Letters to the Editor

Union people vote forunion supporters
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017
It sees like every time an election cycle comes up, organized labor say this is one of the most important elections ever and that we have to get out and vote.

All elections are important and it’s our right as American citizens to exercise our right to vote. It’s also important to be an informed voter – especially labor people. You would think a person in a labor union would vote for a candidate who is supportive of collective bargains and union issues. But we know that with the election of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the election of Donald Trump for president – both who have huge anti-labor agendas, this isn’t always true. When Trump selected Mike Pence to be his running mate, that should have been the line in the sand. The only person with more hatred towards organized labor, than our own Bruce Rauner, is Mike Pence.

We have local elections coming up. There are important elections for mayor and for city councils. One is in Aurora where Linda Chapa LaVia is running for mayor. Linda has been one of the major voices in defense of working men and women and a strong supporter of organized labor. Linda comes from a working class family and has been a great voice for the blue collar city of Aurora. She is an outstanding representative who, I believe, will be an even better mayor, and she deserves our support.

Another important race is in Bolingbrook where Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere is running against Roger Claar, a 30+ year incumbent. Jackie is another fearless advocate for working men and women. Jackie is heading up the Bolingbrook United Party, which includes Jamie Olson for village clerk, Robert Jaskiewicz, Terri Ransom and Mary Helen Reyna for Trustee positions. These are important elections.

It’s also important to get our brothers and sisters of organized labor on one page and vote for people who are supportive of our interests. Kentucky just went Right to Work. Missouri is almost sure to follow, leaving Illinois and Minnesota on an island. When we get great candidates like Linda Chapa LaVia and Jackie Traynere, who both supports labor issues with their votes and actions, it is important to get out and support them. It is a no-brainer.
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.
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Supporting collective bargaining rights
Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
As President of the Joliet Firefighters Local 44, I represent more than a 150 firefighters and paramedics who put their lives on the line everyday to keep our community safe. Our organization works on behalf of its members to ensure fair and safe working conditions, a livable wage, and an absence of work-place discrimination. We work to negotiate our contracts with honesty, integrity and with respect to budgetary concerns.

So I was surprised to see a recent political ad attacking Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant for protecting our right to collectively bargain, especially since the benefits of such extend far beyond union organizations. Issues important to working people such as sick leave, overtime pay, social security, unemployment, workers compensation, workplace safety standards, family leave, medical leave, minimum wage, structured workdays and the weekend many non-union workers enjoy, are all the result of union collective bargaining efforts.

One only needs to look at her opponent’s record as Plainfield District 202 School Board President to understand why she would attack the right to collectively bargain in a negative political ad. Michelle Smith has tried to outsource hundreds of custodial staff – most from right here in our community – in order to force layoffs and reduce salaries and sick leave. This comes after repeatedly voting to give pay raises to school administrators and five-straight years of property tax increases.

Recently, on behalf of hundreds of firefighters throughout the 49th Senate District, the Joliet Firefighters Local 44 and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois endorsed Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant for a second term in the Illinois Senate.

In the short time since Sen. Jennifer took office, she has encouraged small business growth, improved public safety, increased education funding and taken on special interests in Springfield to protect our communities. She also supports our right to collectively bargain. Now – more than ever – we need to continue to elect common-sense legislators that will represent working families in Springfield.
Tim Hunter
President, IAFF Local 44
Elgin, Ill.
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Standing up against intolerance
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
The North Carolina State legislators passed the controversial HB2 into law. This law, now commonly known as the Bathroom Bill, allows the discrimination against the legal protection of the LGBT community.

Recently, the NCAA and the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference, a collegiate athletic conference) announced they would be moving the ACC championships to alternate sites. Issuing a statement on their decision, in part, it read: “We reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination.” All 15 universities signed the commitment, saying, “We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for 2016-17 academic year.”

I applaud the stance taken by both the NCAA and the ACC conference for standing up for human rights and standing against intolerance, especially the highly conservative ACC. This vote could not have been an easy decision. It is hoped other venues will do the same and protect basic human rights.

