A forum for comments about Naperville news and issues.

September 2009 Archives

Recently, President Barack Obama said American students need to spend more time in school to stay competitive. According to the president, students in other countries spend 25 or 30 percent more time in school than American students.

District 203 and 204 don't have any plans to lengthen the school day or school term, and District 203 is bound to its current school year by its terms with the teachers union. Also, factors like bus scheduling have to be taken into account.

Despite the objections, do you think Naperville students should spend more time in school, either with additional days in the school year or more time per day spent in the classroom?

Naperville currently does not have its own sales tax, but under home rule authority, it is allowed to implement one.

However, with a projected $14.1 million budget shortfall in the 2010-2011 year, the City Council is considering adding a sales tax as an option for closing the gap.

Other options include raising property taxes, raising gas taxes, deferring road work or taking on more debt. The property tax would have to rise from 71 cents to 89 cents per $100, and road work would get more expensive if it is delayed.

Also under consideration was the reduction of the downtown food and beverage tax if a sales tax is added, as that was part of the agreement when the tax was implemented.

Do you think a sales tax is called for, or is there a better option?

I was never really into politics until I got to college, where my spiritual and moral beliefs started to take shape as I learned more about the world and my place in it. As a traditional Catholic with strong pro-life beliefs, I was attracted to the Republican Party, and the 2000 election took on utmost importance in my life.

I remember watching the returns on Election Night, and the overwhelming sense of disappointment I felt when the cable news networks pronounced Al Gore as the winner in Florida. Then the elation I felt later that night when they reversed the call and gave the win to George W. Bush. Of course, even later that night they reversed the call again, saying it was too close to call. You know what happened next, as the recounts and court fights stretched into weeks and we all just wanted it to be over. I was firmly convinced Bush had won and I was really starting to hate Al Gore and his supporters for not conceding and for drawing the whole thing out.

Of course, Bush was eventually named the president, but some people could never let it go and never missed an opportunity to question his legitimacy. Then the war in Iraq started, and as time went on it started to become more and more unpopular, with widespread protests and criticism. But for many, it went way beyond simple criticism. Bush was an utter moron, many said. Or he and Vice President Dick Cheney were part of a diabolical scheme to help their friends in the oil industry. They were actually behind the Sept. 11 attacks. They lied. They should be immediately impeached.

At first, I would argue with these people, trying to point out how absurd many of these charges were, but arguing did no good because these people were just unreasonable. They knew how things were and there was nothing you could do to change their mind. It's not that I didn't think Bush had his faults, because I did, but these arguments were so over the top it just became ridiculous. Eventually I just became turned off by the whole situation and started to tune out of politics.

Then came Obama's presidency. I didn't vote for him, but seeing how happy everyone seemed to be on election night, I thought this would be a good thing for the country. Give him a chance to try out his ideas and see if he could fix some of these problems in the country.

But instead, politican debate is dominated by the same irrational distractions, only coming from the other side. People were saying Obama is a secret Muslim who wants to destroy the country. He wasn't even born here and isn't really president. He is a socialist/communist and all his communist friends are trying to take over everything and ruin the country. He's going to take everyone's guns. It's the same crazy ranting that has little connection with reality, but millions of people are caught up in it.

I consider myself middle of the road politically, and I am completely turned off by the country's political climate. While some are foaming at the mouth over the encroaching socialist tide, I just can't make myself care anymore. These ideas seem so divorced from reality that they make the whole process ridiculous. I used to love talking politics, but it's harder and harder to do that now and keep it on an even keel.

Time magazine had a cover story this week on Glenn Beck and the rise of the angry voter. Is this the way American politics are destined to work from now on, with one side firmly convinced the other is the embodiment of evil on earth that must be stopped at all costs? Can we ever go back to the days when there was bipartisan cooperation on serious legislation and the two major parties disagreed but still respected one another at the end of the day? Does this kind of angry, fearful debate make you take more interest in the political process, or turn you off, as it does me?

A recent study examined the ticketing records in cities throughout the Chicago area and calculated the number of traffic stops that result in tickets. Some gave tickets in 100 percent of stops, while others gave tickets in far less than 50 percent. Naperville was one of the higher ranked cities at 72 percent. Police spokesmen from many of the towns said the choice of whether to ticket is up to the officer and depends on the severity of the offense and whether the officer feels education or punishment is the more appropriate direction to take. Here is a link to the article:

Do you think the police in Naperville are fair?

Today is the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. What do you think of the changes in the country since that day? Or did much of what changed quickly change back? What are your strongest memories of that day? What else would you like to discuss regarding the subject?

President Barack Obama will be addressing school children across the nation on Tuesday. According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, "The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible, so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."

A recent email from District 203 indicated that parents could contact the school if they wish their students to be exempted from the broadcast. Reportedly, Jefferson Junior High will not be showing the broadcast. Do you find it unusual that parents are being offered the chance to opt out from a broadcast by the president? Is this something every student should see, or is there a reason you wouldn't want your child to view the speech?

The most-discussed issue in our nation has been and continues to be health care reform. With many different plans on the table and much misinformation and distrust in the air, it is hard to know what is really in the plan and what is just scare tactics.

What do you think of the proposed reforms? Do you think we need a national plan, or some variation on the current system? If you don't like the current proposals, how would you do it better?

Naperville Potluck

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2009 is the previous archive.

October 2009 is the next archive.

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