EDITORIAL: Once again, the Illinois Legislature is handing out a perk without worrying where the money will come from to pay for it. This time, lawmakers are getting behind a bill that could force suburban and Downstate municipalities to hire more firefighters than they can afford. The bill, which passed the House 63-44 and is now in the Senate, would make firefighter staffing levels part of labor contract negotiations. The Senate should reject this bill.
EDITORIAL: Is it possible to significantly improve high school graduation rates in Chicago, even at some of the city’s toughest schools, without a drastic overhaul, a shiny new program or the opening of a charter school? Turns out it’s not only doable, it’s already happening.
EDITORIAL: The transit agency spends roughly $1 million each year to clean and repair buses, trains and stations marred by graffiti. It won’t collect near that amount from lawsuits, but the more aggressive the CTA is about going after vandals, the greater they expect the deterrent effect will be.
EDITORIAL: It’s partly a matter of perception. The state has a mountain of unpaid bills, forcing lawmakers to consider all kinds of spending cuts and new taxes and fees. To blow another $100 million right about now would set the taxpayers’ teeth on edge.
EDITORIAL: One error in the pension reform bill is so serious and pressing that it must be fixed, and quickly. The error — a drafting mistake that set a key date in 2013 instead of 2014 as intended — would trim university pensions so severely that top professors might begin fleeing in droves before the end of June.
EDITORIAL: Haggling over legislation to authorize a Chicago casino has become a springtime ritual in recent years. This spring, state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, has dealt out two new amendments that just might lead to a new gambling facility. Although any bill will have to evolve during negotiations, the final legislation absolutely must provide for a casino in Chicago — before all else — and strong ethics safeguards.
EDITORIAL: At age 77 and beset with cancer, George has scaled back his activities while he undergoes his third round of chemotherapy and has urged church officials to begin the process of finding his replacement. How do we know? Because George had the courage to tell us.
EDITORIAL: This is a classic case of a small number of folks being made to suffer for the sake of the greater good. We urge the CTA to move forward with these ambitious plans, though not without doing everything possible to make affected homeowners and businesses whole.
EDITORIAL: When it comes to ethics, is the Cook County Board becoming a “free-floating apex”? As described in the 1969 book, “The Peter Principle,” a free-floating apex is someone with an important-sounding title, but no real authority. Two elected county officials apparently think the County Board is just that — a board with an impressive name but no countywide authority over ethical practices.
EDITORIAL: The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday will decide whether to apply a radical treatment to three struggling schools. If approved, everything will change for students at the schools in North Lawndale, South Austin and Gresham.
EDITORIAL: After the horrific shootings in Kansas on Sunday, we were moved by the comments of the mother of one victim, who begged that something “good” will come out of this. “We don’t know what that’s going to be,” said Mindy Corporon, who lost both her son and her father. “So we want people to let us know if they think something good has come of it.”
EDITORIAL: Every criminal case should be based on facts, not political winds. That’s worth keeping in mind for the intertwined murder cases of Anthony Porter and Alstory Simon, now under re-examination by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s Conviction integrity Unit. Simon, who was convicted in 1999 and is scheduled to be paroled in August 2017, for the last decade has said he was tricked into confessing and wants his conviction thrown out.
EDITORIAL: There is no honest argument for no property tax hike. A sober look at the city’s finances points in no other direction.
EDITORIAL: Requiring photo IDs, reducing the number of voting days and discouraging voter registration drives mostly impact voters who lean Democratic.
EDITORIAL: So what exactly would this thing be? Sounds to us like the George Lucas museum might be some kind of cross between the Art Institute of Chicago and one of those blockbuster exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry. Lots of art, leaning toward pop. Lots of digital pizzazz. Lots of stuff to play with. Think Hollywood on the Lake. Think light sabers.