- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ATTENTION:

EDITORS:

NEWS DIRECTORS:

The Associated Press would like to request your help in assembling the weekly Illinois Editorial Roundup. Due to several factors, it has become more challenging to find fresh, original editorials on member websites. We would very much appreciate if you could take a few minutes to submit editorials that you would like to share with other members. They can be sent to our main email address, [email protected] Please use “Editorial Submission” as the subject line.

Please remember that we try to use editorials with appeal and interest for a statewide audience, and that not all submissions can be used. If you have any questions, please contact AP-Illinois News Editor Hugh Dellios at 312-920-3624 or [email protected] Thank you.

The AP-Illinois

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This week’s editorials:

September 27, 2014

The (Joliet) Herald-News

Get involved politically

Election season began Tuesday.

Not for the upcoming November election, although you should be paying close attention to that one, too. County offices are on that ballot, as are statewide and congressional seats.

But for this editorial’s purposes, we’re talking about the April 2015 election.

Candidates for all local governmental bodies, as of Tuesday, could begin collecting signatures for candidacy in the April 2015 election.

These are offices like school board, city or village boards, and township offices. These are the elections you need to pay attention to the most. They matter more than any state or national election.

Better yet, if you feel like you can do more, run for a local office.

Don’t believe us on the importance of these April elections? School districts get the largest share of your property taxes; you should care who sits on your district’s board. City and village councils control the budgets for the fire, police and public works departments that provide vital services. People tend to have more interest in voting in presidential elections, but fact is, local offices have the potential to impact your life more than a president ever could.

Generally, those who run for a position must be a registered voter in the municipality and have been a resident of the area for at least a year. For information on the election process, visit www.elections.il.gov or check with the local governmental unit.

People can file their completed petitions from Dec. 15 until Dec. 22, which is the official deadline for all local offices. Those are important dates because elected races need competition to raise awareness of local issues. The dearth of interested participants in civic activities is troubling, and it needs to change.

April’s election is as good as any to start. Participate. Get involved. Stay interested.

Your community deserves it.

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September 24, 2014

The (Sterling) Daily Gazette

Little sympathy for Crundwell

Rita Crundwell, Dixon’s disgraced former city comptroller, apparently believes an injustice is about to be visited upon her personal finances.

And the federal prison inmate wants to do something about it.

Crundwell, who pleaded guilty to stealing a mind-boggling $53.7 million from the city of Dixon between 1991 and 2012, does not want her pension accounts to be used to repay the massive restitution bill she owes.

The issue will be front and center during a Chicago federal court hearing next week.

While Crundwell was stealing millions from Dixon taxpayers, a portion of her salary was duly put away into two retirement accounts. The total amount set aside is more than $90,000.

From her prison cell in Waseka, Minnesota, where she is serving a nearly 20-year sentence for wire fraud, Crundwell made it clear that she wants that money to be off limits to the public.

“I wish to object to the inclusion of these funds in the judgment,” Crundwell wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “I feel these funds should be exempt.”

Crundwell must be looking ahead to the day when she can leave prison a free woman and desires a nice pension to support herself.

However, that won’t happen for quite a while. All her personal needs for years to come will be covered by federal taxpayers.

Meanwhile, Crundwell still owes the city more than $44.4 million in restitution, after the sale of her property and assets netted the city a check for $9.2 million.

Public pensions are the reward for retired public servants who have discharged their duties diligently, faithfully and honestly.

Crundwell’s devious, heartless thefts fit none of those descriptions.

Therefore, let her pension funds be ordered forfeited and awarded to the city.

If the perpetrator of a historic injustice believes herself to be the victim of an injustice, well, that’s just too bad. She’ll find little sympathy here.

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September 23, 2014

The (Waukegan) News-Sun

Waukegan schools snub Ray Bradbury again

Unless Waukegan public school leaders make an ardent counterargument for common sense, Ray Bradbury will be snubbed again.

How terribly sad.

Against what seems to be a galloping case of parochial hometown snobbishness, the famed author’s posthumous chances of having a school named in his honor seem bleak.

Why? Good question. All the available answers seem nonsensical in the usual way that determined bureaucracies are petulant and obstinate.

The School Board’s current argument against honoring the world-revered author is that he moved away from Waukegan. That’s what often happens. It’s not a punishable offense.

When the board considered renaming Whittier School, the same argument against Bradbury was offered although it did not stop a previous board from naming a middle school after Jack Benny, another hometown product who left.

But Bradbury so truly loved growing up in Waukegan that reflections of his youth and the town he revered reverberate through his books. People everywhere in the world know about Waukegan because they know Bradbury.

He loved Waukegan much more than Waukegan - at least the school board - loves him in return.

So the board declined to rename a school last year in his honor and has voted to shun him when the district’s new preschool on McAree Road is relaunched with a new name.

Oddly, one of the names on the finalist list is a current school board member who participated in the process. That elevates poor sportsmanship to a high art form.

Of course, administrators or School Board members could be courageous and bring Bradbury’s name back to the forefront.

For the record, Samuel Langhorne Clemens moved away from Hannibal, Mo., when he was 17. But Hannibal never had any trouble finding suitable ways to honor him. Townsfolk named a school for him. They knew being Mark Twain’s hometown was their honor, even more than his.

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