Sound-off 6/24

June 24, 2013 

All it takes is for one wall to fall and then the whole house will crumble. But what never ceases to amaze me is that when public officials feel the law closing in, they either decide to retire or they suddenly come up with an illness. However, with U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton, I don't think it's going to help.

Learn the lingo

For a community that prides itself on being "military friendly," you'd think the BND staff would be more military savvy in its reporting. Recently BND had photos of what was obviously an Air Force lieutenant colonel wearing a flight suit and repeatedly referred to him as a "Lt." Then there was an article about an Air Force technical sergeant assigned at Scott. The article identified his unit as "the 375th Civil Engineers Quadrant" but the correct name is "375th Civil Engineer Squadron." In your circulation area, where unemployed military retirees abound, you'd think you could enlist the services of a technical advisor to catch goofs like those.

Surprised by spending

I would like to respond to Grant School District 110 spending $4.15 million on employees in 2012. Why is that the parents have to pay for children to participate in extracurricular activities? It is not fair that this is being done when so much money is being spent on employees. This district is always crying broke and I really see why. I am a parent who has been paying for years for my children to participate in basketball and track. I always have been responsible for the transportation to and from the events. Oh, yes, they did reduce the fee from $50 to $30 per sport. It is just ridiculous that parents have to pay for these activities.

Mixed-up priorities

I just read the article about having 150 road projects in the metro-east. Surely some of those can wait. Wouldn't the money be better spent on education? The state has been skipping payments to the districts for years.

Can't figure Cub fans

I was with a group of co-workers discussing the Cardinals and the Cubs. I work with people who were transplanted from the Chicago area. Every year they have their hopes dashed and comment, "Maybe next year." I finally asked: Why don't you just become Cardinal fans? One co-worker looked at me and said, "I'd rather change religions." I don't understand.

Drama must sell

"Disputed double play" screamed the headline on David Wilhelm's article on a recent Cardinals game. The first line blared, "A controversial call" followed by many lines explaining that it was really nothing at all. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the veteran umpire made the right call. I guess the drama queen approach sells more papers.

Skewed sign rules

I thought the sign ordinance was for the outside of buildings, not on the inside of privately owned buildings that are not subsidized by the city. Dianne Rogge had all the right in the world to hang any sign she wants in her building windows, especially the one about TIF.

TIF funds misused

The money brought into a TIF district is to stay in that district. Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert makes the rules as he goes along.

Computers need ER

Besides phones, the computer system was also down at Memorial Hospital in Belleville for several days. Doctors could not get records sent to them.

E. St. Louis on a roll

East St. Louis has good things going for it. They have the prisoners cleaning up the streets, their old politicians' families are now in Belleville, also Belleville paid to have a nice park at the foot of Edgemont hill for a nice entrance into East St. Louis and others whose families migrated up the hill have opened bars and restaurants in downtown Belleville. What more can you ask for, except to be one of those who bought property cheap for back taxes in East St. Louis?

Splashing isn't funny

During the recent storm on June 17, I was out by the street clearing the inlets because the water was clogged and couldn't go into the sewer. I was bent over. All of a sudden a man going very fast sped through the deep water and threw a sheet of water on me. I wanted to thank that guy for soaking me. He was driving a black and silver pickup truck with a white toolbox on the back.

A hole in Belleville

I went by the Belleville swimming pool. There it is another big hole. On that property there is somebody's boat, a trailer and a tractor trailer sitting there. Are the owners paying to park there? Isn't it shame that Highland, New Baden and Mascoutah can have such nice pools and then there is Belleville.

Deterrent to crime

This is in reply to the previous letter writer's question of what can be expected if concealed carry is allowed in Illinois. It would mean that young delinquents canvassing a neighborhood at night with crime on their mind would think twice about what house they plan to burglarize or who they can beat up and rob.

No need for building

Belleville High School District 201 is spending about $500,000 for a building. Tell me they don't have any room at East and West high schools to handle their administrative duties.

Follow your taxes

I reviewed my recently received tax bill, and it is alarming to see how much goes toward education and police and fire pensions. I live in Belleville, am in my 60s, and have 67 percent of my total tax bill going to education. In addition, 37 percent of what I pay to the city goes to the police and fire pensions. It doesn't take a Harvard graduate to figure out the unions are going to bankrupt our communities. We must freeze salaries including step increases and/or not allow pensions to be drawn until at least age 65. If something doesn't change quickly, we will be forced to move to another state that offers a better value for our tax dollars.

Legion's still great

When I was a boy, my parents would take us down Illinois 159 south to the Smithton American Legion. We would have fish in their beer garden. Recently I went there and the fish stand is still going strong, the beer garden has been upgraded. They put a roof on it with nine ceiling fans to make a nice breeze blow and to keep away all the bugs. I want to thank all the all the veterans for their military services; God bless America.

Typical politics

I guess Bob Delaney, who resigned last week as St. Clair County clerk, was just another one of the tyrants who rules the county with an iron fist, thinking they are above the law, paying off all their friends. I wonder how those guys sleep at night?

Get those comments

I am tired of public officials "not able to be reached for comment." St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern was not available all week. He needs to be reminded he works for us. He is getting as elusive as county Democratic Party Chairman Bob Sprague, who never comments. The BND is doing a disservice to its readers. Calling these guys on the telephone is not cutting it. Get off of your duffs and camp out on their doorsteps and get a comment.

Don't deserve to die

Pants-dragging youth aren't always punks and certainly don't deserve to be killed on sight on any American street. Letter writer Jim Walters has gone over a very big line to spew his opinion in his letter to the BND. George Zimmerman is the one who deserves what he gets for being a vigilante and harassing another American.

Madigan's move

State House Speaker Michael Madigan is playing games with pension reform in an attempt to make it easier for his daughter Lisa to beat Gov. Pat Quinn in a primary challenge. Voters need to remember this and not reward the Madigans next spring.

Where are the jobs?

I have been on unemployment since October, and I now have 16 percent less because of the sequesture for Illinois. That is $200 less a month for me and 150 resumes later. Where are the jobs? Employers advertise in the paper, on websites, etc. but seldom any responses. I have had a few interviews with promising conversations but end of story. I worked in human resources and went to many classes on how to treat people and respect was always at the top of the list. I just wonder if management is aware of how people are being treated. Please give the unemployed a chance.

What a stretch

I think your recent effort to relate East St. Louis crime and economic decay with any possible closure of Scott Air Force Base is quite a stretch. Hopefully most base employees and residents know of ESL and Washington Park only as exits off I-64 that should never be taken under any circumstance. As with any cancer, localizing it is probably the best we can hope under the current circumstances. s

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