While I strongly agree on diversity and rights of all, there is another basic human rights scandal going on, and it seems it has not met with the same condemnation. It is the complete silence from our college campuses that have allowed their universities to become breeding grounds for sexual assault and physical abuse.

Because of the silence/inaction by the NCAA and our professional sports venues, predators have been able to carry on their attacks as some move onto their professional careers. Of course, the biggest scandal erupted on the campus of Penn State University with a sexual abuse scandal that rocked America.

Assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of abusing young boys who were apart of his Second Mile foundation, which was started to help impoverished children. Currently, Penn State University has paid out more than $93 million to victims and Sandusky was sentenced to what will be a life sentence. This monster will never see the light of day, and rightly so. Unfortunately, the Penn State University hero worshipers have continued to deny, especially its self-ordained saint, ex-coach Joe Paterno, who, with sworn testimony, and sworn court depositions, knew about these abuses and did nothing.

As for Penn State University, it should still be under sanctions by the NCAA. The Penn State University fanatics continue to come out and celebrate the life of their “anointed saint” coach, Joe Paterno, even after his years of involvement covering up for the monster he helped to create.

Not far behind Penn State University lies Baylor University, the nation’s largest Baptist college in Texas. Six sexual abuse allegations and the inaction of university officials has caused head football coach Art Briles and president and chancellor Ken Starr to resign. Art Briles has since gone on an apology tour to try and save his name and his coaching career.

Briles gave a half-hearted apology, saying, “that it was his staff that made all the non-decisions on the rape charges.” He went on to say his staff would only inform him of major incidents. He would not be informed on the minor ones.

Baylor is not alone on its silence, or the treatment of the women victims. In the case of Briles, he will certainly garner another head coaching position because, unfortunately, winning trumps everything – even moral decency. As in most allegations, the women are treated as the predator, not the victim. We hear the same pat answers: “We do not condone sexual or domestic abuse.” It’s their united front, their excuse, for allowing predators to continue.

When it comes to sports its all about winning another game. These assaults seem to happen daily have been so frequent, we are no longer shocked. For that, I say shame on us.

So what is the cost or the price of sexual assault against a woman or child? Well, the answer for the NCAA is a lot less then the selling of tickets and the revenue a sports venue can generate. The estimated profit by the NCAA is said to be more than a billion – just for this current year – and therein lies the silence and the problem of fans. Fans cheer, and root, and idolize their sports teams, as well as their heroes – no matter how tainted or immoral those heroes may be.
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.
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Price of freedom
Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016
A major uproar has developed, and at the center of this uproar is 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of our National Anthem. His protest is in regards to the violence affecting black communities in this country. This has brought a frenzy to people on both sides of the issue.

Some are calling Kaepernick a traitor, calling for his arrest, or to be thrown out this country. In other words, they want to silence Kaepernick and others from exercising the very freedom that forever has been a symbol of this great country – a freedom that is the very symbol of what our flag has stood for ever since we won our freedom from England.

It’s not just freedom for some, but for every single American. It appears to me, some have forgotten exactly how and why this country was founded in the first place.

In contrast, presidential nominee Donald Trump is going around saying just how lousy this country is, and he is the only one that can fix this country. For calling our nation a lousy country, his frenzied, crazy, followers go gaga over every racist, bigoted speck he gives.

When it comes to the ever hypocritical NFL, who continue to defy morals and human law over its domestic violence stance, we have become so jaded over domestic violence, we seemed to put that hand-in-hand with the NFL. Of course, we have had Rae Carruth sitting in prison for soliciting the murder of his girlfriend. Everybody knows Ray Rice and Greg Hardy.

The pinnacle of the NFL’s hypocrisy recently hit home over the handling of Josh Brown. Who is Josh Brown? Currently, he is the place kicker for the New York Giants. He also has at least 20 domestic violence charges against him from every city in which he has played. Brown even violated a restraining order against him. And for all this, guess what the punishment was handed down by the heavy-handed law of the NFL? A one-game suspension. Yes – one game, to which Giants CEO was almost apologetic to Brown for having to give him.

So when Brown kicks a game winner, he’ll be mobbed by his teammates and given a standing ovation by adoring fans – all for winning another game. We allow this to go on in the name of freedom.

