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Our View: Thumbs up, thumbs down: Traffic-ticket plan a common sense change

Published: Saturday, April 5, 2014 12:01 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 4:40 p.m. CDT

Thumbs up: To a plan to let drivers “sign and go” after receiving a traffic ticket. For decades, police have taken Illinois residents’ driver’s license as bond after writing them a traffic ticket. A new proposal, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin, would allow drivers to sign a written promise to comply with the terms of their ticket. Those who violate the terms could have their license suspended. Identification now is required for many everyday tasks, and it’s a considerable inconvenience for citizens to be without a license. Considering that there are still penalties for failing to comply, and that out-of-state drivers already get to keep their licenses, this is a common-sense change.

Thumbs down: To more evidence of cronyism in public agency hiring. A report issued this week by a task force appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn found that House Speaker Michael Madigan had personally directed hiring, firing and promotions at Metra, the organization that operates the commuter rail lines connecting Chicago and its suburbs. The report found Madigan recommended 26 people for jobs, promotions and raises, we suspect not because they were the best-qualified candidates but because they had ingratiated themselves. Government, which is supposed to be an equal opportunity employer, should not make decisions this way. The sad fact is that it does and politically connected people benefit at the expense of others.

Thumbs up: To taking the intimidation out of becoming a runner. Local running group NITRO will kick off its annual Walk to Run program April 16, a program designed to help non runners gently train, over nine weeks, to run their first 5K. It’s been proven that having other people to work out with increases a person’s ability to stick with a fitness program, but it can be hard to find a partner, and for a non runner, joining a club with experienced runners can be intimidating. NITRO’s program starts at a walk and gives people encouragement and training tips along the way.

Thumbs up: To meaningful college internships. Northern Illinois University President Douglas Baker told those gathered for a DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation meeting Thursday that he wants every NIU student to have an internship experience. This hands-on experience can bolster a resume or solidify career aspirations. College interns also can bring new energy and ideas to an office. We encourage local employers to consider starting or strengthening internship opportunities.

Thumbs up: To new growth. The DeKalb County Community Gardens is starting a community orchard that will provide fruit and nuts to help food pantries, senior centers and community meal sites. The orchard will supplement the more than 200 gardens that already provide vegetables for those in need. We wish the DeKalb County Community Gardens the best in this new endeavor.

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