Since moving to Chicagoland in the 1980s, I’ve read the daily newspapers cover to cover.
In the suburbs, I became aware and then worried about the increase in crime in the city. I believe former mayor Rahm Emanuel started an organization with a website that lays out several numerical goals on crime, but also on education, employment, and income for the west and south sides.
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Then the 2019 elections brought a new mayor. Soon after, a new police chief brought new hope for improvement. But from what I’ve been able to glean from the media, there are no publicly stated goals for reducing crime, improving education, employment and income growth – and therefore no quarterly statements of progress towards these objectives.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway): it’s important to set goals like crime reduction, job creation, new affordable housing, and other improvements for the west and south sides. Then post progress reports so there can be accountability and a verifiable cause for celebration when a goal has been achieved.
Ted Maxeiner, St. Charles
Cap pawnbroking rates for veterans
Friday was Veterans Day, when we honor and recognize veterans for their sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears in service to our country. In Illinois, however, veterans can expect recognition by paying 240% or more interest on a pawn loan. As a retired veteran, banker, and chairman of the board of the Woodstock Institute, I believe our state can do better because of its veterans — and everyone else, for that matter.
Last week, Illinois pawnshops loaned more than 240% to an active duty service member, in violation of a federal law capping service member loan interest rates at 36%. active and their families. The Illinois Pawnbrokers Association said it was “an isolated incident,” according to the Woodstock Institute. But on the same day, another pawnbroker in Illinois made another 243.3% APR loan to an active duty member.
The solution is simple: Cap pawnbroker rates at 36% APR, just like other personal loan providers in the state since the passage of the Predatory Lending Prevention Act last year. The law, passed under the leadership of Illinois’ Legislative Black Caucus, capped payday loans and auto title loans at 36% APR. But an injunction from a Sangamon County court last year allowed pawnbrokers to ignore the cap. We need a new law to fill this gap.
The Legislative Assembly is back in session for a few more weeks this year. Members are expected to pass a bill to ensure pawnbrokers also meet the 36% APR cap on personal loans. The way to honor and respect those who have served is to support them, not extort them, when they are in dire need of money.
Tommy Fitzgibbon, retired, United States Navy, and Chairman of the Board, Woodstock Institute