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Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 10:48 am

Letters to the Editor 9/9/10

Pat Quinn, Labor Day and bed bugs


“Nice guys finish last.” That’s not a very nice headline for the chief executive officer of the State of Illinois in my opinion. I am not necessarily a Pat Quinn proponent. I think Pat Quinn is an OK guy, though. Although he’s not the answer to all of our problems (and who is?), he nonetheless doesn’t deserve the repeated lambasting I’ve seen him receiving. Let’s face it, this state is in a shambles, and not necessarily because of the current economic crisis, although that is of course part of it. The dereliction that has pervaded the governor’s office over the two previous administrations is not Pat Quinn’s fault, any more than it is the fault of you or me. Give the guy a break. Sure, he needs to be accountable like anyone else while in the governor’s office. But, in my opinion, he doesn’t deserve to be portrayed as some loser who tries to win votes by being honest about bad news, as was the headlines on the front page of IT.  

Mark Schmidt

I would like to respond to Alicia Martin’s letter of Sept 2-8, entitled “Thank a builder.” Ms. Martin states, “Labor Day is often associated with labor unions. However, it is a day to honor all workers, regardless of labor affiliation.” Ms. Martin wants gives credit for Labor Day to the non-union construction industry she is highly paid to tout. I strongly disagree with that premise. Labor Day is not the “symbolic end of summer.” Labor Day is the day we remember those who sacrificed their lives furthering the labor movement that created our middle class. Educated workers know that a strong middle class powers our great country and a strong union movement powers the middle class.

The corporations that Ms. Martin touts for the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. are the only ones that win in the non-union’s “Race to the Bottom,” but they are becoming larger and more powerful players. This means that the average worker in Illinois has a choice to make. You can do as the ABC suggests, stand alone, remain silent, and be proud that you are earning slightly above the minimum wage. Or you can organize and join a union that is powerful enough to make sure you are treated with the basic human dignity all workers deserve and that you earn what you are worth!

Eddie Young
District 38 Business Agent
Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 669
Ballwin, Mo.

Springfield renters beware. The United States is experiencing a bed bug resurgence. The critters are spreading. Hard to see and hard to exterminate, bed bugs bite relentlessly and leave sores that itch constantly. This summer I had the displeasure of encountering bed bugs in the apartment I rented from the University of Illinois Springfield. I learned two lessons. First, always ask a landlord if an apartment has been treated for bed bugs. Second, if you suspect bed bugs, insist your landlord use a professional exterminator. Regular bug sprays have little effect on the bugs, which can survive a year without eating.

To our local politicians: please follow the example of New York and pass a law which requires landlords to inform tenants about bed bugs. To the University of Illinois Springfield: Please explain to students and parents what you are doing to control bed bugs. Clear and open communication is important, especially when you are dealing with the lives of young people.

Owen Kulemeka, graduate student

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