When it come to Kaepernick, if he is so passionate as he appears to be in protest on the violence going on in the black community, I suggest he take the next step, (and a lot of them), purchase a good pair of shoes, and get out and walk the streets of the cities of the country. Go out and listen to the people who live in these communities. Martin Luther King did this over 50 years ago. Freedom works for some – not so much for others!
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.
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Our indifference to domestic and sexual abuse
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Every two minutes a person is either sexually abused, or is victim of domestic violence. One in five high school girls will be physically or sexually abused by a person they know, or who they are dating. The number our military killed in the Afghanistan/Iraq wars was 6,488. The number of women killed during the same time frame by a partner or ex-partner was 11,700. These are staggering statistics, to say the least.

It seems now, on a daily basis, we can pickup a newspaper, or listen to the nightly news and hear about another domestic abuse or sexual assault case. Most of the reported cases involve one of our beloved sports teams and one of our sports heroes. We all remember the most classic case – involving O.J. Simpson and his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, which ultimate ended in the double murder of Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Whichever side you were on, the not guilty verdict sent a frenzy through the public.

It was perhaps the first case to show our beloved athletes in a scenario some of us fans refused to believe. Fans have put these men and women on a pedestal so high, the reality of what occurs -we refuse to believe.

Since the horrific Simpson case, we have been deluged by the likes of Ray Rice shown punching his now wife Janay Palmer knocking her out and dragging her limp body out of the elevator. For that punch, Rice was suspended for two games, and he was to undergo court supervised counseling.

And the list goes on: Greg Hardy, Ra McDonald, Jonathan Dwyer and Johnny Manziel. Let’s not forget Jovan Belcher, who shot himself after he had killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. His Kansas City Chief’s teammates held a prayer service for him at midfield.

These instances of domestic violence are horrific. But, it also has shown the indifference fans have when it involves one of their sports heroes.

It hasn’t stopped at the professional sports level. Recently, Baylor University was once the doormat of the Big 12.
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.
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NALC thanks you for food drive participation
Thursday, June 9, 2016
As the 2016 NALC Food Drive comes to a close, we wish to thank those that participated. Letter Carriers in Aurora, Montgomery, Yorkville, Plano, Oswego and Sugar Grove collected food May 14 while delivering mail.

The NALC Food Drive is THE largest one day food drive in the country. Since 1992 more than 71 million pounds, worth an estimated $150 million, has been collected. This year, it was expected we would see in excess of 71 million pounds, but totals are not in yet.

We want to thank MEIJER food stores for the generous contribution of bags that were distributed across the area.

The totals for this area are in, and this is where we stand: Aurora: 37,000 pounds; Montgomery: 15,200 pounds; Yorkville, which includes Sugar Grove and Oswego: 15,000 pounds, and Plano: 3,200 pounds.

A huge thank you to the schools who participated. It is always exciting to see our young people giving back to their community.

This is a City Letter Carrier event, but we could not accomplish all we did without the support of the United States Postal Service, The American Postal Workers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, THANKS to all of you. We are already looking forward to next year – our 25th Anniversary of the Food Drive. I hope that you will all be a part of this historic event!
Margaret Parker
President
NALC Branch 219
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I won’t vote to take dollars away from schools
Thursday, June 9, 2016
As a mother and former substitute teacher, ensuring my children receive the best education possible is one of the most important things in my life. The subject of school funding has been debated for many years, and I have also hosted a community discussion on this subject matter. I wanted to update you on this vital topic.

A national study in 2015 found Illinois has the most unfair funding system in the country. Our property tax rates are some of the highest nationally, and I have consistently voted to freeze property taxes to give homeowners relief. For example, Oswego District 204’s property tax payers are taxed at almost 20 percent higher than the statewide average.

Recent proposals in Springfield to change our state’s education funding would result in even more dollars being taken away from our schools. I have said from day one that I cannot support a bill that would cause schools in my district to lose money.

I am unsure whether Senate Bill 231 will receive a vote in the House, but if it is not changed to protect our schools, I will oppose it. I will continue to represent our area schools by opposing any cuts to school funding, supporting property tax relief, and ensuring our children get the best education for a successful future.

