Portable toilets would make Chicago’s lakeside parks more usable

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The Chicago Park District needs to do a better job of providing public restrooms in its parks. Along the lake there are no public toilets available from September to May despite the fact that the lakeside remains a popular destination. If unheated toilets must be closed during colder months, portable toilets should be provided outside of these closed toilets.

Even during the summer, these restrooms have official hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Does the city really don’t want people using the lakefront before 11 a.m. in the morning or after 7 p.m. at night? These hours are incredibly limited for what many consider Chicago’s #1 public space.

If the city is really unable to open its toilets outside of these hours, that is another reason why portable toilets should be made available.

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On Sundays, all Chicago Park pavilions are closed. This effectively means that you cannot visit and enjoy a park on a Sunday for an extended period of time. If only one portable toilet were made available, it would greatly increase the friendliness of the park.

If you are visiting any of the Cook County Forest Preserve lots, public restrooms are always available. It is the city’s responsibility to provide the same basic level of service, with public restrooms in its public spaces, regardless of the weather, day of the week or time of day.

Thomas Baker, East Village

Tribute to our young voters

As a nation, we must honor the wisdom and power that young voters bring to the polls. Whether you are 18 years old and voting for the first time, an apprentice fighting for the right to organize, a military recruit serving with bravery, a student working to pay for his education or a new parent fighting for the well-being of your child, you are the future. We honor you.

You are often credited with incredible energy and optimism. However, we must also recognize your remarkable vision for a better future and your ability to chart the course towards that future. Whenever you think “My vote doesn’t count,” remember the revolutionary impact your collective voices have had on issues like climate change, gun control, and women’s rights.

We desperately need young adults to vote for a future that stops climate change, empowers women to make their own health care choices, and makes health care and prescription drugs affordable for families.

Thank you for standing up in November to vote for the future you deserve.

Bruce Lane, Cary

Encourage students to help people with disabilities

I hope every parent of a child or adult with a developmental disability recruits adult job seekers to direct them to direct support in day programs or group homes, or encourages secondary school students.

Illinois cannot continue to fight to hire new DSP workers by engaging in a bidding war with major retailers. The Illinois developmental disability community needs to be creative.

Non-profit organizations should appeal to students’ sense of community service and how working with people with special needs can benefit them by enabling personal, professional, and academic growth. Non-profit organizations need to differentiate themselves from big business or else this problem will never be solved and kids and adults like my son can’t afford not to be part of communities because they can’t get out.

That’s why Senate Bill 3972, establishing the Community Care Connections program to provide high school credits to students who receive professional direct service certification, was passed by the Illinois General Assembly.

Mike Baker, Schaumburg

Democracy is the question that eclipses all the others

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who remain unaware of the risk to our democracy in the upcoming election.

Republicans are hard at work on a multi-step plan to lock themselves into permanent power without majority support, doing all they can to scare voters about the economy and crime.

Think about it. What political details can you remember from ads for Republican candidates for national office? Their pitch is “Crime is scary”; “Inflation is scary; “Nancy Pelosi is scary;” and, of course, “Joe Biden is scary.”

I’ve been around for a while and I know things like the economy and crime are cyclical. They are getting worse. They are improving. They get even worse and get better. In 246 years of national existence, neither has destroyed the United States.

Democracy is not cyclical. It takes special circumstances and people to initiate a successful democracy that might be difficult to replicate if the democracy is lost. If we preserve our democracy, we can solve the rest of the problems. Otherwise, we will only have the “solutions” that those in power decide we will have.

I will vote for people who I believe will let me vote them if I don’t like what I get. For me and now, the persistence of democracy is the issue that eclipses all the others.

Curt Fredrikson, Mokena

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