Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 12:16 am
Letters to the Editor 8/9/18
I read the letter from Sam Cahnman entitled “Homeless solutions” in the Aug. 2 issue of Illinois Times. I have several comments.
My last 15 years in state government was with the Department of Human Services homeless services unit, where I managed approximately 100 homeless shelter program contracts all over the state, excluding Chicago. Managing the contracts included site visits to review both program and fiscal operations. I got to know most of the shelter directors and many staff members very well over 15 years. As a result, I believe that I have pretty good insight into what it takes to operate a successful and safe homeless shelter, whether it is an overnight facility or extended stay facility.
Cahnman’s letter called for a “low-barrier homeless shelter which would accept the homeless as they are, even those on drugs or with alcohol on their breath and would allow them to come and go at any time.” I would challenge Cahnman to contact any homeless shelter program director in Springfield or anywhere in the state and ask their professional opinion on a proposed “low-barrier homeless shelter” which would allow a person who might be high on drugs or drunk (which can be accompanied by mental health issues) to stay at the shelter and also allow them to come and go at any time. If anyone wants to try a low-barrier shelter with the aforementioned liberties, you’d better be prepared to staff it with individuals well-trained in self-defense who can handle the often combative behavior that goes along with drugs and alcohol.
WOLF IN LINCOLN’S HEN HOUSE
What on earth were the History Comes Alive coordinators thinking when they agreed to have a Jefferson Davis interpreter come to Springfield to do programs at the Old State Capitol and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum? Is it now OK to have the so-called “president” of the Confederacy speak about the lost cause in Lincoln’s hometown? If so, then why isn’t the John Wilkes Booth figure front and center at the ALPLM again? Not only is this inappropriate, but it is very disrespectful and historically inaccurate. Are those the kind of messages the History Comes Alive coordinators want to send to the thousands of worldwide visitors who come to Springfield every year? Please, do not disrespect the man who helped put this city on the map. Do not allow someone who impersonates a traitor to speak in the same building where the famous “House Divided” speech was delivered, and do not enable a man who impersonates a racist to walk into a museum that tells the story of a boy with humble beginnings who would end up becoming a president that would help save the Union.
DISSOLVING CAPITAL TOWNSHIP
It was very disappointing to see seven of our 10 aldermen vote not to hear from their constituents. Aldermen Proctor, Fulgenzi, Donelan, Theilen, Hanauer, Redpath and Senor voted no last week on Mayor Jim Langfelder’s ordinance for an advisory referendum on whether Capital Township, which has the same boundaries as the city, should be dissolved into the city.
Capital Township already put an advisory referendum on the ballot on whether the township should merge into the county, whose boundaries are much larger than the township.
By voting no, these seven aldermen denied their constituents the opportunity to weigh in and advise their elected representatives on the council of their judgment on this important issue. Regardless of their position on the policy question at hand, an elected representative, such as an alderman, should never oppose hearing from their constituents because that’s part of their job description.
Thank you to the council members who voted to listen to their constituents: Turner, DiCenso and McMenamin.