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Thursday, April 12, 2007 01:52 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.

GOVERNOR HAS THE RIGHT IDEA Yes, the governor has it right: Those big businesses he is talking about are most likely to be corporations. Corporations are defined as artificial beings created by law and are given the same rights and privileges as us citizens. If these businesses are not paying their share of the cost of these privileges, then we are carrying the cost and thereby subsidizing them. And they have the nerve to threaten us with a higher-cost product — their prices having been set in a monopoly-oriented marketplace. I urge Gov. Blagojevich to vigorously pursue this idea of his. Fred J. Dietz Sr. Springfield
HOW GOOD MUSIC JOURNALISM CAN BE Just wanted to say thanks for the excellent review in Illinois Times [René Spencer Saller, “Sound Patrol,” April 5]. I don’t usually bother (unless it’s to trounce some idiot whose lazy journalism is particularly offensive!), but your article showed just how good pop-music journalism can be if the writer really pays attention to the work they are reviewing instead of spouting the clichéd information they already have on file. Nice job. Graham Parker via the Internet
MY VOTE’S FOR ANOTHER GUY I cannot listen to or read any more about the mayoral debate. These two grown men are acting like students running for high-school president. Who are you supposed to believe in this debate? It is about “you said, I said.” That is high-school mentality. You know why I know? I have a 14-year-old in high school. I know exactly what has gone on in this city, and I have not seen enough changes. We still have a garbage problem in this city. Public works is stretched to the limit. The police department is a mess.
Thank goodness there is a write-in   candidate, because I will be choosing him. LaDonna McClanahan Springfield
EVERYBODY SHOULD HAVE ACCESS I have no argument with Bill Wellington’s letter [April 5]: Making better lifestyle choices — that is, diet and exercise — goes a long way toward curbing multiple health issues. But, no matter how good your diet or your exercise regimen, sooner or later everybody gets sick or injured whether due to accident, age, or genetics. Personally, no diet or exercise regimen choices will ever correct (nor did they cause) my funky heart valve. When that time comes, everyone — everyone — ought to have equal access to quality health care that isn’t tied to employment or substantial personal wealth. The current system, including the Illinois CHIP program, just doesn’t cut it.
Douglas Mayol
THANKS FOR BIG SHOW OF SUPPORT Please allow me to extend a heartfelt appreciation to everyone for your active role in the Chambers/Dickerson fundraiser, which was held at the Jaycees Activity Center on March 23. The fundraiser was a huge success. People came from everywhere to show their support. The children and I will be forever grateful. It was a wonderful evening of fun, tears, food, smiles, entertainment, and hugs. Awesome!
Kudos, kudos, and more kudos go out to the people who were behind the scenes, causing the wheels to turn. People like Amy Zahm, Janet Barkmeier, Marie Brest, Willo Wilson, Janet Woodson, Sue Landgrebe, Ellen Bruce, Blake Koke, Sandra Parrish, Tonda Garrett, Dan Ford, Ledora Alinger, Julie Woodzien, Josephine Sneckus, and Marge Roth (the Slovene Strollers), Macy Hamilton, Rob Murphy, Helping Hands, WICS-TV, Pepsi, Antonio’s, Red Lobster, Tracy Smith, Kami Becker, Melanie Barnes, Nefra Johnson, Les Eastep (the Chilli Man), Brad Engert, Dusty Rhodes, Douglas staff, and numerous teachers from District 186. I’d also like to thank all the churches, organizations, and caring individuals who supported us and the event.
It is not often that a person is fortunate enough to work with such an outstanding group of comrades who truly demonstrate compassion to one another. God bless each of you. Doris Chambers Springfield

DREDGING UP CRIMES OF THE DEAD? OK, so I am no fan of President George W. Bush and his throwing away innocent lives in his insane invasions, but I have to draw the line at dredging up a family’s deep past to question the present [Roger Hughes, “Legacy,” April 5]. I cannot believe that Illinois Times  wasted space on an article about Dubya’s ancestors, many of whom were dead up to a century before he was even born. I say, “So what?” if a long-dead ancestor owned slaves. Unless Bush himself endorses a return to slave ownership, I say, “Let the dead rest in peace.”
Sure, slave ownership is not something to be proud of, but I am confident that if Illinois Times investigated my own ancestors there would be crimes committed, long before my own parents were even born, and which I never knew about. The question is: Should I still be condemned for these crimes? If my great-great-grand-pappy raped a woman in 1810, what purpose would it serve to bring this to light in 2007? Why cast a shadow over descendants for the crimes of ancestors? I wonder how many “forgotten crimes” the author’s own ancestors may have committed. For that matter, I wonder how long of a rap sheet that Illinois Times’ own staff members would have if their families were traced. Norman Hinderliter

VOTE FOR CHANGE In the 1980s, the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, the Springfield Urban League, and three volunteer citizens filed a lawsuit in federal court under the Voting Rights Act, challenging the historical lack of representation of the African-American community on the Springfield City Council. The affirmative decision of the federal court resulted in sweeping changes in the governmental structure of the city of Springfield. Ten wards were created, and an African-American was elected from the 2nd Ward, which represents the east side of Springfield.
The community of greater Springfield also benefited from the action of the federal court. Given the historical pattern of electing candidates to the City Council who were primarily from the west side of the city, prior to the action by the federal court, the other segments of the city of Springfield had not attained representation on the City Council. The establishment of the ward structure for the city council provided the mechanism for the citizens who lived in the other nine wards to also elect an alderman from their respective communities.
In the years between then and now, much has changed for the greater Springfield community, while much has remained the same for the African-American community. Business opportunities, economic development, neighborhood infrastructure, new and improved housing, commercial and retail businesses, and social and entertainment opportunities have all exploded on the west and southwest sides of the city. During this same period of time, government support for neighborhood improvement, as well as private business and economic development opportunities, have been all but absent from the east and southeast portions of Springfield. Other recent events have amplified the continued neglect of the African-American community by the city government. One glaring example is the disintegration of the quality of public safety in Springfield, particularly on the east side, and the inadequate attention directed to this issue by the city government. In recent years, there has been little evidence that the office within city administration that is responsible for ensuring equal access to employment opportunities has been given a role in addressing these matters. The apparent reduction in this activity was recently exposed by the discovery of a lack of African-American workers at the site of the new CWLP power plant and the continued lack of African-Americans employed within other departments in city government. This is a call to action for the African-American community in particular and for all people of good will in the greater Springfield community in general! A change is needed to address these circumstances, so we must all “vote for a change” in order to create opportunities for a better future for the African-American citizens of our city. 
Voting for a change will not only create the right government support for equal access and opportunity for our African-American citizens, but in the long term, such change will benefit our entire community by improving the quality of life for all citizens. The change will also enhance our ability to present Springfield as a more attractive city to the businesses and organizations seeking a location where they can establish or expand their opportunities for growth. Wes McNeese, M.D.
James C. Forstall
Gordon A. Smith Sr.
Rudy Davenport
Kenley R. Wade Sr.
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