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Who’s behind ‘For a Better Chicago’?

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Your aldermanic candidates promised they would always tell you the truth. If so, how come so many of them are taking secret money?

Genita Robinson in the 2nd Ward, Will Burns in the 4th Ward, Freddrenna Lyle in the 6th Ward, Michelle Harris in the 8th Ward, Anthony Beale in the 9th Ward, JoAnn Thompson in the 16th Ward, Latasha Thomas in the 17th Ward, Lona Lane in the 18th Ward, Willie Cochran in the 20th Ward, Howard Brookins in the 21st Ward, Roberto Maldonado in the 26th Ward, Jason Ervin in the 28th Ward, Deborah Graham in the 29th Ward, Carrie Austin in the 34th Ward, Emma Mitts in the 37th Ward, Tim Cullerton in the 38th Ward, Tom O’Donnell in the 47th Ward and Debra Silverstein in the 50th Ward, and possibly others, have taken contributions of $10,000 or more from a fund that refuses to reveal its donors.

The organization “For a Better Chicago” describes itself as a supporter of school reform, economic development and holding the line on taxes. In broad strokes, these are ideas that many of us can embrace. However, without knowing who’s behind this fund, it’s hard to have a conversation on the details.

Since the Watergate era, disclosure of the source of campaign funds has been the backbone of campaign finance regulation. Special interests have been all too eager to hide behind bland or even misleading names. We have no reason to think that For a Better Chicago is not who they say they are, but we have the right to know the sources of their money. The stakes are too high to take anyone at face value.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections seeking to compel For a Better Chicago to reveal its donors.

The board will decide that matter. In the meantime, it’s up to the candidates to explain to voters why they took secret money, and it’s up to you, the voter, to decide how you’re going to use that information.

Cynthia Canary, director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

Quit fiddling, Gov. Nero

Was that Gov. Quinn or Emperor Nero delivering the address in Springfield on Wednesday?

Metaphorically speaking, Illinois is burning — a consequence of decades of unbridled spending and a system guided more by political expediency than fiscal discipline and prudence.

Despite flames of financial catastrophe sweeping across the state, our feckless Gov. Nero proposes a budget that adds 800 state workers, $1.7 billion in spending and $540 million in new annual interest expense to an extra $8.7 billion in long-term debt.

Quit fiddling around, governor. It’s time to restructure the cost of delivering essential state services and find the moxie to cut the nonessential. Illinois families have been battling their personal financial fires; why can’t you do the same for the state?

Todd Arkenberg,

Arlington Heights

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