Landmark status for hotel would be burden, not benefit

Plans to declare a downtown Urbana hotel a local landmark have become a headache for its new owners.

It's tough enough to build a successful business in a competitive marketplace even without government officials gratuitously imposing an additional layer of regulation.

Targeting township government

Township government in Illinois is a needless waste, argues a Roosevelt University professor. We couldn't agree more.

A professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago has renewed a welcome debate on the value of township government in Illinois. David K. Hamilton's verdict? "The township, particularly in urban areas, has outlived its usefulness and should be relegated to the dustbin of history."

Fakery under guise of fairness

Flim-flam on the topic of reapportionment from our elected representatives in Springfield.

There is very little in Illinois government that is on the up and up.

Alliance hoping to fix a mental health system in disarray

CHAMPAIGN – Fannie Griffin grew up under the guidance of a schizophrenic mother.

Her mother lived through World War II and reared seven children. Griffin also has a relative with mental illness, and in order to better understand him, she looked to the Champaign County chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Indiana proves critics are wrong on voter ID

Indiana's recent election results should end the debate over requiring voters to show identification.

There was considerable unjustified hand-wringing a couple of weeks ago when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the validity of an Indiana election law that requires would-be voters to present valid identification before they are allowed to cast a ballot.

Playing politics with prisons

A Blagojevich administration flip-flop on which old maximum-security prison to close sure looks suspicious.

Even when it may be doing the right thing, the chronically clumsy Blagojevich administration can't help but trip over its feet. Take its brainstorm – plan is too strong a word – to close the Pontiac State Prison which, having opened in June 1871, actually predates the Great Chicago Fire.

Pressure's on nursing home – and the county board

The money-losing Champaign County Nursing Home is going to have to improve its bottom line quickly, or voters won't support a probable property tax increase vote this fall. Soon the nursing home is going to be nearly $3 million in arrears to the county general fund.

Any impartial observer who had sat through last week's Champaign County Board Finance Committee meeting would have left wondering why the county, given its miserable record, still thinks it can run a nursing home without losing money.

He stoops to conquer

When it comes to advancing a plan for addressing a lethal issue in Chicago, where does Gov. Rod Blagojevich go? Not to the political leaders who will have to provide the funding, but to the television studios and an orchestrated street rally.

Presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton have been accused of pandering to voters with their plans to save motorists some money this summer by suspending the federal gasoline tax.

Federal gas tax 'holiday' is empty populist rhetoric

There's no good reason to suspend the federal gasoline tax this summer. But Illinois' sales tax on gasoline? That's a different story.

One of the worst public policy ideas being discussed these days, although one not likely to be approved by Congress, is to take a "holiday" from the 18.4-cent per gallon federal gasoline tax.

Vote on pay raise for state officials now up to Senate

Illinois House Democrats did Wednesday what they should have done Tuesday – voted to reject an ill-advised pay raise for various state officials, including themselves. Proving that nothing is immune from politics, the Democrats rallied behind a pay raise-rejection bill sponsored by a Democrat after voting down an identical motion advanced the day before by a Republican.

Voters may be wondering why the Illinois House rejected a pay raise recommendation Wednesday – a day after they declined to take a vote on the same motion.