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Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007 05:04 pm

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.

SURPRISED BY “NEWFANGLED” REPORTING Excellent article on the Kerasotes/Stomp the Yard controversy [Dusty Rhodes and R.L. Nave, “Misstep,” Jan. 18]. Honestly, I was expecting to read a more negative review of the situation concerning how Tony Kerasotes handled the release of the movie. I was pleasantly surprised to see a well-balanced objective piece of reporting. Everybody had his or her say, and I was left to form my own opinion. When did this newfangled form of reporting come into style? Jim Bertrand Springfield
WHY ISN’T MORE DONE? With all the violence we have at the schools, movie theaters, etc., you would think something would be done by now to make it safe to go to school or have an evening out. In Farmington, Mass., a 15-year-old high-school student was stabbed to death. At the Parkway Pointe theater in Springfield, on Christmas night, no less, [there was] a senseless shooting of a teen. We were at the Illinois State Fair during a shooting, with thousands of people there. And does anyone remember Columbine? Why is this problem not taken care of yet? Why is something not done to stop the violence? I do realize how expensive it is to put in metal detectors everywhere. I have gone to many concerts where they pat you down before you go through the gate. They check your purse, backpack, and pockets to make sure everyone has a fun and safe time. You can relax, knowing you and your child are safe and in a safe environment. This should be done every day before the kids enter school. This takes a little time, but it is worth it, as it is no big expense and everyone is weapon-free. Rose M. Luparell Buffalo
AMEREN DESERVES NO AWARDS I find it fascinating that Ameren received an Emergency Recovery Award from the Edison Electric Institute. The award was for their response to the July windstorms that left more than 1 million customers without power for as long as nine days. Unbelievable, really — given how much CIPS, CILCO, IP, and now Ameren contributed to that outage in the first place. For the last 20 years Ameren’s companies have cut their tree-trimmer and lineman jobs, their tree-trimming schedules, and their investment in new equipment. These are union jobs and union products. They cut them so hard that their maintenance schedules also deteriorated. They basically kept enough of a workforce so that if “it fell down” on its own they could “put it back up” and if “it blew up” they could “fix it.” But that’s it — and it left them completely unprepared for that July storm system. It was not hard to see the storm system coming. Nine days is a long time without power. Fast-forward to the ice storm in December. It is really common for utility companies to pre-position assets so that they can respond immediately to a storm. That is, they move the repair trucks and linemen to hotels so that they can “walk out the door” and go to work. They did not do that, even though everyone could see that storm coming, too. The result? They guaranteed that everyone who lost power lost it for at least a day as linemen struggled to get to their trucks over impassible roads. Don’t get me wrong: What’s left of Ameren’s labor force, the men and women who do the dangerous work, is to be applauded. But, even then, Ameren used nonunion linemen from Alabama to help restore the power. What kind of a slap in the face is that? Is this a company that deserves an award? I don’t think so. Doug Nicodemus Riverton
REASON ENOUGH TO IMPEACH BUSH Within the last year or so, people have been considering whether President George W. Bush should be impeached. Seems to me that there are two parts of this dilemma. First of all, in order to impeach a president, there needs exist an impeachable one. This means an elected one. As I recall, Bush was appointed by [the U.S. Supreme Court]. But if Bush were really impeachable, what reasons are there to do it? The reason for this current war was the well-known and now completely unproven premise that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was invaded based on a lie. Is this not enough to “impeach” Bush, were he the real president? Do we need more reason than the killing of thousands of people over a lie?
Ed Gutierrez-Perry
Pleasant Plains

A PUSH IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Sunday, Jan. 21, I went to Meijer, as I am wont to do on Sundays. The snow removal in the lot was spotty. There were some thin layers of snow in some places, I thought. I drove into one and was left chassis-deep in a drift. I could not budge. I got my collapsible shovel from the trunk and proceeded to dig myself out. It was not enough. I was stumped. A fellow leaving with his family stopped to help dig. Great, but not enough. Then two other men trudged over from another lane and pushed me out of the drift. Good Samaritans, for sure. Not only did they free me from the drift with only a thank-you as they walked away but [they also left me with] a good feeling on a snowy day when such feelings are so welcome. Thank you, guys. God bless you. Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
BLAME SMOKERS, NOT THE BAN I must respond to a recent letter in the Illinois Times that indicated that the smoking ban opened up a Pandora’s box and that “at some point you will be banned from your vice, favorite food, or beverage” [“Letters,” Jan. 25]. The writer went on to list many things, including but not limited to, beef, caffeine, sugar, and fried chicken. I assume that this portion of his letter was meant to be tongue-in-cheek (I hope), but still I must say, what a ridiculous notion. None of the things listed, including alcohol, when imbibed or consumed, directly affects the person sitting right next to you, or the person on the other side of the room. Cigarette smoke does. It’s not a matter of “people can’t think for themselves so we are going to force it” — it’s a matter of “this is offensive and potentially dangerous to others.” If you want to pollute your lungs and stink yourself up, have at it — but do it in your own home. Second note: Some people may find this notion ridiculous, too, but it’s just as valid an argument as many of the others in letters against the ban: If I entered an establishment and chose to scream loudly or have an obscenities-laden argument with my spouse, I would be asked to leave. Why? Because it would be offensive to the other patrons. But how is that? It does not directly affect anyone else. The other patrons will not leave with any physical effects of my screaming or arguing. But cigarette smoke does physically affect other patrons — and somehow that’s OK? Third note: Many larger metropolitan areas have banned smoking, and it obviously has had no ill effect. Just to name the places I have been to: the greater Los Angeles area, San Antonio, Chicago, and the state of Colorado have all banned smoking in indoor public areas. They seem to be coping just fine. Final and most important note: So many Springfield residents and business owners are complaining about a lack of business for the bars and restaurants that is directly related to the smoking ban. They blame the ban itself. I am tired of hearing and reading about this. The blame should be placed where it truly belongs: on the smokers. Place that blame directly on the shoulders of those smokers who have made the choice not to patronize those businesses anymore, all because they can’t smoke in them — because they can’t spend two hours in a bar or restaurant without lighting up or can’t bring themselves to walk outside and stand in the cold for a few minutes. If an establishment has closed due to a lack of business after the ban took effect, it is the smokers’ fault, not the ban’s. Obviously that establishment wasn’t important enough to the smokers to continue patronizing.
Gail Wasmer
Springfield
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