I was really surprised to read Mr. Pritchett’s letter (An Open Letter to President Obama, April 21, 2010). He forgot to say President Obama scares him because he is a black man and “their kind” are not entitled to be President of the United States.
If President Obama is ofted by anyone of Mr. Pritchett’s beliefs there will be blood and riots in the streets. And the first thing to go will be the Electric Power Grid.
I still can’t believe I read this dribble in your newspaper. But when the grid goes down the country will not be far behind it.
Formerly of Carroll County, IL
A few of our readers have taken me to task for responding to letters to the editor the same week they are published. I respect everyone’s 1st Amendment rights, which should be evident by the balance of letters and views published. In this case, I need to speak up.
Apparently, Mr. Siedenburg, freedom of speech - not the power grid - is the first thing to go, according to your wild accusations against a former CEO of a large company, someone who actually worked his way up to a highly responsible and prominent position. You have hit on a subject that is quite prevalent in the national media these days. How is it that disagreeing with the President suddenly makes a person a racist? You have conveniently not mentioned that a majority of the votes cast to elect our nation’s first black president were cast by white people. Speaking of racism, you may want to remind the BLACK Congressional Caucus of this fact.
Your accusation definitely needs to be backed up, Mr. Siedenburg. A trite retort that is essentially unfounded can’t be brandied about without more evidence. When you say a highly respected gentleman’s thoughts are “dribble,” it’s getting into childish name calling. We see enough of that in the national media. Let’s have some mature, responsible comments. I expect more than that from you.
Support for our Local Farmers
I was one of those in the audience for the “Food for our Future” presentation by Paul Potter and Tony Dick in Lena, featured in the article published in Prairie Advocate on April 21. To a person, all in the audience were supportive of the family run farms in the area.
I am surprised that any of these can be compared to the proposed mega-dairy near Nora. Facilities that were presented by Potter have not requested to bulldoze a stream so that manure pits could be placed on top, as the mega-dairy project has. None of the facilities presented by Potter have stated in court that they were going to release 40,000 gallons of untreated waste within a few feet of an aquifer that serves thousands; as mega-dairy engineers have.
Our support for responsible agriculture is undiminished! We are in total support of our local farmers.
The Republican controlled government of the State of Arizona just passed the most draconian immigration law in the history of this country. This law will “require” law enforcement officers to stop anyone that “looks” like an illegal immigrant, arrest them, put them in jail for up to six months and fine them up to $2,500. In addition, the law calls on communities to sue law enforcement agencies if they are not applying the law.
I really don’t know how these law enforcement agents are going to tell who is an illegal immigrant just by looking at them. As a Hispanic myself, even I can’t tell an illegal immigrant from a legal one or from an American citizen for that matter. This is racial profiling 101.
I for one will never carry any papers while traveling within this country and any other American citizen shouldn’t have to either! So if you have to travel through Arizona and you don’t look like an American – whatever that is – you better have your citizenship papers or you might get arrested. The agents can stop anyone!
Remember when the communist Soviet Union required its citizens to inform on their neighbors? We are coming to that. This is what fear does to the Republican Party. They try to eliminate the threat by eliminating our civil rights!
So while the Republicans, Fox News, and the right’s radio wing nuts have been accusing the Democrats and the Obama Administration of leading this country into socialism, communism and a Police State, this is actually what the Republicans are doing. As I said before, watch what the Republicans accuse the Democrats of doing or being because that is actually what they do. Where are the republicans, Fox News and the radio right wing when our civil tights are being taken away? Where are the Republicans when it is their own Party who is creating a Police State? All I have heard is silence! Even the Democrats are afraid to talk or do anything about immigration. Where is the so called “liberal” media? What is next? Make it unlawful to speak any language other than English? That may be next!
If you know history, you also know that Hitler and most Dictators, a la Cesar Chavez, consolidate dictatorial powers one law at a time. If the Federal Government or the courts don’t stop this abuse of power what will be next? Do we need a National ID card indicating citizenship? Do we have to travel within the country with citizenship papers? Good luck with it. Contrary to what the Republicans think, this is how our Constitution and civil rights will be destroyed if we don’t stop it.
