state’s low taxes and “friendly” regulatory environment. Only a week after the Texas, fertilizer plant explosion that may have been prevented by tighter regulation and inspection, Gov. Perry has the gall to come to Chicago. Hopefully, there aren’t any Illinois businesses dumb enough to heed the Texan Pied Piper.

Silvio Anichini,

Another useless ordinance

Once again our aldermen are coming up with a new city ordinance that is useless and will never be enforced. This time Ald. George Cardenas (12th) wants to explore raising the smoking age from 18 to 21. I find it ironic that you would need to be 21 to buy cigarettes, but only 18 to join the military. Are there not more important issues in Chicago that need his attention?

Richard Clemens,


Gun law advocates need passion

Gun control advocates need to argue and fight with more passion. Gun nuts who obstruct reasonable gun regulations are not supporting the Second Amendment, but are supporting a bloodthirsty slaughter of innocents. Also, when talking about assault weapons, Uzis and high-powered pistols with high capacity clips, they should as often as possible be referred to as human killing machines.

Don’t waste time expecting that logical arguments will lead to epiphanies in gun nuts. The Wayne LaPierres of the world scream lies and shout down logic and facts to hide the fact that gun sales are stimulated by incidents of violence. Gun and ammo sales generate $6 billion in revenue annually. Gun control advocates are fighting with a bloodthirsty weapons industry that uses the Second Amendment as a pretext to hide its real motive, which is to make huge profits from human misery.

Jerry Vigue, Libertyville

Flawed editorial on guns

The editorial assertion Tuesday that “there is no systematic evidence” that concealed carry laws make us safer, is simply at odds with, well, the “systematic evidence.” Beyond the well-established estimate of over 2 million instances per year of people using firearms, many times without firing a shot, to protect lives, and former University of Chicago Professor John Lott’s well-researched book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” the wealth of evidence on the subject weighs heavily on the side of firearms in the hands of the law-abiding. The Sun-Times editorial writers wishing it were the opposite does not make it so.

Citing an anecdotal case (the Texas DA and his wife) as “evidence,” when such cases are by far the exception, rather than the rule, serves to undermine, rather than support the flawed premise of the editorial.

The Sun-Times editorial board may be entitled to its feelings and opinion concerning firearms, but it is not entitled to declare fiction as fact.

James E. McNally, Clearing

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