Morality and the Budget


“Budgets are moral documents” – Oh, come on now, Representative Schakowsky. I refer to the statement in the April 27 issue of the RoundTable concerning the proposed U.S. budget resolution, etc.

It is immoral to scare seniors into thinking that they will be tossed out on the street, when the resolution suggests no such thing. Their situation remains stabilized; meanwhile the younger generation will have to bear the brunt of such costs, beginning now and into the future, because of the Medicare-Medicaid funding mess.

Note the contradiction in Rep. Schakowsky’s remark that “not a lot of small business concerns will benefit from tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. They will, however, be hurt if no one can afford to buy their products and services.”

This remark would be amusing were the matter not so serious. Who and what makes the money that 1) creates jobs and 2) creates products and services people can buy?

The salient cry of class warfare here is the result of muddled minds: $250,000 per annum – is that rich? That is where the base for more income taxation will start … and is that net or gross income? Either way it is a killer of incentives to grow business, industries, and jobs.

Speaking of morality, caring for the homeless, helpless – where was Rep. Schakowsky’s president all the while when folks in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee were killed and their homes and towns ground up in tornado after tornado?

A classic handbook on community organizing is Dostoevsky’s “The Possessed,” also under the title “The Idiot.” Read it.

— Ann C. Dienner, Fellow of the

Royal Society

The Big Picture ?

A Culture of Violence


The tragedy in Evanston at McDonald’s, where a young man was shot by another young man, happened in a larger context of what is a culture of violence established at the highest levels in this country. It is an environment which sanctions, or doesn’t question the expenditure of $2 billion each week for the continuation of war and occupation in countries in the Middle East and northern Africa.  This is money which could be spent on education, social programs, health care, sustainable energy, infrastructure repairs or human needs. Instead it is used to perpetuate a violent militarized empire around the globe.

  The victim and assailant in the McDonald’s shooting came of age during the last 10 years of these wars of very questionable purpose, where violence continues to be the sanctioned mode of resolving conflict. Then we wonder why some of our young people are carrying guns and think that using them is an acceptable way to resolve their  conflicts.

   As we work in Evanston to end violence in our community, especially among our youth, we need to do so within a larger perspective of the necessity of shifting our national priorities and our tacit approval of violence as a tolerated way of resolving our differences – globally, locally and interpersonally.

  — Dickelle Fonda, NorthShore Coalition for Peace, Justice and the Environment

Banning Bags Would Make Evanston Less Competive


My congratulations to the City Council who – in times of economic hardship, and at a time when the City Manager has noted that there will be a greater budget shortfall than anticipated – have invented yet another way to  make Evanston businesses less competitive. The proposed ordinance to prohibit the use of disposable bags in any store appears to be more geared toward “behavior modification” on the part of the citizens than it is to any health, safety or economic benefit to the City. I expect a requirement to install compost heaps in the back yard will be their next goal.

 Commercial establishments can be greatly affected by seemingly small changes. Recall, for instance, the number of dark storefronts in downtown Evanston when the City decided to install beautiful brick-paved sidewalks throughout all at once.

Rather than face the minor difficulty in crossing the gangways to the entrance, consumers merely drove to another location in another city. If the Council believes that we will all drive around with reusable bags in our cars, or carry them with us on the train so we can buy something at the grocery store on the way home, I think they are mistaken.

Those who will do so have already done so. The rest of us – rather than drive to the Dominick’s on Green Bay, will drive a few blocks farther to Jewel, where they will continue to ask us, “paper or plastic?”

I will choose paper, because I always have a need for the paper bags around the house.

Ultimately, the number of shoppers who chose to go somewhere else will result in a corresponding drop in sales here, and an increase in an adjoining municipality. Likewise, tax revenue will follow. So much for addressing the budget shortfall.

— Christopher Thomas, AIA, LEED AP

LWVE Stance on Springfield Budget Proposals


The House has estimated next year’s revenues to be over a billion dollars less than the Senate’s estimate.  The Senate’s estimate comes from a non-partisan forecasting agency that has an excellent track record.  The House’s estimate would necessitate over a billion dollars in unnecessary and harmful cuts.  The Senate’s forecast is responsible and should be used.  There are other solid ideas for arranging the state’s revenues to focus them to avoid damaging cuts.  None of this is a tax increase.  The General Assembly must agree to use the Senate revenue estimate and adopt all of the reasonable ideas available to avoid unnecessary cuts.

— Susan Black, President, League of Women Voters of Evanston

Possums Wearing Bowlers?


 It’s very reassuring to know that in a city of over 70,000 our mayor takes so seriously an online survey with about 2,000 signatories. I wonder what else could drum up a couple thousand signatures online. Make every street one-way only? Require our city’s opossums to wear bowler hats?