Please feel free to call me on my cellphone if you have any additional questions about this bill or any other issue at 630-306-2888.
Stephanie Kifowit
State Representative
84th District

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GOP’s sense of humor
Thursday, May 5, 2016
The GOP’s slip is showing! The call for signing up young women for a future draft, or some shadow indoctrination agenda, will be discriminatory on many fronts. A body count is the least of the goals of population controllers who must love this bill. Kennedy was the first president to confer population control on our nation. American women performed their duty. They stepped forward and swallowed the pill. Last report indicates 15 percent of couples remain childless. Mission accomplished.

Who fills this vacuum? Home schoolers? Privately or parochial schooled girls? Pro lifers or large families? These groups have fallen through the government’s net and PC needs another chance to suction them up. I say those listed have already paid their fair share by submitting to double taxation. And what is equal or just for a large family to be mandated to surrender their children to a government indoctrination camp versus a childless couple?

Congress has again included Planned Parenthood in their yearly budget, which translate to mean they still want more control over our bodies. Who pays? We do. PC’s desired goal is two or less kids per mother with zero growth being the ultimate goal. The answer to keeping our masters stocked with slaves: open borders. This is no secret. It is a well planned agenda by the oligarchs sitting at the head table, laying out our future in the NWO.

Pacifism is a legitimate option for all pro-life citizens, especially women. We are engaged in a struggle with our own government who has been promoting and funding the war on the unborn for the last 45 years. Expect mandatory vaccinations to follow a registration of all 18- to 25-year old women. We are already a persecuted minority and if this bill passes, we will lose more rights, especially where federal and state laws have us at gun point.

For more info, just read up on the on going war in Israel between the Orthodox Jews and secular Israeli citizens over the draft. Wars do not promote growth, only wealth for corporations. Besides, whose wars are our men dying for now? Only the “shadow” government knows.
Joan Solms
Aurora, Ill.

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Beans for employees; steak for management
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last night I attended my first Bolingbrook Park District Board meeting. I came because I heard about the struggle of the employees in our community to earn a living wage.

The employees brought gifts to the board members, a can of green beans for each, it was symbolic of the actual value of the raise they were being offered. These workers do what it takes to give us award winning parks. They clean up our mess and mow our grass and plant all the beautiful trees, bushes and flowers that we get to admire.

Board members are responsible for our tax dollars — and we want them to be, but not at the expense of the people that do the day to day work of making our award winning parks look good. Members of the management staff are disproportionally compensated, they received anywhere from 5 to 7 percent raises last year, while workers got nothing. Now they are being offered a total of $600 over the life of a 4-year contract, which is 1 percent of the average workers’ wages, for ALL FOUR YEARS. I KNOW FOR CERTAIN YOUR TAXES WILL GO UP MORE THAN 1 percent. It seems to me the board could find a little more empathy for their hard working employees.

Not sure what the union will try at next week’s negotiation session, but they would like the community to be engaged. These folks, many of which are tax payers in Bolingbrook, are just trying to earn a wage to sustain their family on. Some have been with us 35 years, and the average wage is around $19 and some change for full time work.

People want to get paid wages to sustain a family on. Obviously, $600 spread out over four years won’t cut it. It’s basically a can of green beans per day . . . beans for employees and steak for the management. It doesn’t seem fair to me, but that is why we have unions – to even out the playing field.
Jackie Traynere
Will County Board

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Rauner has no clue about labor
Thursday, April 28, 2016

“What happened here is a direct result of an unprecedented move by the Illinois Nurses Association bargaining committee not to support and recommend for passage the tentative agreement the Union signed with our administration. That is a clear violation of labor law in Illinois. Had the Union complied with its obligations of good faith bargaining during ratification, we are confident the agreement would have been ratified – just like 17 other agreements we reached with numerous other unions. We have asked our attorneys to prepare an unfair labor practice charge to resolve this issue in a proper forum.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration issued the above statement, which was issued after Illinois Nurses Association members overwhelmingly rejected the contract proposal. It is clear from this statement, and what legislators have been saying: Gov. Bruce Rauner has no clue how a labor union works. It further shows, union men and women, this governor will never support unions, or ever deal with them in a fair, impartial way.

