Letters: Michael Madigan is out of Illinois politics, but the corruption … – Chicago Tribune

Regarding the news story “Pritzker taps Madigan ally for state board” (Aug. 30): I would like to say that I was surprised to see a political minion of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan appointed to a state board responsible for billions of dollars to provide low-cost loans to organizations ostensibly for economic improvement. Needless to say, it does not surprise me in the slightest. Madigan’s lieutenants are being indicted and convicted left and right, and yet somehow, Gov. J.B. Pritzker saw nothing wrong with appointing Steve Landek to this post and then doubling down and defending the decision. Let’s not forget about the stadium boondoggle that saddled Bridgeview with massive debt for years to come. That alone should have made the appointment questionable.

But if we look at some of the content in the back end of the article, we see more of the same political horse trading that keeps landing people in Madigan’s orbit in federal court. There is the connection to the corrupt state Sen. Martin Sandoval, as well as the curiously odd timing of Bridgeview selecting an insurance company connected to Madigan’s son to provide risk management insurance around the same time Landek was appointed (with Madigan’s help) to an open seat in the Illinois Senate.

Although Landek no longer occupies that post, it comes with a pension exceeding $28,500 annually, an amount of money many people in this state struggle to make by actually working. If that arrangement does not smack of quid pro quo, I am not sure what does.

The last paragraph of the article mentions Madigan himself being picked up on a wire worn by another corrupt politician, then-Ald. Danny Solis, asking Solis to steer insurance business to his son. Honestly, I don’t know if I should get angry or just chalk it up to another day in Illinois. I do know it is depressing to see that even under intense federal pressure, the Illinois legislative clown car never really empties out.

Madigan might not be very visible any longer, but the wreckage and corruption left in his wake are going to take years to fix.

— Steve Kurak, McHenry

The Tribune’s Aug. 31 Page 1 story (”Despite conviction, Mapes collecting big pension”) is disheartening. It reports that convicted felon and Michael Madigan henchman Tim Mapes — a perjurer who attempted to obstruct justice — has been receiving a nearly $150,000 per year pension for the fast five years since being asked to resign and will likely continue to do so following his recent federal criminal conviction. Most Chicagoans will likely never earn that much money per year while working honest jobs to feed their families and should not be forced by the very politicians who commit such crimes to pay for such behavior.

Despite all the wonderful things the city and state have to offer, Illinois already has a worldwide reputation as being among the most corrupt jurisdictions in the Western world, with four of our governors, starting with Otto Kerner, having gone to prison, and the city of Chicago’s level of corruption has been a consistent national joke for a century or more.

It is time to put an end to this. Honest citizens deserve better, but current law apparently forces citizens to continue to pay the people who commit these crimes against us. One way to reduce or eliminate such behavior would be to stop subsidizing it.

Illinois and Chicago need pension reform now. Let’s start with the corrupt politicians!

— David Applegate, Huntley

The article concerning Tim Mapes’ pension is a perfect example of why pension reform is sorely needed at every level from local and state to the federal government. Our elected officials should not be allowed to vote for their own raises or pension rules. I would like to see our officials live like the common people who must enroll in 401(k)s and put earned money away in individual retirement accounts in order to prepare for their retirement. With the current system, many officials are set for life after a relatively short time in office.

Perhaps if the citizens could vote on salaries and pensions, these officials would concentrate on better representing the people’s interests and spend less time raising their own salaries and protecting their lavish pensions.

— Margaret Kushman, Broadview

Among the worst things about Tim Mapes continuing to receive his large Illinois pension is that he doesn’t pay any Illinois income tax on that money!

— James L. Buck, Jacksonville, Illinois

Please someone explain to me why anyone would send money to a politician — and yes, he is a politician — who reneged on the first promise he made when announcing his run for office.

“I don’t need anybody’s money,” Donald Trump said that day in 2015. “I’m using my own money. I’m not using donors. I’m really rich.”

So many lies over the past eight years, and they started with just that statement. People who aren’t really rich are sending him money over and over. Recently, they sent $7 million because he asked for it when proudly displaying his mug shot. How’s that for incomprehensible? Yes, they are sending their hard-earned money to pay the legal bills of a four-time-indicted person who is running (again) for president — a man whose family charity was shut down because of fraud.

That’s money they should be using for their families, for their retirement, for food, for medical bills, even for vacation. Why use it to support a fake billionaire who has never, ever done one thing for them? Why?

