Ten ways to cut costs
Besides the obvious ways Illinois uses to cut its expenses, I have 10 other ways they could save a lot of money: Sell the Tamms prison to the federal government. Sell the state's interest in the World Shooting Complex. Shut down funding for the DuQuoin State Fair. Privatize the state fair in Springfield. Privatize Interstates 55, 70, 64, 80 and 94 and make them toll roads. Limit the time a person can get welfare, Medicaid, etc., to five years. Limit welfare payments to three children. Close state offices in Chicago. Cut 10 percent of the state employees and have others pick up the slack. Eliminate cars, trucks and planes for state employees; it's cheaper to let them provide their own transportation and pay them for mileage and costs. These 10 items would save the state millions of dollars. I'm sure with a little thought, they could find more.
Belleville's planned purchase of the former furniture store at the foot of Edgemont hill will probably total $400,000 or more between acquisition, tear-down expenses, and converting it into a mini park. That's money that could have improved many other areas of Belleville. Go figure.
The perfect location
If Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert is so determined to have another grocery store in Belleville, why not use the former BV Food World-Mad Pricer grocery store at 6600 W. Main St.? How could that former grocery store not be a suitable site instead of tearing down a bowling alley?
Where are the TIFs?
I like the articles on TIF on Jan. 13 but I wish you would publish a full-page map of all the TIF districts.
Ready to retire?
Everyone is focusing on U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello's retirement but no one seems to notice that his replacement is retirement age already. I imagine he is going to retire before his election comes up and he will conveniently be replaced by Costello Jr. That's a done deal, I'm sure.
Tone it down, pastor
I'm shocked at the un-Christian behavior of the pastor at Zion Evangelical Church in Millstadt when he plays his music machine every hour when not all the neighbors appreciate it. It's no different than if someone was playing rap music two streets over from his house so he could hear it. Not everybody likes the same thing. The pastor could program the machine to play a few hours a day at mid day.
A promise to keep
I am more than a little tired of people calling in and making comments about things they don't know anything about like teacher pensions. This has nothing to do with how many months a year they work. It has to do with the integrity of the employer. They were promised a pension and anything pulled away from them now is a failure and a lie by their employer. Many of the teachers go back to school during the summer so they can stay on the top of their game during the school year.
Getting past Obama
I am sick of reading the hateful, disrespectful letters from people who do not believe in the greatness of the United States. It's all right to hate the president; I hated George W. Bush. But to think our country will fail because of President Obama is absurd. As a country, when we pulled together we have survived many hard times.
No sharing right now
I know of at least three schools in which the classrooms have community supplies shared by students. I would like to know why this is allowed, knowing how easily flu and other viruses are spread. I also think the shaking of hands to greet people in church is a risky practice.
Big mistake on bonds
I have been encouraging my friends to buy U.S. savings bonds to help finance our government out of this hole. I was just informed by my bank that you can't buy bonds from a bank anymore. You have to go online to purchase them. I can't believe that the government would make it so hard for citizens to help our country.
Is art making money?
Artists averaged $10,025 from Art on the Square in 2012. I couldn't care less how much the artists made. What I want to know is how much did Belleville make?
Let councils decide
Why do we elect city officials when decisions are made by committees? I want aldermen to fight it out at City Hall meetings. As long as they have committees making decisions, citizens have a right to know who is on the committee.
Belleville icon gone
I was sorry to read about the closing of the Hy-Ho Cafe. I'm sure the Hy-Ho could have used the $200,000 that we plan to give to Kroger, one of the biggest food chains in the country that doesn't need it. I guess it was too close to central city and not far enough out. I will continue to complain that Belleville's priorities are all wrong. I hope the people running for election will be able to change it. If not, Belleville will become a ghost town.
The Chicago effect
If Illinois voters wanted to save Scott Air Force Base, let alone add tankers to it, they should not have voted for the re-election of a president from the anti-military Chicago political machine. As a senior officer now retired, I once served on a base selection committee analyzing 11 locations. No location not on the list was added and the 10th most desirable location based on military requirements was ultimately selected, denying that politics had anything to do with the finalists. When leaders in Washington, D.C., think of Illinois, they think of an anti-military Chicago. Although the U.S. representatives from Southwestern Illinois should and will make a valiant effort to overcome Chicago, the record shows that they rarely can.
