Letters to the Editor 10/21/10
Organ donors, censorship and Americans with disabilities
Ryan Louis was very lucky to get a heart transplant [see “Springfield man celebrates 25 years with transplanted heart,” by Patrick Yeagle, Oct. 14]. There are now more than 108,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List, with more than 50 percent of these people dying before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.
There is another good way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – if you don’t agree to donate your organs when you die, then you go to the back of the waiting list if you ever need an organ to live.
Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. About 50 percent of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven’t agreed to donate their own organs when they die.
Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88.
David J Undis, director of LifeSharers
CENSORSHIP IN SPRINGFIELD
Read your story about censorship [see “Censored in a brave new world,” Oct. 14]. It is also alive in Springfield. I filed a Freedom of Information Act request when Restore Our Constitution was denied access to the Old State Capitol. Historic Preservation refused to release more than 100 internal e-mails. I appealed to Attorney General Lisa Madigan and was again denied access to these e-mails. What are they trying to hide?
But now I have another question: How can Lisa Madigan’s office even legally rule on this question? You see Steve Kim, candidate for attorney general, was one of the event speakers. I think this is called conflict of interest. I think it is also called “The Chicago Way.”
Restore Our Constitution
ILLINOIS IS A DEADBEAT
We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). How ironic and sad then that Gov. Quinn recently chose to financially reward political friends over meeting Illinois’ obligation to pay private community service providers whose work supports the ADA’s goal of community integration of people with disabilities. Gov. Quinn just announced an 8.25% raise for state employees of Illinois state institutions for people with developmental disabilities, and a moratorium on state institution layoffs. While Illinois protects and pays for the inflated operating costs of its state institutions, it is a deadbeat to providers whose work actually supports the ADA.
Illinois is more than $4.2 billion behind in payments it owes to Illinois community service providers, many of them politically powerless charities. To withhold payments to private providers of disability services for many months while giving state employees an 8.25% increase is beyond unconscionable. My organization, Bethesda Lutheran Communities, alone is owed more than $2.4 million for vital human services we have already provided – some dating as far back as April. Payment withholding means that rather than give raises, many community providers have had to go out of business.
The 18-month moratorium on layoffs at state institutions perpetuates an expensive, segregated and antiquated system. Illinois is among the worst states at favoring expensive and inappropriate institutional care for people with developmental disabilities. Consumer-directed community-based supports are more appropriate, more cost-effective and preferred by consumers. Illinois needs to get its priorities in order. Illinois should pay community providers in a timely and sustainable manner, and support people in the most appropriate and efficient setting possible. Illinois citizens with developmental disabilities deserve nothing less.
John Bauer, president and CEO
Bethesda Lutheran Communities