The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 122
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 122

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Sunday, March 9, 2008
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MM 18 SECTION 1 DAILY MKRAU) SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2008 "Our aim: To fear God, tell the truth and make money." H.C. Paddock 1852-1935 F12M Opinion Daily Herald Founded 1872 DANIEL E. BAUMANN, Chairman/Publisher DOUGLAS K. RAY, President/CEO ROBERT Y. PADDOCK JR., Vice Chairman/Executive Vice President JOHN LAMPINEN, Senior Vice President/Editor MADELEINE DOUBEK, Managing Editor EdnOfml (847) 427-4300 John Zimmerman, Acting Editorial Page Editor Chris Bailey John Lamplnen Madeleine Doubek Amy Mack Colin O'Donnell Jim Slusher Diane Dimgey Dave Heun Like teachers, U-46 drivers chose wisely The standoff between bus drivers and Elgin Area School District U-46, resolved at the last minute last week, reflected the continuing ghostly presence of former Superintendent Connie Neale. Since the school board sold out to her contract demands last year and she shortly thereafter departed into a very golden sunset, every other district employee has been licking his or her chops, something that was predictable to every district resident but those on the board. Teachers who felt ignored and pushed around took the district to the brink of a strike,, mosdy to get the attention of the school board, before accepting a more-than-fair contract. Then bus drivers, though they acknowledged they were already among the best paid in the area, publicly balked at an offer that seemed more than fair. That was just a message to die board, too, it turns out. They eventually approved the deal on a 186-130 vote. In both cases, the wage offers were starkly better than the vast majority of private-sector workers are getting in an economy long in the doldrums and teetering on the brink of or Our View Even if taxpayers agree with teachers and bus drivers on Connie Neale, they still have a financial limit and no tolerance for those who don't understand how good they have it. akeady well into recession. The four-year bus driver deal provides for 4.4 percent pay hikes in each of the first two years, followed in the second two years by increases of 5.5 to 6 percent each year. No matter how much taxpayers might agree with teachers and bus drivers on the matter of Connie Neale, they still have a financial limit and little tolerance for diose who take insult at offers they've not seen in years. Private-sector workers have faced layoffs, wage cuts or wage stagnation, and increasing benefit costs while public sector wages continue upward. Always upward. Thus U-46 bus drivers, like teachers, were wise to accept a deal that was more than fair in this economic climate. In doing so, they did no lasting damage to the respect they've earned as an efficient, responsive transportation department, one that moved 10,000 kids to new schools after a major boundary reorganization a few years back with few problems. Had drivers rejected the deal, it would have been seen as greed in the face of a compelling economic downturn and more evidence of a continuing disconnect between the public sector and the private sector — between government workers and those paying for the government. At some point, reality has to set in. People who are losing their homes or jobs or benefits simply can't afford to continue picking up a higher tab for others. And they certainly have no sympathy for those who can't see they already have it pretty darn good compared to many of their far more financially beleaguered neighbors. Luckily for U-46 residents and themselves, bus drivers and teachers both recognized that truth in the end. Moderately Confused Fence Post Harsh rhetoric isn't same as real debate Politics has been defined as the art of the possible. This must involve compromise to reach a solution. Unfortunately, many issues in our society will not be solved due to the lack of compromise. One such issue is that of immigration. One side contends illegal is illegal and nothing else counts. Illegal is defined in the dictionary as "not according to or authorized by law." The law is the supreme end to the question. The other side points to the question of human rights and says the current law is inadequate. Their issue focuses on what is moral. Moral is denned as "conforming to a standard of right behavior." What is moral and what is legal do not always perfectly match. Article 1 of our Constitution recognized slavery. Slavery was legal until the 13th Amendment changed the law. Would anyone argue diat legal slavery was moral? The right to vote was denied many in our society by law. For example, it took the 19th amendment to give women the "right" to vote. Was this legal prohibition moral? We have a iegal definition of immigration passed by Congress. The critical question is whether it is moral. Does it properly incorporate the right behavior toward our fellow human beings? Many think not. However, we have opposing camps that do not listen to each other. Without a dialogue, there