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Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007 01:03 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.
WHO’S ON TOP? I just finished reading Jim Hightower’s rant about Camel No. 9 [“Cancel Camel No. 9,” Sept. 20]. While I agree with him about the marketing of cigarettes, I am surprised that he did not check his facts. The No. 1 killer of women is not lung cancer. It is cardiovascular disease. In the future, Mr. Hightower, please check your facts before ranting about something.
Susie Howard Auburn
LET THE FDA REGULATE TOBACCO As a child of smokers, I understand the impact that smoking can have on the life and health of not only a smoker but the smoker’s family. In fact, anyone who has lost a family member to smoking understands the frustration and pain that lasts a lifetime. So why do our kids continue to repeat the mistakes of our generation? Perhaps one reason is that tobacco companies have free rein to market their deadly products to our kids and manipulate what they put into their products to make them more addictive. This has to end.
Tobacco-related illnesses are the No. 1 cause of preventable death in our country. The U.S. Congress has the opportunity to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco by passing legislation to grant the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products. This bill would give the FDA the authority to crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids, require the disclosure of the contents of tobacco products and the removal of dangerous chemicals, and take other steps to protect public health. Our representative, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, can do something this year to decrease the number of lives lost to this deadly addiction. As a member of the House committee that will vote on this legislation, he can ensure that our kids are protected from the greed of the big tobacco companies. How many more kids have to face a future filled with the pain and sorrow of smoking-caused disease before Congress acts? Call Shimkus today and urge him to support HR 1108 and protect our kids from big tobacco. Mary Echols, RN Jefferson County Health Department Mount Vernon
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK I give credit to Mark Mahoney for all the work he is doing to solve our garbage problems [see Amanda Robert, “Significant compromise,” Sept. 27]. I still have a problem with the landlord-tenant laws. Try to imagine this scenario. I am the landlord who has renters who will not take care of their garbage. They pile it up in their back yard or even in the house. I will go over there and tell them they need to clean up their garbage and take it to the alley so it will be picked up. Garbage service is included in the rent, so they have garbage service at their address. Now you would think that would be all I needed to say, because we are dealing with adults. No, I receive a letter in the mail from Public Works stating I have a few days to clean up the garbage at the renters’ address or I will be charged the $250 for Public Works to pick up the garbage. I will go to my rental property to find the garbage has tripled in size and smells unbelievable. Renters will give me every excuse in the book why they can’t get the garbage to the alley. I get to the point that I will kick the renters out because of the garbage problems and damage to the property. Now I get to go through the courts to remove my renters. I get to pay $75 to start the paperwork. Because my renters paid their rent each month I cannot evict them on those grounds. I will have to take pictures and prove that my renters are destroying my property. While this is going on my renters are allowed to live at that address. Garbage is still piling up. I finally get my court date. The judge looks over my case and decides that they are destroying my property. Then the judge gives me a date when I can take my property back. Renters have to be served paper by the Sheriff’s Department, which is usually 30 days down the road. Garbage is still piling up. Public Works have sent me a bill for garbage that they picked up at my renters’ house. Renters get a copy of the violation letter also. They just throw it in the pile with the rest of the garbage. Some renters don’t think it’s their responsibility to deal with their garbage. Now my renters are finally moved out. The house is a mess and they left more than they took. Now I am stuck with the mess. Renters don’t get their security deposit back. The security deposit is my only compensation for the mess that was left for me to clean up. We all know that is not nearly enough money when you have to clean up someone else’s garbage. The landlord-tenant laws need changing and our aldermen are the ones who can do it. When, who knows. Look how long it has taken the City Council to realize there is a problem with garbage. It seems Mark Mahoney is the only one that wants to do something about other than talk. Keep up the good work, Mark. LaDonna McClanahan Springfield
THE “BEST” SUGGESTIONS I was intrigued by the comment in your introduction to this year’s “Best of Springfield” edition that the staff thinks the “best” is when it’s over [Sept. 20]. Perhaps you should shake this annual feature up a bit by thinking outside of the (suggestion) box and add a bit of whimsy while still providing useful content.
These three new categories ought to prompt some creative thinking: Best public-accessible restroom. This is pretty important to a lot of folks. Best background music (Muzak). There are a couple of places that come to mind that have excellent piped-in music. Best place for fly dumping. Seriously. Paradoxically, this will most likely put an end to it. Best of . . . luck. Curt Neitzke Chatham

TALKING ABOUT SERIOUS MONEY In response to Anne Logue’s recent letter [Sept. 20], which asks why Springfield does not have more, and better, bicycle trails, I say the answer is obvious. First, it depends on whether people still believe that Springfield is the “capital” of Illinois. Even Illinois Times has mentioned that most of Illinois politicking is done in Chicago, not in Springfield.
Second, it depends on who and which group pays the most taxes. Since gas prices remain at near-record-high levels, this means more tax money for the state. As for the cost of automotive wear and tear, I can only guess at how much money that Illinoisans are paying out to keep cars on the road. Add in the taxes on mandatory auto insurance, and I am sure that we are talking some very serious money. As for bicyclists, walkers, and joggers, just how much do we pay into state coffers in taxes? For example, because bicycles do not require gasoline to run, the state is losing money (taxes) on every bicycle that you see in town. Then there are such costs as tires. With prices at current levels, I can put two quality tires, and about 16 inner tubes, on my bicycles for the cost of just one or two car tires (depending upon where one shops). Result, by my estimate: Bicyclists, walkers, and joggers probably do not pay in 10 percent of the tax money to state coffers that drivers pay in. We do not pay road-use fees or sidewalk users’ fees, even though we regularly use these surfaces. We do not pay each year to renew license plates and stickers. And the list just goes on and on. To Ms. Logue, I say that these are just some of the many thousands of reasons why Springfield does not have more and better bicycle routes. Actually, I don’t feel that we have any reason to complain, because we are not paying for what we use. If we want more and better paths for our bicycles and our feet, then we have to find a way to make it financially worth the state’s time to give us what we want. We must find a way to compete if we want the state’s attention. It’s a simple, if disgusting, fact of life.
Norman Hinderliter
Springfield
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