Haley's 'attack style' only about selling papers

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Dear Dan,
My friends tell me you have recently attacked me in your newspaper ("VMA is whining, new board's weaving," Aug. 10). Since I don't read your paper, I must rely on their descriptions of what you said.

I hear that you feel that I am extremely thin skinned. I suspect these feelings stem from the period of my village presidency when I responded to articles and letters published in your paper which attacked me and/or my board but which failed to allow for a timely rebuttal.

For example, when we terminated the services of former village manager Alan Parker for cause, you will recall that your paper engaged in a very personal attack upon me. You will also recall that I was belatedly allowed to have my response published in your paper only after appealing to your board of directors. You later blamed your staff for this oversight, explaining that you were away on vacation.

Sometime later I again appealed to your board in response to articles written by Eric Linden which contained attacks on me or my board but which again provided no space for rebuttal.

Did you know that Linden, a close personal friend of Parker, rarely spoke to me during my remaining term in office even though he was supposed to be covering village hall?

Attacks and misrepresentations, without an opportunity for timely rebuttal, continued to be published in your paper up to the end of my term.

I certainly understood that you would be upset at my practice of going over your head in my appeals to your board. You neatly took care of that problem by purchasing the newspaper from its shareholders.

You are now accountable only to your advertisers and subscribers. The former care mainly about circulation numbers while the latter must simply trust that you will provide them with balanced, accurate news. Nice move!

I have no idea where your charge of "rigidness" came from (if that was your term) or your description of me as a "cur." I was called many unpleasant things while in office but those particular charges have never surfaced until now.

It occurs to me, Dan, that there is indeed one big difference between us. Like so many others, I agreed that, if elected, I would serve as a virtual volunteer on the village board.

My village salary of some $14,000 per year did little more than cover my expenses and a small portion of the income I could have earned had I spent the same amount of time practicing my profession. I hoped to gain nothing from my services to the village but a sense of accomplishment for the things we did right. Defending myself and my board in your newspaper was hardly something I enjoyed doing.

You, it seems, are gaining both personal gratification and monetary profit through your "attack" style of journalism. You seem to believe that conflict, such as through name calling, will help you to sell newspapers.

Unfortunately, it also discourages many good people from seeking public office in this town. That is by far the most serious problem stemming your personal attacks upon me and other public officials.

Lawrence Christmas
Oak Park

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