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Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008 06:14 am

Letters to the Editor

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.

PAY IT BACK!

Just a word of advice to some of last week's letter writers complaining about SallieMae: the reason it's called a loan is because you have to pay it back! I've had the privilege of using student loans to go to college at two different colleges. It is a privilege, not a right, a handout, or something to take for granted. My payments did not balloon out of control and my loans were not sent into forbearance because I started sending money as soon as it was required. Was I one of the "children of the rich" referred to? No. Was it easy paying them back? No. After I graduated I kept driving the same klunky 10-year-old car, lived in a two-room apartment, and had hand-me-down and garage-sale furniture so that I could make my payments.

There's no use looking for your "attorney who specializes in fighting student loan debt" because there's nothing to fight. When you borrow money, you repay it. Plain and simple. Try taking some responsibility for your actions and debts.

I certainly hope that neither of you were business or accounting majors.
Kathy Jones
Springfield

RAPE ISN'T FUNNY

Garrett Moffett's cavalier comments regarding his latest walking tour titled "R-Rated Springfield" (Aug. 28) astounded me. Moffett describes his "entertaining" subject matter as "murders and some rapes" and remarks that these accounts will be "told in a lighthearted fashion" and that "people enjoy that kind of entertainment."

As an advocate for justice and compassion for victims of sexual assault, I would like to inform Moffett that there is nothing lighthearted or entertaining about the crime of rape (or murder, for that matter). Characterizations that rape is "R-Rated" (read sexy) advances rape myths and normalizes a brutal crime. Rape is not about sex and there is nothing sexy about rape. Rape is an act of violence, humiliation and control. Narratives that characterize rape as a slice of the seamy underside of life, a function of the criminal element, promote rape myths. Indeed, rapists that fit the myth — lurking criminal, crazy low-life — are more likely to be prosecuted, but there is no common profile of a rapist.

The "lighthearted" act of criminal sexual assault leaves pain, emotional trauma, disease and sometimes, unwanted pregnancy in its wake. Very entertaining.
Catherine Walters
Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault
Springfield

BOMKE PROPOSES NOTHING

I was embarrassed for State Sen. Larry Bomke when I read his four-page, glossy constituent newsletter distributed through Illinois Times. He devoted the first page to impeaching the governor, but didn't even commit to voting to remove the governor from office. The senator also complained about the governor's budget shenanigans, but proposed no alternatives of his own. The remainder of the senator's newsletter concerned much less substantive issues, and painted an especially clear picture of his utter lack of ideas and inability to contribute substantively to solving this state's problems.

The budget mess is a particularly difficult one. Illinois is a blue state trying to provide blue-state services on red-state revenues. It is clear that some modification of the income tax is necessary, but only legislators in safe seats will touch that one with a ten-foot pole. The governor has proposed several fixes using other revenue sources, but these are too small and too transient to provide long-term solvency. Sen. Bomke has proposed nothing, while a number of Chicago legislators are wrestling with controversial bills to raise the income tax.

I was also saddened to read of Sen. Bomke's obsession with sex offenses and crimes against children. These are serious problems, and other states are experimenting with approaches based on research to identify offenders early and train parents to protect their kids. The senator prefers legislation to extend sentences and create new criminal offenses, indicating that he knows nothing about the problem or how to address it sensibly.

One need not possess a Ph.D. in economics or history to hold public office, but we should require our public officials to be open-minded and motivated to address our societal problems seriously. Sen. Bomke is neither, and I urge voters to reject his reelection bid this fall, so that we may have a fresh start with next year's legislature. There is no reason to go to Iowa or Missouri to help Barack Obama effect change: campaigning to remove Sen. Bomke from office would be a small but meaningful contribution to the change Obama endorses.
Eric Fisher
Springfield

GOOD FOOD

Julianne Glatz's RealCuisine column is one of the best regular features

(culinary or not) in any of the many publications I read. It's simply one

of the most well-written and informative columns around. I particularly like that she combines information from local, regional, national and international sources as she develops the interesting, personal anecdotes that typically provide such an appealing framework for the column's cooking content. And what a treat that the recipe and technique content has such a nice leavening of cultural, historical and scientific information. I hope that we can look forward to enjoying this great resource for years to come.

Joe McHugh

Springfield


HISTORIC SIGHS

Close to half of the state's historic sites will close on Oct. 1, the result of recent budget cuts by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration. Topping the list was Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana Thomas House in Springfield — one of the acclaimed architect's best-known residential designs. The irony of this particular closing was that millions of taxpayers' money was put into this home during the late '80s for its acquisition, restoration and eventual opening to the public in 1990.

Other closed sites range from the grand Victorian David Davis House to three buildings in Bishop Hill and even the state's early Capitol in Vandalia.

Our office is hearing from travelers who arrive at the doorstep of Illinois historic sites only to find signs stating "Closed due to budget cuts." The impact of that very scene is devastating, not only now, but for the future. Immediate tourism revenue and economic viability of the state and local communities are impacted. Long term, the education of our children and ability to recapture travelers' attention and dollars are affected. The dominos will continue to fall.

Many of these sites already suffer from deferred maintenance. With no staff to care for them, or a capital budget for support, these sites will slowly begin to crumble. Each one has its own individual history and architectural relevance. They are places of pride for communities and destinations for thousands, not line-items in a grand budget quickly cut for immediate financial relief.

Jim Peters

President, Landmarks Illinois

Chicago

LEGALIZE PROSTITUTION

Your article on prostitution [See "Going to the Johns," IT, Aug. 21-27] completely misses the mark. Laws and enforcement have never stopped a vice. From alchohol to gambling, from drugs to prostitution. Never. The problems associated with prostitution exist for one reason, and one reason only: it's illegal. You cannot "ban" a vice. All you really do when you make a vice illegal is drive it underground into the hands of criminals and all the enforcement in the world won't stop it, much less slow it down. The key to solving all the problems associated with prostitution, from the annoyance of streetwalkers to the abuse of women, to STDs, is to legalize it and regulate it. Every area/country that has done just this has watched all these problems virtually disappear. It is so very sad that we seem to have never learned the lessons of Prohibition. Meanwhile mindsets like yours just leave a wake of victims and make criminals and organized crime very wealthy and far more dangerous.

Kris Gates

Springfield

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