Grant-Illini School District is desperately in need of more money for our schools. Our state funding has all but stopped; our only hope is commercial expansion so we can get in on the big dollars. The North Ruby Lane interchange is the best option to open huge amounts of vacant ground to commercial use. It's a shame our aldermen can't understand that it will help our school district get on an even keel with the Pontiac-William Holliday District, which gets tremendous tax dollars from commerce, and it will provide lots of tax dollars to the city of Fairview Heights. When are the aldermen going to wake up?
Don't pass up this exit
Fairview Heights has an opportunity that any city, especially one that operates on sales tax revenue, would envy. The state has approved an exit off of Interstate 64 at Ruby Lane and the cost to the city would be minimal. An additional exit would provide for future development and vast amounts of commerce north of the interstate. With the additional tax dollars, Fairview Heights could continue to be the only city in Illinois that does not charge a real estate tax. The 18 homeowners who would be displaced are so vocal that they are ruining the chance for all of the other residents. The city election is in April. Ask the alder-manic candidates how they would vote on a new exit and then vote your wallet.
Done with the Dems
I'm a union member and have voted Democrat in the past as we are strongly encouraged to do. But after this gun control business, I can assure you I will never vote for another Democrat under any circumstances. If there's a "D" behind the name, the candidate will not get my vote.
Can't blame the GOP
I read Frankie Seaberry's letter about how the conservatives are looking down on blacks and how St. Clair County won't hire blacks. Well, Seaberry just put her foot in her mouth. She keeps supporting the Democrats locally but they are the ones discriminating, not the conservatives.
Look at bright side
Every cloud has a silver lining. High gas prices reduce the number of vehicles on the road, making driving safer for those who are driving. And I can hardly wait for the fulfillment of the president's plan to raise gas prices to $10 per gallon. I fantasize if that happens of being able to have the road all to myself.
Why are we paying?
Here we go again with skyrocketing gas prices and the reason is seasonal maintenance on the oil plants. Don't those companies make billions of dollars, so why do we have to pay for maintenance on their business? It doesn't make any sense to me.
Divided on pensions
The politicians in Illinois are pitting neighbor against neighbor on this pension issue. Plain and simple, the politicians stole this money. The teachers and public employees paid into their pensions and are entitled to them but not at the expense of the rest of the residents of the state. If the state income tax is made permanent, I will move out of the state and take my income tax money with me. What happened to the pensions is a raw deal and probably criminal but I'm not going to pay for it.
Post office suggestion
In regard to plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, how about charging more postage for all the political and junk mail that I get?
Don't take a chance
I received a letter from Caseyville Mayor George Chance about why he should be re-elected. He boasts about honesty but his letter contains points that are not truthful. First, he said taxes were not raised but look at your tax bill; you'll see that taxes have gone up each year for several years. Second, he said no employees were laid off or public services reduced. What in the world happened to the dispatchers? They were employees and they provided a vital service. Get smart, Caseyville, and vote him out.
The sky isn't falling
It's time for a reality check regarding the possible furloughs for Scott Air Force Base employees. The world will not end. While their paychecks will be a little lighter, they will not lose their jobs, unlike those in the private sector when this whole financial mess started. We must all realize that we can't continue to have it all in regard to government services at the federal, state and local levels. This country is in severe debt and the government needs to pay off its credit card bill. If we are to survive, everyone must feel a little ping.
Show some respect
I went to the Belleville East basketball game where they honored the seniors and was happy to hear what each player wanted for his future. They should be proud of themselves and hopefully achieve their goals. Then they played the National Anthem and there sat some losers in the bleachers using their cell phones. They could not take the time to take off their caps and stand. Those caps must be glued to their heads. Come on, kids, stand and show some respect. If it weren't for what this flag represents, they would be off fighting a war instead of enjoying a basketball game.
A BND article states that broke Illinois is giving away $54 million to Illinois State University to build a fine arts complex and has purchased 547 additional acres for preservation for $2.8 million. We should have plenty of money since the $2 license plate fee was enacted but the state is more than flat broke. How do we get the politicians to quit spending? If we have to close places like the Warren Murray Developmental Center to save money, we sure as heck don't need to be funding a fine arts center or buying property. One final suggestion: The next time we put a governor in prison, we would be better off just not to replace him.
