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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008 10:51 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.
NEWSPAPER’S CREDIBILITY PROBLEM Now that the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and White Elephant debacle has been finally settled, a lot of folks are grousing about the details of the deal and the very idea that such a scheme could take place on the taxpayer dime. I remember that hotel deal and the political climate in which it took place very well. Everyone at the time knew it was a giveaway to Republican cronies by then-Gov. James Thompson, but no one knew the details. And where would the average citizens get the details of such an arrangement? At that time, the State Journal-Register was totally in the pocket of the Republican Party and loath to comment, let alone criticize, anything Republican. Instead, the paper would characterize these secret backroom deals as “politics as usual” and incomprehensible to the average citizens and then even suggest that such deals were to be winked at because Springfield was the capital of the state and political “deals” of this sort were to be expected. So now “the chickens have come home to roost” and at least some of the truth has come out. It was a rip-off from day one. But although the times have changed and the SJ-R has climbed all over the blunders and misdeeds of the Democrats (and I believe rightly so), it is still reluctant to call into question anything related to “the Party.” Cronyism and corruption have become endemic to the political culture of Springfield, and its citizens continue to pay dearly for that legacy. And it should come as no surprise that the SJ-R has the intractable credibility problem that it does today. Robert J. Mathes Springfield
RESTORE THE BALANCE OF POWER Who is responsible for government waste and blunders? It’s career politicians in the legislative branch who keep failing us at every turn. Every eight years we show our disgust by throwing the Republican president out, and then eight years later we throw the Democratic president out. This has never fixed the problem, and it never will. To keep doing the same thing with the same failed result is a good example of inanity, and if this inanity is not eliminated government will continue to blunder.
We made two amendments to the Constitution that altered the balance of power between the three branches of government and effectively paralyzed them. The first is the income tax; it gave awesome power to the legislative branch, and they use it to manipulate the people for no reason other than political gain. The second is limiting the terms of the executive branch while not including the legislative branch; it, coupled with the first, fathered stultifying partisanship between the executive and legislative branches that has spilled over into the judicial branch. We will stay in our present malaise until we admit that these two amendments must be revoked or at least revised.
Bob Ruble Springfield
ELIMINATE MUNICIPAL PRIMARY Our 2007 municipal primary cost us taxpayers $105,000 for an election at which 85 percent of the voters stayed home! That cost us $9 per vote. Late last year, the governor signed into law an election-reform bill that virtually eliminates primaries from future city elections. It provides that no primary is to be held unless at least five candidates file to run for the same office. In last year’s city election the highest number of candidates to file for any one office was four, in Ward 7. So had this new law been in place last year, taxpayers would have saved a cool $105,000.
Sam Cahnman
Alderman, Ward 5

WHY WON’T HILLARY CLAIM ILLINOIS? I am not a member of the “Pillory Hillary [Clinton]” squad, but anyone who is born in this state and goes to high school here is from here. If they become famous and don’t acknowledge us outside of our own state borders, they deserve to lose here as bad as she did. When Bill Clinton was president she hosted a class reunion at the White House, but that was not spoken of to the rest of the nation. She was the first lady of Arkansas — are we too hick for her? She is a senator from New York — are we too citified for her? Why is she ashamed of her connection to us? Her main opponent was not born here but claims us as his home. Draw your own conclusions. Patrick Johnopolos Springfield
ILLINOIS BETTER THAN MISSOURI I just viewed a segment on a St. Louis TV station regarding a petition to repeal or modify Missouri’s ban on public smoking and just had to write a note to our lawmakers. Please don’t change a thing. It was so nice going to a Super Bowl party in Alton, Ill., and leaving with my clothes still smelling like my dryer sheet.
Illinois has always been more forward-thinking than Missouri. I grew up in Illinois and went to SIU at Carbondale. The current Missouri Legislature would rather make embryonic stem cell research illegal [rather] than clean up the air in enclosed public spaces.
So, once again, thanks, Illinois.
Jenny Murrell
Lemay, Mo.

UPSET ABOUT STORE CLOSING In case you haven’t heard, the Wilsons Leather store at White Oaks Mall is being closed. The reasons behind this mass closing of stores — more than 200 — haven’t been told as of yet. I’d been at this Wilsons Leather store for more than a year when news of the closing happened. Since nobody has reported it yet, here’s how it all actually went down and certain points that makes all this even worse. 1. On Feb. 13, there was no indication whatsoever about what would happen the next day. We were sent the usual e-mails and price changes, as well as shipments. 2. Some new sign kits showed up on Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day), and my manager knew immediately what they were. (They had the signs with the “Everything Must Go” wording on them.) She called our district manager and asked him about it. He knew nothing and made some calls. They told him everyone would be told in a conference call at 3 p.m. Otherwise, they told him nothing. It’s always fun when signs stating you’re going out of business arrive before you’re told you’re going out of business.
3. The conference call consisted of them basically firing almost all their regional and district managers (including ours) and telling stores they were being liquidated effective immediately. The best part was them thanking everyone who was now pretty much fired for being loyal employees. Nothing was said about severance or unused vacation time. And that was it. 4. We now get to explain to customers that regardless of when they made their purchase we cannot accept exchanges or returns for any reason. It goes without saying that we’ve been chewed out more than once despite the fact that we have no say in the matter. The only parts of this that anger me more than anything else are these facts: We’ve heard nothing about severance, unused vacation time, or 401(k) plans; health insurance coverage through the company ends at the end of February. My boss, who is the sweetest, most honest woman I’ve ever met in my life, has been a manager for about 14 years and trained the majority of the managers in other stores in our area, was let go without warning. There are people out there who were with them even longer who were dropped as well. Everyone in the store considered each other family since we were always together and hanging out. My manager gave me a job when nobody else would and became probably the best friend I’ve ever had. Though I’m angered that all my coworkers are now left in the lurch, I’m especially angry about the way she was told. I couldn’t even speak when she was left in tears over this. Nobody had any warning, no indication, not even a rumor of anybody being shut down was heard. To say we’re all in shock doesn’t even begin to describe it. Name withheld by request

WHY NOT BUY “LOCALLY”? I just read a story about the U.S. Air Force delivering 6,000 winter coats, along with blankets and rations, to China to help victims of China’s worst winter storms. Why didn’t they just buy them in China, from Wal-Mart, where they were made, and save all the transportation cost? Dan Cedusky Champaign
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