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Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 03:32 pm

Letters to the editor

In and around Springfield

Letters policy
We welcome letters, but please include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number. We edit all letters for libel, length and clarity.

Send letters to: Letters, Illinois Times. P.O. Box 5256. Springfield, Illinois 62705. Fax: (217) 753-3958. E-mail: editor@illinoistimes.com

THE FACTS OF COMPETITION

In a recent column, Jim Hightower deplored the very large benefits that some deposed CEOs get, as opposed to far lesser benefits given to line employees when they are let go [“Corporate ethics lesson,” Aug. 18]. However, I do not believe the companies have much choice because of the contracts these CEOs have. One could argue that the contracts themselves are too lucrative, yet there is competition in hiring CEOs, and likely these contracts are what market forces require.

Sports teams often have to go along with long-term contracts with star athletes, which they are obliged to honor no matter how poorly the athlete may end up playing. The only way to control these large benefits would be either for all companies to agree that they will not sign such contracts with CEOs or for Congress to establish some kind of a limit on such contracts, neither of which is likely to happen. So, as unfair as these CEO benefits may be, I’m afraid they are a fact of life.

Dick McLane
Springfield

PRESIDENTS ON OIL AND WAR

This is in regard to David Magee’s comment that “when Americans elect oil people to the White House, they always bring us wars” [“Letters,” Aug. 18]. Come on now, David. Was Woodrow Wilson in oil when he got us into World War I? Was Franklin D. Roosevelt in oil when he got us into World War II? Was Harry S Truman in oil when he got us into Korea? Was Lyndon Johnson in oil when he got us [deeper] into Vietnam? Was Bill Clinton in oil when he got us into Bosnia? Was Ronald Reagan into oil when he got us into Grenada?

David Magee is just another liberal bashing President George W. Bush.

Jack Suter
Springfield

PUBLIC-ACCESS BILL SIGNED

The subhead of your Aug. 4 story about HR 2455 asked, “Is more ‘sunshine’ in the forecast for Illinois?” [R.L. Nave, “Let it flow”]. The answer is yes, more sunshine is in the forecast for Illinois, thanks to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s having signed the bill into law on Aug. 16.

HB 2455 removes restrictions on public access to financial-disclosure information that must be filed with the county clerk by local officials. Before Aug. 16, if you wanted to look at such information, the law required you to fill out a form stating your name, address, occupation, and reason for looking. The county clerk was then required to send a copy of the form, with all this information, to the official whose financial information you inspected. Since Aug. 16, if you want to look at such information, all you have to do is go to the county clerk’s office and ask for it, and the public official will never know.

In the article you also stated that my fellow County Board members were less than enthusiastic when I introduced an ordinance last year to tighten up laws to protect would-be whistleblowers. That’s true, but the good news is that my fellow board members later warmed up to the idea and enthusiastically passed my whistleblower ordinance unanimously.

Sam Cahnman
Springfield

SO WHAT DID LOUISIANA DO?

I was fascinated by the recent letter stating that the increase in natural disasters in the United States was a direct punishment from God for our country’s worsening morals [George Culley, “The end is still coming,” July 28]. I’d like to take that train of thought a bit further. There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of hurricanes since 2000, and most of these inflict the bulk of their punishment on Florida. Why would God subject the Sunshine State to repeated Biblical floods? Well, as I recall, Florida was the state involved in the 2000 Presidential election. More recently, Florida was the location of the sadly infamous Schiavo controversy. Perhaps God is trying to tell Florida something, and they are not listening. P.S. I have friends in Florida. The above is sarcasm, evidently bestowed upon me by intelligent design. Or growing up in a large family.

Jim Stapleton
Albuquerque, N.M.
(Springfield, 1961-1991)

A GOLD STAR MOM’S MESSAGE

I would like to publicly thank the Rochester Lions Club and Daniel Brogdon for creating the Messenger Scholarship at the University of Illinois at Springfield in memory of my son, Christian Porter, a lance corporal killed in the first Gulf War.

This scholarship will go to a student pursuing an advanced degree in the graduate program of political studies, history, or environmental studies but with an emphasis on international studies. The recipient, it is hoped, will go on to help promote peace and harmony in the world through the sharing of knowledge and understanding. It was Lions Club spokesperson Daniel Brogdon’s vision that “if we promote peace and are successful at promoting a world community view, and if the world community could get together, maybe some of the conflicts that our soldiers end up giving their lives for can be averted.”

I could not agree more. Some 14 years have passed since my Chris’ death in combat, and we are, again, sadly, a country at war. As mothers, fathers, spouses, sisters, brothers, children, aunts, uncles, and friends of someone who has or will be sent to do the fighting and the dying, we have a vested interest and responsibility in their fate. They are our hometown warriors, and we owe it to them to become an informed citizenry that strives to learn — yes, is driven to know the truth about the critical issues and events that put our loved ones in harm’s way. When I see signs in our community and across the country exhorting us to “Support the Troops,” the message is clear that we are this nation’s citizen stewards. It is our job to question authority so that those who govern are not given carte blanche to dictate their will. If we fail to do so within our country as citizens, how can we hope to communicate in the international community of nations?

We must be mindful of, arguably, history’s greatest tenet: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This quote is timeless and should be a wakeup call to us all. Particularly it should be instilled in our high school and college students, for they are our future citizens, soldiers, and leaders.

We must emphasize the value of international diplomacy. We must be sure that the mission we send our military to prosecute is a righteous and necessary one that could not be averted by peaceful means. Therefore we must elect leaders who believe and demonstrate that there is nobility in peace and will fight as hard for it as they will for going to war.

Let this scholarship be a small step toward peace. For information on how to make a donation, you may contact the UIS Development Office at 217-206-6058.

Phillipa Porter
Springfield

Editor’s note: Daniel Brogdon says the scholarship donation was funded with money raised at a Veteran’s Day program sponsored by the Rochester Lions Club. Brogdon hopes to expand this effort throughout the international Lions Club organizations. For more information, call 217-498-7508.

SEARCHING FOR FRIENDLY LIBERALS

My husband and I had read the article in the June 30 edition of Illinois Times [R.L. Nave, “Land of drinkin’ ”] about the newly-formed Drinking Liberally group, and we finally found a Thursday evening open to check it out.

It was not more than five minutes after we found the group in the beer garden at Boone’s that we began to feel like we were total intruders. Only one of the group introduced himself and spoke to us at all. Needless to say, we were uncomfortable and very quickly finished our drink and left. Most, if not all, of the group works for the House of Representatives, and regularly meets on Thursdays to blow off steam. While we have no issue with this, we don’t understand why they have connected themselves to the national affiliation of DL, or why they went through the effort of promotion and took your writer’s time and publication’s space if they do not want the group to expand beyond their clique.

Perhaps the IT could research and provide information about any other liberal groups who meet and are welcoming to others looking to share their liberal perspectives.

Vera Mount
Springfield

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