TIF is Eckert's focus
Several years ago Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert reported that he got up very early and rode around Belleville neighborhoods checking things out. I assumed he was taking note of what crumbling streets and sidewalks he was planning to repair. Now I realize that he was just looking at what his next TIF would be. Boy, what a guy.
Living the high life
In response to the letter "No luxuries in this pantry," I thought I was being generous donating peanut butter and macaroni and cheese. But apparently some clients have a richer appetite than I can afford. I thought donations were to help people stay alive, not be treated as royalty. Sorry, I can't afford to eat steak and shrimp so I'll be darned if I'll buy it for them while I'm eating peanut butter.
It'll make you ill
Most people don't think about the effects of Obamacare. I work closely with nursing homes and I can tell you that most don't have health care for their employees. They have also pushed themselves to nursing staff ratios where many patients are being cared for by one nurse and maybe a couple of assistants. Because of Obamacare, most of these nursing homes will now have to provide health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty. Either way, the cost of nursing home care is going to go up. The nursing homes that accept public aid will not be able to make it because the amount that public aid pays for a resident will not be increased. These are unintended consequences of Obamacare.
Keep marriage as is
Why must they call gay unions marriage? Why change the definition of marriage?
Eighth Street troubles
I have no idea what the Sound-off caller had in mind when he complained about Centreville Avenue in Belleville needing repairs. Compared to South Eighth Street, it looks like a superhighway. South Eighth Street was supposed to be fixed in 2011 but was pushed back because of lack of funds. It's scheduled for 2013 but we'll see. It looks like it has never recovered from a Nazi bombing during World War II. It needs immediate attention by both of the candidates running for alderman in that ward.
Let Grandma attend
I don't know the whole story behind the banning of the grandmother from her grandson's basketball games at Belleville West, but I do not think the incident was serious enough to ban her from all the games. It also seems that a 70-year-old lady who uses a wheelchair is not much of a threat to do much damage. I'm sure the grandson is just as disappointed as the grandmother that she can't attend his games.
Back to good old Abe
Presidents Day is a day like any other. The only thing that is important about it is selling furniture and maybe a three-day weekend. Let's go back to celebrating George Washington's and Abe Lincoln's birthdays for a real Presidents Day.
Stop the loitering
Of much greater concern than the appearance of properties and even the conditions of the streets themselves is the presence of criminals loitering on the streets. Stopping and frisking suspicious street people, New York City Police style, does markedly increase public safety.
Add political balance
I see lots of campaign signs around Belleville for Mayor Mark Eckert. He's spending too much money without having to answer to anyone. If people want to start a business in Belleville, the poor taxpayer has to pay for a TIF that Eckert gives them. We need a more balanced City Council and not a bunch of "yes" men.
Where are the police?
When are Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert and the Police Department going to do something about the panhandlers living at Routes 15 and 159 South? We're taxpayers who pay to live around here. They should take care of this.
Explain the premiums
I am a retired state worker and have straight retirement with no Social Security. Every three months I write a personal check to Medicare. I looked at my pay statement and saw that the state was paying $625 a month for my group insurance plan coverage. A friend recently applied to Blue Cross for supplemental health coverage at a cost of $130 per month. Why is the state paying so much? Who is getting a kickback?
Some voters ignored
Nick Miller's letter stated Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson claims to want to see the governor cut spending and then he immediately votes to spend $2.1 billion of our tax dollars. For one thing, Jackson doesn't know that Mascoutah, Smithton, Lebanon or Freeburg even exist. He doesn't need us because as long as he has East St. Louis, which has more registered voters than population, he doesn't need to worry about us. I have written him three letters in the last month asking if he had held community meetings or telephone polling on how people feel about gun control and gay marriage. He hasn't answered any of them. He will vote the way Madigan tells him to vote.
Brush up on English
My complaint is how people in the United States are butchering the English language. Some examples: "I be forgettin,'" "Ax me what I think," "They going to town," "I have went there," and my favorite that even some highly paid teachers say, "I seen it." When I was young and raised in the poorest circumstances ever, I decided I was not going to speak like my relatives. It can be done and it takes one generation. Just go to school and learn from your books since some teachers can't get it right. Be that generation that changes for the better.