Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Four things to think about

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By Ray Hanania

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Some issues I can’t just seem to get past:

Migrants, Illegal aliens and the homeless

Government is very unresponsive to the needs of the homeless who sleep on the streets, have little funds and have to panhandle to get money to buy unhealthy fast foods.

Not enough money is available to make the homeless shelters more attractive to the homeless to convince them to live in them. No one monitors how the homeless are treated and they have no one to advocate for their rights.

But, if you happen to be a foreigner who doesn’t want to waste your time applying for immigration, you can simply cross the southern border to flee your country of origin in the hopes of relocating to America.

RayHanania

Ray Hanania

Migrants and illegal immigrants who enter the country without going through the legal process seem to get more attention from the news media, more support from our politicians, and are the focus of a vigorous public debate.

The homeless? No one talks about their needs although we do throw a few nickels and dimes at them during the holiday season like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

No homeless person should be allowed to panhandle at intersections. Some of them, I suspect, have money and find panhandling as a lucrative alternative to working.

Handicapped parking spaces

Individuals who have handicaps that make it hard for them to walk should absolutely be given handicap parking permits. But drivers who are not handicapped should not park in those spots simply because the vehicle has the handicap card.

Too often, I see car owners park in handicap parking spots and then energetically jump out of the driver’s seat and spritely walk to the post office or grocery store. Even if there is a handicapped person in the car, but that person does not get out, the driver should not park in a handicapped parking space.

The only person who should park in a handicapped parking spot is a car with a handicapped person who needs to leave the car and walk to the business or destination.

Too often handicap parking cards are used by very healthy people who find it too convenient.

I’m 70 and I have all kinds of health issues. But I can walk very well and I can drive very well. Why would I need a handicapped parking permit? Just because I have other health issues doesn’t mean that my movement is impeded

Cook County officials have no accountability

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi implemented the largest property assessments increase in our history in order to push through a backdoor property tax — higher assessments on property mean higher property taxes, and yet nothing can be done except to wait until his term in office is completed.

Kaegi is unresponsive to homeowner needs

In contrast, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas has made serving the needs of the public taxpayers her number one priority. She has translated her website into 127 languages, actively worked to HELP taxpayers recover overpaid taxes. She even reached out to communities that may have language issues and to new immigrants hesitant to deal with government.

That overpaid tax issue is surprisingly huge. Thanks to her outreach, Pappas actually went out to dozen of communities on the weekends and during evening hours to help property owners apply for their overpayments, which have ranged from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Overpayments happen for many reasons including during and after home sales, or when the bank and the homeowner both pay the taxpayers.

On being an American

The whole concept of a person having “dual citizenship” with America and another foreign country is an outrageous corruption of patriotism and loyalty.

Are people who have American and Israeli citizenship, for example, who only serve in the Israeli military but not the American military deserving of our citizenship? Are they really “Americans” when they share their loyalty with another foreign country?

My parents, both Christian, are Palestinian. My dad immigrated in the 1920s to America and served during World War II in the O.S.S., fighting to defend this country from foreign threats. My mother is from Bethlehem and my cousins are associated with the Church of the Nativity, which marks where Jesus was born.

They came to this country to be American, although they proudly embrace their cultural heritage. But they didn’t have foreign citizenship and they dedicated their entire lives to defending the interest of this country over the interests of foreign countries.

We should ban dual citizenship and force people to embrace and make America their true homes or leave and go live in the foreign country they love more.

Ray Hanania is a former Chicago City Hall reporter and award-winning columnist. Visit hanania.com for more opinion.

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