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Golfers don't get our sympathy

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It's hard to muster a lot of sympathy for Chicago Park District golfers slammed with a 5 percent fee increase -- when the fee only went up to $25 for nine holes of golf.

Compared to a private golf course, that's still a steal.

But the Chicagoans who sounded off about park district fee increases in a Sun-Times article by Lisa Donovan on Tuesday are on to something.

Faced with a $23 million deficit, the park district this year raised fees by an average of 3 to 5 percent on all programs, including fitness centers, pools and summer camp, one of the few summer choices meant to be affordable to even the poorest among us.

This on top of a decision last year to begin charging for lakefront parking for the first time.

The Park District had no good options -- it's either raise fees or cut programs wholesale.

But we worry about cutting out Chicago's poorest.

The lake front, summer camps, a dip in the pool should be open to every Chicagoan.

An extra dollar here and there may be all it takes to keep them away.


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Failing Grades for Chicago

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Fed up with the City of Chicago? Frustrated by its lack of progress on schools, building affordable housing and fighting corruption?

You're not alone.

A report card due out Tuesday gives the city government an overall grade of D, knocking its performance on criminal justice, economic development, education, ethics and corruption, housing and transportation. The only area where it earned high marks was for environmental policy, where it got a B.

The report card was produced by a group called DGAP -- Developing Government Accountability to the People. The organizers are do-gooders who work on social justice issues. It's led by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and includes other community groups, academics, unions and foundations. This is an update to an initial 2007 report card.

We don't agree with many of the group's recommendations and some of its analysis. But we do support their effort to hold public officials accountable and educate the public.

To check out the report, go to www.chicagodgap.org.

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