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updated: 2/11/2011 6:17 PM

Soapbox: Getting with the cutting program

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Daily Herald Editorial Board

Getting with the cutting program:

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Tuesday, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez took a serious misstep when she declared at nearly the last possible minute she could not cut her budget by 10 percent. By Thursday, she was standing beside Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle agreeing to the cut after all. That was the much smarter step.

On the subject of budgets:

Kudos to Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, who is asking senators to reduce their budgets by 5 percent. He has proposed legislation requiring it -- while hinting that cuts could also be done voluntarily. But we know how that would go.

Slow down, you move too fast:

You would think with the snow piled high along roads and in parking lots, and with access openings tight and cramped, that motorists would show a little caution and drive more carefully for the time being? Seems too many don't get the concept.

A snow solution:

In Cook County, a sheriff's work alternative program has offenders digging out fire hydrants. We suggest the judges in surrounding counties get together and set a new guideline: Anyone they sentence to community service for the next month has to shovel driveways and sidewalks for people who can't.

Red-light amnesty:

Drivers who may have slid into an intersection during last week's storm are getting a break from red-light camera tickets in several towns. Seems only fair. It might be difficult to determine from one short film clip if someone was driving too fast for conditions.

Leading by example:

State Comptroller and former lawmaker Judy Baar Topinka will answer the call of jury duty on Monday, 25 years after she sponsored legislation removing the exemption politicians once had. Serving on a jury "is the only thing our Constitution asks of us," she said -- as an excellent reminder.

An oldie but goody:

The 15-minute film for prospective Cook County jurors may be a bit dated (Lester Holt is a much younger newsman in his starring role), but it's still clear, concise and informative. A good way to help jurors-in-waiting realize the importance of their service.

E is for e-mail:

Today's kids need to be educated about more than just the three Rs. Technology is key to their future, and that's why it's disconcerting to see how many candidates running for school boards in April lack basic computer skills. We expect our children to learn and adapt to change. Is it too much to expect the same of policymakers?

Small acts add up:

Thanks to those who offer small acts of kindness, rather than missing the chance. The guy who offered his number in line to you at the bakery, the driver who let you merge because you were distracted by life's worries, the neighbor who kept moving the snowblower on down your block rather than stopping at her property line.

Get your tax bill yet?

If you own property in Cook County, the first installment for 2010 is due April 1 instead of the usual March 1. It's a nice one-time extension, but still irritatingly close to the bloated, postelection bills that were paid in December.

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