The residents in Lincoln Park who opposed the arrangement with Latin School [for a new soccer field] obviously have no idea how good a deal that was [“Turf War,” Reporter, by Debra Pickett, December]. Where I come from, taxpayers would have welcomed such a substantial monetary contribution toward an improvement to their parks.

Forest Park’s park district recently spent thousands to build a beautiful new soccer field in its primary park. Today, this soccer field is heavily used by organized sports programs most weeknights and most of the weekend, preventing our kids from using it. Oh, and by the way, the organized sports programs didn’t contribute a dime to the improvement.

Then it occurred to me that maybe the reason those Lincoln Park residents were so outraged was because they pay so much more in property taxes to support the Chicago Park District. But I was astonished to learn that the 2007 tax rates for Chicago’s park district, just 0.355, were below those for Forest Park, at 0.525, and Oak Park, at 0.447.

It seems to me that every Lincoln Park resident ought to be happy the Chicago Park District is looking for ways to fund park improvements to keep the property-tax rate so low. As the article points out, maintaining a beautiful park system is expensive. Clearly, providing reserved time in parks is nothing new. I credit the Chicago Park District for getting something in return, because where I come from our park districts don’t, and our residents pay a higher property-tax premium as a result.

Mary Kay Monaghan
Forest Park



The January article How to Deal with a Medical Crisis [by Graham Meyer] was timely and necessary. It filled a void. At this time of economic distress and other uncertainties, the article provided information to help people get solace for their woes.

Foremost at this perplexing, frightening time is the importance of obtaining excellent psychotherapy (be it individual, group, couple, or family therapy) from a well-trained psychotherapist. Psychotherapy is not, for many people, an elective treatment. Successful psychotherapy helps people with anxiety to learn how to distinguish between whether they are “merely” in discomfort or are actually in danger.

Thank you for offering your readers the information they need to manage effectively their diverse medical (which includes psychological/emotional) crises.

Leon J. Hoffman
Clinical psychologist



Boy, did you guys miss the boat. Rahm Emanuel, Jesse Jackson Jr., [and] David Axelrod all on the up list in your January issue [Barack-ed! edited by David Bernstein and Jennifer Tanaka]? I guess the fact that they all rolled out of bed with Governor Blagojevich had no influence in your picks. Maybe you should move John Kass to their spots and put them on the down list.

Erik Blostica



The August article on the origins of “Balbo Drive” [“Dubious Legacy,” Reporter, by Scott Ackman and Christopher Schwarz] intrigued me. It’s time we dump the Fascist thug and make the street “Balboa.” Most people already think it’s named after that explorer, anyway.

We should now start considering what street we will name for our new president. I propose we make Wabash Avenue the new Barack Obama Boulevard.

Wabash is a major thoroughfare that lies between our two most prominent streets, State and Michigan. On its way through the Loop, Wabash intersects many of our existing “president” streets. It extends into Chicago’s oldest African American neighborhoods. It passes within hailing distance of Mr. Obama’s former neighborhood. And since “Wabash” refers to a river, the change would not remove some forgotten pioneer’s name from a place of honor.

John R. Schmidt
Park Ridge