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Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 1/2/14

Samuel Johnson of Springfield says he was pulled over by Springfield police because he is black, a practice known as racial profiling. Traffic stop data shows Springfield police pull minority drivers over proportionally more than white drivers.


I would like to make a comment about your article “Driving while black” (Patrick Yeagle, Dec. 19). I have never seen a city of Springfield police car parked at a U-turn on I-55 unless they have been on the lookout for a specific vehicle.

Also, at midnight I don’t know how one would know what color of skin a person would have at that time of night. I would find it hard to believe that with all the traffic violations around they would decide to pull someone over for using a turn signal, but not within 100 foot of changing lanes.

As a former police officer can tell you, you see a vehicle doing something wrong, you don’t know what color of skin the driver has at the time. When Johnson failed to obey an order (getting out of the car), that just compounded the problem for him.

It is up to a judge or jury to decide whether he is guilty or not guilty. If the officer said he had been arrested five times for drugs that would be a matter of record. Even if Mr. Johnson thought the order was unlawful he is still is required to obey that order.

It doesn’t matter to the police officer on the street what the color of a person’s skin is if there is a traffic violation. Enforcing traffic laws is a way of preventing more serious crimes from occurring in a community.

Jere Scott

We are very excited about the possibility of a dog park for Washington Park (“A poochy plan: A place for dogs in Washington Park,” Bruce Rushton, Dec. 12)! For more information, check out www.washingtondogpark.com.

Karen Hoelzer

In regard to Camille Moran’s article (“Minimum wage workers need a raise for Christmas,” Dec. 19), although I did enjoy the article about workers needing a decent living wage, it left me thinking about some anecdotes I have heard over the past 25 years.

According to a college graduate friend of mine, every extra nickel paid to minimum wage workers removes an extra one billion dollars from the economy.

Of course, when challenged on the economics of this, my friend can only repeat what he had been told during his college years. “If people want jobs, then they must first go out and spend money.” When asked how people are supposed to spend money they haven’t got, the college-degreed go silent.

What Camille Moran does not understand is that this economy is exactly the way business wants it to be. Profits are orbital, while wages are pre-World War I.

Norman Hinderliter


Two years ago, Jim Hightower wrote an article in Illinois Times, “Giving gifts that matter,” (Jan. 5) promoting buying locally. Buying from local businesses and purchasing gifts from local artisans truly keeps our money at home.

One good example of purchasing from local artisans is Memorial’s Festival of Trees. Not only does the festival raise funds to improve the health of people in our community, but it also provides local artisans and businesses exposure in the community.

Unfortunately, despite touting local artists for the creation of the beautiful trees, the gift shop has forgotten local artists and has been selling imported gifts for the last five or six years. This year the whole shop was devoid of local craft work.

I would hope that the Festival of Trees gift shop committee will reconnect with local artists to stock next year’s gift store.

Paul L. Carlson

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