January 2, 2014 5:42PM
Updated: February 4, 2014 6:19AM
Why is it a surprise that judges accept money? They run for office just like any self-respecting officeholder in Illinois. But instead of having the title of congressman or senator or governor, they are called judges, and they are held to the same temptations that other public officials are. They are going to do what the money tells them to. Do we really expect a judge to be honorable and follow his conscience when deciding a case that is against someone who has donated a lot of money to his campaign? Judges are bought and sold in Illinois just like senators, representatives and governors are.
If this sounds pessimistic, just look at the history of Illinois. Illinois has a reputation of corrupt officials, and it all comes down to campaign contributions. And until we change the system, whether it be for governors or judges, we will get the same corrupt officials we have always had.
James M. Mulhearn Sr., Archer Heights
Judges shouldn’t be elected
Is there any part of Illinois election system that isn’t broken? When a judge can rake in cash from the very groups he is ruling on, only to be put on a ballot where 90 percent of the voters couldn’t tell the difference between the candidates, something is very broken. If you can get elected for any office based on your ability to raise money, including donating your own personal wealth to your own campaign, yes indeed something is very broken.
Judges shouldn’t be elected, period. They should be appointed by an independent panel that is devoid of political connections. And guys like Bruce Rauner should not dictate campaign spending limits by giving his chump change to his own campaign. What will it take to climb out of this hole? True reform, and that will only happen when voters wake up and put people into office who actually put the concerns of their constituents ahead of their own.
Scot Sinclair, Gurnee
Nature’s wisdom and stealth beauty to cover us with its grand spectacle only convinces me more of our fallibility to the beauty of our location beside a lake.
In the words of Albert Camus, who once described a snowstorm as “a million mirrors to the moon,” today marked such an experience. Living beside such beauty has its downside, but it’s still well worth it for the happy screams of children at play in its wonder.
Vincent Kamin, Loop
Pope Francis understands
Contrary to the opinions of his critics, Pope Francis understands the power of the free market only too well. The pope’s detractors continue to blame “burdensome” and “costly” regulation for creating the “uncertainty” preventing “business” from hiring, as if we could trust the “free market” to do the right thing by American citizens rather than focus on shareholder primacy and executive compensation. Like, the “free market” that outsourced well-paid American tech jobs to Asia in exchange for lead-painted children’s toys? Or, the “free market” that knowingly distributed autos with exploding gas tanks, defective SUV tires and salmonella-tainted peanut butter; or, the “free market” that perjured itself regarding the dangers of cigarette smoking; or, perhaps, the “free market” that devised “sub-prime” mortgages and mortgage-based derivatives; or, the “free market” that gave us the scandals of Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Bernie Madoff, J.P. Morgan, etc.; or, the “free market” that used government subsidies to acquire more of its own shares, rather than explore alternative sources of energy; or, maybe, the “free market” that used government “bailout” funds to award billions in bonuses to failed financial executives rather than to give loans to small businesses; or, possibly, the “free market” that denied coverage and claims for life-preserving procedures in favor of multimillions in CEO compensation?
The power of the unbridled free market has stagnated real income for the middle class, and has created the greatest disparity between the richest and poorest Americans in history. Why bother creating jobs for Americans, when cheap labor is available overseas? Why “invest in America”, when you can shelter millions in offshore accounts?
Yes, Pope Francis understands economics very well, or, as it says in Proverbs 22:16, “One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty.”
Richard A. Kosinski, Edison Park