Sound-off 7/15

July 14, 2013 

Imagine our surprise while eating lunch on a Sunday with our kids when we saw three shackled inmates picking up trash followed by a police officer with his flashing lights right behind our house on Old Caseyville Road in Swansea. This is a road many kids travel on with their bikes to the school that is less than half a mile away. Joggers and walkers are on this road all the time. Would the officer be able to react in time if these inmates chose to act inappropriately? I applaud the system for having these guys do some community service, but couldn't they find a place where there aren't children playing every day?

Slow down, motorists

I cannot tell you how many times I have almost been hit coming out of Petsmart and the Dollar Store in Belleville. On a recent day if I had stepped off the curb, I would have been hit. When I yelled at the driver, I received the universal salute. This needs to stop before someone or a pet gets severely injured or killed.

In it for himself

New St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook needs another pension? No, he just wanted to help the public. Right.

Growing pains

Like many other people, I think the growth at Lindenwood University in Belleville is great for our city, but recently it has become clear the school may be growing faster than it can provide decent housing for its students. I believe Lindenwood needs rooms for kids to stay before it starts another growth spurt.

Focus on U.S. citizens

Why doesn't U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin explain why illegal aliens who broke our laws deserve a path to citizenship? When President Lincoln spoke of a government for the people, he wasn't talking about the people of Guatemala, Yemen, India or Mexico. Why aren't our elected representatives working for middle class U.S. citizens instead of illegal aliens?

Missing minutes

Where are the minutes from Belleville City Council meetings? Minutes have not been posted to the city's website since the May 30 special City Council meeting (the June 3 and June 17 minutes were posted on Friday). Dallas Cook, the new clerk, stated in his BND candidate profile: "The main responsibility of the city clerk's office is to make available city information to the public." He also committed to publishing verbatim minutes, not the summary type minutes we are used to seeing. By his own standards, Cook is not doing the job he was elected to do.

Cleanup in order

Swansea need to ensure that a property on Huntwood Road be cleaned up. We are tired of seeing this property with the shrubs and bushes so bad. Village officials keep turning their heads away from this property. It's time they do something to get this property cleaned up.

Bigger type, please

It would be nice if you could print the obituary list in a larger and darker font. Some days you can hardly read the names.

Roundabout criticism

As I drive throughout St. Clair, Madison and Monroe counties, I see more roundabouts being placed at certain four-way intersections. If these are such a good idea, why don't we see them in other places? Why don't they put one at the ramp coming off Illinois 15 onto Frank Scott Parkway, right by Belleville West High School? That would show how stupid and how much they really don't work.

Old way was simpler

It seems that many things are made purposely complicated. I live in rural Dupo and in the past if I was going on vacation, I could merely call the Dupo Post Office and put my mail on hold. Now I have to go to the Columbia Post Office and fill out a mail stop card. The Columbia Post Office is 10 miles one way from my home. I thought the goal of business was to make things simpler.

Same old stuff in 189

Someone needs to take a look at the state people who run East St. Louis School District 189. They came in to improve the district; however, they are doing the same things as the people prior to them. They are hiring their friends making six figures and continuing to lay off teachers and other people who are important to the district. Why are there so many administrators downtown at the main office and there are only five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school and fewer students?

A state of its own

Once again Gov. Pat Quinn has shown his contempt for the people of Southern Illinois. Once again he's shown he only cares for Chicago. Maybe it's time Chicago becomes the 51st state. Obviously what's good for Chicago isn't good for the rest of the state.

Who's in charge here?

Caseyville's new mayor, Len Black, sure has started off on the wrong foot. He doesn't begin to have control of his meetings. I attended a recent meeting and was appalled how Brad VanHoose from Belleville tells Black what to do and say from the back of the room. Evidently the acting police chief doesn't want to hire a certain person's kid as an officer and VanHoose must have written a letter to the chief as Black saying he doesn't have any control of the policemen. When Black was questioned, VanHoose became irate. Sounds like the new mayor is VanHoose, not Black.

Mad about McIntosh

I read Carolyn Smith's story on July 4 about Washington Park cutting firefighters and adding advisers. I see that Trustee Willie "Big Mac" McIntosh voted for these layoffs. In April, then Canteen Township Supervisor McIntosh lost to Norm Miller. A short time later McIntosh resigned as a St. Clair County Board member. His wife, Joan McIntosh, resigned from being a Washington Park trustee and was appointed in her husband's place on the County Board. Later Willie McIntosh was appointed to fill his wife's spot as a Washington Park trustee. What is going on? This doesn't seem right.

