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Thursday, March 23, 2017 12:17 am

Letters 3/23/17

U. S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, right, speaks with Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, as Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies March 21 before the committee on his nomination as Supreme Court justice.
Photo by Ron Sachs/CNP



Senator Dick Durbin at the Gorsuch confirmation hearing commented that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Gorsuch represents the type of judge that has the vision of Trump. Durbin then chided Mr. Gorsuch by asking, “Why would Mr. Priebus say that when most Americans question whether we need a Supreme Court justice with the vision of Donald Trump?” Such Homeric questioning should not go unanswered.

Nota bene: I hope someone asks Senator Durbin, “In light of Illinois being the poster child for systemic inutilism, does the state really need two senators with the vision of Barack Obama?”

Bill Klein


In Cheree Calabro’s letter of March 16, she said that James Krohe’s claim that “immigrants, authorized and otherwise, are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the U.S., and crime rates tend to go down, not up, in places with lots of immigrants” was “laughable.” Actually, Mr. Krohe referred to solid research in several studies done over many years by nonpartisan institutions such as the United States Census, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Journal of Law & Economics and many others. In short, Mr. Krohe did his research and cited the facts.

Ms. Calabro, on the other hand, makes silly claims (half of immigrants live in Chicago and other cities “so they can work in the fields;” only urban immigrant votes keep Illinois a blue state) that are not supported by anything other than her clear distaste for immigrants and her interpretation of what she’s seen on the Chicago news.

Contrary to widespread belief, facts do matter. Ms. Calabro would do well to let go of her preconceived notions about the impact of immigrants on Illinois and do some research into these facts before she makes a public statement. It is knee-jerk prejudice and ignorance-based fear like that which has gotten us into the mess of border walls, Muslim bans and ICE raids separating mothers from children that we find ourselves in today.

Erika Holst

Good Ole Boys

It felt like deja vu reading Sunday’s SJ-R article about the lack of real progress for women and minorities in city hiring (Minority hiring numbers up; SJ-R, March 12, 2017). In 2011, I wrote an article entitled Good Ole Boy Government” (, Oct. 20, 2011) where I discussed the “good ole boy” culture in Springfield and Sangamon County and the barriers it creates to advancement for women and minorities. Larry Beckom, a member of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good, raised a similar point in the recent article. Of course, our words follow decades of advocacy seeking progress on minority hiring by members of Springfield’s black community. Yet, with every report about the lack of diversity in hiring, we still scratch our heads as though baffled.

For millions of women and people of color, the election of Donald Trump as president was a horrifying lesson about a stark reality – the good ole boy network is alive and well in the U.S. It also flourishes on the local level where a machine-style political culture still exists and jobs are rewarded to the connected in both the public and private sectors.

Those who want to see Springfield government and business truly reflect us cannot sit back and expect the “good ole boys” to readily give up their privilege. If we want in, we have to step up and run for office, demand appointments to boards and commissions, advocate for fair hiring practices and, most importantly, support those who seek a more inclusive Springfield.

Sheila Stocks-Smith


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