Thank you Jacqueline Jackson for the moving tribute to our dear friend, Lola Lucas (“Remembering the lives they lived, Dec. 31”). Those of us who knew her zest for life are truly fortunate. To paraphrase an old Commodores song:
“Lola, you shared our dreams, our joys our pains. You made our lives worth living for. You were once, twice, three times a lady.”
There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about how to handle 15 citizen complaint files which a temporary inspector general firm out of Chicago opened a year ago. The firm’s contract ended in February 2015 and there has been no action on the files since then. I would like to explain how the city council tried to move this matter to a resolution at last week’s council meeting.
A majority of the council voted 6-4 that the Langfelder administration take possession of the files from the inactive inspector general firm, review them and take appropriate action based on best judgment. Citizens want action. It is a failure of government to let complaints sit idle, and it is unsound legally to let evidence grow stale.
The entire council appreciates the need to investigate allegations of misconduct and waste. But many don’t want an unaccountable and expensive new bureaucracy called inspector general. The city administration should work on complaints/problems – that is its job. The council and the courts are there as watchdogs. And every four years the voters are the ultimate watchdogs.
A recent State Journal-Register editorial did not cover our serious discussion about how to proceed with the cases but focused instead on flare-ups prior to the 6-4 vote. And last week’s Illinois Times editorial went to a false conclusion – that nothing is getting resolved. False. A majority of the council expressed its will that the administration act on the 15 files. Now the ball is in its court, where it belongs.
Alderman, Ward 7
Being hit hard with our first taste of bitter cold this week was bad. Multiply that 1,000 times and that’s how much worse it is for our sisters and brothers who are homeless.
Fortunately, this month there’s a real easy way for us to lend them a hand. Before paying your January CWLP bill, look for the Round Up insert.
By filling it out and sending it in with your January bill payment, your future CWLP bills will be rounded up to the next dollar with the extra change going to agencies that help the homeless. You’ll contribute 1 to 99 cents a month, 50 cents on average. You can also opt to add a specific amount, like $1 or $5... good if you are on the level payment plan. Fifty cents a month doesn’t seem like much, but multiplied by 65,000 CWLP customers or even a fifth or tenth of them, and pretty soon you’re talking a lot of money.
The lack of a state budget means organizations that help the homeless, like Helping Hands, have struggled without state funds. Yet with the Salvation Army’s shelter gone this year as they transition to a new building not yet finished, Helping Hands had to expand its shelter to fill the gap, doing more with less. Fortunately, thanks to many generous CWLP customers who already Round Up, the city council late last year was able to allocate $16,000 of those Round Up funds to aid Helping Hands keep its shelter open for the expanded need. But much more help is needed.
Springfield has been in the national headlines because of the constitutional challenge to our downtown panhandling ban now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. Let’s show the country that despite the weather, we are a warm city who lends a hand to our homeless citizens in a way that really helps them.
If you already paid your January bill, you can still sign up for Round Up by calling 789-2030 or going to http://cwlp.com. Click on online services and forms, and then donation forms.
Attorney at Law