How does this make any sense at all? Many of his supporters became enamored with Trump while watching him talk about how rich he was on “reality” TV — which as we all know is far from true reality. Nothing about Trump’s words are actual reality.

“I don’t need anybody’s money.”

Maybe listen to what he said that first day and stop supporting a lying, cheating enemy of the Constitution. Why give money to someone like that?

— Joni H. Blackman, Naperville

The recent editorial regarding an Idaho teacher of the year relocating to Illinois (”Congratulations to Illinois’ newest teacher of the year, coming to us direct from Idaho,” Aug. 28) due to the harassment she received from far right activists in Idaho insists that for Illinois to thrive, “its leaders must embrace tolerance, not partisan attacks that further divide our population.” I agree.

Unfortunately, the example the Tribune Editorial Board uses to support that statement is a hypothetical asking how a MAGA Illinois Teacher of the Year might fare here in “blue” Illinois. The board says that she, too, would face inflammatory attacks.

Let’s see. One of the hallmarks of MAGA Republicans is that they believe and spread lies — including that the 2020 election was “stolen” and actually won by Donald Trump, leaders in blue states support abortion and climate change is a hoax. If my child were in a class with a MAGA teacher who expressed these lies, of course I would be trying to remove her. After all, the embrace and spreading of lies is hardly a virtue we want to pass on to our children; there’s nothing “partisan” about it.

— Ronda Schiess, Oak Park

Paul Sullivan knocks it out of the park again with his column on the firing of the White Sox executive vice president and general manager, along with his assessment of the downfall of the White Sox (”Sox chairman Reinsdorf finally pulls the trigger, but perhaps too late to really matter,” Aug. 23). I couldn’t help but contrast this column with Chris Jones’ assessment of the downfall of Chicago theater (”What happened to Chicago theater?” Aug. 20). Sullivan does not tiptoe around. The Sox marketing department? “A nightmare.” The communications department? “A lack of communication.” Sox star players “talk when they feel like it.” Bring it, Paul!

Sullivan points out that the purge wouldn’t have happened “without the nonstop protests of Sox fans who had enough.” It is true that White Sox fans and Chicago theater audiences approach their issues differently, but the Sox fans got results.

Meanwhile, Jones’ thoughtful list of reasons for the demise of Chicago theater rather tiptoes around the issues. He cites “airing dirty laundry” as one but does not give a laundry list.

Sullivan points out that Jerry Reinsdorf admitted that “ultimately the well-worn cliché that professional sports is results-oriented is correct.” When the White Sox put a good team on the field people want to see, fans will show up. So, too, for Chicago theaters. When they put good shows on the stage people want to see, people will show up.

— Renee Munro, Chicago

As my family has had White Sox season tickets for 38 years, you’d think I’d be mad at Jerry Reinsdorf for threatening to move the White Sox, but I am not. I get it.

First, when any lease comes due, every tenant naturally considers its options. That’s prudent. The White Sox are a business, so of course its owner will weigh all options. Second, the real problem with the White Sox is what comes before their name: Chicago. The trend line of the city is bad. We are shedding population. Chicago Public Schools has lost more than 100,000 students. People are voting with their feet. When you add crime, taxes and our politics, our best days are sadly behind us.

So as the White Sox wave the white flag, add them to the long list of companies that once called Chicago home but (wisely) moved.

— Jean DuBois, Chicago

I have been a White Sox fan for 75 years. My concern with Jerry Reinsdorf is that he is too loyal to former players who, with the exception of Jim Thome, Ozzie Guillén and Frank Thomas, were mediocre at best. Kenny Williams made several of the worst trades made and gave players away who are helping other teams win. Marcus Semien, Fernando Tatís Jr., Dane Dunning and Chris Bassitt are a few examples.

I give him and Rick Hahn credit for the one trade with the Cubs that has paid dividends. Other than that, they have little to show for their efforts. Chris Getz, a journeyman infielder, presides, until recently, over a minor league system that until recently was ranked at the bottom.

It’s time look to the outside for a capable individual with a fresh perspective on how to develop a perpetual contender.

— Robert Van Iten, Naperville

I am an ardent Cubs fan, and I travel to several games on the CTA. The CTA‚ however, seems to favor the White Sox. On its train map, it labels the 35th Street Red Line stop as “Sox,” but the Addison Street Red Line stop next to Wrigley Field carries no label for the Cubs.

I’m making a simple request of the CTA to honor the North Side team on its train map the next time it publishes a new one in print and online.

— Ed Millunchick, Chicago

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