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Saturday Soapbox
Daily Herald Editorial Board
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Published: 7/26/2008 12:06 AM

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Campaign financing questioned:

Democratic candidates for the DuPage County Board this week took their Republican counterparts to task for accepting campaign contributions from companies that do business with the county. The Democrats' main target was board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, whose healthy campaign coffers show donations from companies that have received multimillion-dollar county contracts over several years. It's true everybody from municipal to county to state officials take these kind of contributions. And it's perfectly legal if done within certain guidelines. Still, we agree with the Democrats that it sure does raise questions about impartiality and fairness in contract awarding. In response, some board members, such as District 4 board member J.R. McBride of Glen Ellyn, said they would support limiting the amount county vendors can contribute to their campaigns. That's a good start.

Keep your shirt on:

Girls Gone Wild, the soft-porn video group, arrives today at Blarney's Island on the Chain O' Lakes as part of its "Hottest Bars in America" search. If you've seen the late-night TV ads for GGW, you know their schtick is urging young women and coeds to take off their shirts. Blarney's officials say there will be none of that tonight, but stuff happens. It may sound like a wild and crazy thing to do, even liberating, in an impetuous celebration of youth. But keep in mind there may be some permanency to those fleeting moments. The Internet, My Space, Facebook and others provide a lasting, and sometimes, unwanted record of the things you do. Once posted, the entry is there for the world to see. Perspective employers often run a search of job candidates to see what they might find. And, what would your relatives think if they come across such an entry? In other words, a starring role in a Girls Gone Wild video might not be the kind of lasting impression you want to make.

Live kids and dead animals:

An interesting pair of expenditures book ended one another at Tuesday's DuPage County Board meeting. The board first approved spending $22,608 on the juvenile detention center's annual medical care contract. That was followed by a vote to spend $18,000 on a 14-month contract for the pickup and disposal of dead animals. Talk about a wide range of services.

Cuts to addiction treatment hurt:

Recent cuts to substance abuse treatment providers such as the Serenity House in Wheaton are having a devastating effect. Those in need of help are forced to wait weeks or months for entry into programs. The consequences may be deadly. Reach out to your state lawmakers and let them know more addiction treatment dollars are needed.

Hope for treatment for gamblers

It is encouraging that a number of suburban state lawmakers say they hope to expand treatment options for those addicted to gambling. A Daily Herald analysis revealed that Illinois is far behind other states in providing treatment for gambling addicts. For example, Minnesota spends $2.5 million a year helping problem gamblers and offers a 90-day treatment program for free. In Illinois, $1.5 million set aside in 2001 for a public awareness campaign aimed at getting help to gambling addicts was cut to $960,000 in 2002. It has stayed at that level ever since. This, even as the state takes in $700 million a year from its nine casinos and another $600 million a year from the lottery. Hopefully these lawmakers who want more treatment options for gambling addicts can persuade their peers in the legislature - and the governor - to support them in this cause.