It's ridiculous that St. Clair County hired Scott Flood as the supervisor of the county maintenance department. It's just another example of the good ol' boy Democrats still doing what they want. To get any kind of decent job with the state or the county depends on who you are and who you know. Wasn't there someone else more qualified to take over this job? Instead they gave it to a guy who was forced to resign from a state job because of improper behavior. This is a joke.
Make parents pay
I keep reading about all the cuts that the schools districts have to make including the cuts on extracurricular activities. I'm a senior citizen on a fixed income. I don't mind paying for the basic reading, science and math education, but if you want your child to play football, take singing lessons, piano lessons or dance lessons, you pay for it. Those things didn't even go on in the schools years ago. I guess some kids depend on the sports for scholarships but aren't there scholastic scholarships they could get? I'm sorry but I'm having a hard time making ends meet myself but they keep raising my taxes to pay for extracurricular activities. It's not fair.
Tax hikes are justified
Interest-free money that you never have to pay back? That's absurd. Obviously this was the mind-set of Illinois regarding the state employees' pension funds. If I borrow money at the bank, I have to sign on the dotted line that I will repay all of the money and the interest, too. What do you think would happen if the U.S. decided not to pay back our loans to China and refused to do any trading with them unless they pay us extra? Every resident of Illinois benefitted from the use of the money the state took from the pension fund whether it was used for roads, services or just paying bills. Therefore, everyone in the state is responsible for replenishing the funds, even if it takes tax increases.
Cut leaders' pensions
Once again, the state is inching toward moving the teachers' pension costs to the local school districts. While this may be viable in the long run, the state first needs to make good on the money it already stole from the system. In all fairness, all legislators past and present should have their pay or pensions severely cut to pay for what was their fault. Taxpayers also need to send a strong message to school administrators and board members that raising property taxes for these expenses will not be tolerated. Just as families have to go back to the basics in this economy, so should the education system.
Keep traffic moving
To the Sound-off caller who complained about roundabouts rather than stop signs: The whole purpose of a roundabout is to keep everything moving at all times, not to stop at all. I can't believe people don't understand this. You should enter the area slowly and watch the flow of traffic and merge into the flow. The Belleville square, for example, has been there for at least 80 years and nobody had a problem until they put up yield signs. It doesn't mean you should sit there and become a roadblock.
Dave Barnes ran against Democratic state Sen. James Clayborne in November as a Republican but now he is running with a team of three Democratic precinct committeemen in his bid for St. Clair Township supervisor. Has he switched parties or does he hope that both parties will be confused and vote for him?
Scary, sexy, violent
I enjoy going to good movies but it gets harder all the time to find one that isn't upsetting or dirty. I quote one of the recent PG-13 movie reviews: "Scary images, profanity, mild violence and sexual content." How could this be rated PG-13? The morals of this country are terrible.
20 million out of work
I keep reading about the sequestration and its effect on the local economy and in particular as many as 4,500 civilian employees at Scott Air Force Base. This is a sad situation; however, I've never seen anything in the paper about how the economy and the deficit are affecting the 20 million people who are out of work. At least the civilian employees at Scott have a job and are supported by the taxpayers.
Too tough for a CPA?
Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert has the city in such a mess that a CPA has decided not to run for the elected position to clean it up. Wake up, Belleville residents. Your beautiful city is so financially corrupted that even an expert doesn't want to try to straighten it out.
Ruby exit won't help
The Fairview Heights Ruby Lane issue has raised its ugly head again. Why is the City Council debating it again? Will the exit help rejuvenate the west end of town that has turned into an economic desert? No, it won't. What businesses have committed to build in the cornfields this exit will lead to? None. I urge the council to fish or cut bait. Is the exit going in? Put the Ruby Lane residents out of their misery one way or another.
ESL housing legacy
Interesting story on the East St. Louis Housing Authority being turned over to St. Clair County Housing Authority and the fact that some officials believe East St. Louis could run that agency. Do they really think the rest of us are fools? Well, obviously a certain number of us are because the folks down there keep getting re-elected. If you have a short memory, the News-Democrat has miles of articles on the East St. Louis Housing Authority.
