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Thursday, March 1, 2012 10:33 pm

Letter to the Editor 03/01/12


Letter writer implores local business to give young people with criminal records a chance.

In my work with young people here in Springfield, I have seen repeatedly that the mistakes they make in their early years have a huge impact on the direction their futures will take.

Many children grow up in homes where there is very little stability, no regular meals, no exposure to a different way of life, and with parents who are not supportive or not capable of being supportive of their efforts in school.

As they struggle to survive, many of these young people do what they have seen modeled while growing up. This might include selling drugs, stealing or other similar activities. Much of this is petty, small stuff, but it leads to an unproductive life that becomes a drain on the community.

When they are arrested, the result is that even at 12 years old or younger, a criminal record has begun.

Eventually they begin to realize what these mistakes are costing them. On a job application, if there is a question about a criminal record or felony, they either lie by saying “NO” and then are fired when discovered, or say “YES”, knowing it is unlikely they will even be considered for the job.

My purpose for writing is to encourage all employers to please give these young people a chance by hiring and then mentoring them as they learn what it takes to be a good employee and a person who is a benefit to the community. Of course, not every person will work out well, but there are many who just need and want a chance, and who will succeed when given that chance.

Just last week I was thrilled when two young men I mentor were given that chance by one of Springfield’s locally owned businesses. You cannot imagine how happy those two were when they were hired. We will always be grateful to these small business owners who were willing to take a chance and provide the opportunity to these young men to make a change in their lives.

Ann Smallwood
Springfield GED instructor

The recent Guestwork by Robert L. Bradley, Jr. [see “Oil industry profits are good,” Feb. 9] is based upon unsustainable assumptions and misleading language.

Domestic petroleum and natural gas production is more truthfully defined as extraction of limited mineral deposits. Depletion occurs as the next mineral energy deposit accessed requires more mineral energy already in hand to find, extract, transport, refine and distribute it. A dry hole is a net loss of mineral energy. Over time the mineral energy returned on energy invested approaches zero in any sovereign nation. In my lifetime, approaching 68 years, the petroleum found in the Permian Basin of Texas and Oklahoma of the greatest value has been depleted.

When public policy results in pursuing mineral deposits that are too costly to extract, the livable environment becomes exposed to increasing amounts of harmful wastes, freshwater losses, and geologic and climatic changes with unpredictable consequences. In a democracy, public policy is every citizen’s responsibility, not just a minority of CEOs and major stockholders of a few corporations.

Public economic policy should not continue to allow depletable mineral energy supplies to be counted as both depreciable capital and disposable income. They are only an exhaustible gift of discovered creation. The citizenry of this democracy should not allow a few mortals of limited lifespans to discount the future value of these gifts and to determine their uses for all. It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the stupid economy.

Don Davis
Pleasant Plains

Last week Illinois legislators sunk to a new low! They snuck a bill concerning female reproductive organs through the agriculture committee, and it passed. The bill was not as intrusive or radical as the Virginia bill recently passed. It is the tactic that I find disturbing. I would say it was a dry run to see if it could pass through and not be noticed. What is wrong with our legislators? Do they consider women a commodity now?

Nancy Long

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