Recently, I was talking to a legislator who said, “Bruce Rauner doesn’t know beans about unions or how they work. He has demonstrated this when he’s talking about them in public or private with me. Yet he has made eliminating unions in Illinois the heart of his governorship.” After 17 months in office, we still have no budget. This governor has proven the legislator’s statement time and time again. Rauner wants collective bargaining gone. He wants pensions and medical benefits gone. He wants lower wages and he wants to eliminate the Fair Share portion for all non-union workers, forcing union men and women to pickup the costs.

Rauner has yet to propose a jobs program. He has yet to answer, after he cuts wages and benefits, how he will replace all that lost revenue. Does he even have an answer? From all indications, that answer would be, no. He has called union men and women evil and immoral. I believe Rauner firmly believes that.

In regards to the Illinois Nurses Association vote and the statement coming from the governors office — it solidifies Rauner’s hatred for unions. He is not looking for ways to help, but to destroy the working men and women of this state. With these statements, it further demonstrates as the legislator said — “He doesn’t know Beans.”
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.

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Vote Democratic ticket March 15
Thursday, March 3, 2016

Please join me in voting March 15 and exercising your right to vote. This primary season, please join me in voting Democratic. We have an opportunity to nominate a strong ticket that will represent the values we support of building a stronger quality of life for our shared communities.

2016 is shaping up to be an exciting election from our Presidential candidates, national, state and local candidates. Having spent time with so many residents across Kendall County throughout the primary season, and hearing their commitment to building a stronger quality of life for our shared communities, reminds me why I am so proud to be a resident of Kendall County.

Early voting us underway. Please call the Kendall County Clerk’s office at 630-553-4103 to find out early polling locations. Thank you again for all your continued support, and please join me in voting Democratic March 15.
Martin Flowers
Democratic Candidate for Oswego 19
Montgomery Ill.

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Expect better from the Will County Board
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016

I had the opportunity to attend the Will County Executive Board meeting Thursday, Feb. 11. For those not familiar with the process, the Executive Committee sets the agenda for the County Board meetings with the next one occurring Feb. 18. This committee is run by Republicans because the majority of the County Board are Republicans. If an item does not get voted to be placed on the County Board agenda, it simply does not appear in front of the Board.

The County has been securing proposals from companies seeking to construct solar arrays atop county buildings at no cost to the county. Such a project was expected to bring utility considerations to Will County of at least $5,000 per month for the next 20 years.

The chair raised some questions about possibly needing to have public hearings about the project and also what would occur if the business building the arrays went bankrupt. These questions were addressed by Will County staff, but not to the satisfaction of the chair and his Republican colleagues. Even though there is an April deadline for contract conclusion, a quick motion was made to not place the item on the County Board agenda.

By not voting to place the item on the agenda, in a single, arbitrary fell swoop, Will County will lose this opportunity to reduce its utility obligation by at least $1.2 million over the next 20 years. This is fiscally irresponsible. The vote was conducted so quickly, there was no time for opponents to even register their vote. A few seconds after the vote, the Democratic Caucus Chair stated he wished to be recorded as against the motion.

Another discussion item not on the agenda for the day, the chair began a discussion about the need to reign in costs for medical insurance for Will County workers. He bemoaned the fact that if this were a private business, increases in costs could easily be passed onto the workers. Instead of having a role in a collaborative effort toward its resolution that is much larger than just a Will County issue, he cast the county staff in a light of being the problem on this issue.

I am a Democratic candidate for Will County Board in the 13th District and I am running for Will County Board because I do not believe Will County should be doing business in the manner as witnessed Thursday.
Bill Thoman
Plainfield, Ill.

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Sen. Michael Noland is my choice
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016

I support Illinois State Sen. Michael Noland for Congress in Illinois’s 8th District. As an Illinois State Senator, Mike has a strong track record of supporting worker’s rights, women’s rights, human rights, and the environment. Now he has introduced a bill (SB 2177) that would establish a Single Payer Health Care system here in Illinois, and another bill (SB 2199) that would create a Financial Transaction Tax, also called the LaSalle Street Tax.

