Ike cap money 'misguided pork'

Opinion

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The Aug. 2 Wednesday Journal states that $4.8 million in federal money has been earmarked for a study of a cap on the Eisenhower as it goes through Oak Park. This has been reported in the press as being the result of effective lobbying and political work by Village Manager Carl Swenson and Illinois Senator Barak Obama, among others.

I find this to be a classic example of "pork," or misplaced government priorities and spending. If the pork were for a good purpose, I wouldn't object to Oak Park and Illinois "getting its share," while at the same time working as hard as possible to change this grossly inappropriate and inefficient method of allocating public expenditures. But in this case, in addition to being a slap in the face to open, transparent, and representative government, the "pork" itself is so unworthy as to be almost comical. As an Oak Park resident, I'm ashamed that my town has used its "clout" to snatch federal funds for this purpose.

I wish Senator Obama (and Village Manager Swenson) would work on funding our much more serious problems of education, housing, and health care. It would also help to defend whatever liberty and power is left for working people by voting against, instead of for, tort "reform" and the bankruptcy bill.

As an early Obama volunteer and supporter, I am dismayed by this record of pork over substantive progressive policy. I was hoping for a Jessie Jackson Sr., a Paul Wellstone, or a Barbara Boxer, and appear to have been left with a "business as usual" senator.

What a disappointment to the thousands of progressives who worked so hard to get Senator Obama elected.

Our country desperately needs Democratic leaders who uphold principles of good government and policies that support working people, not (so-called) "centrism" and misguided pork!

Ron Baiman

Co-Chair, Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America

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