Letter to the editor: Local media will not cover state politics

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Dear Editor:
Anyone who is an  avid reader of some of Alabama’s statewide media will notice a definite  lack of coverage  when it comes to misdeeds of the Alabama legislature as covered by the local media. Unless it comes from the courts, it’s not likely to make the local paper.  But there is an abundance of information out there about how our state is being governed and it’s not good. I  don’t know why the  local media seems to be carrying water for the Legislature but I have a hunch, probably you do too.
Kyle Whitmire, a columnist of  the Birmingham News, has written numerous articles almost weekly for the past 4 or 5 weeks shining the light of  day on the ills of campaign finance and cozy relations  between legislators, lobbyist and special interest. He has exposed the loopholes in  our ethics laws that permit lavish trips  to  places like Grove Park in  Asheville, N.C. and the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Ala., etc.
One of the main players hosting some of these events was the Alabama Lenders Association. In addition to a gaggle of Legislators and their wives as reported, was the former chairman of the Ethics Commission, Brig. Gen. Ed Crowell and current Ethics chairman Jerry Fielding, (although Fielding  has denied he attended the event when he was a senator). It is also reported that some of the folks  who work in the Legislative Reference Service, the  outfit that helps legislators draft bills attended. They sleep well and ate high on the hog.
We all remember the efforts of some  to bring fairness into our state lending laws, that permitted exorbitant  fees for short time pay day loans. This puts a cloud over Ethics and  a cloud over any new  laws passed  after the cozy gatherings. The legislators made all this Ok when they put into the law that it was Ok as long as it was a widely attended meeting,  now can you imagine it not being widely attended with all the posh accommodations, entertainment and eating high  on the hog, all complements of the folks who want favors.
In a letter to the Editor, there is not room to detail all that needs to be said about all the hanky-panky that Whitmire has uncovered in the last few weeks, but every  little bit exposed makes for better government,
After the  recent  corruption  trial  we learn that there is a  move afoot in  the legislature to  further water down  what little protection we now have  in the  ethics  laws. Hopefully  the Attorney General and all ethical and honest  legislators will bow their back  and not let this happen.
Slaton Crawford
Auburn

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