Nothing ever changes

Excellent editorial about Washington Park and how it can't keep going on like this. The thing is, it will continue. Come on. Is East St. Louis every going to get any better? No. Why not? We know the answer. Is a place like Washington Park ever going to get better? No. Why not? We know the answer. They can't take care of themselves. This isn't a racist statement, it's a factual statement.

Changing the subject?

Why the investigation into Washington Park's finances now? Is it to throw us off about the scandals at the St. Clair County courthouse?

Can't beat AL teams

Once again the St. Louis Cardinals prove they cannot beat the American League unless they play their annual six games with the Kansas City Royals to make up for the 1985 World Series loss. Series losses to the Rangers, Athletics and Angels and a split with the lowly Royals are the best this team can do.

Enforce parking law

When is Belleville going to start doing something about the violations and misuse of handicapped parking? It is atrocious. You see young people who are physically fit getting into vans and SUVs then putting up a handicapped placard. It has to belong to someone else. It's ridiculous. How about enforcing the law for a change?

Hire Illinois firms

I read in the paper that an Illinois county is hiring a Missouri architect for $140,000 to renovate the county jail. Oh, I'm OK with the renovation. But if Illinois is so broke, why is taxpayer money going to an out-of-state architect? Doesn't Illinois have architects who can do the job? Who is responsible for giving big money contracts to out-of-state firms? Our state needs the money. Remember, we're broke.

Good job in Cahokia

I would like to thank Cahokia Mayor Gary Cornwell and the village workers for taking care of the village by cutting the grass, fixing sewer breaks and streets. I give this mayor at least a B. The previous mayor, I would give him a D or F. Thank you to Cornwell for taking a lot better care of our community than the previous mayor ever did. The residents of Cahokia should truly appreciate his concern.

Don't sidestep issue

Reference U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart's comments concerning Scott Air Force Base and the relationship to Mid-America Airport. It appears Enyart is mixing apples and oranges. He talks about the airport being instrumental in bringing long runways for Scott's use. He also talks about Mid-America Airport providing a buffer zone around Scott. The runways are in place whether Mid-America stays or goes. As far as the buffer zone, that is assured by the air compatibility use requirements. Mid-America is a money pit. I suggest Enyart come up with a fiscal reason to keep Mid-America, otherwise it should be closed.

Better uses for TIF

If the mayor would get rid of tax increment financing, Belleville wouldn't need a sales tax increase. Tax money should not go to individuals, it should go to our Police Department. But since individuals are going to be carrying guns, I guess we don't need the police anymore either.

Democrats, pensions

Because of the Illinois pension fiasco, Gov. Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan have no chance of being re-elected. House Speaker Mike Madigan is out of touch and needs to retire. Madigan's pension reform bill is designed to buy the support of Illinois judges by excluding them from the penalties of pension reform. Many lawmakers voted for this desperate dirty trick. As a lifetime Democrat and retiree, I will vote for the Republican gubernatorial candidate, who I know is my enemy, rather than for a Democrat who I thought was my friend but instead stabbed me in the back.

Appalled by response

I have made two 911 calls within the last five months. The first one someone was trying to get in my back door before 5 a.m. It was dark outside. I was told by dispatchers to look to see who was out there. The Belleville Police never came. The second, I called about violence next door after 9 p.m. on a Friday. Four police cars and a K-9 unit showed up. At least three officers stood around while the others worked. Approximately 45 minutes later, I asked to speak to one young officer who had been on his cell phone four or five times. His answer: If I have time. Thank you, chief.

Drug testing needed

I know parents have no control over what their adult children do; however, isn't former St. Clair County Judge Mike Cook-s father some kind of muckety muck in Belleville politics? You mean to tell me he wasn't aware that his adult child was using drugs and and let him sit on the bench, putting people in jail? I'm sorry but I have to agree with those people picketing at the courthouse. Everybody in the courthouse should have to take a drug test. It should go from Chief Judge John Baricevic on down.

Althoff at fault

Shame on Althoff High School. In regard to the allegation that some boys videotaped girls in the locker room, I recently found out that there is a large hole where a dead bolt was once located. With all of the renovations and beautifying done in the past years with donated funds, maybe they should have replaced the faulty door.

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