These two bold ideas bring to Illinois progressive proposals that Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders has introduced into the Senate in Washington D.C. Each of them would, if enacted, bring genuine economic relief and security to the poor and the middle class. Each of them is strenuously opposed by the Illinois’s own one-percent and the mainstream media. SB 2199, would, in fact, go a long way towards easing the state’s deficit, and make it possible for Illinois to begin paying its bills by modestly taxing those who can afford to pay. You can learn more about SB 2199 at cpegonline.org, and about SB 2177 at http://ilsinglepayer.org/single-payer-legislation.

It would take a tremendous fight to actually pass these measures in Springfield, given Republican party hostility and Democratic party timidity about breaking out of the current austerity mindset which claims that Illinois is broke and the only question is which services we must cut. But Mike Noland has been courageous enough to propose them on behalf of his constituents, and I believe he would bring the same courage and compassion to the United States Congress.
Mary Shesgreen
Elgin, Ill.

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Looking for the Human Race Party
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016

After watching the GOP presidential candidates debate, it has become apparent the GOP has been hi-jacked and are now being held hostage by the fundamental Christian right of this country.

We can forget the war on oil dependency and we can forget our ballooning economy because the real terror exists in the radical religious factors that seeming has taken over our world. Whether it be here in America, or Israel, or Islam, fundamentalism has taken root, and fanaticism has become the real enemy.

It doesn’t really matter which does it, both are preaching the same gospel of hatred – hatred for all those who are different. All of them have the same goal in mind: To drive each into oblivion. The fundamentalists of each group has taken hold, and they all preach the same doctrine that they end of days are coming, and the rapture is just around the corner. We better act quickly before Armageddon gets here and destroy as many of the enemy as we can. That’s the message from Ayatollahs from Islam, Israeli heads-of-state, and our own “supposedly” Christian ministers.

Now we come to the main characters who want to be President of the United States. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, and of course everybody’s favorite bigot – Donald Trump. All been “spoken to” by God, and God has told them how he wants them to lead the masses. Apparently, God has also told them Social Security and Medicare are evil, as is health care for all Americans. God has spoken to them on the evils of making a livable wage – unless, of course, you are a corporation or a Wall Street banker.

We must believe God talked to these fine American men and women. Just recently, the very reverend Jerry Falwell Jr. came out and endorsed the four time married Donald Trump – the new poster man for intolerance and bigotry. Such a man as upstanding as Rev. Falwell would never lie when it comes to the word of God. He recently announced from the pulpit he wanted his Liberty University student body to carry concealed weapons to kill Muslims. Certainly a fitting topic for a homily in a House of God. Cruz wants to carpet bomb the Middle East, and that certainly worked before – under George W. Bush “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq.

Rubio wants to start World War III. Trump wants to round up all Muslims and put them in cages – for their own protection, of course. In debate after debate, the theme has been the same: Which ethnic group should we hate tonight? They all want to do away with a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage and equal pay for women. Since God has indeed spoken, it is fair to access they are the official First National Religious Party of America. We should not ever think of them as the Grand Ole Party.

Our constitution says all people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That means all people, not just who the New Religious Party of America says so. Our constitutions is to provide everyone with warmth and security and that you are in the land of the free, where you can practice your religion and your culture, without reprisal. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a right of all humanity – not just the rich or elite. When I hear the New National Religious Party of America declares its vision for America’s future, I cringe at the thought men and women such as these, can, and are, running for the highest office in the world.

I have drawn up my own set of rules for my voting criteria. They are as follow: 1) I will not vote for a candidate who wants to raise the retirement age, or who wants to privatize Social Security or Medicare. 2) I believe all men and women regardless of race, gender, or religious beliefs, are all equal under God, and I will not vote for any candidate who thinks otherwise. 3) I will not vote for a candidate who believes you can pray away being gay. 4) I will not vote for a candidate who will tell a woman what she can, or cannot do, with her own body. I will not vote for a candidate who says his religion, or ethnic makeup, is superior to all others. 5) Finally, as we are a nation of immigrants and refugees, I will not vote for any candidate who refuses shelter, clothing and the right to be free.

