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Recognize impact of Civil Rights Act

As we prepare to gather with friends and family to celebrate the 4th of July, I want to encourage everyone to take a moment to commemorate another important event in our nation's history. Fifty years ago on July 2, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law, which outlawed discrimination based on race, creed, gender or national origin. The landmark civil rights law prohibited racial segregation in schools, at work and at public facilities, and ended unfair voting registration practices.

Having been a student at Alabama State College -- now Alabama State University -- in Montgomery in the early 1950s, I experienced some of the inequalities that prompted the civil rights movement. Coming from Chicago to Montgomery brought challenges and frustrations due to the racial climate in the south. African-American students faced the inequality of a segregated school system.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ushered in widespread legal changes for which activists had fought for years. It was a monumental step in the direction of racial equality and fairness. I encourage those who would like to learn more about this important milestone in our nation's history to read the feature article on the Civil Rights Movement in the 2013-14 Illinois Blue Book, published by my office. The Illinois Blue Book is available online at or can be found at your local library.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our great nation 238 years ago, let us also remember those heroes who organized, protested and marched so we could live in a society where people, as my former minister, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., famously said, "will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Jesse White

Illinois Secretary of State

Some questions to ask about area's traffic

The idea for this letter started when I heard the morning traffic reporter state that it was a 62-minute ride from Thorndale on in at 6:22 a.m. and remain at 62 minutes for over two hours.

I contend that vehicular travel in Chicagoland does not work, and these are my observations.

1. Suburban motorists cannot plan any normal commuting times. One spends more time on the road from Wheaton to Wrigley Field than actual attending a night game.

2. Rush hour can actually last most of the day -- not just the traditional morning and afternoon hassles.

3. Inaccurate radio traffic reports and unannounced lane closures add to the frustration. ("Unusually heavy" and "normal situation" mean what?)

4. I am suggesting that construction tie up no more than three miles of roadway and not be allowed on parallel roadways during the same season. (I am aware of economies of scale!)

5. Truckers, once the best drivers, add driving stress by going too fast or slow, tailgating, making unnecessary lane changes and clogging up the left and middle lanes.

6. There is a glaring lack of law enforcement against speedy and road rage-prone drivers who do not follow the rules of the road and who put others at risk daily.

7. Why aren't there dedicated toll lanes on all major expressways -- it is working in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas.

8. Why haven't poorly designed interchanges been updated? Why haven't inadequate suburban roads been widened? Why hasn't public transportation helped?

One of the major functions of the media, including this newspaper, is to hold traffic leaders accountable. It is not being done.

This problem will not be solved until the need for traffic reports is no longer needed.

Jim Lentz


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