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Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2007 10:04 am

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.
LET’S IMPEACH BLAGOJEVICH After reading several letters arguing for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, I think it’s time we started considering that course of action here in our own Illinois-state back yard. This budget crisis is shameless, and I think we need to send a message loud and clear to Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He’s putting the livelihoods of about 4,900 state employees on the line, all for the sake of political posturing. That information has been presented to him, but does he care? No. He says they can get no-interest loans to tide them over. Excuse me? If you were working for an employer and that employer said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t pay you, so here’s where you can get a loan,” would you stand for that? To me, “Let them get loans” is about as inflammatory as “Let them eat cake.” The governor says, “They can pass a 30-day budget and spare the drama.”We’re talking temporary budgets in August?
This standoff has been record-breaking in terms of length and cost. Blame for this has been thrown back and forth between the governor and the lawmakers, but I don’t care. To me, if one signature is holding this process up, I’m looking at the guy who’s holding the pen. The governor’s been playing with our money long enough. Time to cancel that next hair appointment and go to work.
I thought it remarkable that he won the last election with 49 percent of the popular vote. It’s time for the other 51 percent to speak out. Our state is one of the few (if not only) states in the Union who doesn’t have a process to recall their governor (much like California did a few years ago), so our only course is impeachment on the grounds of irresponsibility and mismanagement of state resources and funds. Even if the budget crisis is averted by the time this goes to press, we need to stop this. This is really a situation where “four more years” could prove disastrous. Impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Steve Marley

TOBACCO TAX UNREASONABLY HIGH There is a new minority that includes all races, nationalities, and genders. It is estimated that 20 percent of the population uses tobacco. Tobacco users are truly discriminated against. They have recently been banned from enjoying their vice in bars, restaurants, and other public places. Now a new tax proposal essentially doubles the cigarette tax to $1.83 per pack on cigarettes.
Tobacco taxes have been allocated for long-term health care for years. I guess this substantiated the original tax to help offset health-care expenses. These monies have not only supported tobacco users in ill health but “all” long-term health patients. The new additional increased tax will go to other programs besides long-term health care. It is time all taxpayers also start supporting these programs! The fact is, nonsmokers will not (and have not) not been taxed their fair share! The governor and Illinois legislators should revise this tax proposal. Everyone should pay a 50-cent-per-day tax instead of imposing $1.83 per day on a minority! Everyone pays instead of a minority trying to support everyone else. Just think of the additional revenues the politicians could spend on additional programs if everyone paid the same! Why are politicians supporting this truly unfair tax? Oh yes, tobacco users are only a minority of the voting population. There are not enough votes to have real influence in the political arena.
One thing that politicians do understand and desire is tax revenues. If the proposed tax is imposed, the total taxed amount (per carton) pays for a tank of gas to drive to another state for tobacco. Maybe a modern-day Boston Tea Party — boycotting Illinois tobacco products — would get their attention, since revenues will be lost!
Jeff Davis Dawson
SAVE A TREE, USE DOLLARCOINS I recently visited a food establishment. I tried to pay with the new John Adams gold dollars. The lady said that she did not like those coins as customers never want them in change. They did not even like them as tips.
Here is why they are good for the economy. Check out a dollar from your wallet. What date is on it — 1986, 1991, or 2004? If they were not collectible, hard dollars from 1886 would still be usable. The bills wear out and have to be replaced, whereas the coins last much longer. In Canada they have $1 and $2 coins only — no bills for those amounts. In Europe they have coins for the low euro amounts. Much of the world manages to use coins for low denominations. In New York City, if you put cash in to get a subway card you get hard dollars as change. Replacing bills cost money that comes from taxes — money that could go to other things. Are we that spoiled? Here is what you can do: Ask for a roll of coin dollars at the bank, then spend them for small purchases, give them as tips, put them in charity boxes, and donate them at church. This is something that costs you nothing to help the environment.
Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
ADDS VALUE TO FILM EXPERIENCE I just read the Aug. 2 letter about Marc Sigoloff’s movie column leaving. Is this true? I hope not. Sigoloff gives us consumers (trying to appeal to your business sense) true insight, movie history, and a definitive opinion and saves the standard “storytelling review” to the mainstream. New releases are all thumbs-upped or downed or star-rated; can’t we please have something to read that adds value to our film-going experience without telling us the whole plot?
Ned Hallowell
Essex Junction, Vt.

WHERE IS MY GOOD OL’ GOP? The Republican Party today looks nothing like the party of Ronald Reagan. Sean Hannity says he’s pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay marriage, and yet he keeps speaking up for Rudy Giuliani, who is pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and for gun control. How more two-faced can you get, Hannity? If Hillary Clinton runs with Barack Obama, it will be a landslide. Then Hannity will have another Clinton to talk about for another eight years. The Republican Party lost the city, the state, and Congress — and, soon, the White House.
Danny Faulkner Springfield
FIRST AFTER-HOURS GREEN SALON Next Tuesday, Aug. 14, Sustainable Springfield Inc. will host its first-ever “After Hours Green Salon” at Bernie & Betty’s Pizza, 1101 S. Spring St., at 5:30 p.m. This event will be held bimonthly and is intended to be a social as well as an educational event that will be held in conjunction with meetings at the Prairie Heart Institute’s Dove Center on alternate months.
This salon will feature Bob Croteau of the CWLP Energy Services Office, who will present a program about alternative energy resources. Croteau has considerable experience with the production of electrical energy for residential use utilizing solar photovoltaic panels. Sustainable Springfield Inc. is a new environmental-advocacy organization recently incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. For more information, visit the group’s Web site at www.sustainablespringfield.org.
Jim Johnston Springfield

CORRECTIONS AND CLARIFICATION Our story telling readers how they can use the Environmental Working Group’s online database on federal farm subsidies drew a protest from Barry Locher, editor of the State Journal-Register. Locher says that we accused his newspaper of relying on, but not crediting, the EWG as a source of information for its recent two-part series on farm subsidies. In its reports, the SJ-R said that it relied on “federal databases,” “federal records,” and “government databases.” Our story [“True grit,” Aug. 2] said that the information the SJ-R used “matched” the EWG’s, which, for some readers, implied that this was its source. We regret the implication. Our story also said that the SJ-R did not respond to e-mails from our reporter asking which government databases it relied on for its stories. Those e-mails from Illinois Times did not say that we were seeking comment for publication, nor did they correctly identify the intent of the query. We regret this journalistic lapse. Also last week, we combined a photo of a nun (not a Dominican) with a photo of the Doe Run Peru lead smelter in La Oroya to illustrate our cover story, “Sisters to the rescue.” We neglected to tell readers that it was a photo illustration. We regret the omission.
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