can be no political solution. We must begin to listen to each odier and arrive at a compromise. I particularly urge the local faith communities to engage in this dialogue and bring about the possible rather tiian sit on the sideline and observe the hardened positions of the current battle lines. The prevailing harsh rhetoric is not effective dialogue. Royce M. Blackwell Elgin Border control must be first on agenda In regard to die John McCain-Ted Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform plan, the American people spoke loud and clear and stopped it last year. Amnesty is not the answer. Look what has happened since President Reagan passed amnesty for 3 million people. It has turned into 20 million more illegal immigrants draining the system. We have to thank the Heritage Foundation for investigating. McCain has realized what the people's will is, that nothing should be done until the border is controlled. We need "comprehensive immigration enforcement" to stop the multitude. It is working in states that are enforcing the laws. We need border enforcement, which is sad, but with the drug- and people-smuggling plus criminals pouring in, it has to be done, preferably with an armed military to show we mean business and get the border under control. Kathleen Marselle Elgin Don't let stalemate cost state $7 billion Please tell me Illinois is not going to miss out on its share of federal funds To get a 20 percent match of a federal transportation bill that would authorize $7 billion for Illinois transit projects, we need a capital bill to infuse federal money into our state with matching funds. With so much at stake, our state leaders need to stop the gamesmanship and put us first. Future aspirations or agendas need to be put aside. There is a good chance that federal grant assistance is going to be reduced in the future. Please, let us not miss the boat, the train, the El or whatever on this one. Catherine Hamilton Elgin Clinton rebounds by raising voter doubt about Obama She threw the kitchen sink at him. Accused Barack Obama of plagiarism. Mocked his eloquence. Questioned his truthfulness about NAFTA. Wasn't enough. Hillary Clinton still faced extinction in Ohio and Texas. So what do you do when you have thrown the kitchen sink? Drop the atomic bomb. Hence that brilliant "phone call at the White House at 3 a.m." commercial. In the great tradition of Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy" ad, it was not subtle — though in 2008 you don't actually show the nuclear explosion. It's enough just to suggest an apocalyptic crisis. Ostensibly the ad was about experience. It wasn't. It was about familiarity. After all, as Obama pointed out, what exactly is the experience that prepares Hillary to answer the red phone at 3 a.m.? She was raising a deeper question: Do you really know who this guy is? After a whirlwind courtship with this elegant man who rode into town just yesterday, are you really prepared to entrust him with your children, the major props in the ad? The doubts Charles Krauthammer she raised created just enough buyer's remorse to convince Democrats on Tuesday to not yet close the sale on the mys- ====== terious stranger. The only way either Clinton or John McCain can defeat an opponent as dazzlingly new and fresh as Obama is to ask: Do you really know this guy? Or the corollary: Is he really who he says he is? I'm not talking about scurrilous innuendo about his origins, religion or upbringing. I'm talking about the full-fledged man who presents himself to the country in remarkably grandiose terms as a healer, a conciliator, a uniter. It's worked. When Americans are asked who can unite us, 67 percent say Obama versus 34 percent for Clinton, with McCain at 51. Because Obama transcends race, it is therefore assumed that he will transcend every- thing else — divisions of region, class, party, generation and ideology. The premise here is true — Obama does transcend race; he has not run as a candidate of minority grievance; his vision of America is unmistakably post-racial — but the conclusion does not necessarily follow. It is merely suggested in Obama's rhetorically brilliant celebration of American unity: "young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian — who are tired of a politics that divides us." Hence "the choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It's not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white. It's about the past versus the future." The effect of such sweeping invocations of unity is electric, particularly because race is the deepest and most tragic of all American divisions, and this invocation is being delivered by a man who takes us powerfully beyond it. The implication is that he is therefore uniquely qualified to transcend all our other divi- sions. It could be true. The problem is that Obama's own history suggests that, in his case at least, it is not. His Senate record quite belies the implication. On the difficult compromises that required the political courage to challenge one's own political constituency, Obama flinched: the "gang of 14" compromise on judicial appointments, the