Letters to the Editor
FOXES GUARDING HENHOUSE
In light of the recent complaints or accusations against some people in the Illinois legislature, I was shocked to learn that the so-called Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission is composed of eight lawmakers themselves. The worst yet, the same commission or the same eight lawmakers have the final approval over the appointment of a legislative inspector general. In my opinion, for victims or accusers, this is like a fox guarding the henhouse.
There are already 27 complaints filed with the Legislative Ethics Commission in the last two years, but since there is no legislative inspector general appointed yet, these complaints have not been reviewed by the inspector general, hence they are not considered pending cases. No wonder our self-centered, selfish, self-serving, so-called public servant lawmakers have not appointed the legislative inspector general. No inspector general, no case.
I think our lawmakers should not have any say in forming the Legislative Ethics Commission or the appointment of the inspector general. I would argue further that instead of wasting taxpayers’ money forming an ethics commission and appointing the inspector general, complaints about misconduct in the legislature should be sent directly to the federal justice department and directly investigated by the FBI without any interference from the legislature or any lawmaker.
Harish G. Bhatt
A BLUEPRINT FOR PEACE
The Springfield Baha’i community recently celebrated the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, the Baha’i prophet whose teachings we believe provide a blueprint for establishing peace and justice throughout the world. The celebration here spanned three remarkable days (Oct. 20-22) with participation from area Baha’is, our friends and other like-minded people working to make Springfield a more welcoming, unified and compassionate community.
The Baha’i community would like to thank the Springfield Central Illinois African American History Museum for opening its doors Oct. 20 and hosting a well-attended presentation on local, national and international efforts to promote unity and overcome the racism, “otherness” and the “we vs. them” attitudes that appear so prevalent in today’s society.
Similarly, our thanks to Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder for attending the Oct. 22 Crowne Plaza gala marking Baha’u’llah’s birthday, and for authoring a city proclamation (available for viewing at http://springfieldbahai.org) praising the oneness of mankind and the oneness of religion that is the cornerstone of the Baha’i faith.
We also want to thank Mr. Kiser Barnes and his wife, Nancy, who traveled from North Carolina to be an integral part of our three-day celebration. Mr. Barnes, a former member of the international council that guides the worldwide Baha’i community, offered inspiring remarks throughout the weekend, remarks that offer hope and perspective to everyone who holds justice close to their heart.
One lasting, physical remembrance from the celebratory weekend is the addition of two October Glory maple trees near the playground equipment at Comer Cox Park. As these trees grow and mature, they will provide shade, protection and beauty to visitors of Springfield’s major east-side park.
We pray to God that the local Baha’i community, working with other like-minded groups and individuals, will continue to be a force for good and a source of beauty to our historically significant city.
Chairman, Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Springfield