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Keep ambulances, get rid of administrator

When will we wake up to what the Mattoon City Council is playing roulette with the lives of the citizens.

First of all, the council stopped the Mattoon Fire Department’s ambulance service. They got some crony to come up with some figures saying that the ambulance service was losing money. The Mattoon Fire Department is supported by us, the taxpayers of Mattoon. The ambulances were bringing in $760,000 a year into the city treasury. Since when is the fire and police departments required to bring in money? This is supposed to be a service to the citizens.

Next we lost Dunn’s Ambulance Service. Only Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance is left. The city council just passed a six month moratorium on not allowing any other ambulance service to apply. There were times when all three ambulance services were functional, additional outside ambulances were needed to help with calls. With the elimination, you may or may not receive ambulance in time for a critical circumstance. With only one ambulance service now; have we reached the pay to play to get a license?

When will the mayor and council members start doing the job that they were elected to do? They hired a “city administrator” to do their job and are paying $118,000 plus 33 percent in benefits. If they are looking for cost cutting the annual budget, this position could and should be eliminated entirely. The city councils, prior, functioned very well because each council member did the job they were elected to.

The city council appears to have a vendetta for the fire department. First eliminating the cities best ambulance service. Then they demoted the assistant fire chief to a shift captain. When the fire chief retired, the city council hired an already retired person as the new fire chief. That person is already receiving retirement pay from his previous employer. Why do we not promote from within when we already have a well-qualified person on the payroll.

I don’t know about your thoughts regarding all of the above, but my thoughts — Mattoon needs to eliminate the city administrator position and the entire city council at the next election.

Linda Dare, Mattoon

City ambulances make financial sense

Let us go back in time ... the 1980s Mattoon, Illinois.

Garbage was picked up for free, and sidewalks were plowed in the residential parts of town.There were 41 police officers, and I believe there were about 40 firemen in three stations. Back then we had the street, sewer and water departments. The downtown was alive with two theaters, several restaurants (some were even open 24 hours-a-day).

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Then the city of Mattoon started to change from what was the norm to what we have today. The street, sewer and water departments were combined. (I get that, but at what real cost to the citizens). Now we come to the police department with 39 sworn officers. The fire department with 32 personnel in two stations. Twenty-one are EMTs and 10 are state of Illinois licensed paramedics. There were two ALS ambulances (now in storage).

So here we are today with the city fathers complaining about the costs, and again services are taken away from the citizens. Now there is a six month moratorium so that the city can figure out what to do.

How about this? Bring back the two ambulances as a back-up to Mitchell-Jerdan and a call service for the citizens of Mattoon. The city will try to tell you that the cost was too high. How much money or equipment has the city subsidized the private companies for ambulance services over the years. The only cost to the city for the ambulances are the cost of the units and maintenance, which are not replaced every year, and the wages, insurance, and retirement of the personnel. The latter three would be there with our without the ambulances. With all the talent on the fire department, what a waste of money and resources.

Robert Zschau, Mattoon

Socialism has never been the answer

As I review the assemblage of Democrats at this time, I am reminded of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow entitled, “The Children’s Hour.”

The adolescent railings of A.O.C. and O’Rourk being the most prominent. And then, there is old Bernie Sanders on the other end of the socialist horn. A system of government that has been tried and failed from its inception to its demise over hundreds of years. Even among our own original colonies, it failed miserably.

Still, socialism is consistently resurrected and fed to our children and presented as some panacea that will make us all equal...with the notable exception of those who are singing it’s praises, of course. Certainly, they will fare well, while the vast majority of us will lose our freedoms and be consigned to a dismal life of poverty, which goes hand in hand with those living under any dictatorship. I cite Russia, Cuba, China and Venezuela as examples.

What is being taught in our schools is a mish-mash of Marxism and a profound hatred for our way of life, including our religion, our patriotism, and our racism, while excluding our more glorious history. What is not being taught, is the price we pay as a civilization when we evolve from Socialism in to Communism, when millions of our people will be slaughtered on the altar of Communist dictators, as has happened in Russia, China, etc.

The 2020 election will determine who we actually are. Stupid atheistic fools or competent individuals who highly value their freedom and their God.

Jack Pierce, Mattoon

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