immigration compromise to which Obama tried to append union-backed killer amendments, and, just last month, the compromise on warrant- less eavesdropping that garnered 68 votes in the Senate. But not Obama's. Who, in fact, supported all of these bipartisan deals, was a central player in two of them, and brokered the even more notorious McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform? John McCain, of course. Yes, John McCain — intemperate and rough-edged, of sharp elbows and even sharper tongue. Turns out that uniting is not a matter of rhetoric or manner, but of character and courage. & 2008, Washington i'ost Writers Group Ruben Navarrette Insulting, ignorant views of the influence of the Latino vote Recently, I was in California doing an interview on a New York radio show talking about Texas. Also on the show was an African-American columnist from a newspaper in New York City. We were talking about the disparity in Latino support for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and the reasons for it. That's when I was treated to one of the most insulting and xenophobic explanations I've ever heard. It could be, the columnist said, that it's hard to appreciate Obama's eloquence "if English is your ======== second language." I nearly jumped out of my skin before jumping into the conversation. As someone who spent nearly five years at The Dallas Morning News, I pointed out that the Latino population in Texas includes people whose families have lived in the state for five generations. We can assume they picked up English along the way, I said. Such boorish comments illustrate just how much ignorance there still is in the media about Latino voters, Latino issues, Latino anything. Recently, CNN's Bill Schneider explained Texas' "two-step" voting process by using the metaphor of a Mexican combination plate and quipped that both "give you heartburn." Give this a taste. It is not true that Obama can't get Latino votes or mat Latinos won't vote for an African-American for president. Obama has already demonstrated diat he can win Latino votes — in his home state of Illinois, Colorado andVirginia. Maybe because of Clinton's "kitchen sink" strategy where she went negative in the days just before the most recent round of primaries, me New York senator reversed Obama's inroads witii Latino voters. In Texas, she won the Latino vote by more than a 2-1 margin. That showing probably didn't surprise Adelfa Callejo, an 84-year-old Dallas-based lawyer and community activist I've known for several years and with whom I'm rarely in agreement. Callejo stirred up a hornet's nest with some excruciatingly honest but poorly worded comments about the division in that city between Latinos and African-Americans. The Clinton supporter told a television station that some Latinos might have trouble voting for Obama because of "hard feelings" owing to the fact that "when blacks had (power), they didn't do anything to support us." Liberals freaked out, disturbed by the inference that there was discord somewhere over the rainbow. But what some in me media and the activist world like to frame as Obama's difficulty in attracting Latinos, I prefer to tiiink of as Clinton's knack for it. She has the Clinton brand and when it comes to politics, Latinos are brand loyal. She was also first into the market, setting up her organization in the Southwest. Meanwhile, Obama came late to the realization that Latinos would be important in this election. They'll be even more important in the fall election, where — if Democrats aren't careful — they might lose many Latino voters to Republican John McCain. The Arizona senator has done exceptionally well with Latinos in his state. In his 1998 re-election, McCain earned 65 percent of the Latino vote. In 2004, it was more than 70 percent. And that was before McCain joined with Sen. Ted Kennedy to introduce their immigration reform bill that would have offered a pathway to legalization for millions of illegal immigrants. That's another misconception — that the only reason McCain is popular with Latinos is because he wants to open the borders. Nonsense. Most Latinos care as much about border security as any other group of Americans. But many of them cringe at those who demagogue the immigration issue, and they have also come to appreciate fairness and straight talk. And, if past voting is any indication, many of them seem to think they get both from McCain. What do they get with Clinton or Obama? At the moment, chaos. The primary campaign is still turbulent thanks to those who pit some portions of the Democratic coalition against others. Chaos creates opportunity. In this case, the opportunity may be John McCain's. © 2008, Washington Post Writers Group How to send your tetter to Fence Post Letters must be signed and include the writer's town and phone numbers. Letters are subject to editing. The Daily Herald reserves the right to subsequent publication through our archives or any other electronic library. E-mail; foxletters@dailyherald.com/Fax: (847) 608-0849 Mail: 385 Airport Road, Suite A, Elgin, IL 60123

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