We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
9/11 SURVIVOR FROM SPRINGFIELD
Mr. Wilkins, you have my sympathy and understanding [ See "I'm a 9/11 survivor living in Springfield," Sept. 18]. I too am from Springfield but live in New York City and was there that day. Though I wasn't downtown and an eyewitness, just being in the same city was terrifying. This country was under attack and we didn't know where the next shoe would fall for hours. For weeks and months afterward if the wind shifted, you could smell the smoke from Ground Zero all over New York City. The fire burned for nearly three months. I contend that everyone within the tri-state area was affected by the toxins in the air. Those in charge, led by Governor Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey, have yet to acknowledge it. So many who didn't have asthma and respiratory problems before, now do. Also, there is an epidemic of asthma among New York schoolchildren.
I had a friend (Lt. Rene Davila of the New York City Fire Department) — I say had because he passed away unexpectedly in May — who was the first paramedic on the scene. He went to work wanting and expecting to have a routine workday like everyone else did and ended up in a war zone. This is not the job that people signed up to do. He managed to go back to work for several years and received a medal from Mayor Bloomberg. When the coverage of Hurricane Katrina was televised and he saw the human suffering and the government's response, he mentally lost it and began having extreme personal difficulties. The New York City Fire Department fired him and refused to pay him disability and caused him to lose any hope of treatment because of lack of money and health insurance. He fought them for years and then just didn't wake up one day at 57 years of age. I am outraged by that.
I too ended up with no job and found it impossible to find a new one. People were outraged by the cutting and taxing of unemployment benefits during a "jobless recovery." I worked a computer help desk and my position was outsourced to a foreign country. No matter how hard it is, we must continue to fight and let the general public know what really happened and where the money went — a useless war in Iraq, corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich, etc. Some of the chickens appear to be coming home to roost this week and we, the public, are the ones who will be paying the price as always.
Llewelyn Triche Barton
New York, NY
ROUTE 66 FLIX
Thanks for the wonderful article and support for the
Seventh Annual Route 66 Film Festival held last weekend (Sept. 20-21) [See
"Route 66 flix," IT, Sept. 11]. Despite lots of press, TV commercials,
interviews at three local TV stations and several radio shows and even
offering free admission for two of the screenings, Springfieldians
stayed away in droves.
Talented filmmakers visiting from New York, Miami,
Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, California and other
cities in Illinois were impressed with our downtown and Lincoln sites. Too
bad they didn't get to meet many of our residents.
If you missed the festival, you missed some outstanding films and meeting some of the "most fun people to be in Springfield for a long time," as one of the audience said. Don't let that happen next year.
Linda McElroy, director
Route 66 Film Festival
GROUND THE GOVERNOR
I am writing about a letter written by Eric Fisher [IT, 9/11] that suggested that impeaching the governor is not a solution. In my opinion, the impeachment of the governor will solve numerous problems.
Sen. Larry Bomke is on target when he says it's an issue that needs to be debated at the Capitol. The budget mess needs to be brought under control. Showing Gov. Blagojevich the door will end the gridlock at the Capitol. His partner in gridlock, Emil Jones, is on his way out, too.
Additionally, Sen. Bomke proposed permitting voters to recall the governor. That measure was blocked by, you guessed it, Emil Jones, a loyal Blagojevich supporter.
This governor has spent money the General Assembly did not authorize him to spend. He maintains what amounts to slush funds inside the budget to hand out to his loyal supporters as he sees fit. He has declared war on Springfield as a city, and central Illinois as a region.
The capital of the state is Springfield, not Chicago or Harrisburg. This governor flies into Springfield on a taxpayer-paid plane and out again the same day. He uses the state aircraft like a taxi. Speaking of offering proposals, Sen. Bomke has proposed grounding Air Blagojevich to one flight a week.
Mr. Fisher proposed sending another Blagojevich Democrat to the state Senate. That is the last thing we need. We need to keep Sen. Bomke in office.
ALL LIT UP
Everyone is saying how high their electric bills are, while Ameren reaps record profits. We are forever trying to think of ways to cut down on our bill so we can afford to pay it. These include turning our thermostats down in the winter lower than we've ever had them before and trying the new energy-saving lightbulbs. Why can't Ameren do their part? I tried calling Ameren and got no results. Why, on this bright sunny day at noon with barely a cloud in the sky, are the highway lights behind my house on I-72 going out of Decatur to the west toward Springfield all lit up as far as I can see, burning away and using up electricity unnecessarily?
PROTECT THE CHILDREN
Recently, the Illinois House restored more than $218 million in cuts to
vital human services made by the governor, including more than $27
million to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. As a
private human service organization dedicated to protecting children and
strengthening families, Kids Hope United is greatly appreciative.
This is a step in the right direction, but funding needs to be fully
restored — and as soon as possible.
To date, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has
experienced a total of more than $45 million in cuts that will affect a
variety of programs, including residential, independent living, foster
care, counseling and adoption support programs. These are all programs
that support the security and well-being of children and families in the
face of their difficult personal obstacles now and in the future.
Kids Hope United alone faces a 42 percent cut to System of Care funding
that will cost us $800,000 in fiscal year 2009. System of Care works to
stabilize children in their foster homes to prevent unnecessary changes
in placement — keeping children from "bouncing around" from foster
home to foster home. Such a cut will force us to cut in half our staff
serving 25 counties and, consequently, serve fewer vulnerable children
Though legislators are increasingly faced with making hard decisions
during this tough economic time, it is imperative that we protect our
most vulnerable citizens — our children.
Patricia Griffith, executive director
Kids Hope United