Exit can save schools
The Grant-Illini School District in Fairview Heights is experiencing tough times because, like every other school district, funds from the state and federal government have been drastically cut. Additionally Grant has seen its revenue from real estate taxes decline. School leaders have thrown up its hands indicating they are going bankrupt. Why, oh why, aren't the school board and administrators demanding that the City Council move immediately on the additional exit off Interstate 64? The increased revenue generated from commercial development from the exit would put the school district in the same position that Pontiac Holliday is in -- that is, the ability to run a quality school district without taxing the individual homeowner.
Diversity in judiciary
A letter writer's recent comments regarding the need for diversity in our judicial system are 100 percent on target. Society is more likely to support and respect the decisions of a judicial system with which it can identify. Why did the News-Democrat fail to include in its article his comments on the most under-represented segment of our society, Republicans? There are no Republicans among the 13 associate judges presently serving.
Wrong on Obamacare
Two years ago, I had a medical problem which involved surgery. I wanted to go to an all-female physician group but when I called to make an appointment, I was informed that they didn't take Medicare. These people who call in and blame all medical issues on Obamacare are dreadfully misinformed. My denial of treatment was two years prior to the last election and Obamacare doesn't even begin until 2014. People, don't be so stupid.
Free phones from us
Among the various taxes, surcharges and fees that clog up the second page of your phone bill, you'll find something called a "Universal Service Fund" charge that quietly came about in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. What is this you ask? Well, you're paying someone else's phone bill. Turns out any citizen who is on welfare, food stamps or Medicaid or whose income is less than 135 percent of the federal poverty line is entitled to a free land line or cell phone. It is called "Lifeline" and will pay for a $30 wireless phone or pick up the cost for a landline. Lifeline is a promising contender for the worst government program in America. An audit of just one company in Florida and Tennessee rooted out so many cases of fraud that it was determined the cell phone company had been overpaid by millions of dollars in just two months. Under the Obama administration, Lifeline has increased from $772 million in 2008 to $2.2 billion in 2012.
Enyart must speak up
I've been a conservative all my long life but in the last election I voted for Democrat Bill Enyart for U.S. representative because of his character. But after reading and listening to the news about the White House being shut down because of the sequester, I think it's time for Enyart to step up and give his opinion on the president's actions. It's pure B.S. that the president can spend $200 million flying around campaigning and playing golf with Tiger Woods on the taxpayers money and then state we don't have the money to operate tours at the White House. I voted for Enyart because of his character. I would appreciate him proving me right.
For legal education
I don't agree with the Sound-off caller who said that letter writer Matt Hawkins was ludicrous for wanting legal education in schools. If you think about it, the schools have been teaching kids about sex for years. They have daycares and medical clinics in the schools but none of that would do any good if the kids don't know how to abide by the law. So I think legal education is a good start.
Wait on contract
It has come to my attention that Darcy Benway, the superintendent of O'Fallon High School District 203, has asked the current board of education to extend her contract for an additional five years at the March board meeting, only a month before a new board will be seated. She is in year two of her current five-year contract. It is both unconscionable and unethical to think that the current board members would extend her contract at this time of transition. Benway is already the highest paid superintendent in Southern Illinois with fewer responsibilities than superintedents at other larger districts. The negative effects on the school environment and in the community would be multifold.
Reserve funds too fat
It appears that O'Fallon Township High School Superintendent Darcy Benway is on a self-serving agenda to receive praise for the highest test scores and lowest student expenditures in Illinois. Benway's fiscal irresponsibility verges on the brink of arrogance. At a recent board meeting it was presented that District 203 is holding $7.5 million in reserve funds, accounting for 25 percent of the district's expenditures. A healthy fund balance is in the range of 5 percent to 8 percent of the district's operational budget or expenditures. As I see it, the problem isn't in keeping a fund balance. The problem is keeping excessive fund balances while at the same time cutting teaching staff, increasing class sizes, and eliminating programs for at-risk students. As a taxpayer, I want my children to reap the benefits of a quality education and a positive learning environment and not use the excessive savings for her personal agenda.
Walters boosts GOP
If anyone needs one more reason to be a Republican it should be that letter writer Jim Walters isn't.
Call it Lincoln Bridge
How about the Lincoln Bridge? There is nothing of any significance in Southern Illinois or St. Louis named for him. Historians tag him the greatest president and he's for sure one of the greatest Americans. We don't even celebrate his birth without him sharing it with the likes of Harding and Carter on Presidents Day, yikes! In this day and age of sports and celebrity can we take a historical view of what and who has been important? We have a MLK bridge; it's time for the Lincoln.