A white racist guns down a bunch of African-American people in a South Carolina church, and all everyone, including the media, can talk about are the Confederate flags that are so ubiquitous in southern states. The real issue is a nation awash in easily obtained guns and state and federal legislators too cowardly to do something meaningful about it.
Mary F. Warren,Wheaton
A compromise on the $10 bill
Why not finesse the tug-of-war overwhich woman’s portrait should replaceHamilton’s by printing and circulatingthree or four different women simultaneously? Nearlyeverybody would bepleased. Hamilton’s version couldeven be kept in circulation. No harm,no foul. Applause all around.
Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde ParkSEND LETTERS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include the name of your neighborhood or suburb, and a phone number for verification.)
Helping everyone feel pension pain
There is an obvious solution to the problem of paying teachers and pensioners. Pay them in Scrip. During the Great Depression, there was no money to pay teachers, so they were paid in a kind of IOU called Scrip. However, not all businesses were required to accept this funny-money, so there were a limited number of places teachers could spend it. The few that did (i.e., People’s Store in Roseland) retained their customer base for many decades after the Depression, out of loyalty and gratitude.
The difference under my plan would be — ALL businesses would berequired toaccept Scrip, on a one-to-one exchange, thereby spreading the pain around. A teacher could make his mortgage payment in Scrip, since banks would be required to accept it. Restaurants, clothing stores, department stores, doctors & hospitals, insurance companies, utilities — all would be required to accept Scrip. Even savings accounts would show, dollar for Scrip, what the teacher deposited into her account.Now let’s see how people outside of the teaching profession feel whentheirliving is threatened through no fault of their own.
Sharon Novickas, South LoopAmtrak vital to state universities
Pension and health care benefits are vitally important for the public university and college workers and retirees we represent in Springfield. But in this period of great uncertainty about our state budget picture, we are also concerned about how many students will get to and from the campuses.
Steep cuts to Amtrak passenger rail service are on the table. Gov. Rauner proposed cutting the Amtrak state subsidy by 40 percent in his budget address this spring. The budget lawmakers approved kept Amtrak funding steady, which is good news. But the governor has once again this month threatened the service’s funding.
Amtrak is a vital lifeline for many campuses. At a legislative hearing a few weeks ago, university leaders and mayors talked about how the rail to and from Chicago through communities such as Bloomington, Springfield, Charleston, Macomb and Carbondale keeps them competitive in the ever-intense race for students.
Illinois State University President Larry Dietz pointed to the more than $165 million in private investment made around the Amtrak station that serves Bloomington-Normal, rightly noting that eliminating routes and times would not be simple to undo but would have longer-term consequences. Students facing higher costs or less convenient options to get to and from home from campus may very well choose to go elsewhere or to transfer.
SUAA and its members understand that our public campuses are better places to work at when programs and services are protected and students have more reasons to attend. Cutting Amtrak will take us in the wrong direction, and we strongly urge legislators and the governor to avoid that as they work on a budget solution this summer.
Linda Brookhart, executive director, State Universities Annuitants Association