Letters: Cure is worse than the ill
October 18, 2012 8:48PM
Updated: November 20, 2012 6:21AM
Mike Bryson’s Common Sense column of Sept. 23 (“Equitable education equals a strong economy”) missed the mark. He argues that a wide gap exists between rich and poor school districts, and the source of that inequality arises from school funding through local property taxes. Districts with a wealthy tax base are at a greater advantage than those without. However, he fails to say how this condition can be remedied.
Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried.”
The same can be said here: Local property tax funding is the worst form of school funding — except all those other forms that have been tried. There may be inequities as a result of current school funding, but the alternative is far worse.
What is that alternative? Statewide funding replacing local funding. Look at your property tax bill, and you’ll see that a majority of property taxes go to local schools. Under the alternative, instead of sending your money to your local school, to be managed by your school board, you would send it to Springfield to be managed by our state legislators.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, would be more devastating to every family and every student in this state than to lose local control of schools. Rich or poor performing or non-performing, nothing would gut schools of their ability to educate students more than allowing Springfield to manage your children’s education.
Our state legislators have a unique ability to mismanage everything they touch — let’s keep our children’s education as far from them as possible.
I am an attorney and president of the Troy Consolidated School Board, but I am writing here as an individual and not on behalf of the school board.
Too many swings, misses
In reviewing your Oct. 5 editorial, “Improve or close Joliet Power Plant,” we believe there was one hit and too many swings and misses.
Your premise that the health of the community matters more than specific jobs or the financial needs of a company is absolutely true. However, your conclusion that the plants need to clean up or close down ignores history, basic facts and is devoid of perspective.
You briefly mentioned the improvements of the plants. What you didn’t mention is the depth and breadth of those improvements. The fact is that Midwest Generation complies with all current emission limits set forth by state and federal regulators. They made additional pollution control investments in their local plants as recently as last year, and will be achieving significant additional emission reductions in the years ahead under regulations that are already on the books.
The perspective you chose to ignore is that these and other coal plants in the state are an important part of our energy portfolio. They combine with nuclear, wind and natural gas facilities to bring us a reliable, cost-competitive supply of electricity and a boost in economic development. None of these sources are perfect. We want improvements from all of them in terms of economics, reliability and environmental impact.
However, singling out one segment of that portfolio with half-truths and distortions doesn’t help and does disservice to the men and women who have worked hard to decrease the environmental footprint of the plants and hope for the chance to continue to do more.
This is not some distant issue for me. I’ve been married for nearly 20 years and my in-laws live within a mile of the Romeoville plant and have since the late 1950s. They’ve raised four girls and love the neighborhood. I’ve driven by the plant many, many times as it’s near the Citgo refinery and other industrial facilities that provide us with products that make our economy go.
I hope the editors at the Herald-News would focus on making sure we look at all ways to make energy generation better and recognize the progress that has been made and will continue to make instead of taking positions that could have severe consequences for the local economy, jobs and a reliable and affordable supply of electricity. Certainly, your readers deserve that.
Illinois Chamber of Commerce