Lake Carroll, IL
Amnesty for AT&T but not Illegal Immigrants
Recently I received the following e-mail from 16th District Congressman Don Manzullo which reads in part:
“Thank you for contacting me in opposition to granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. It is good to hear from you. I agree with you 100 percent. I oppose all forms of amnesty for illegal immigrants. We should not reward illegal behavior by granting amnesty to those who knowingly break the laws of the United States to gain entry.”
Aside from the fact that I never ask Congressman Manzullo to oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I would like to know why he voted amnesty for AT&T and other telecoms who knowingly broke the law by illegally tapping our phone conversations for the Department of Homeland Security. Why this double standard?
Let me guess, the telecom industry has lobbyist and campaign money to dole out and illegal immigrants don’t have a thing. These strawberry pick’en, dish washing, bed making immigrants aren’t contributing a darn thing to our society like our financiers at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Citi Group. All they are doing is taking away good jobs at slaughter houses and in lettuce fields that our legal citizens are begging for. Of course it would be nice if Maytag, G.E. and others would quit sending our jobs overseas as well. It would help, Manzullo, if you’d vote to end the tax write offs corporations get for sending jobs overseas.
Oh, and by the way, Congressman Manzullo, what AT&T and the other telecoms did was a violation of CRIMINAL LAW whereas being in this country illegally is not a violation of criminal law; it’s a violation of civil law. You, being a lawyer should know that.
Personally, I support amnesty for those who have immigrated here and are illegal. Had it not been for our unfair trade policies in NAFTA and DR-CAFTA, many of these people would have stayed in their own country quite happily. But our corporations bought off our government for their benefit, and they caused the problem. If you put these people out of business, if you deprive them of a livelihood, of course they’re going to move. What do you expect, they should sit there and watch their families starve?
So when corporations move our jobs overseas, we don’t get to go with them. What’s fair about that? It seems there are too many rights for corporations and not enough rights for workers, legal or otherwise. If illegal immigrants get some rights, like citizenship, perhaps we could all join forces and get some rights for all workers.
Arthur C. Donart, PH. D.
Out of Service
When your kids are hungry, most people would buy food instead of a T.V. set because theirs is old and it would be nice to have a new one. Savanna is dying and our City Officials construct a New City Hall because theirs is old and it would be nice to have a new one, instead of doing something to save the City. In any event, this will be my last “Letter to the Editor” for while. I will be OUT OF SERVICE!
A couple of days ago, one of the City Officials told me that my “Letters to the Editor” were creating bad press and people reading them wouldn’t want to relocate to Savanna. Since when did they start worrying about attracting new residents? I’ve only been writing letters since the beginning of the year. People haven’t been moving to Savanna and, in fact, have been leaving for years. The numbers on the City Limit signs confirm this. Businesses on Main Street are leaving in numbers also. I suppose that’s my fault too.
I was born and raised in Savanna and would never intentionally do anything to harm this City. Anyway, in deference to the City Official who stated that my letters were doing more harm than good, I am temporarily ceasing to write them. I will wait to see if the City does anything to attract new residents or to keep the residents we have. I will wait to see it anything is done to attract new businesses and keep what we have. I will wait to see if anything is done to make this City more attractive.
If I see nothing more is being done than is being done now, I will resume letter writing. When a City Official can say, not once, but on two separate occasions, “We’ve had our hand in their back pockets and they don’t even know it”, something is seriously wrong. I have enough information for about 4-5 years. I hope I won’t have to do it alone again. Other than one other individual, I’ve been doing this myself, because no matter what I say, none of you seem interested enough to step up and be heard.
I know my letters have little effect on the City Council, they don’t seem to care, but if enough of you let them know how you feel it might do some good. If not, an election is coming up and you can make yourself be heard then.