East St. Louis left out
I find it ironic that the News-Democrat makes a case of the Twin Echo school closing but didn't come down to East St. Louis to investigate the closing of four schools here and the disorderly way the school system is being run now. Classes are overcrowded, kids are not being picked up on the bus lines. When are you going to speak up for East St. Louis?
The Chicago effect
If Illinois voters wanted to save Scott Air Force Base, let alone add tankers to it, they should not have voted for the re-election of a president from the anti-military Chicago political machine. As a senior officer now retired, I once served on a base selection committee analyzing 11 locations. The 10th most desirable location based on military requirements was ultimately selected, denying that politics had anything to do with the finalists. When leaders in Washington, D.C., think of Illinois, they think of an anti-military Chicago. Although the U.S. representatives from Southwestern Illinois should and will make a valiant effort to overcome Chicago, the record shows that they rarely can.
King deserves his day
I cannot quite understand Collinsville and its reluctance to fully celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Given the troubled racial history of this country and the contributions King made to right the wrongs, there should be no doubt he deserves a day of recognition. His message of non-violent confrontation and civil disobedience are examples that can be relevant to any issue, past, present or future. On the other hand, why do we celebrate Christopher Columbus at all? How can you discover a country already inhabited by a native population? Did he take credit just because the inhabitants were of a different color and lifestyle than him? Columbus should only be recognized as being this country's first bigot.
Check out car usage
The two Belleville mayoral candidates who are opposing Mark Eckert might want to look into whether the city employees who take cars home every day have to reimburse the city for gas, mileage and wear and tear on the car when they use it for their personal use. I work for a private employer and I have to reimburse the company for any mileage on the company car I use while I'm not working. I see city cars all over St. Clair County and it's obvious the drivers are not on duty. It looks like there are a lot of freebies going on in Belleville.
What a stupid editorial cartoon on Wednesday. President Obama probably needs more security than usual because of all the crazies out there and all the prejudiced people like BND cartoonist Glenn McCoy.
Easy fix for violence
We shouldn't have to wait for the federal government to place a ban on guns and violent video games to help curb the mass murders in America. All it would take is for people to just put a lock on all guns in the house or get rid of them all together, and stop playing those violent games and watching the heinous movies. The violence problem would be resolved immediately.
Answering the call
BND Answer Man, Roger Schlueter, is a national treasure. What a contrast with some of your reporters who haven't even learned the basics of English grammar. Roger is an erudite gentleman, conscientious in his service to your readers, going above and beyond. His writing is witty and impeccable.
Service is a lost art
Thank you to a recent letter writer for sharing his shopping experience. Many stores don't seem to care about customer service. I cannot believe that checkers at one store in Belleville act like you are bothering them if you ask the price of something. Are employees instructed to be rude? And an O'Fallon store doesn't seem to have a dress code and allows male employees to wear sagging pants way below waist level. Bending over to stock shelves becomes indecent exposure. What has happened to self-respect?
McKendree's recent movement to NCAA Division II is a horrible mistake. After going to a basketball game and watching McKendree lose by more than 20 points again with the greatest basketball coach in history, Harry Statham, it is apparent they do not belong in that division and never did. We have only nine players when other teams come in with 15. McKendree was the big dog in the NAIA. Games were fun then. Now attendance is down terribly, the players act like they don't care and the fans have said they don't like it.
First comes marriage
It was good to see that you honored a married couple who had the first baby of the new year. Some years, it is shameful that you honor an unwed mother as if that constitutes a family. Fatherlessness is the cause of most of the poverty and crime in our society and does not deserve any kind of positive recognition. Sure, it's commonplace but so is rape and robbery. We all know that it's wrong.
New start for NAACP
I read the article on Johnny Scott's resignation as president of the East St. Louis NAACP. His statement that we need new blood with new ideas is certainly true. It seems that the East St. Louis NAACP has forgotten why this oldest civil rights organization was founded. Racism is still alive and well and I would like to see the NAACP work hard for more than just the annual banquet. In looking at the East St. Louis chapter's new membership, I realize that not one new member lives in East St. Louis. Residency would help to revive this organization.