Do we have people running who have these traits? Yes, we do. They do not belong to the New National Religious Party of America. They just belong to the Human Race Party.
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.

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Address was lip service
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016

In his 30-minute State of the State address Jan. 27, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner waited until nearly the end to voice the idea of compromise in solving the ongoing budget crisis.

Long before that, he spoke of how states like Texas, Indiana and many others were poaching jobs and workers from Illinois. Rauner said Illinois should follow their example and hunt jobs not only from them, but from all other states. He spoke of fixing Illinois’ woes by restructuring its goals and the means of achieving them.

The governor called for the end of bloated, inefficient and wasteful government and governmental policies. Yet he told of adding new layers to the state’s bureaucracy. Rauner’s tone sounded more like that of a corporate executive, not an elected public official.

He spoke of cuts to education and social services, but did not shine a light on individuals most harmed by the cuts. He gave lip service to the struggling middle class, but failed to mention the plight of so many seniors or those in need of medical and/or mental health needs.

Rauner said that by expanding tax incentives to businesses, these desperate needs would surely be resolved. I can only guess that he was referring to “trickle down” economics, a failed experiment. Another suggestion not uttered by Rauner was of any form of tax increases for big businesses or the wealthiest of Illinois citizens.

In two weeks, Rauner will once again come before our legislators offering his latest budget proposal. Maybe this time honest compromise will be at the top of his agenda.
Bernie Biernacki
Aurora, Ill.

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Missing love in their heart
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016

Caring, compassion, and love for humanity are emotions we all are born with. But for whatever reason, some lose these traits. Maybe it’s fear of showing compassion for another human who might be different then you. Maybe it’s fear that showing compassion is a sign of weakness. Whatever the reason, some are definitely at a loss.

Recently, a college professor at a small obscure Christian college in Illinois decided to make a statement and stand up for a person’s right to practice his or her religion openly and safely – and not face ridicule from others for being different.

Professor Larycia Hawkins at Wheaton college in Wheaton donned a Hijab, a scarf that Muslim women wear over their heads when out in public or in the presence of men outside their family. Hawkins said she loves her Muslim neighbors because they deserve love and dignity not because they are Muslim, but because they are part of humanity; that we all are born of the same God.

The statement, “Born of the same God” seems to be a problem. Wheaton College Provost Stan Jones first suspended Hawkins. He is now seeking to strip her of her tenure and fire her. Jones found the words “same God” to be innocuous. Jones went on to say, “Dr. Hawkins has failed to provide reasonable assurance that her personal theological beliefs are in line with the Statement of Faith and the college’s theological positions.”

So what is the college’s theological position? Is there other Gods we are being born of? Our country was founded on diversity and the freedom to practice one’s religion and culture openly – without reprisal. When the pilgrims came to this country, they wanted to practice their religion openly, but also wanted to bring their culture with them. That is why they were called colonies. Women wore the same clothes, including scars or bonnets. They shared the same foods, they plowed the same fields and they reaped and shared equally when the crops were harvest. Today, some believe diversity is when others conform to their religion and cultures. Some consider people outsiders if their faith or ethnic makeup are different than their own.

In another recent incident, Donald Trump was holding a town hall meeting in South Carolina. A Muslim woman stood up in protest as Trump said, “… almost all of the refugees fleeing Syria were, in fact, a member of ISIS.” The woman, and a gentleman who was with her, were escorted out of the hall. Trump didn’t miss a beat. He proudly proclaimed himself the new appointed king of racism and intolerance. He kept up with his bigoted statements while his crowd of ardent admirers booed the couple and shouted for them to “get out.”

Fear is what drives these people. Trump certainly knows how to flame that fire. Fanaticism and bigotry need constant feeding. Unfortunately, that constant nourishment comes from the Christian segment of our society who are the first to shout about persecution, and their God being taken away.

Hawkins donned the Hijab because she has what so many are missing – love in her heart.
Mike Schauer
Bolingbrook, Ill.

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Rauner cannot save Illinois
Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016

Bruce Rauner, and of course his lifelong democratic wife Diane, say he will “shake up Springfield” and get Illinois rolling again. But his numbers to do that just don’t add up.