I owe Chief Moon an apology. Apparently, I misquoted him. For that I am truly sorry. In my last letter to the Prairie Advocate, I quoted Chief Moon as saying he couldn’t see the garbage and junk in people’s yards because of the snow and snow is not present all year around. He corrected me by saying that what he said was he couldn’t see all of the litter and junk along the streets and roads because of the snow. Apparently he did see the junk and garbage in people’s yards all along and just chose not to do anything about it. Again, for misquoting the Chief, I sincerely apologize.
I have said before that it is unfortunate that Mayor Stebbins and this City Council inherited many of the problems the City is having. Some of them could have been completed or at least started years ago. However, they weren’t and now it’s up to this Council to get something going. If the “buck” is continually passed to the next City Council, this City will be a ghost town before anything gets accomplished. I am not trying to hurt anyone, especially this City. I have only tried to write facts. If I misquoted anyone, I’m sorry.
However, if my letters hit a nerve, GOOD! Maybe if enough nerves are hit, someone will wake up and say “maybe we SHOULD do something for the City instead of just for ourselves.” Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my letters. There is no doubt in my mind that, sooner or later, I will be BACK IN SERVICE!!
National Volunteer Week
The week of April 19-marked National Volunteer Week. This past year 462 RSVP volunteers have given over 81,000 hours of service saving agencies over $1,015,094. These volunteers truly live up to this year’s theme “Celebrating People in Action”. RSVP volunteers give as few as one hour a week up to forty plus hours assisting in many various ways. They volunteer in hospitals, senior centers, nursing homes; they even sort trees to be given to 3rd grade students in Stephenson County. They assist in clerical positions, homeless shelters and food pantries. They provide telephone reassurance to homebound elderly, transport people to doctor appointments and grocery shopping. They are friendly visitors in area nursing homes as well as providers of hospice care to terminally ill patients. RSVP volunteers collect and sort newspapers and aluminum; they assist with blood drives and H1N1 clinics. They truly live up to RSVP theme of Responding to Service Volunteering with Pride.
RSVP of Northwest Illinois has been a division of Highland Community College for over 37 years and is funded through grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service and Illinois Department on Aging.
National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing an annual celebration of volunteering. Every president has signed a proclamation promoting this week ever since.
For more information about RSVP please contact the office at 815-599-3491.
Guest Commentary . . .
Balancing the State Budget Without A Tax Hike
By Kristina Rasmussen
April 15th has come and gone, but Illinoisans need to be perpetually vigilant about taxes-especially when our state leaders are constantly thinking up ways to increase them.
One year ago, Governor Pat Quinn was pushing a 50 percent income tax increase. The state hadn’t adjusted its spending to meet the revenue realities of a recession, and the governor’s solution was to demand that hardworking families and businesses send more to state coffers.
Quinn’s 2009 push ultimately failed. Every Republican legislator in the House and Senate said “no” higher taxes, and to their credit, many Democrats did as well. They picked up on the public’s growing frustration with government spending beyond its means.
Some commentators continue to insist we need a massive tax hike to balance our state budget. They’re wrong. You can balance the budget without revenue increases or new borrowing. To prove it, the Illinois Policy Institute put together Budget Solutions 2011, a line-by-line alternative budget, available at IllinoisPolicy.org.
By focusing on spending realignments, right-sizing government labor costs, and pension funding reform, we came up with a sustainable path to fixing our state’s mounting budget woes.
Cutting spending isn’t easy. It never is. That’s why our budget’s spending decisions were based on four principles: setting priorities, spending fairness, transparency and accountability, and last in/first out.
With this approach, we were able to fund core services and even increase funding for certain programs, like general state aid for K-12 education, MAP grants for college students, and the Statewide Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Program.
Struggling families and businesses tighten their belts during tough economic times. We should demand no less of the state government. Getting government spending under control is the right thing to do.
Yet Governor Quinn insists on doing the wrong thing. This year, he is pushing what he’s calling a “one percent income tax surcharge.” This is slick marketing. What he’s actually talking about a permanent, 33-percent tax rate increase.
How would this affect your family? If your household has taxable income of $50,000, Governor Quinn wants you to write out an additional $500 check-payable to the State of Illinois-on top of the $1,500 you’re already contributing in state income taxes.
