Letters to the Editor 01/31/19
RACE RIOT ARTIFACTS
Regarding “A past worth remembering” in last week’s Illinois Times, please know that there are NO artifacts from the race riot site on display at the African American History Museum. We do have an exhibit about the race riot that will be in place until the end of February. As a board member, I wanted to make that correction so your readers would not be disappointed if they came expecting to see artifacts at the AAHM. The artifacts are either at the Illinois State Museum (Research and Collections) or with Floyd Mansberger at Fever River Research.
Kathryn M. Harris
HUMAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
In rebuttal to Jack Heller’s parroting of Rush Limbaugh’s theory of climate change, I refer to the NOAA website (climate.nasa.gov) and EPA website (www.epa.gov/ghgemissions). The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory for November 2018 is 408 molecules of CO2 per million molecules of dry air. From 1957 to 2018, the monthly average concentration changed from 310 to 408 ppm, a 32 percent increase in 61 years, not quite one average human lifetime.
This is equivalent to a lightning strike change in the millions of years fossil fuels have been isolated from earth’s atmosphere. Rapid change brings instability to all systems, including weather systems and food production systems.
Carbon dioxide was first demonstrated to trap heat energy in 1856 by Eunice Foote. The EPA website reports the largest source of heat-trapping gas emissions in the US is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat and transportation. The oceans, forests and grasslands can only absorb about half of our emissions. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years until there is a significant increase in more land devoted to forests and prairies.
You and I cannot prevent release of CO2 from volcanic eruptions. We can change our lifestyle dependence on fossil fuels and continued deforestation, through public policies encouraging solar energy systems and protection of our natural ecosystems.
CITY SHOULD TAX LEGAL POT
The recent article, “Piece of the pot,” talked about how potential state revenue from the prospective sale of legalized recreational marijuana could be spent.
No mention was made, however, about potential revenue to municipalities. When I was the Ward 5 alderman, I joined a majority of the City Council in voting to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot by making that an ordinance violation subject to a fine. If recreational marijuana is legalized, as it should be, the city will lose all the revenue from these fines.
It is essential that any legislation enacted to legalize recreational marijuana empower municipalities to impose a tax on the sale of recreational marijuana of three to five percent, similar to the provision that allowed municipalities to impose a tax on video gaming when that was legalized. When I was on the council, I voted with the majority to lockbox all the video gaming revenue in a fund restricted to rehabilitating our infrastructure. Most, or all, of any local revenue earned by Springfield on the potential sale of legalized recreational marijuana should also go to upgrade our aging infrastructure and shore up our pensions.
First, our legislature has to put a provision in the recreational marijuana bill empowering municipalities to impose such a local tax on the sale of legal pot. I urge our local legislators to make sure that such a provision is in any recreational marijuana bill they send to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.