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posted: 8/20/2011 5:00 AM

The Soapbox

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Daily Herald Editorial Board

Good first step:

We're heartened by a new ethics ordinance and spending and reimbursement policies adopted this week by the DuPage Housing Authority. The rules impose stricter travel guidelines, and those credit cards that led to trouble for the agency -- accused of improperly spending or documenting about $10.5 million -- have been torn up.

Free advice:

Don't raise fares. That's what we bet the RTA will hear in a customer satisfaction survey commissioned this week. That's why we're dismayed at the $435,000 cost of the survey, on top of $83,000 already paid. Speaking as customers, RTA, we'd rather you save the money.

School's in:

Pay extra attention to driving safely, especially now as bus drivers, student drivers and young pedestrians get used to their new routines.

Maybe it's not so bad:

As suburban schools open, there may be some complaining in the halls about residual construction work or lingering problems from flooding. Consider, however, that after last spring's tornado the high school in Joplin, Mo., consists of a converted big-box store, and the middle school is set up in an industrial park. Let's all count our blessings.

Prudent piggybacking:

Oh, how we love intergovernmental agreements. In these times, especially, they make sense. In the latest, Community Unit District 300 will share its fiber-optic cable network with Algonquin's library, bringing much faster Internet service to patrons. Other entities are considering similar agreements with District 300.

More than fairly safe:

On the final weekend of the Illinois State Fair, and in light of the concert tragedy at Indiana's, we have to ask: Do our counties have severe weather emergency plans for their fairs? Indiana fair officials are reviewing their plan, which is only one page long. Maybe some reviews are in order west of the border, too.

No free highway:

Complaining about the tollway's planned fare increases, a speaker feared tollway drivers will be paying more for the "same services that are free downstate." We're concerned about those fare hikes, too, but let's be accurate. No highway is free (they are taxpayer funded), and there simply are more of them to pay for in our corner of Illinois.

But still ...

We do find the tollway funding plan troubling. If you do, too -- or, if you like the plan, for that matter -- you can let the tollway know at meetings Tuesday in Schaumburg and Buffalo Grove. Don't miss the chance to let your voice be heard.

Right ruling:

We called it discrimination. A judge called it simply free choice. Either way you look at it, Catholic Charities, which won't permit adoption by gay couples, can't force the state to give it money to provide adoption and foster care services. Good call, Your Honor.

A matter of taste:

That cops-and-doughnuts cliché is growing awfully tiresome, but it can be done with class. The band Portugal. The Man sent Chicago detectives three dozen pastries from Bake for Me! Bakery and Cafe for finding the band's stolen instruments. Hey, thanking the police happens all too rarely -- but it's always in good taste.

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