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Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 03:32 pm

Letters to the Editor 12/15/11

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Occupy chalkers quote ancient philosophy on the sidewalk in front of Aaron Schock’s Springfield office.
PHOTO BY BRUCE RUSHTON

CHALK QUESTIONS
How can it be illegal for anyone to chalk a sidewalk? It will wash off; it is not permanent or damaging [see Cap City, p. 8]. The news report about the recent Occupy Springfield chalking of U. S. Rep. Aaron Schock’s office begs several questions. Can kids not use chalk on sidewalks anymore? If they can’t, shouldn’t sidewalk chalk be contraband?

If the content of the message was not the reason the two men were arrested, what was the reason? If someone writes on my sidewalk with chalk, the city doesn’t come and clean it up. Chalk will wash away and wear away all by itself. Why was it only when it was in front of Aaron Schock’s office that the police took action? Is this not an invasion of their First Amendment right to freedom of speech? The ability for political parties to lie to constituents is covered under freedom of speech. So why not these everyday citizens who are trying to send a message to a representative ignores his constituents? Try emailing or writing his office saying you object to his policies. He will send you a letter telling you he supports the very policies you are asking him not to support.

Nancy Long
Springfield


BLAGO HOLDOVERS
Many feel justice was served when Rod Blagojevich was sentenced. But if one looks at state government today, it is as if Blagojevich still runs the show. That’s because many of his holdovers still run state agencies.

When investigators began to close in on Blagojevich in 2009, Special Agent George Gottlieb of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission gave Chicago’s WLS a rare insider look into one such agency. “The echelon in the Department of Revenue and the liquor commission are very bold and arrogant and they feel they are untouchable.”

This is still true today. Consider a recent example. A top Revenue official refused to answer important questions by investigators about department operations when she managed the agency’s liquor commission in 2009. This Blagojevich appointee still works at the agency.

Yet when questions were asked of a well-regarded longtime Revenue employee of a different political affiliation, a full-scale state-sponsored investigation was spearheaded against the employee. The state spent nearly two years trying to pin official misconduct criminal charges on the employee. The employee was found not guilty. Revenue fired the person anyway.

Which makes one wonder how those currently in power calibrate their moral compasses. If it is in a way that allows them to avoid accountability and serve their self interests, then our state still has some important changes to make.

Anne Conwill
Riverton

BUS ALWAYS LATE

The Springfield Mass Transit District is increasing fares but riders are not getting better service. Riders do not blame the men and women drivers of SMTD. This is directed at the people in charge.

On numerous occasions we have had to wait for the bus to show up downtown at the departure time so that we can try to get to work on time. Specifically the Route 14 Wabash/Prairie Crossing. It is now an everyday occurrence that this bus will be late anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. We ask why they were not here and yet the other buses were and have left at 6:45 a.m. We constantly hear reasons such as “we could not get the bus started,” “I (driver) was way in the back and other buses were in front of me so I could not get out until they moved them,” or “they will not let us leave until a few minutes before departure time.”

I cannot figure out why the rest of the buses are not only downtown and waiting to depart at the designated time, but are heated in cold weather and cool in hot weather and never seem to have these issues. It is not unusual to see people waiting for this particular bus to show up on any given day.

We need to let the powers that be know that when this or any bus is late leaving downtown it impacts us greatly. People who have taken the bus for years have been written up for being a few minutes late through no fault of their own because the bus didn’t leave downtown.

Thomas S. Poudzunas
Springfield

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