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Thursday, March 25, 2010 11:42 pm

Letters to the Editor 03/25/2010

art7102

The 10-year-old map of current congressional districts shows evidence of gerrymandering in central Illinois.

ILLINOIS FAIR MAP
No longer do only magicians or teachers draw things from hats; this happy power also resides in the political parties of Illinois when deciding which party’s map will be used for the new districts after the census.

Redistricting is a process done after each census done every 10 years to better accommodate a fluctuating population. Ideally, redistricting leads to better representation, but this seems like a fallacy in corrupt Illinois.

For the last three decades, a draw from a hat has decided which party’s map will be used. The drawing of “safe” districts (with little to no transparency, it can be added) pretty much ensures an incumbent victory.

Frankly, the redistricting process in Illinois is embarrassing and unfair; it is a black spot on the list of problems in Illinois that needs to be rectified. A great way to do this is by supporting the Illinois Fair Map Amendment. This amendment to the Illinois Constitution would place the map-drawing in the hands of an independent commission that would not work magic to pull anything out of a hat. It would also increase public transparency in the process, informing the people who will be better and more fairly represented with the passage of the amendment. The Fair Map amendment needs a minimum of 300,000 signatures of registered voters, but the goal is 500,000. http://www.ilfairmap.com/ for more information.

Remember, the opening words to the Constitution (in the Preamble) are “We the People,” not “We the problematic government.”

Bailey Hicks
Mundelein



CONCEITED SPRINGFIELD
Ladies and gentlemen, Springfield is conceited. Today, a homeless man named “Professor Do” was the victim of an assault and robbery. He successfully defended his property and his assailants will be feeling the measure of his blows for weeks to come, but they were not arrested.

The indignity continues. “Do” is homeless, and he has been banned from the Washington Street Mission for 30 days as a result of the incident. The policy by which this punishment was meted out is that any fighting is punishable by a 30-day loss of access to the Mission’s services. They don’t do much, but I can tell you as a man who has been homeless for 10 years, the Mission provides many invaluable resources to a great many people who don’t have resources of their own.

Recent studies conducted in the Springfield area have cost the government scores of millions of dollars, and the only improvement that I have seen is the construction of a 19-apartment temporary housing facility that only opened a few months ago. For that kind of price, every homeless person in Springfield could have been granted a house, a car, and a white picket fence. The governor’s proposed increase to the state’s income tax would surely be squandered on other areas of the budget, and the conceited attitude that ‘people who are homeless are that way because of the choices they made’ would continue. Homeless people are not offered any more services or consideration than those who are not. In fact, the very act of being homeless can be considered to be the crime of vagrancy. This is nothing more than adding insult to injury.

What if your house burned to the ground? Where would you go? Who would you turn to? You would certainly not be offered a ride by anything other than an ambulance. What if you lost a $75,000 project that was going to be sold tomorrow and your children had to drop out of college in their final semester because it took too long to recreate the project? It can happen to anyone. Being homeless does not make you bad, the conceit does.

Neal Feiden
Springfield



QUINN-SUFFICIENT

Re: “Budget expert calls Quinn tax proposal insufficient” [March 18] — Enough suffering because of the state’s budget crisis! Let’s pass the responsible revenue increase of two pennies on a dollar of income, so that our schools, our health care, pensions and all our needed public services are reliably funded.

Michael Brennan
Chicago

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