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Thursday, June 19, 2003 02:20 pm

Your Turn. . . 1-23-03

Don't count us in

Dear Editor:
I write to correct inaccurate information found in a letter to the editor in the January 16 edition of the Illinois Times. The letter incorrectly states that Sojourn plans to participate in a march in connection with a group called the Illinois Citizens Against Abuse & Brutality.

Sojourn is not affiliated with this organization in any manner. Sojourn does not endorse nor support their actions and no Sojourn representatives are participating in this march.

We would also like to clearly state that we are proud of our positive relationship with the Springfield Police Department. Through our collaboration with the Springfield Police Department, hundreds of victims of domestic violence are served each year. We greatly appreciate all of the efforts of the Springfield Police Department as we work together, facing this serious community problem.

Tami Silverman
Executive Director
Sojourn Shelter & Services, Inc.

Library's plea for support

Dear Editor:
As President of the Lincoln Library Board of Trustees, I write on behalf of myself and my fellow trustees to clarify the issues concerning recent proposals to balance the library's budget for the coming fiscal year. The proposal to close the library's three branches and relocate them in District 186 schools has been set aside. After several meetings, school and library officials could see no way to address the problems of space and security which would arise as a result of this relocation idea. The citizens of Springfield have made it clear that this is not a plan they embrace.

This board is wrestling with ways to maintain the level of library services currently offered. That level of service is one of high quality, but it is not keeping pace with other libraries in Illinois of similar size. The reason for this discrepancy is that for nearly ten years the library's revenues have been eroded by the way our portion of the property tax is calculated. In 1993 the library received 29 cents for every $100 in assessed valuation. In 2001 we received just 17 cents. Springfield spends on average $26 per capita for library service, the second lowest in Illinois compared to other cities our size. Champaign spends $58, Peoria $39, Decatur, $37.

The board is studying ways to raise revenue through grants, donations and service fees, but is reluctant to charge for services that would disenfranchise those library users who benefit from them the most. After thoughtfully reviewing, line by line, the budget which we as a board are required to submit to the City Council, many items have been reduced. Cuts have been made in staff and money for computers and other equipment. The library will offer Sunday hours October through April rather than September through May. Even after what we feel are significant reductions, the library still faces a deficit of nearly $220,000. Additional cuts will jeopardize the quality of public library service in our community. Changes in library services should be improvements, not regressions.

I would like to thank those citizens who came forward during the discussion of branch closings. They helped make the public aware of the problems the library faces. But these problems go beyond whether one location or another remains open. The issue is what kind of library service our community will support. If you believe that the library ranks as one of the most important city services I urge you to call your alderman and urge him or her to find the means to adequately fund those services. Those wishing to hear the library's budget may attend the City Council's Finance Committee meeting on January 23 at 5 p.m. Opinions can be expressed on February 11 at the City Council's Finance Committee meeting, again at 5 p.m., to finalize the entire budget which will go to the City Council for approval at their meeting on February 18 at 6 p.m. These meetings are open to the public. It is time for the citizens of Springfield to show how much they value their public library.

Linda Kopecky
Lincoln Library Board of Trustees

Church should clean up its own backyard

Dear Editor,
I read your piece on Sr. Beth Murphy's peace mission ["Back From Iraq," January 16]. Sr. Murphy's impressions of Iraq treated the reader to a healthy portion of the fruits of Saddam Hussein's labor of propaganda.

It is oversimplification, at best, for Sister to assume that the U.S. government or this President is hell bent on war. I also found it an insult to my intelligence for Sister to suggest that there are bigger and badder dictators and human rights violators than Saddam Hussein. The facts are that this dictator, Sister, expelled the U.N. inspectors in 1997 and used chemical warfare on his own people. He may not be the biggest villain in the world but he is certainly among the craziest. And this, Sister, makes him more dangerous than some of the so called "bigger dictators."

Your indictment of Israel as having a bad record of human rights is also oversimplification and sounds strikingly similar to some of same opinions that some of our Catholic brethren had in pre-war Germany when Hitler was persecuting the Jews.

To you Sister, I would offer the following advice so often heard among those who tout peace: Think globally but act locally. Perhaps you could start by bringing peace to many of us unsettled Catholics who wonder about priests who have molested our children or the dioceses that have concealed this fact for years. Or perhaps you could start in your convents where many of your fellow nuns have acted in an emotionally abusive or verbally abusive manner against students. If need be, Sister, I can provide you with a good example of this situation. Sister, be careful the "beam" in your eye is blinding you from a mess in your own backyard.

Please withhold my name as my children go to Catholic school. However, you can provide this name to Sister if she desires to know this author.

Name withheld by request

Wake up and smell this coffee

Recently I read that Iraq is reputed to have 11 percent of the world's oil reserves. This is second to Saudi Arabia, which has 25 percent.

In these days people may be thinking about energy conservation--we are, after all, on the brink of war.

If you are one of those people who like their morning coffee, and there are many of us, you may wish to consider the following.

When you arrive at your favorite coffee emporium, think about asking that vendor whether they would consider serving coffee made from fair trade/shade grown coffee farms. Every pound of fair trade/shade grown coffee sold in the USA or other places means that an independent small farmer benefits and is able to maintain a family hopefully without resorting to coca growing. Since much if not all fair trade coffee is organically grown, the use of petroleum-based poisons is much reduced.

Not all fair trade coffee is shade grown. Shade grown coffee is done in conjunction with conditions which allow for wildlife habitat. This is becoming a serious problem world wide since destruction of wildlife habitat continues to accompany large commercial agribusinesses.

Ed Gutierrez-Perry
Pleasant Plains

Frazier's family is a class act

Dear Editor,
The article written by Renatta Frazier's son, Kourtney Mitchell, impressed me ["Town Without Pity," January 2]. He was able to articulate his perspective on the situation and to give insight as to how this injustice has impacted his life. It is obvious that this is a strong family that has found additional strength throughout the years in spite of what the media and the city have put them through. I am sure that the citizens of Springfield have not heard the last of this situation. And I am confident that when it is all said and done, the Frazier/Mitchell family will come out victorious.

Margarette A. Davis

Anarchists against sensationalism

Dear Editor:
A dear friend of mine often reminds me that few people in this world do things exclusively for altruistic reasons. As much as I hate to admit it, the Illinois Times' "Trading Spaces" article [January 16] merely strengthens his case. While I am not big on labeling people this or that, the "when anarchists get angry" line is an inaccurate portrayal of the issues at hand. There are enough generally misconceived stereotypes regarding anarchism. The folks at the Illinois Times should focus more on substance than sensationalism. This was a missed opportunity to shed some real positive light on the undertakings of both Spaces--and the stress involved with trying to maintain any community center. Marc Sanson and the folks at 830 South College have worked tirelessly for many months to bring people in the community together. The folks on State Street are also trying to make a positive difference in their community. Perhaps the time has come for two things: 1) the Illinois Times moves away from sensationalizing sensitive issues, and 2) representatives from both Spaces sit down and discuss reuniting their efforts in the spirit of the various causes both are championing.

Jason Perry

SWF likes baptisms, hates personal ads

To the editor:
I loved your article on the baptisms at the Sangamon County Jail ["prison Uprising," January 9]. Now, when are you going to do something about those "Personals" ads?

Dee Snyder

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