We should not balance the state budget by unbalancing the “kitchen table” budget.
Plus, there’s no good reason to believe that spending reform would follow a tax hike. For years the taxpayers provided Illinois government with record revenues.State leaders spent every dime and borrowed billions more. Illinois’s debt per capita has risen from $676 in 2001 to $1,682 in 2010.
Illinoisans already spend on average 101 days-January 1 through April 11-working to pay our combined tax burden, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. Illinois ranks 14th highest in the number of days spent working each year to pay our federal, state, and local taxes.
The fundamental problem in Illinois state government is a lack of spending discipline. In 1998, state spending per resident was $3,500 (inflation adjusted), while ten years later state spending per resident was $4,600. State debt and tough economic conditions now make high levels of spending unsustainable.
Besides, if we could truly tax, spend, and borrow our way into prosperity, Illinois would already be a job creation powerhouse. Thousands of Americans would be pouring into our borders instead of heading to low-tax, high-growth states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida.
Distressingly, Illinois had a net out migration of 637,979 people from 1999-2008, putting us 48th in the nation for attracting newcomers to call Illinois home.
Hiking taxes will kill jobs-something that Illinois can ill afford to do right now with an unemployment rate above 11 percent. We already rank 48th for economic performance and 47th for economic outlook according to the ALEC/Laffer State Competitiveness Index. We can’t afford to go any lower.
We need new jobs, new ideas, and new people. Governor Quinn’s new taxes will chase away jobs, ideas, and people.
Illinoisans stopped Quinn’s tax hike last year. We must do so again this year.
Kristina Rasmussen is the executive vice president with the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization focused on advancing liberty-based public policy in Illinois.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative 89th District
Conspiracy theories, where do they come from? Now that we live in the era of the blog where people can expound their theories without identifying themselves they will become more prevalent.
With total immersion in Springfield since early January, I completely missed that Stephenson County Board Chairman John Blum and I had apparently conspired to create Mill Race Crossing and bankrupt the county. If the accusation wasn’t so laughable, it would be tragic. One legislator out of 177 and one county board chairman created some sinister conspiracy. If sensible people were to read some of the blogs (which I confess I usually don’t) they truly would laugh out loud.
Now let’s analyze some facts. House Bill 6583 in the 93rd General Assembly was legislation written by both Republican and Democrat staffs that, after careful consideration, I agreed to sponsor. It creates a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district in a rural area in an effort to encourage business development. The cooperative effort between then Freeport Mayor Gitz and Chairman Blum was enthusiastically endorsed by pro-business groups throughout the state. It became law about the same time the economic downturn began. Accordingly, Mill Race has not yet become the business center anticipated.
Are we on the rebound? Arguably, yes. Will Mill Race develop? Unquestionably, yes. Will it be good for Freeport and Stephenson County? Absolutely! Gee, sorry but no conspiracy.
If you wish to take a shot at John or me, have at it. But please, use facts, not insinuations and innuendos.
Last week I shared cost cutting ideas for the state. The response was overwhelming so I wanted to share some bills that have been introduced to create jobs in Illinois:
HB 5803 creates a new class of rural enterprise zones (no conspiracy).
HB 5811 provides incentives to Illinois businesses that locate in job renewal zones (high unemployment areas).
HB 4659 provides subsidies to help struggling employers keep employees working.
HB 4943 creates a grant fund to encourage small employers to locate in Illinois.
HB 5809 extends tax credits to keep and attract business to Illinois.
HB 5808 provides income tax credits for Illinois labor expenditures for manufacturing companies.
HB 5806 expands EDGE tax credits to cover creation of new jobs with benefits (the EDGE tax credit was instrumental in bringing Boeing to Illinois).
HB 5810 provides property tax incentives for new or expanded renewable energy businesses.
HB 5805 creates a jobs subsidy program to encourage companies to help unemployed workers to get on-the-job training.
The ideas are there, but does the will exist to pass them? We’ll see.
PS Yesterday, April 21, 2010, an estimated 15,000 people visited the capital demanding taxes be increased. No one mentioned cuts. Puzzling?
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.