I want to thank St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern for watching out for us taxpayers. Scott Flood is only costing us $56,000 this time around in a county job compared with $70,000 in his previous state job.
Give us a break
Could St. Clair County at least get several bids on the bedroom set for Scott Flood's office?
Politics of hypocrisy
Here are just a couple of examples of hypocrisy by St. Clair County employees. State's Attorney Brendan Kelly says bad cops insult the sacrifice and courage of good cops. Well, state's attorneys who do not prosecute well-connected employees like Coroner Rick Stone insult the taxpayers. And then you have Chief Judge John Baricevic saying the appointment of associate judges has nothing to do with race. This comes from the guy who once referred to TV newsman Elliot Davis as "Rufus."
Trouble for pensions
You want to know what's wrong with the pension system in Illinois? Just look at what former judge Dennis Hatch is making in retirement--$120,000 a year being paid by taxpayers who wish they could have made that when they worked. And yet, Hatch is out making another $50,000 a year as another public employee for which he will probably get an additional pension. If it wasn't for the corruption in this state, the greed of the individuals serving in the state would overrun it.
Taxes for salaries?
There were a lot of teachers walking in O'Fallon on March 9 asking people to vote for the referendum to raise property taxes. They said we need to do it for the kids and the betterment of the community. When the teachers' contract negotiations start next month, I wonder if they will still be concerned about the kids and the community or if they will be more interested in pay raises and incentives for themselves and their union. Maybe that's what this referendum is really all about.
Time change costs us
Whoever decided to start daylight-saving time in early March instead of the end of March or April 1 is evidently not someone who has to get up early in the morning. My dog doesn't even like to get up that early and the school children are waiting for buses in the dark, particularly on a rainy day. It has no advantages and it is putting people in danger. Arizona is the only state with common sense to just let the time be the time and not try to switch it twice a year.
Justice and Bathon
I do hope justice actually will be served for this horrific crime committed by former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon and his co-conspirators. It is dreadfully sickening to think Bathon could get off with a short sentence in some country club minimum security facility just for becoming a snitch. The prosecutors should dig into whether the home he recently sold for $400,000 in Edwardsville was paid for with stolen money before he parks those dollars in some bank in Florida, where he plans to retire after he serves his term in the dorm.
A recent caller said that she was refused medical service because she had Medicare, which predated Obamacare. I'm a physician and I can tell you that since President Obama has taken office he has put doctors and hospitals firmly in his sights. He has gone on record saying that the cuts in Medicare will be cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals. He has turned CMS, which runs Medicare, into more of an agency like the IRS. Now it is a punitive branch of the government that comes into a medical provider's office, looks at what you are doing and if you don't do everything perfect, takes money away retroactively. Who wants to deal with all this regulation? I do not and will not in the future. I just received my notice from Medicare that there will be a 2 percent cut in payments to all doctors and hospitals starting April 1. Two percent doesn't sound like much but that's 2 percent off the gross and I live off what's left over, not what comes in, so it's more like a 10 percent pay cut to me.
The Medicare mess
This is in response to the caller who was refused treatment because her doctor of choice no longer takes Medicare patients. She also said that Obamacare doesn't go into effect until 2014 and that we are stupid for not supporting President Obama. This is typical thinking of a misinformed liberal. The reason doctors are not taking new Medicare patients is that Obama took $750 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Parts of Obamacare have been in place for three years. Doctors are not going to wait around until Dec. 31 to let you know they are not taking Medicare patients.
Long wait on Roth
I see that Caseyville Police Chief J.D. Roth was put on administrative leave finally. It took Mayor George Chance and the Village Board long enough to make that decision and it probably wouldn't have happened if not for St. Clair County Brendan Kelly. I heard the letter from Kelly discussing credibility concerns about Roth was dropped off at Village Hall at 4 p.m. on a Friday but was not put into any official's mailbox until Monday morning. I have to ask why. It's time for this mayor to go.
The jobs dry up
In East St. Louis we have the minority and misled majority. Yes, the East St. Louis Housing Authority should have been taken over by St. Clair County 20 years ago. The good ol' boy politics in the city is coming to an end and the party boys can no longer award you a job that you are not qualified to have. The District 189 School Board is run by the state, the Housing Authority soon will be run by St. Clair County. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin helped clean up the night clubs with the help of the Police Department. We, the minority, will get rid of the East St. Louis Election Board and work on the Park Board. Change is finally coming to East St. Louis.
