The vote to keep the East St. Louis election board was a disappointment. I don't think most residents really understood what the board does and why we need it in 2012 when the funds would be best used for public safety. The precinct committeemen did a good job of pushing the support of the board once again. The new generation of voters will not that easily fooled.
Board up and clean up
East St. Louis sent orders to to property owners to board up and clean up open, vacant properties in East St. Louis. That's finally a good move. If you purchase a property at the public auction, you should be responsible and board it up the next day. The homeowners in my neighborhood support this effort 110 percent.
Report closer to home
I'm really tired of the continuous reporting on Tamms prison. While you may think of yourselves as a regional newspaper, you're still published in Belleville, the St. Clair County seat. You really need to report on the St. Clair County Jail, which is in many ways just as bad as Tamms in terms of civil rights abuse. Compared to Madison County Jail, there is a world of difference. That's a report that the people in Belleville would care about.
Jobs coming back?
I was encouraged to see the job numbers recently. We created more jobs than was anticipated and the unemployment rate went down. Hopefully this is just not due to seasonal hiring for Christmas. We'll find out in January and February. I hope we're moving in the right direction.
Level the playing field
Recently a Sound-off caller complained about Belleville Alderman Joe Hayden and others who distributed campaign literature at the Christmas parade. I wonder if the caller complains when Mayor Mark Eckert has his face on the Belleville newsletters. That's also political advertising. Unfortunately, Hayden has to work harder because he's the only one of the three mayoral candidates who is not the political property of St. Clair County Democratic Party Chairman Bob Sprague.
Too many wants
I read last Monday about the Christian Activity Center making Christmas brighter for kids in East St. Louis. I was shocked that they give out beds, bikes and swing sets and that a 7-year old asked for a bike, a camera and a Kindle Fire. These parents are not setting an example for their children except for setting them up to be entitled to handouts. Another article in the same issue encouraged reasonable wish list items to include one want, one need, one wear, one read, and that children who received less materially than others end up in life with a sense of gratitude. How about if we focus on the true meaning of Christmas? It's not about presents at all.
The extensive article in the paper regarding parents' inability to satisfy their children's requests would be totally unfamiliar to the greatest generation who saved the world in World War II. We are their descendants and we understood from our fathers that we would not always get what we want but we would certainly get what we need. I'm still piqued about the pony I never got but I understood that it was not a practical request. And neither are the phones or computers or all the other toys and video games that children have to have today. No, they don't. They need to get outside and exercise in the fresh air. The parents who are allowing this to happen are at fault.
The real TIF trouble
Here is the dirty little secret on Belleville's approximately 20 TIF districts. It is the property owners in the TIF districts who live outside of Belleville -- in Millstadt, Shiloh, Swansea, unincorporated St. Clair County -- who should be complaining about Belleville siphoning off property taxes which would have funded St. Clair County, Southwestern Illinois College and High School District#201. Instead these dollars were given to developers and private businesses which will not benefit these other communities. Belleville TIF 3 runs approximately from Signal Hill to Green Mount Road. If the county, SWIC or District 201 needs an increase, we need to tell them to go back to Mayor Mark Eckert and beg for a bigger rebate out of the TIF fund.
Unions out of touch
I certainly hope that union members everywhere finally understand that the game has changed. The Hostess bakery closure was brought on by a number of events but it was finally brought to termination by a union that led its members to slaughter. Would you go on strike and make a company close because it asked you to pay more for health insurance? I wouldn't. The union leaders were totally without concern for their members by holding out. Remember, the ones who closed the company represented only 30 percent of the employees. So the 70 percent left were out of work because of the blockheads in the union who refused to accept responsibility for health insurance.
Don't politicize crisis
A recent caller wanted to remind us that President Obama didn't cause the economic crisis, he inherited it. This is partially true. The crisis culminated in 2008 but I would like to remind this caller that Congress was controlled for two years to that point by the Democrats, who instead of doing anything about it, said there were no problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and there was no problem to face. I cannot stand it when people take our financial crisis and politicize it. To point to one party and place the blame is ignorant and foolish.
Nothing funny here
I enjoy Glenn McCoy's political cartoons but have never liked his and his brother's the Flying McCoys. The cartoon showing Santa holding up a kid with a gun was not funny.
