Whose Peoria?

Re: “The Best New Restaurant in the Midwest? Drawing on the same farms that supply Chicago’s best, a homegrown chef has the culiscenti parachuting into Peoria,” by Mike Sula, May 13

Nice, but I have one quibble. Having grown up in Peoria Heights I can tell you that no one in the area thinks of it as an “old money suburb.” First, the Heights is surrounded on all sides by Peoria, except for a small stretch of the Illinois River. Only a Chicagoan would ever think to call it a “suburb.” Second, the only “old money” in the Heights rests upon Grand View Drive, a stretch of road on a river bluff with an amazing view of the river below. Of the roughly ten thousand people who live in the Heights I doubt more than a couple hundred (at most!) live on Grand View Drive and they would probably say they live in Peoria. The rest of the Heights is middle to lower middle class and in a slow, steady decline ever since the one industry in town, Pabst Blue Ribbon, closed its doors long ago. These facts are so hard and fast that I suspect the words “old money suburb” are the writer’s and not the chef’s.


Mike Sula replies:

Surrounded or not by Peoria, Peoria Heights is an autonomous suburb of the city.

The words “old-money” are Adams’s, not mine—that’s why they’re in quotes. So is the characterization of economic stratification in Peoria Heights that follows them.

Turbine Trouble

Re: “Wind Power in the Water? A dark-side wind-power doc hits Evanston just as the town explores offshore turbines,” by Deanna Isaacs, May 6

As the Gulf Oil Tragedy worsens, two things occur to me. First is the ineptitude of humans to control outcomes of their mechanical invasions upon Mother Earth. Second is the vulnerability of waters to this destructive folly. In a genuine lack of wisdom, the U.S. has once again decided to go beyond where it should go—this time by Salazar approving Cape Wind. He just slated Nantucket Sound’s fragile ecosystem for an electrical service platform with a helicopter pad, fuel, transformer oil, greases, and industrial lubricants—tens of thousands of gallons of them about four miles offshore in those waters. With an increase in predicted severe weather events already taking place, prospects of nor’easters on steroids just doesn’t bode well for offshore wind farms in their path.

Has Mr. Salazar and Minerals Management just made a budgetary decision on how to kill the waters? Why use premium crude oil when tens of thousands of gallons of alternative industrial fluids will work just as well? People, offshore wind farms are not benign pinwheels. They are industrial power plants that can pollute just as much as any man-made beast. Our life-giving waters should not be squandered like this. The Great Lakes are just too valuable to risk.

Jonathan Foxrun

Jonathan Foxrun is absolutely correct—wind turbines out at sea or on lakes are an accident waiting to happen.


Satanic Music, Pacifism, and Murder

Re: “Medical Marijuana Is Already Legal in Illinois: And it has been for three decades. But it’ll take the passage of another law to make it available to patients,” by Claire Thompson, April 8

The decision by the people of this country concerning legalization of the marijuana medicinal plant that has been used by humans for thousands of years is based in choosing between two opinions. The first one was articulated by the “father” of marijuana prohibition in the 1930s and the second one by Dr. Grinspoon, one of the leading contemporary experts in this country.

These are the the direct quotes from the prohibitionist Harry Anslinger pushing the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that led to the subsequent demonizing of this quintessential medicinal plant:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

“The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

“Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing.”

“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

And this is what Dr. Grinspoon said in 2006 about the cannabis sativa medicinal plant:

“Cannabis will one day be seen as a wonder drug, as was penicillin in the 1940s. Like penicillin, herbal marijuana is remarkably nontoxic, has a wide range of therapeutic applications and would be quite inexpensive if it were legal” —Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2006

These are two opinions the citizens around the country will be asked to compare and to choose from. I do not believe that the choice is an exceedingly difficult one. What I believe is that the fear tactics must be rejected once and for all, and at least medical marijuana should be legalized in all 50 States ASAP.


The Carp It Rode in On

Re: “What the Cells Tell: The scientist who developed the new eDNA test says there are already Asian carp in Lake Michigan,” by Kari Lydersen, March 25

They are conveniently forgetting the one way the carp DNA can also arrive: DEAD CARP. I have personally seen DEAD silver carp on the sides of barges and DEAD bighead stuck in the couplings of tows AS LATE AS LAST SEPTEMBER!

They are getting ready to poison the whole river below O’Brien lock. I hope they find an ASIAN carp. Becuase these scientists will look really dumb if they kill the whole river and find none!