click to enlarge The Sangamon County board has approved what would become the largest solar project in Illinois, nearly doubling the megawattage of Illinois’ current capacity. Opponents have expressed concerns about taking 4,100 acres of farmland out of production.
The Sangamon County board has approved what would become the largest solar project in Illinois, nearly doubling the megawattage of Illinois’ current capacity. Opponents have expressed concerns about taking 4,100 acres of farmland out of production.


PRESERVATIONISTS?

Kenneth Lowe's article brought out some opponents to the Double Black Diamond project who claim to be farmland preservationists ("County approves major solar power project," Nov. 25). I see very few reports of preservationists testifying against real estate sprawl development of high-quality farmland on the outskirts of Springfield and other towns in Sangamon County. Or against land-gobbling four-lane commuter highway projects that pave over many acres of productive soil as they fragment and isolate existing farms.

Arrays of solar panels do not require as many acres of concrete and asphalt as real estate developments and highways. Solar panels are removable. The soil around panels can be planted with short to medium-grass prairie plants that provide greenhouse-gas capture and storage, resulting in the rebuilding of topsoil over the 30-year-plus life of the project. Depending on the native perennial plants chosen, more stable habitat for pollinator species can be established. The soil around solar panels will not be leaching fossil-carbon-derived nitrogen fertilizers into the groundwater, nor eroding phosphorus-laden topsoil into the watershed, resulting In sediment-clogged streams, ponds and lakes. This soil will remain in place. It will not contribute to the conditions causing harmful algae blooms in waterways.

Don Davis
Pleasant Plains

ANYONE CAN BE FRAMED
My false arrest by the Springfield Police Department in July 2018 is my own personal proof that college degrees, good upbringing and professional status does not protect against police misconduct ("Holding police accountable," Nov. 11).

While too many people have been framed for murder, many thousands more are subjected to excessive force and arrested under circumstances where no reasonable prosecutor would subsequently file charges. While the temporary allegations of aggravated battery (a felony) and resisting/obstructing a peace officer are enough to justify on paper overnight or weekend detention, the real underlying situation is commonly referred to as "contempt of cop."

I was falsely arrested because the police lied in their reports and lied to the judge during the video bond hearing when those factual misrepresentations were conveyed to the judge through a sworn affidavit. I was a criminal prosecutor in Bloomington for more than five years and spent the bulk of my 25-year career in the attorney general's office. I know better than to physically interfere with cops, even when they are beating up my son.

I have obtained the police reports of my arrest, but there are (according to SPD's Freedom of Information response) over three hours of video. I feel assured that the videos show me with my hands in the air. However, FOIA officer Frank Lesko would have us believe that a total of 200 minutes of video would require a minimum of 50 hours to review, redact and release the videos.

You are likely aware the SPD discourages the release of video – this issue would itself make a good subject for journalism. In any event, keep up the good work.

Tom Davis
Springfield

STICK AROUND
Wonderful to hear you love your hometown, Emma ("Planning to stay: Springfield needs residents willing to invest their lives," by Emma Shafer, Nov. 18). I also brought my presence and contributions back home after 24 years in Virginia, Kentucky and Florida. Two difficult obstacles to the kind of community development you champion are the relative ease of building on green grass sites and the propensity of retirees to move away after making, and still receiving, their income from Springfield.

Sandy Baksys
Via Illinoistimes.com

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