Some people who don’t do their homework are falling for his line of deceitful plans. On state pensions, he has continuously called for switching current workers from their defined contribution to a 401(k) style contribution, but he has never addressed what this would do to current retiree’s pensions.

With a 401(k), employees and state contributions do not go into the state pension fund, but instead, go into an account managed by a Wall Street broker. This means the pensions current retiree’s draw from would become tremendously under-funded, and revenues eventually would dry up, causing an even deeper hole for retiree’s than we have now.

Apparently Rauner hasn’t been following the state of Kansas where Gov. Brownback put into plan the same plan Rauner is proposing. Kansas, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, has decided to go back to defined pensions for teachers and state employees because it could not replace the revenue lost, nor could they borrow enough money to cover retiree’s.

Rauner has been asked about his job plan. What jobs? Are they jobs people can raise a family on? Do these jobs have health care? Will people be able to buy a house? Will people once again believe in the American dream? In a debate, Bruce Rauner could not name one company he owned which actually produced job growth. His job plan certainly does not include good paying union jobs which would offer retirement, health care and the ability to have pride in going to work everyday.

Rauner has said, “Union are evil,and immoral.” He has said that, “Every job should not have to an American job.” He has said he will lower the minimum wage — not raise it. He has a nursing home scandal from his companies Trans Healthcare. He squeezed every ounce of profit on the backs of the patients there, causing massive cutbacks on both cutting staff and procedures causing the court to award more than $1 billion dollars in settlements.

If you don’t agree with him, (or in the case of an award winning journalist who painted a not so good portrait of what Rauner is really like) Rauner, his money and his 11 percent ownership in the paper, caused this highly respected reporter to resign from the Chicago Sun-Times.

This is not the good-guy Rauner’s wife Diane wants us to believe in. This is pure and simple a man who can and has bought everything and everybody. And that spells out EVIL to me.
Mike Schauer
Joliet, Ill.
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3 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor

  1. Jennifer, I just submitted this letter to Sen. Kirk over his vote to support the Keystone Pipeline – Bernie

    Sen. Kirk:
    I am very, very disappointed that you voted to pass the Keystone Pipeline.
    Your vote was a slap in the face to many of the landowners who do not want the project to pass through their land and may be forced to sale if it comes to fruition.
    Your vote was a slap in the face to those who depend on the aquifer that provides them with fresh water.
    Your vote was a slap in the face to those who want to protect against pipeline ruptures, as has happened several times in the last several months.
    Your vote was a slap in the face to the energy environmentalists who know that the tar sand oil is the dirtiest fuel on the books.
    Your vote was a slap in the face to American working men and women, as long-term no more than 50 jobs will be produced.
    And, your vote was a slap in the face to all the Americans as the oil will not b e staying in this country but going overseas.
    Also, you didn’t stand up for the American people, but for the Canadian company (with help from some very rich Americans) that operates it.
    I am ashamed of your vote.

  2. I urge Governor Rauner to sign HB 4259, which will take away state sponsored pensions from lobbyists. It’s ridiculous that we should give lobbyists pensions when we can’t even afford to give them to our teachers and firefighters. The bill, which was sponsored by former teacher Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, has passed both the House and Senate and is currently sitting on the Governor’s desk. Governor Rauner, you told us that you weren’t beholden to special interests; put your money where your mouth is.

  3. You should look into life at Mooseheart from the kids point of view. It is understood that you need discipline and directions when raising youth. But just as we as adults don’t like micromanaging nor do children of any age. We grow up knowing right from wrong and understanding consequences when we do wrong. But what we have that was her children don’t have is the ability to make those mistakes without severe consequences. There is no freedom as if they were in jail. Yes they’re given quite a bit the Loyal Order of Moose are vary giving. How to kids don’t know how to express themselves with the opposite sex. Don’t know how to love themselves or anybody else. For heaven sakes you can’t even give another use a hug without somebody thinking there’s something wrong. We As Americans always seem to go from one side of the teeter totter to the other side. This is my opinion that the DCFS needs to step back and let kids be kids.

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