Criticism comes with the job, Mayor Johnson

Chicago
By Chicago 7 Min Read

As a black man who grew up in Chicago, I am appalled at our Mayor Brandon Johnson claiming any criticism of him is racism.

Besides having Brandon Johnson as mayor, we have a Black Cook County president, who also chairs the Cook County Democratic Party (Toni Preckwinkle); a Black state’s attorney (Kim Foxx); a Black chief judge (Tim Evans); an incoming Black police chief (Larry Snelling); and Black fire chief (Annette Nance-Holt). Even the speaker of the Illinois House is Black (Chris Welch).

As so much of our leadership is Black, we should have no excuses, and certainly can’t claim racism, yet our city suffers. Also, many of the folks criticizing him, fellow progressives worried he’s not moving fast enough, are people of color.

Mayor Johnson talks about “micro-aggressions,” but I say he’s just macro-sensitive. Criticism comes with the job. If he can’t take it, he signed up for the wrong gig.

Shawn Jenkins, Hyde Park

Bigots forget importance of ‘equality for all’

This Sun-Times subscriber has been waiting for Trump critics like columnist S.E. Cupp to focus their commentary on the bigotry and civic depravity of Trump’s supporters themselves. Cupp has taken tentative steps in that direction with her recent column (“Convicted Jan. 6 criminals are modern-day heroes to Republicans”).

That’s where the problem ultimately lies, with the rejection of this country’s central creed: the equality of all, from which arises our notions of freedom and our allegiance to the one form of government that honors that central ethos, democracy.

Trump’s supporters gave us the opportunistic, transactional Trump, not vice versa. Bigots reject equality and will dismantle even corrupted, compromised democracy when it does not reliably produce bigoted public policy. They have no business waving the American flag and only soil it when displayed alongside Trump banners.

Gregg Mumm, Oak Park

Trump Inc. must pay pollution fine

If the Trump Organization refuses to pay the fine for polluting our Chicago River or try to delay paying, the city should threaten to turn off the water to the building. No games, no pennies on the dollar deal. Pay up.

William Keating, South Side

Illinois should explore more nuclear power

David Kraft’s suggestion in a recent letter that repealing Illinois’ outright ban on new nuclear plants amounts to a commitment to build new plants is false. It would merely allow carbon-free nuclear to compete with other carbon-free sources, in Illinois’ efforts to decarbonize its power grid.

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The notion that something should be prevented from competing because you think it would not be competitive has always been silly. If new nuclear is uncompetitive as a decarbonization option, it will not be chosen.

The argument that Illinois ratepayers would be put at risk for cost overruns, etc. also lacks merit. It’s true the state’s existing plants were built under a regulated market, where all the construction costs were directly passed on to ratepayers.

But now Illinois has a “merchant” power market where new power plants have to sell their power at whatever price they can get in a free, competitive market. In other words, the utility building the plant, as opposed to the ratepayers, is bearing the risk.

One also has to ask why the only power source that is outright banned is a clean source whose risks and impacts are negligible compared to those of fossil generators.

New nuclear could significantly benefit Illinois. It’s a non-intermittent clean source that has a very small land footprint. In particular, replacing Illinois coal plants with nuclear is a promising idea. Making use of the coal plant infrastructure would reduce costs.

Compared to other clean options, nuclear provides far more jobs in the local community that are much higher-paying and longer lasting. For those reasons, fossil communities have expressed a strong preference for nuclear, as the replacement of their retiring fossil plants. Why deny those communities that option?

James E. Hopf, Generation Atomic, Tracy, California

GOP needs to check facts on inflation

A recent Wall Street Journal poll of Republican voters found that 74% of them believe inflation is headed in the wrong direction.

Inflation has been falling for almost two years and is at 3.18%, down from 8.52% last year at this time. Such an easy thing to verify, and yet so few Republicans even bother. These are the people that want to tell us how to live our lives? Absolutely not.

Richard Keslinke, Algonquin

Next top cop should pick his team

One has to wonder what Interim Police Supt. Fred Waller had in mind when he promoted new command staff as he soon departs. There is a reason why the police civilian oversight board chose Larry Snelling to be Chicago’s new top cop. Leadership was one of them.

If the City Council approves his nomination, then he has a right to choose his new leadership. If a top cop is not comfortable with those in command positions, how can we assess his progress for a department in dire need of fresh ideas and inspired leadership?

Bob Angone, retired Chicago Police lieutenant, Austin, Texas

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