WAR ON WEED
I’m writing about the thoughtful cover story by Bruce Rushton: “The war on weed,” Feb. 9.
I thought that true conservatives oppose nanny-state policies. Obviously, I was wrong. What could be more pro-nanny-state than marijuana prohibition?
Beyond the fact that marijuana prohibition is counterproductive and a complete waste of money, what about the right of adult citizens to be left alone – especially in the privacy of our own homes?
We don’t punish those who attempt suicide and survive. So why do we punish those who consume the wrong (politically selected) recreational drugs?
I don’t want my government attempting to protect me from myself. I want my government to protect me from those who want to harm me against my will.
Today, our nanny-state government tells us which recreational drugs we may or may not consume. Note that Viagra is OK, but marijuana is not.
Note that nicotine is OK, but marijuana is not.
Tomorrow, our nanny-state government will tell us which foods we may or may not eat.
Those who oppose the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise, I have some simple advice: Don’t buy it, don’t grow it and don’t use it. Period.
We were disappointed to see Chris Britt’s cartoon depicting downtown Springfield as “hopeless.” We invite readers of the Illinois Times into downtown to see exactly why this characterization is wrong.
Visitors to downtown will find hardworking business owners who are unique, successful, and working to renovate and improve their space. They will see community beautification projects that have taken shape through streetscaping and renovation of the Amtrak station. They will also find wonderful new additions to the downtown area, such as the Central Illinois African American History Museum and Obed and Isaac’s microbrewery. Our downtown is full of history and charm and opportunity.
It is our hope that downtown Springfield will continue to grow and evolve into a more vibrant cultural center and hub for businesses large and small. Characterizing it as hopeless won’t help us get there. Let’s agree to celebrate downtown businesses and the progress we have made, and work together toward a vision for the future that is even brighter.
Downtown Springfield, Inc.
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
I think the time is right to go to twice a week publishing of your fine local newspaper. With the SJ-R becoming a paper printed elsewhere and soon to be edited elsewhere. Central Illinois deserves better.
James F. Faloon
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
A Jan. 23 opinion column (see Rich Miller, “Campaign donation caps making little difference”) argued that the state’s campaign contribution limit law has not lived up to its promise of limiting the total dollars being contributed to election campaigns. That misstates the law’s purpose, which is to combat the risk of corruption when individual donors make outsized contributions to candidates. One of the last states to limit contributions, Illinois finally enacted this reform when the Blagojevich scandal erupted in headlines and news broadcasts across the nation.
Just over 35 percent of the money Blagojevich raised came from 435 contributors of $25,000 or more, and the majority of those got something tangible in return. Capping contributions made it illegal for anyone to contribute above established limits. Limits did not cap the total that a candidate could receive from all sources. Because state law prohibits anonymous contributions or contributions made on behalf of someone else, it is illegal to try to avoid the limits by laundering money through other committees. The new limits law also required more frequent disclosure of large contributions, mandated the first system of random audits of political committees and established a searchable database of penalties assessed to violators of state finance laws. It also created a bipartisan task force to analyze the new limits law, make recommendations for improvements, and examine the feasibility of creating a voluntary public campaign finance system.
Brian Gladstein, executive director
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform