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home : community forum : community forum - submit/review comments April 30, 2016

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Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Community forum entry by: Christopher Thomas

It was with great disappointment that I read Daniel Biss’ article in the RoundTable. It is disappointing because I had expected Biss’ background in higher mathematics would have compelled him to a more rational review of the situation in Springfield than just the same old partisan claptrap. His argument appears to be that 1. Governor Rauner’s tactics in the current budget impasse are entirely ideologically driven 2. Though some states have followed a similar program and have found success, others haven’t 3. Some progressive states have found success without having to follow such a program. He states, “…the Democratic approach to economic growth mitigates poverty, raises wages and helps grow the middle class.” Yet, nowhere does he outline what this program is.
Seen from afar, what appears to be going on in Springfield is that an entirely unsustainable financial burden with which the State is faced, is being defended by the Democratic Assembly leaders simply to placate their union constituents. Someone who can actually add a column of numbers ought to be able to see that the growth of debt in which the State is encumbered has to be addressed, and soon.
Far from being ideologically driven, as far as I can tell, Governor Rauner’s “assault” on public employee unions is nothing more than trying to break the incestuous cycle of “if you deliver votes for me, we will provide increased wages and benefits for you.” This condition of the fox guarding the henhouse is exactly why even FDR didn’t support the idea of public employee unions.
If the Democratic approach can deliver all of the benefits Biss described, why then – after twelve years of Democratic hegemony over both houses and the executive – is the State in the financial condition it is in? It is hard to imagine that the less than one year tenure of a Republican Governor could have accomplished all that. Senator Biss, how about you drop the Democratic rhetoric, put politics aside, and come to the aid of your State?



Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Community forum entry by: Mark Greenbaum

I read the guest essay by Senator Daniel Biss in the RoundTable. I belong to the same party and Mr. Biss and likely share many of his views. With regards to the stalemate in Springfield and the opposition to Governor Bruce Rauner’s positions, it is hard to find a coherent set of policies and budget proposals set forth by our Democratic representatives. Gov. Rauner has made is easy to understand his politics and his agenda and even specific ways in which he envisions improving the state’s financial problems. What I can’t find is a similar platform with specific items from the Democrats in the House and Senate. What is the alternative budget proposal and makes concrete sense? This should seem obvious to you with regards to your remarks “Everywhere I go, I hear the same question: What on earth is going on in Springfield?” What is the Cullerton/Madigan detailed budget plan and how does it fix the Illinois financial woes?
I am rooting for you, Mr. Biss but your letter gives me little to chew on. It’s already obvious what the differences in ideology are, what is the counter proposal? Try as I might I can’t find a complete answer on the web. If you can’t articulate it, then it either doesn’t exist, you aren’t aware of it or it’s not easy for you to articulate. Help us out here. If you want us to put pressure on the governor, then we need the ammunition.



Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Community forum entry by: Tom McRaith

Thanks for providing a place for public comment on the proposed changes for Canal Shores.
I have a longtime interest in the Peter Jans Golf Course – that’s how I remember it. My family home was on Lincoln Street across from the 12th hole. I started golfing when I was in sixth grade, in 1946. We paid 25 cents to play 18 holes. By 1951, I was working on the grounds crew at the course under the supervision of John Miller, the superintendent at the time. I worked there for four summers.
When Mr. Miller died, my brother, Barry McRaith, who began working there after I had left, was asked to continue as an interim superintendent, which he did for several years. He shared responsibility with an Evanston fireman who also worked there part time.
Since 1966, my home on Colfax Street has been about 150 years from the 16th green.
With that as my background, I’ll offer my concerns about the proposal:
The standard for golf courses is either 9 or 18 holes. Changing the basic course to 12 holes may not be acceptable to regular golfers, who use their handicap based on 18 holes as a measure of their ability.
Evansotn has a good number of parks, including Leah and Chandler parks, which are situated next to the 16th and 18th holes. Why couldn’t children who want to play 5 holes only (on the Kids Links) play 5 holes on the present course?
I presume there would be fees for each of the four venues. If so, where would the fees be collected, and how many employees would be required to collect the fees? Now, you pay at the first tee for your golf and/or cart, and that’s the only place you make a payment.
Since we are neighbors to the course, do I feel there would be additional interest by our neighbors because of these changes? I doubt that they would have any increased interest unless they are golfers already.
The overall desirability of the course has been improved by two changes in the last 25 years a steel bridge that replaced the narrow “skinny bridge” on the 14th hole, which had been there for many years, and the installation of underground sprinklers. The bridge allowed a golf cart to be driven over the canal from the tee to the green.
The golf course is a unique piece of property. Over the years, I’ve seen people get off an L train with their clubs, and I’ve thought this gives others an opportunity to enjoy our little gem
I’d probably pass on the changes that are proposed.



Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Community forum entry by: Alexander Brown

It seems that new developments and businesses are opening in Evanston just as quickly as the number of people who are homeless. I see more people who are clearly living all or part of their days outside in downtown Evanston this winter than I have in decades.
Our main provider of services to people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness in Evanston is Connections for the Homeless and the City has reduced its funding yet again this year and seems poised to do so again. Connections was forced to close its daytime drop-in center last summer, which just leaves more people in need with nowhere to go.
This is both inhumane and bad for the business environment in downtown Evanston.
We can and should do better.



Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Community forum entry by: John Foley

Senator Biss and Representatives Gabel and Fine:
Could you possibly list areas of common ground you may have with Governor Rauner in resolving the budget dispute? It can not be possible to disagree on every single item with Governor Rauner – can it? Knowing the Chicago Public Schools are effectively bankrupt while spending $13,433 per student (Chicago Tribune 2014, 7.3% above the state average, 8.3% above the national average) what lessons can we learn and apply these lessons to the budget for Illinois to avoid insolvency?



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