Fast food needs union
If unions really care about the working class, why don't they organize the fast-food workers of this country? Given our ever-expanding waistlines, this industry has an increasing profit margin, even in this down economy. Obtaining higher wages for those employed would hardly put a dent in the profits of the owners and it would boost the overall economy because of the increased buying power of the employees. Plus, does anyone really want a minimum wage worker handling their food?
MidAmerica left out
Recently you ran a guest column from Brian Lott, a former staff member for U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, stating all the great things he has done for this area. I'll admit he has done some good things; MetroLink was the only thing you could say was a great thing. I noticed the writer never mentioned MidAmerica Airport. Could that have been just an oversight on his part? I don't think so. MidAmerica had nothing to do with saving Scott Air Force Base, which has never been in danger of closing. Costello told me personally that he would never vote for Obamacare as long as taxpayer money was going to pay for abortions. Costello did vote for Obamacare and federal money goes directly to Planned Parenthood, which performs more abortions than anyone in this country.
Brian Lott's tribute column to U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello was outstanding. Southwestern Illinois is but a speck on the national map but Costello strived to give us a strong voice. He always stayed focused on the highest priorities for our region. Thank you, News-Democrat, for publishing Lott's tribute and thank you to Costello for what he gave to make this world a better place.
Voters fooled again
The St. Clair County Democratic Party has once again pulled the wool over the voters' eyes. Regardless of what Sheriff Mearl Justus says, he knew he was going to retire but he let himself be put on the ballot just so former Cahokia Police Chief Rick Watson could become sheriff. All I can say is I feel sorry for the residents of St. Clair County.
Missing in action
I recently attended a hearing on sewer fees at East St. Louis City Hall. I was disappointed that not one member of the City Council was present except for the mayor. The four other council members are paid more than $1,000 a month for the two meetings they attend. I never see them at any hearings or community meetings or hear about them helping to improve the city. This is a shame and a waste of my tax dollars.
Cartoon goes too far
I object to the cartoon in last Monday's newspaper about the pope. In the beginning it sounded cute but it goes on to say, "stay away from altar boys and ordination." I think you're bringing something to the forefront again that doesn't need to be unless something is going on at this very time.
Give us right to work
Michigan has adopted a right-to-work law. As a resident of Illinois, I think that is exactly what we need. I think some teachers shouldn't even have a job because they don't teach our children. Any teacher who tells a child to go home and tell parents who to vote for in an election is totally wrong. I think it's about time we have a right- to-work law and these pensions should be on the way out. Yes, unions were good years ago but they are now not the best for the country or for our state. That is why more than 30,000 people left Illinois last year and so many homes are for sale. It has to end someplace and a right-to-work law in Illinois would be the best thing.
Bonuses for some
I am an employee of Wolf Branch School District and when the school board and the teachers union made a new contract this past summer, they took a pay freeze. So did the rest of the staff. But we just discovered that a secret part of the contract was that the teachers would get a Christmas bonus. The staff people did not, however. How can a school board hide this bonus from everyone and pay teachers a bonus and not the rest of the staff? People are not happy about this.
Work on work ethic
In reference to your article about students in poverty, I want to let you know that not everyone is born wealthy. I wasn't; I worked from the time I was 13 walking dogs, baby sitting, etc., and I paid for my own college education. When I got out of college, I started at minimum wage and worked two jobs to make ends meet. The government wants us to think that everyone is living in poverty because they make minimum wage. That is ridiculous and so is the fact that we have to support them. My children have worked since 13 and are now in college. What is the part about work ethic that people are not getting?
No poverty here
I live in the vicinity of Roosevelt School and I highly resent Scott Wuerz' article indicating our area is part of the poverty-stricken area of Illinois School District 118. Nothing could be further from the truth. How about the Franklin neighborhood? There are new subdivisions around South Illinois like the Westhaven area and the Lake Forest area off South Belt and they definitely are not poverty stricken.
There go more jobs
Dickerson Petroleum has sold its local business to a foreign entity, a Canadian firm. I'm sure there is some operating redundancy in these two companies, which will probably lead to some layoffs, probably with Dickerson's current employees. When is this nation going to enact laws that protect American jobs for Americans? Foreign countries don't allow a foreign interest to come in and take over completely, thus protecting the jobs for the employees of that nation.