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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 10:01 pm

Letters to the Editor

Untitled Document We welcome letters. Please include your full name, address, and telephone number. We edit all letters. Send them to Letters, Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705; fax 217-753-3958; e-mail editor@illinoistimes.com.

IRV INVENTED THE INTERNET?!! I just finished reading the article on Irv Smith [“Party animal,” April 19], and I have but one question of Dusty Rhodes: Was his ring the only thing she kissed? If I had never lived in the Springfield area and was never exposed to the cutthroat politics that permeates every aspect of life there, I would be blissfully ignorant of the truth (which apparently escaped Rhodes) and see Smith as a real hero.
But I did, and I don’t. One has to read no further than partially down the first column of the story to grasp the true persona of Irv Smith: “I wanted to be a Democrat. I preferred it,” he says, “but Sangamon County was Republican. I didn’t want to be in the minority. I thought: If I want to have something to say, I’ve got to be with the party that’s leading.” As early as 1956, Smith had decided to sacrifice his “values” for the sole purpose of “being heard.”
And equally clear is his lack of dignity, ethics and compassion when he — proudly — boasts of using negative campaigning to win an election: “I went after him because he had left his wife. . . . I used that against him and just killed him.”
The rest of the story is nothing but typical “Irvism”; to hear his side of the story, he virtually stood at the gates of hell to fend off the evildoers of American society. In reality, Smith is the evil one. How many families of Democrats lost their incomes and homes just because of the way he manipulated the system to move “his” people into their jobs? Smith suggests that he was a champion of civil rights. Hmm, when was the last time the NAACP or Urban League recognized him for being such a stellar public servant?
After reading his version of his accomplishments, I wonder if there is anything Smith didn’t do; perhaps it was really he who invented the Internet, or maybe he just perfected it while he was correcting the inaccurate translations of the Bible. The only cover story you should be doing on Smith is an honest, thoroughly investigated [examination] of the government he has corrupted and lives he has destroyed. Aside from that, any story about Irv Smith should be relegated to the fiction or cartoon pages. R. M. Martin Decatur
IRVINVENTEDDIRTYPOLITICS?!! I have always suspected it, but now it’s out in the open for all to read. Irv Smith is and always has been two things:A Democrat and, more importantly, the originator of dirty politics. Edie Miller Virden

IRV WAS ON THE GRASSY KNOLL?!! It was refreshing to see Dusty Rhodes and Illinois Times offer an evenhanded, warts-and-all, portrait of Irv Smith. I cringed when I saw the cover story, fearing the piece would trash him. I was dead wrong. Sadly, not everyone in our fair city has displayed the journalistic integrity of Illinois Times. As your readers must know, many of our less-than-informed local bloggers traffic in tired, old, unsubstantiated Republican stereotypes, name-calling and sophomorically absurd conspiracy theories. In their smear-based, fact-free world, Republicans are evil, racist, homophobic, gun-toting, money-grubbing, election-stealin’, über-Christian environmental Godzillas, bent on destroying all things good and right. Thankfully, these blogging ideological lemmings aren’t professional journalists (a quick couple clicks of your mouse and you will see why!). Not surprisingly, Smith was a frequent target of their obvious partisan hit jobs. These bloggers (you know who you are) use lies and distortion the way a carpenter uses a hammer and nails. Your piece on Smith talked about his courageous and tireless work as an advocate for African-Americans (at a time when that wasn’t well-accepted), that he’s a member of the Sierra Club, his progressive acceptance of gender issues, his blue collar upbringing and how that formed his world view, and much more. Irv Smith and other Republicans are your friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow parishioners, not clichéd boogiemen to be feared and loathed. The bad news for you, Illinois Times: By offering an honest, well-rounded portrait, you’ve risked your lefty street cred with the underground blog apparatchik who are sure that Irv Smith was on the Grassy Knoll that day in Dallas. Dave Randall West Frankfort
CAHNMAN DOESN’T NEED A PARTY The election of Sam Cahnman to the City Council should send a message that you don’t need the Democratic or Republican parties to get elected. Also, people don’t like negative campaigning. All the times Mr. Cahnman has run for any office, I have never heard him say anything wrong about his opponents; he has always stuck to the issues. Cahnman runs a very good campaign and could seek higher office in the future. Danny Faulkner Springfield
NO KING TIM FOR SPRINGFIELD Well, it seems to me that the political experts do not really understand what happened in Tuesday’s election. Tim Timoney, the chairman of the Democratic Party, thought that they would win at least eight seats on the City Council. Later he modified this to six, then finally projected five. Timoney says that Mayor Tim Davlin’s reelection shows the voters were satisfied with Davlin’s first four years and the direction he was taking the city.
I think Timoney is wrong. First, 10 to 15 percent of the voters voted for Davlin because they were voting against Ald. Bruce Strom. Remember the smoking ban and all the small businesses that were harmed? Remember the Wal-Mart stores that Strom stopped? I don’t think any of the Democratic aldermen elected are blind followers of Davlin. I think the voters have decided to put a hold on Davlin, get rid of his overpaid relatives and appointed political hacks, take control of CWLP and the new power plant, and stop the annual rape of CWLP to the tune of $8 million dollars a year. I look at this election as a complete rejection of Davlin’s policies and his attempt to be king.
Marshall Selkirk

STEP BACK FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS As a mother and grandmother, I am both saddened and alarmed by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban against partial-birth abortion. Abortion is never a black-and-white choice. For many women the choice is one made only when they really feel they have no other alternatives, made after much thought and soul-searching. Abortion is not an easy choice, but sometimes it is a necessary choice, made in the privacy of one’s family, which is where such a choice belongs. To completely ban partial-birth abortions does two things. First, from a medical aspect, it can put the mother’s life in danger and perhaps make her susceptible to medical problems that may be problematic for the rest of her life. It also limits doctors from providing what they feel is the best medical choice given a certain set of circumstances. Second, from an emotional point of view it can be devastating for not only the mother but also the family. If the family has decided to terminate the pregnancy because the baby has no chance at life, this type of birth would at least give the mother and other family members the solace of holding the baby before saying goodbye. It is a matter of importance to everyone in our society that we do not take a step back in women’s rights. Among those rights comes the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and reproductive rights. Younger women do not remember the time when they did not have this choice, but I do. I remember girls going to backstreet doctors to have abortions and many times putting their lives in danger or suffering consequences long after the surgery. This also became a class issue, where people with money could afford to find someone willing to do the abortion but girls without money had little or no choice other than the backstreet establishments. We too often attempt to make abortion a moral issue when in reality it is a private issue. This is where it should remain, and as a society we need to remain vigilant that women are not again relegated to being second-class citizens with decisions about their health and welfare being made by people other than them.
Suzanne B. Woods Chesterfield
CORRECTION Farries “Mickey” Morrison was the first male African-American teacher in the Springfield school district. Because of an editing error, he was described as the first African-American teacher in last week’s cover story [Dusty Rhodes, “Party animal,” April 19].
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