Sound-off 7/29

July 28, 2013 

I'm calling in regard to the editorial "The wrong use of TIF in Belleville." For all the commentary that your paper does, why aren't your reporters actually looking into the whole issue of TIF? How they are created, how does it work and why can Mayor Mark Eckert can use TIFs like candy? As a taxpayer I'm offended that private businesses are being rewarded; is there some quid quo pro? If you really want to get rid of Eckert, why didn't you endorse him for re-election? That would have done it.

Instead of sales tax

Message for Belleville Mayor Eckert in regard whether to keep the 1/4-cent sales tax: Why not cut half the TIF money you are collecting and use some of that to pay for the policemen's salaries? Why don't you let the taxes go to where they are needed.

Dump this deal

I agree with the BND and the downtown Belleville businesses should be forced to move the Dumpsters off city-owned property. Are we also paying for their pickup? I wish St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly would look into Belleville. Also, the tables on Main Street are nice, but businesses should be paying rent to the city to put tables on public sidewalks. Does the city have dram shop insurance?

Too light a sentence

What's wrong with our judicial system? Check out the case of James L. Griesbaum in Madison County Circuit Court. He killed another driver in a head-on collision and her mother suffered critical injuries. He had previous DUI charges and had been arrested for running flashing red lights and trying to elude police. He pleaded guilty to two DUI charges but will be sentenced to only 42 months in prison with the sentences running concurrently. So the bottom line is, you can kill one person, you can critically injure another person while you are under the influence and get out of jail in four years. Shame on whoever accepted this plea agreement.

A lack of leadership

I've been following the MidAmerica Airport oversight discussions in the BND. I wonder why St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern isn't out there showing some leadership. The sole weak quote on the subject in the BND was reportedly gained while Kern was out for a walk in Belleville. Is that any way for a captain to steer his galley through choppy seas? He ought to be standing there at the helm guiding his ship instead of allowing the oarsmen, in the form of Public Building Commission and County Board members, to do all the steering. We're not paying Capt. Kern to lay low and wait for the smoke to clear.

Did developer have in?

It wouldn't surprise me if the developer from Springfield, Mo., who wants to build rental homes in Belleville wasn't connected with Eckert's good friend, Geri Boyer of Kaskaskia Engineering.

Be careful out there

One lesson everyone can learn from the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman encounter is that no matter how disrespectful you feel a stranger is to you, no matter how good a street fighter you feel you are, never, ever, pick a fight with a stranger because you cannot predict what that stranger might do.

Foot-in-mouth trouble

Does President Obama think before he speaks? If this country is so racist, how does he think he got elected? Unless every ballot box in this country is stuffed a la East St. Louis, some white people must have voted for him. If NBC hadn't edited the 911 tape everyone would know that George Zimmerman didn't even mention Trayvon Martin's color until asked by the 911 operator.

Parking priorities

I think I have answer to the handicapped parking complaints. I think there should be a ranking on your disability. If you are totally handicapped, in a wheelchair or have a life-threatening disease, you get to park in the first spot. If you just have pain or a colostomy bag or you are incontinent, you get to park in the second spot. If you have a sprain or something wrong with your ankles or feet or if you are obese, you get to park in the third spot. If you have a headache, you don't get to park in any of the spots. That should take care of it.

Look beyond Trayvon

Trayvon Martin's death in Florida was a tragedy. But the death of the 11-year-old in Belleville at the hands of a 6-year-old who mishandled a firearm was also a tragedy. The tragedy of the young men and women in the St. Louis area and the metro-east in particular need to be given the same type of notoriety. When can we expect the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in the metro-east to help stop this senseless killing of our youths?

Unions won't forget

For all of the Illinois lawmakers who are using the state unions as scapegoats on the pension crisis and who are supporting House Speaker Michael Madigan's cruel pension bill: We union members and our many supporters can't wait to vote every one of the traitors out of office. At least with Senate President John Cullerton's pension bill, there is some empathy and fairness.