Every vote counts
Calling all registered voters. I've heard a lot of people complaining about election results but it's amazing how many people don't get out and vote. If you think your vote won't change anything, you're right. But your vote plus the votes of the other 80 percent of voters just like you would make a difference. Community elections are almost more important than presidential elections. You will see the results of them every time you look out your front door. On April 9 don't be just another complainer. Vote.
What would Stan do?
What would Stan Musial say if you could ask him about naming the new Mississippi River bridge? As a compassionate and humble man, and patriot, he wouldn't have wanted a bridge named for himself but instead would want it named for veterans.
It breaks my heart that our U.S. senators have passed a bill to name the new bridge for a ball player. Granted, Stan Musial was a great guy but this blatant lack of respect for those who have risked and even given their lives for their country makes me ashamed.
Taxpayers will pay
Why are people filing a class action lawsuit against Madison County over former county Treasurer Fred Bathon activities where his buddies won the bids on delinquent tax bills? Do they know who Madison County is? Madison County is me. Why do I have to pay? If they happen to win their case, my taxes will be raised. I didn't do anything to them so why are they punishing me?
I read that Belleville will spend $50,000 for a flood study of the Orchards subdivision. What type of engineering study was done when the Orchards was developed? That should have all been taken care of in the development stage and the city's overview of the development of that subdivision. It's about time the city started doing a little planning and requiring these developers to present a proper engineering study before a subdivision is allowed to be built. The city should require all this information before a subdivision is accepted for annexation. Here again, it's another one of Mayor Mark Eckert's policies of spending and wasting money in the city.
The Casino Queen and the Alton Belle are not losing money because of the gaming machines in the taverns. I have a sales route and most of the taverns that I go to don't even have poker machines. They are losing to the other competition, not to the bars.
Plan for Grant future
Grant-Illini School District in Fairview Heights has a referendum on the ballot for a school property tax increase. While I agree they need more money, the school board and superintendent should have come out strong for a North Ruby interchange. That immediate development would have brought tons of real estate taxes from commercial properties into school district and put us into the same strong financial position as the Pontiac School District. Unless the school board becomes more proactive and plans for our future, we are doomed to pay more money out of our pockets.
Catholics out of touch
What is all the hoopla about a new pope when Catholics didn't listen to the last one? As I remember, the Vatican and American cardinals and bishops preached to vote for Romney and that sure didn't happen, not to mention they were told to oppose abortion, birth control, gay marriage and Obamacare. That reminds me of Jerry Costello. I'll be taking the long way over the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, even with $4 a gallon Obama gas, to avoid the highway named for Costello so I don't have to look at his name. Before tearing down the Belleville fountain and erecting a Costello statue, I wish your reporters would ask him if he has any regrets voting for that fiasco Obamacare after his office promised me the day before the vote that Jerry was "a firm 'no'".
Bad place for signs
As a Swansea business owner, I feel forced to state this complaint in the Sound-off to avoid retaliation from certain village officials. My business is located on North Illinois Street. Imagine my surprise on Thursday morning when I arrived to open up and there were Susan Schultz for trustee signs placed all along my parking lot. This gives the impression we support her and we do not. She didn't ask nor did she have permission to do this. Two days earlier a state highway truck was down the street taking her signs off of state property and hauling them away. I consider her behavior unacceptable and unethical.
There's no free lunch
This call is regarding PSOP (Programs and Services for Older Persons) in Belleville. It is great that we have this for older people but I am tired of hearing people say it's free. It is not free. Your taxes pay for this and it is run through Southwestern Illinois College. Let's think about the present tax situation and increasing taxes for schools. The teachers need to pay for their pensions and health care just like everybody else does. There's nothing in life that is free.
Learn from the pope
I read that the new pope is a humble man who often rode the bus and denied treasures of the earth. I hope our bishops will take note and do the same.
Is Braxton listening?
Regarding Belleville Catholic Bishop Edward Braxton and our new pope: It would be nice if Braxton would emulate the humility and the level of existence that the new pope has. Braxton should not be living a lavish lifestyle.