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Unfortunately, the big void in local news is astounding, especially unbiased news ("The future of community journalism," Nov. 9). I am old enough to remember great news coverage when I grew up in Chicago. Here in Springfield, it's a crying shame.
Many folks I know had tuned in to Greg Bishop on WMAY, and then he announced he was leaving for a bright future at the Statehouse reporting the news. We are so thankful for his continued efforts to report the news on a variety of issues that are statewide and local through Bishop on Air on YouTube.
If there was ever a time for young, ambitious, eager reporters, the time is now to start your podcast or blog for local news. We aren't asking much, just the news on a balanced scale – just the facts.
The question I have is, will the MacArthur Foundation's donation go to just left-leaning reporters? I hope not!
DOESN'T BENEFIT STATE
Gov. JB Pritzker does not deserve any credit by selling Illinois land to the Chinese to make electric car batteries ("Illinois has some success in attracting manufacturing," Nov. 9). Batteries those cars use cost more than the car sold for brand new. People end up having to junk the car itself. How is that benefiting Illinois? Karen Le Seure
DOESN'T BENEFIT CITY
This moratorium is an attempt to send even more of our city's wealth away to people who refuse to live in Springfield, yet receive Springfield taxpayer dollars in the form of city-paid salaries and pensions ("City employee residency requirement could be suspended," Nov. 2). Non-residency requirements are not widely supported by Springfield residents. Seven members of City Council and Mayor Misty Buscher went against the interests of the city by voting for this moratorium. The City Council and Mayor Buscher are supposed to represent the residents of Springfield, not the villages of Chatham, Rochester, Auburn, Sherman and Pawnee, the benefactors from this moratorium.
During the meeting, I heard supporters of the moratorium claim that simply living 20 minutes from Springfield and buying groceries at a Springfield store on their drive back home was "buying into the city." To me, buying into the city means living in the city both inside and outside of work hours. It means having pride living in Springfield and being connected to the community. I wasn't born and raised in Springfield, yet I've found pride in living here. I don't believe it is an extreme ask for employees of our city to live in the city which is affected by their work. If these potential employees have such a strong desire to live in these surrounding villages, they should work in the respective village governments instead.
It is hard to believe that the Office of Human Resources has exhausted every resource within its power to hire from the 113,000 people who already live in our city. Instead of supporting the moratorium, the Mayor and City Council should have looked at what specific jobs it was necessary to ease employment requirements to fill vacancies, as opposed to having an arbitrary moratorium of every city job, which could last indefinitely.
It was very disappointing and frustrating to see our elected officials give up on the residents of Springfield. Thank you Ward 2 Ald. Shawn Gregory, Ward 3 Ald. Roy Williams Jr. and Ward 4 Ald. Larry Rockford for standing up for the residents of Springfield and for the health of the city by voting against the moratorium.
GOOD FOLLOW UP
Thanks to Dean Olsen for reporting on this ("Former financial officer pleads guilty for cheating state," Nov. 9). I was wondering if Jenny Thornley was ever going to be charged.
Let me see if I have this straight. The state of Illinois spent $450,000 to determine that former State Police Merit Board CFO Jenny Thornley had received $10,000 in overtime payments to which she was not entitled. This $450,000 was given to an outside firm hired by the Merit Board to investigate Thornley's actions. I have a few questions.
If the taxpayers had to shell out $450,000 to investigate Thornley, why was she not required to reimburse us for this investigation? Why was she required to reimburse only the $10,000 in phony overtime payments?
Is there seriously no one who currently works for the Merit Board, the Executive Inspector General or even the State Police who can investigate fraudulent overtime payments? No one? If not, why not?
Why was someone who cost the taxpayers almost $500,000 given only conditional discharge without spending even one day in jail?
It's obvious that taxpayers were screwed three times: First by the phony overtime payments; second, by whoever decided to spend $450,000 to find $10,000; and finally, by the fact that Thornley will face no prison time. And Democrats wonder why people are leaving Illinois in droves.
INSURANCE REFORM NEEDED
I would like to send a personal thank you to state Rep. Sue Scherer (and any others supporting such) for her efforts in health insurance reform ("Blue Cross fined by state for third time in two years," Nov. 9). There is no reason to excuse any dishonest brokering, or even plausible oversight, from a company that makes billions of dollars off of Americans and their health care services.
The truth is that we all have enough difficulty acquiring timely medical services from providers that do actually exist, much less sifting through "ghost providers" that perhaps never even existed as part of an insurance network, or once did. Maintaining an accurate list of doctors in network and proximal to all members covered under the plan is not too much to ask. I would encourage all Illinois legislators to get behind this type of accountability.
Any lawmaker unwilling to support efforts like this clearly does not understand the defined (and stellar) insurance that they are receiving as a member of the Illinois General Assembly.