Dear Bob: Not without a lot of changes. We have too many people who have been in too many key positions for too many years. They collect their salaries and hope nothing controversial happens. They are not change agents, but masters of the status quo. They need to go.
Dear Mr. Peever: Do you think being on the Reagan Trail will help tourism in Galesburg? Nancy
Dear Nancy: Being on the Reagan Trail would probably draw about one or two additional people per year. Beyond that, it would just be an embarrassment.
Dear Peever: I get the impression you don't think much of the prison system. What would you do with all of the people who don't want to obey the law? Harry
Dear Harry: I would first of all have you answer these questions: Why are most of the people in prison minorities? Why are most of the prison staff white? Why are most prisons in rural areas and most prisoners from urban areas? Why don't we try to rehabilitate prisoners? And finally, if no one from here-on-out needed to go to prison, what would happen to the Illinois economy?
Dear Mr.Weik: What do you have against Christians? Louie
Dear Louie: Nothing. Over the years I have known various people who take Christ's life very seriously, and have tried to live accordingly. Most, however, just seem to make things up to please themselves and their political ideology. I obviously don't have much use for that.
Dear Mr. Peever: You preach non-violence. How would you stop people like Hitler, bin Laden, or Saddam Hussein without killing them? George
Dear George: Not easily. It is much easier to meet violence with violence. It is much harder to discipline yourself to respond non-violently to a violent act. When violence takes you to its side, it has defeated you. You become the terrorist. The enemy becomes you.
Dear Mr. Bruce: Do you think Galesburg is a diverse, tolerant city? Eric
Dear Eric: No. Diversity and tolerance are two of Galesburg's weakest attributes. An underlying fear prevails in Galesburg that minorities, gays, anyone ''different'' than the status quo cannot be trusted. This attitude squelches our best marketing efforts and leaves us in the Dark Age.
Dear Peever: What do you think about the state of the Union? John
Dear John: Terminally ill.
Dear Bruce: What do you think about the state of Illinois? Carl
Dear Carl: Died yesterday.
Dear Mr.Weik: Exactly how long are you going to cry about the 2000 election? Barbara
Dear Barbara: Forever. Al Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 votes. He lost the electoral vote in a state where the other candidate's brother was governor. Bush would have lost the recounted vote, which a right-winged Supreme Court refused to allow. I think we were had, plain and simple. Chalk one up for the right-winged Christian soldiers.
Dear Peever: Who are you going to vote for in the next election for governor? Rod
Dear Rod: No one. I'm boycotting the next election. I can't stand the incompetence. My theme is, ''Don't vote for better government.'' I have received a lot of e-mail concerning this idea, none of it critical. Well, maybe one, from my campaign manager.
Dear Mr. Peever: Do you think government should rely on sin taxes and gambling as a major revenue source? Jim
Dear Jim: No. The more we do this, the further down a dreadful road we travel. Government should be operated on a foundation that features our strengths rather than our weaknesses.
Dear Mr.Weik: Do you believe a lot of politicians have serious conflicts of interest while in office? Dick
Dear Dick: Yes. The aim of many politicians is to better their own financial positions or that of their families and friends. I believe this happens from the township level to the federal level. It needs to be eliminated. Obviously, politicians are not interested. There seems to be an overwhelming desire to use our tax dollars for their own gain. It seems to me that public service demands that this not happen. At the very least, the taxpayers should.
Dear Peever: What do you think about the 9/11 scandal? Sandy
Dear Sandy: I believe the 9/11 tragedy is confusing and frustrating. It is shrouded in the Bush administration's ''Cloak of Secrecy.'' It is becoming apparent that they knew more than they ever would want to admit. It is hard to leap to a conclusion that they would have kept the information secret on purpose. I can hardly contend with that, but have seen the depths to which the right wing ideologies can descend. I am beginning to think the truth will end the Bush administration. If it doesn't end them, it will end the freedom we have come to enjoy over the years. Their aim is clearly to scare us into accepting their way of life. And it's working. Sort of.