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Wednesday, April 16, 2008 02:20 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
SOCCER STORY KICKED UP MEMORIES OK, I admit it — I was Googling myself. And as I was scrolling past things I knew about myself and Bob Lehrmans who weren’t me I almost missed a Bob Lehrman and — Aydin Gonulsen? So almost six months later, thanks to Google, I could see Stan Zielinski’s letter, read the Ed Cunningham article, and have my own memories overwhelm me [see Ed Cunningham, “Bringing soccer to Springfield,” Oct. 4]. Yavuz, Aydin, the Eck brothers, the Christofilakos brothers   . . . Do you remember the night we poured into the school-board meeting — using the organizing skills we’d learned in the Walker campaign — to get soccer into the public schools? And I remembered more than soccer. I wrote for Illinois Times. Does anyone still remember Alan Anderson, Bill Friedman, Claudia Dowling, and Victoria Pope? They’d fled Time magazine for Springfield, where they wouldn’t just be writing for a magazine but creating one. Once I handed in a feature I really liked — about Morton Sobell, one of the people convicted in the Rosenberg case. The words were mine, but the piece looked — weird! Yeah, we were experimenting, Alan said. He’d justified the left margin but not the right.
To some people Springfield is the city of Lincoln. To me it’s the city of Yavuz, Aydin, Illinois Times — and a governor who ran into problems later but was a great reformer then. It’s that earnest young Walker worker Pat Quinn coming home after basketball, being able to see my words in print (not my margins), and celebrating with a double helping of mushrooms at Denny’s after beating Lincoln. Bob Lehrman
Washington, D.C

PAYDAY-LOAN ARTICLE WAS BIASED It was evident that staff writer R.L. Nave did a good deal of research with the opponents of payday lending before writing the cover story in the April 10 edition of Illinois Times, a usually well written newspaper that I try to enjoy every week. I was disappointed by the biased reporting. While he took a great deal of time researching and interviewing the opponents of payday lending, nowhere in the three pages of the article did he find room to include an interview with, or a single comment from, the industry. Astonishing! Just about every other person or group involved in this issue was quoted. Why not the industry? And, more importantly, in the three pages of this story, no comments from customers? A balanced story would have included comments from customers, the industry, and the opponents. Not so with this article. Really, really poor journalism here. I expect more from Illinois Times. Not only was the article biased, it was inaccurate and incomplete. Fact-checking is one of the hallmarks of good journalism. Where was the fact-checking in this article? The claim by Nave in the ninth paragraph that there are 38 payday-loan stores in Springfield is ignorant of the facts. A simple check of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Web site would have shown that there are only 12 payday-loan stores in Springfield, not 38.
And had he bothered to contact the industry, the story could have included the lengths at which the industry has gone this year to reach compromise with our opponents and with the Legislature. The article could have discussed the compromise plan that focuses on adding important new protections for those customers in most need of financial help. Instead, Nave wrote a hatchet job and Illinois Times published a hatchet job. Finally, the article completely ignores the hundreds of pages of study, much by the Federal Reserve of New York, dozens of news articles, and a Wall Street Journal op-ed by [former U.S. Sen.] George McGovern, all proving that payday loans are the preferred, and cheaper, alternative to bank overdraft fees. Our customers know this. This article was an extremely good example of sensationalism but a very poor example of journalism. As editor, you should be ashamed.
Steve Brubaker, executive director Illinois Small Loan Association

Editor’s note: Our story reported that there are 38 CILA-licensed lenders and 12 PLRA-licensed lenders in Springfield. The story also reflected the views of the payday-loan industry, including the Community Financial Services Association.
WHYSONEGATIVEABOUTOBAMA? I found the cover story about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama to be very stereotypical [Jeannette Cooperman, “Demonizing Obama,” April 3]. Cooperman obviously doesn’t know all the facts about Obama. How is he racist against whites when his own mother is white? It’s not right to make accusations against someone because of the church they attend. The only reason she’s saying he welcome terrorists is because his middle name is Hussein. I am a Democrat and I think it’s unfair of her to say that Obama is for abortion, homosexuality, and obscenity. Not all Democrats have the same beliefs. She is not basing the whole article on her experiences but rather on second-hand accounts. Also I’ve noticed that a lot of your articles are very negative towards the Democratic Party. It goes to show how single-minded Illinois Times really is. Inez Potter

WHYSOANGRY ANDLEFT-LEANING? Over the years I have tried to read Illinois Times, but it was so angry and left-leaning I could never get through one. Recently, however, I read the article about Barack Obama and felt I needed to respond [Jeannette Cooperman, “Demonizing Obama,” April 3]. Christians have taken a pounding for a long time now, so I wanted to give you some insight into how this Christian lives. I have never been in trouble with the law; do not smoke, drink, or swear; and don’t do drugs. I give 10 percent of my income to charity, including $50 a month to Africa; donate blood; and volunteer my time. I do not own a TV, computer, or CD player and haven’t been to a movie since 1991. I try to conserve energy and water and am an avid recycler. Don’t you wish more people lived like this? Forgive me if I come across as conceited and self-righteous — that is not my intention. I just wanted you to know that most Christians live clean, decent lives. As far as Sen. Obama is concerned, I am not going to vote for him, but if others do, that is their choice. Tod Adamo Springfield
Ronnie Booth was right on target in stating that white conservative Christians oppose Barack Obama simply “because of his pigmentation” [“Letters,” April 10]. The same can be said for white liberal Democrats who voted against Michael Steele, Ken Blackwell, and Lynn Swann. The white liberal Senators who opposed the nominations of Clarence Thomas and Janice Rogers Brown were a bunch of closet Klansmen. And I am sure that Booth will rail against any white liberal Democrat who opposes the election this year of Florida congressional candidate Allen West. Just so there is no confusion, I am being sarcastic to make a point. White liberals vote against black Republicans (who run against whites) and get a pass. White conservatives vote against black Democrats and are vilified as narrow-minded bigots. I guess it never occurred to Booth that people can oppose Barack Obama because of the positions he takes on the issues and because he has the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. Conservatives oppose Obama for pretty much the same reason they oppose either of the Clintons or John Kerry or Rod Blagojevich or Dick Durbin or any other liberal Democrat. From our perspective, there is no difference between Obama and Clinton. They are two sides of the same coin. They appear to be more focused on Obama because he is seen as having a greater chance of winning in November than does Clinton. It’s simple electoral politics. Nothing sinister about it at all. Isn’t this what liberals want? Don’t they want us to judge candidates based on their records and positions? Yet, when we do that with Obama, we become 21st-century Archie Bunkers. One more question. When did the right ask God for a presidential candidate whose voting record is to the left of Ted Kennedy? I must have missed that prayer meeting. Robert Huck