The pandemic has affected many aspects of society, including government, education, the workplace and especially, mass transit. Chicagoland has one of the premier mass transit systems in the U.S. But during the height of the pandemic, ridership fell drastically.
Ridership has partially returned — maybe half of pre-pandemic use — and credit must be given to the leadership. New fare structures and friendly conductors help, but some things still need adjusting.
For one, with the COVID-19 bug still around, social distancing is still a necessary condition. As the trains become more crowded, passengers still need to be able to spread out. On Metra’s Milwaukee West train, crowds are increasing, yet a number of train cars remain closed. The marginal cost is essentially zero of opening another car when existing cars are approaching capacity.
The return of late night schedules, after 9 p.m., would also promote ridership and be greatly appreciated by those taking classes or working late.
I have been taking the train for more than 35 years, and I greatly value this service, but I wish things would begin to return to a more normal schedule.
— Anthony C. Krautmann, Bartlett
His cleareyed, play-no-favorites stance has been Steve Chapman’s M.O. for many years. Often enough, he has made me rethink my liberal-leaning positions by marshaling facts that contradict them. That makes him trustworthy in my opinion. So a letter writer’s protest (“Chapman’s column off-base,” Sept. 16) against Chapman’s column “Will Americans heed Biden’s plea to defend democracy?” (Sept. 4) rings hollow. The writer judges, “President Joe Biden appears to be intolerant of divergent viewpoints. Open discussion of opposing ideas has been key to this country’s success. … Is it impossible for Chapman to say anything positive about a Republican?”
I might give the writer the benefit of the doubt if he had gone on to say, “Likewise, why was it impossible for Republicans to bring any of President Barack Obama’s proposals to Congress for ‘open discussion of opposing ideas’? Why was his nominee to the Supreme Court not even given a hearing, contrary to the clear meaning in the Constitution? Why can Trumpist Republicans deride all Democrats as ‘socialists’ or even ‘communists’ with no protest by moderate Republicans?”
The writer actually acknowledges the reprehensible conduct of radical Republicans when, perhaps inadvertently, he admits that what Biden said was “similar to” his opponents’ accusations: “Biden is using rhetoric similar to those he is calling out.”
It’s as if he’s saying, “Biden, you don’t get to do unto others as they have done unto you.”
— Frederick Reklau, Oak Park
While I enjoy reading Clarence Page’s perspective, I do disagree with his Sunday column (“Our immigration mess needs an overhaul, not DeSantis’ stunts”). Yes, the folks on Martha’s Vineyard did step up for the 50 migrants. For a whole day! And the migrants were promptly shipped to a military base. I suspect it’s a case of NIMBY — “not in my backyard.”
I do agree with Page in that it’s a sad commentary that this kind of stunt is required to draw attention to the thousands crossing into border towns not designed around multimillionaires’ summer homes.
— Pat McMillan, Robinson
Clarence Page is correct that immigration into the United States is a “mess.” Page labeled Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ sending 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard a stunt. In short order, the migrants were moved elsewhere. There is a quick fix for this immigration problem that Page has overlooked.
Not so long ago, a number of cities, among them Chicago, declared that they were “sanctuary cities,” where federal immigration law would be flouted and migrants would be welcomed. When called to duty, Chicago, much like Martha’s Vineyard, bused some of the migrants elsewhere, namely, to Elk Grove Village and Burr Ridge and possibly other suburbs, without notice to those communities, all while its mayor was condemning Texas for what Chicago’s own open-door policy had wrought.
To redeem themselves and to demonstrate that their sanctimonious words are not mere hypocrisy, Chicago and other sanctuary cities should send their own buses to Texas and anywhere else the migrants are found and transport them northward. This would relieve the nonsanctuaries down South from the burdens imposed on them by thousands of people pouring over our border. Sanctuary city residential and other taxes can be raised to cover the costs.
Problem solved. Right?
— Jack Kenesey, Palatine
The recent blurb the Tribune published from the Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Board, “About Supreme Court legitimacy” (Sept. 18) erroneously states, “Leading voices on the political left attack court decisions they disagree with as illegitimate.” Rather than attacking because of decisions they disagree with, leading voices on the political left are more likely attacking the court as illegitimate because many of the recent additions to the court have misled (lied to?) the U.S. Senate and the public about stare decisis and rights Americans have held for almost 50 years.
Political shenanigans from the political right and the court nominees’ own dishonesty have brought the Roberts court to its just reputation.
— Christopher Johnson, Winnetka
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