Riverside pedestrian tunnel should be saved
I did not see the petition circulated by Ms. Ingrid Lulich (“Over 200 sign petition to keep underpass open,” News, Dec. 28, 2005), but I am grateful to her for taking that initiative. My husband and I would gladly add our names to her list. The petition requests the Riverside trustees to reconsider their decision to fill in the railroad underpass at the village station. I strongly believe that the underpass should be restored and maintained. There are two main reasons for this:

1. The underpass is a historical part of the Village of Riverside and, like most rights-of-way of this type, once it is abandoned, it will be lost forever.

2. More importantly, the underpass is important for the safety of children who cross the railroad tracks daily.

Nearly 20 years ago, when my children were small, the underpass was closed and there were no crossing guards at the station. At that time, freight trains often stalled in Riverside for 15 or more minutes. It seemed to happen often around 3 p.m. when children were let out of school.

One day, a group of mothers and I saw two small children starting to crawl under a stalled freight train. We stopped them and immediately reported the incident. As a result of this and other similar occurrences, the underpass was reopened.

Today, guards are posted at the station during the busiest times of the day, when children enter or leave their school buildings. This is a good security measure. However, the incident I witnessed many years ago could occur again when guards are not present.

Over the years, we, the village, have allowed the underpass to deteriorate. It would have been cheaper to maintain it regularly rather than having to rebuild it now. Still, $550,000 more over the $50,000 minimum we are already committed to spend is a small insurance to pay to make sure no child ever crawls under a stalled freight train. Besides, if deteriorating grouting and concrete wall coating are the problem, can’t we have a good tuckpointing job done for the same $50,000?

It seems to me that Riverside is stepping backward by eliminating its tunnel when new Metra stations are moving forward with tunnels (at Route 59, for instance) and old stations are having them added (as in Aurora). I urge [Village Manager Kathleen Rush] and the Riverside Board of Trustees to find the funds necessary to restore the underpass.

Martine Gary

Library doling out ALA propaganda
Regarding “Brookfield Library Computers to Get Privacy Screens,” (News, Jan. 4): This is a fantastic article perfectly illustrating how the American Library Association (ALA) endangers American communities in a way that makes it look like unsafe libraries is what the people really want for themselves. We see in this article:

1. Filtering on children’s computers does not protect children from adults using unfiltered computers, and the exposures occur over and over again. Which will be the one that results in a child being raped or molested?

2. The library is intentionally misleading the public that the only real solution available, filters, violates peoples rights.

3. The library is citing the ALA as the reason why it is recommending anything but filters, proving again ALA policy drives local policy resulting in the incident in this particular library and libraries nationwide.

4. The library is using an acceptable use policy to give the appearance that something is being done although such policies are a failure everywhere unless tied to the use of filtering software.

5. The librarians are talking the good talk but refusing to walk the walk, again fooling the public into thinking the librarians are concerned for the community’s children instead of the ALA’s policies.

6. The public is actually being misled to the point where the mother of the affected child is satisfied with useless solutions. The librarians here have successfully fooled the public into believing ALA propaganda and keeping their own children exposed to criminal activity while making it look like this is what the community wants instead of the ACLUified ALA.

Dan Kleinman
Chatham, N.J.

Landmark editorial proves paper’s bias
There is no doubt, when you read The Landmark, as to their reporting regarding the Village of Brookfield. Every article about Brookfield contains innuendo and subliminal inclusions meant to glorify the current administration or vilify the past administration.

This has never been more apparent than in “The Landmark View” editorial column published Dec. 14, 2005 (“Facing the music”). The writer of the article (unsigned) relates to the reader that the doubling of the commuter parking fees along the BNSF will allow the village to “not only maintain the rail station at Prairie Avenue but improve it.”

The author also states that the recent capital improvements at the station came from grants, but is quick to point out that “the village had a significant grant in hand for several years but couldn’t cobble together enough cash to do any work on the station until a second grant came through.”

I submit that it would have been fiscally irresponsible to use the village’s general funds to improve the train station and the then-village manager acted in a very responsible manner by obtaining an additional grant to accomplish the project. The improvements made were substantially cosmetic and not necessary for life safety. It should be the responsibility of the BNSF to fund improvements to the railway stations.

It is ironic that the editorial criticizes the past for not spending village funds by cobbling together enough cash, but now states that an increase in parking rates is prudent to avoid spending the village’s general funds.

There is no doubt that a slight increase in the parking rate could be justified; inflation takes its toll. However, since only a small portion of commuters park at the station, how are we going to extract a toll from the riders that walk or are dropped off at the station?

The village receives $12,000 a year from the coffee vendor in the Prairie Avenue train station. What next? Raise his rent and drive him out.

Leanne M. Digan

? Ed. note: “The Landmark View” published each week on the opinion page represents the newspaper’s editorial point of view. It is not a news article. It is specifically an opinion from the paper’s editorial board.

Rights of children need protection, too
As I was putting my last dish away, I couldn’t get rid of the thought that there was something awkwardly wrong with the article in the paper about the way that computers are being used at the Brookfield Library to view pornography (“Brookfield Library computers to get privacy screens,” News, Jan. 4). As most women, I do a lot of thinking while doing dishes during the holidays. I did quite a lot of thinking.

Computers are the best invention since the black-and-white TV, but there is always a dark side to what is the best information center we will ever have. I am all for the First Amendment rights.

That is certainly one of the strengths of our country, but it’s hard to believe that we must now provide privacy screens (six at $185 each), so that kooky people can sit back and relax in a nice environment adjacent to the children’s area and view pornography to their hearts’ content. Next thing we will be providing pop and pretzels. These computers and screens are all being used at our taxpayers’ expense.

As I understand, you cannot put protective filters on these computers because, if you restrict the word breast, for example, someone would not be able to look up breast cancer and read about their concerns. But what about looking up the words (breastcancer) combined or concerns of women. Maybe I am wrong or I just don’t get it.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a program on TV; I think that it was “Dateline” or something like that. It was about how pedophiles, sex offenders use the Internet to entice young children to meet with them, first in public places and then the worst, lewd and immoral acts that could happen to a child happens. Nineteen offenders were arrested in a few days.

I was sorry to read that the incident at the library did happen before. I wonder how many times some nut sat at the computer and never got noticed? Are the employees watching?

The State Police of Illinois reports 14 sex offenders registered in Brookfield. I understand people sign in to use the computer, but they are purged at the end of the day. Why? Can’t a list be kept in case there is a pattern? As I read, the outlets for the computers are in the floor, so the computers can’t be moved. I suggest that the children’s area be moved away from them?”far away!

Everyone has rights but we have the right to protect our children and provide a safe environment for them. Now until things are resolved, I will have to go into the library with my grandchildren. It just goes back to that uncomfortable feeling I had when I was doing the dishes.

Jane Harps

Ed. note: The adult services computers at the Brookfield Public Library are not located adjacent to children’s services. They are, however, located adjacent to the copy machine and near the DVD section used by families and children.