Not about fashion

It doesn't take rocket science to understand why black men in hoodies will always be looked at in a negative light. For years the gangsta rappers and their lyrics have accepted and encouraged a criminal lifestyle and their uniform is the hoodie. Evidence of this is presented every day in the news with videos with smash and grabs, convenience store holdups, and drug dealing. Making believe that the hoodie is just a fashion choice is about as ridiculous as a Southerner referring to the Confederate flag as a symbol as states rights instead of slavery.

Supersized America

I am appalled at the number of obese people I see. People need to be responsible for their own health. People can barely walk. I see young people who look like they are dragging themselves. We've become a fast food supersized society, that's for sure.

Price manipulation

The media had gas prices on the front page every day while President Bush was in office. It happens once in a blue moon now. Give the Democrats credit. Gas prices are going to $4 a gallon or more and you watch, right before the 2014 election our President Obama and the other liberals will open drilling on American soil. The price will drop, they will be heroes, get re-elected and then they will ban drilling again. All for power.

Liberals aren't looking

I love liberals. Gas goes up to $3 a gallon and they scream about George Bush profiteering for oil companies. Now it's up to $4 a gallon, and nary a peep. Interesting. Hypocrisy at its finest. Only when your man is in office, but not the other way.

Better use of troops

If we want more immigration control at the border, why don't we get some of the 73,000 troops we have in Germany and bring them home to control the border? Talk is we are going to hire 20,000 more people to do this job. Let's bring 35,000 troops home and use them for this purpose. They will spend their money here and not in Germany and I think 35,000 troops in Germany is more than is probably needed.

Win some, lose some

What great photographs of the robot competition. Your photographer, Derik Holtman, managed to perfectly capture the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Congratulations also to the little genius students who participated in this.

Groundhog day

Has anyone else noticed a population explosion of groundhogs in Belleville? Last week we had five in our fenced yard. The Sanitation Department has a traps available, but the list to get a trap is quite long. If nothing is done about the groundhogs, we will have even more next year.

A gun isn't an option

As I read the letter to the editor by Retha Connors, I was shocked to read that when her brother was 18 he fired a weapon and became a felon. Connors stated her brother has been shot before and needs a weapon so he can protect himself. Illinois law forbids a felon to be in possession of a weapon. Second, it sounds like her brother hangs out with the wrong crowd at wrong places if he has had several incidents involving a weapon including being shot. Maybe Connors needs to explain to him that she loves him and wants him to make better decisions. If he continues to break the law by having a weapon in his possession, then she and her brother will have to face the fact he will probably end up in prison or worse, shot again.

Thanks for lunch

I and another Patriot Guard Rider want to thank the two gracious NCOs who anonymously paid for our lunch at 54th Street Grill on July 19. Their kindness is very much appreciated and we thank them also for their service to our country.

Why must we wait?

Why can't we conceal carry in Illinois with our FOID cards until we get our permits because it also required a background check?

Watch out, Caseyville

The residents of Caseyville better pay attention to their new mayor and newly elected board. At a recent meeting they tried very hard to pass items that never went through committees. Also, they are paying Rick Casey to work as the village treasurer and he has not been appointed by the board. The village also has a pending lawsuit against him. Watch your tax dollars carefully now.

Moving fast

Caseyville Trustee Rick Casey Jr. isn't wasting any time in trying to get his family back on the village payroll. He and Mayor Leonard Black have created a $400 a month position of budget consultant for former TIF administrator/ treasurer Rick Casey Sr. I recall Rick Casey Sr. being ousted as TIF administrator for his questionable handling of the village TIF program. Casey Jr. also wants his aunt to be a police commissioner. I was recently told by a Casey family member that "the Casey family runs Caseyville now." I thought that Black and the Village Board were elected to run the village.

About-face on bills

For two years Rick Casey Jr. voted "no" on the approval of the Caseyville bills. Now that he is in charge of finances, he had no problem voting "yes" on paying the bills at the last board meeting, which included $600 to his dad, Rick Casey, for his position as budget consultant (which, by the way, was never voted on by the Village Board). Also, I was told all village minutes would be posted on the Internet. The minutes have not been posted online since March when Len Black was clerk prior to being elected mayor.

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