KADNER: Don’t just close veterans home — close the whole state of Illinois

SHARE KADNER: Don’t just close veterans home — close the whole state of Illinois

The Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy has had outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease three consecutive years. Thirteen people have died. | Michael Kipley/Quincy Herald-Whig via AP

Let’s close the state for the good of the people

Close the state of Illinois. Children and old people are dying due to abuse and neglect. People of all ages are being shot dead on the streets. It costs too much to make anything work. Close it up.


That’s what some people are saying about the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. Legionnaires’ disease has been killing residents there for years, it might cost as much as $500 million to replace the water system, so it ought to be closed. The state can’t solve the problem.

That’s what people said about institutions for mental illness and the severely developmentally disabled. The state couldn’t make them work. They cost a lot of money. Close them up. And we did.

Same with many public schools. They don’t work, they’re too expansive to fix, so we close them, or replace them with charter schools.

Cook County closed Oak Forest Hospital several years ago because it was a Democratic Party patronage haven and many people didn’t use it. People didn’t use it because the county didn’t adequately fund the place or run it properly. To save money, Cook County closed the hospital. Liberals cheered.

The odd thing is that despite the fact that stuff doesn’t work, that institutions designed to serve the public are closed, taxes and spending keep going up.

If Illinois were a football team, it would be the Cleveland Browns, a franchise that is the laughingstock of the NFL. Cleveland fans recently held a parade to mock their team, which did not win a game.

Maybe we should have a parade to celebrate the failure of government in Illinois.

We may have the only governor in history who publicly whines that he can’t get anything done because other politicians refuse to listen to him and uses that as his re-election theme. Well, at least he hasn’t been convicted of a crime and sent to prison.

Close the place up. It doesn’t work.

We can’t afford to pay our pension debt because the state failed to make its pension payments.

The state has failed to adequately fund the schools for decades, so the Legislature changes the funding formula because, well, it doesn’t have the money to adequately fund the schools because it owes billions of dollars in unpaid bills. Changing the formula makes people think something has been done.

The solution embraced by more and more people: Close the public schools and give parents a voucher to send their children somewhere else for an education. Hey, why don’t we give Illinois residents a check and let them go somewhere else?

I happen to believe that the state’s veterans homes are one of the best things Illinois has ever done. Ask the veterans what they think. Ask their families.

Several years ago, the waiting list to get into those homes was so long veterans were literally dying to get into them. The state had empty rooms, beds, but simply failed to fund the facilities to staff the homes to full capacity. I call that neglect.

Now instead of making sure the water system is free of disease, instead of accepting our responsibility at Quincy, there are many who want to close the place up. It’s too costly. Yet, we pay far more each year just on the interest on the state’s pension debt.

We don’t even want to pay adequate compensation to the families of the veterans who have died from Legionnaires in the homes. How about we close the Legislature, eliminate the office of governor and give all that money to the families of the victims.

DCFS ought to protect children.

Police departments ought to prevent people from being murdered in parks, on their porches and walking neighborhood streets.

Veterans homes should not infect the men and women who fought for this nation with a preventable disease.

I realize demanding government competence sounds insane. Isn’t that crazy?

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com.

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