Sound-off 9/9

September 9, 2013 

Once again the victim and their families were let down by St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly. He said that anytime a defendant pleads guilty to what would normally be the maximum sentence for murder, it is a good thing. Well, the murder of Yoko Cullen was in no way normal. And perhaps if a relative of Kelly were burned alive he would rethink this.

No leniency for Cullen

I am calling in regard to the editorial in the Sept. 5 BND. Your editor got it right. I grew up with the Cullen kids. I knew Yoko Cullen, who was burned alive in the trunk of her car. I loved that woman. A juvenile delinquent gets leniency. Where was the leniency for Yoko Cullen?

TIF rules change

Why is it that a few years ago a Belleville resident who lived in a different TIF district than a restaurant seeking money was not allowed to speak at a meeting? Now the city gives downtown businessman John Conkright big TIF money from TIF 3 and supposedly he's in TIF 17.

Sign overreach

When in the world did the mayor of Belleville and others come up with a sign ordinance for signs inside a private building? I only remember the sign ordinance controlling the outside of the building. Get rid of these politicians. They tear down buildings possibly burned by an arsonist without investigation and do as they please.

Not the city's business

Since when does the city have any right to tell us what kind of sign we can put in a privately owned business? It's all right for some businesses to put tables and trash containers on public property and even get $15,000 to hide them. Since when does the sign ordinance cover what's on the inside of a private building? Get rid of the mayor and his staff.

Why no liquor fines?

Until July it was against the law to serve alcoholic beverages on Belleville public sidewalks. Why weren't those businesses that were serving alcohol on the sidewalks fined?

Cards are doomed

I see St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Lance Lynn has done it again. His three recent outings, he doesn't know where the strike zone is. Between him and Jake Westbrook, the Cardinals will never stay in the playoff hunt. I am a Cardinal fan, but I certainly don't like the way things have been going. I hope next year that maybe manager Mike Matheny or GM John Mozeliek will get rid of these two pitchers because they have just lost all of it.

Uneven road funding

As I drive throughout St. Clair County, I notice all the resurfacing of roads. I find even more amazing the lack of resurfacing that is being done in Cahokia, Centreville, East St. Louis and Alorton. Perfect example: Mousette Lane in Cahokia. Mousette was widened in 1985 or 1986 and hasn't been resurfaced since. I can drive into the Belleville, Fairview Heights, Waterloo, Smithton or Red Bud and see repaved roads when they didn't need repaving. How about giving a fair share of road money to the bottom-lying area, or is that too much to ask of the County Board?

Plenty of room now

If the Belleville Police manned the west end police building that the city already owns, the overcrowding at the downtown building would be eased. The Belleville Police would also have been available to prevent or deal with the blockade of West Main Street outside a convenience store.

Apply ordinance to all

An article about the crime-free housing ordinance in Belleville said it will not apply to nursing homes, hotels, public housing or dorms. Why doesn't it apply to public housing? Not applying the ordinance to public housing units is, in my opinion, a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, meaning equal protection under the law. If Belleville is going to apply it to one, it needs to apply it to all. The same for dorms, that is considered housing.

Crime-free isn't fair

Regarding Belleville's proposed crime-free ordinance. The city cannot remove people charged with a misdemeanor from their homes because they haven't been proven guilty. The other concern: What if it is a parent? If a father is accused of breaking the law, does that mean his family is put out on the streets? The crime-free ordinance is idiotic. It does not take into consideration fairness.

Follow the money

On June 25, St. Clair Township Highway Commissioner John "Skip" Kernan proposed a budget that included $650,000 for road construction projects. He did not provide a list of projects to justify that spending. He said he had been in office only five weeks and did not know what projects he would do. The Board approved his budget on a 3-2 vote. Two months later, Kernan still has not revealed how he will spend the money. So much for an open and transparent government.

Spice up turkey day

With regard to the traditional rivalry of Belleville West and Althoff, why not have the schools compete after the state championships, on Thanksgiving Day, like West and the East St. Louis Flyers used to do? It would reinstate a tradition of a Thanksgiving Day game and they wouldn't have to worry about player injuries or jeopardizing state their championships because they are over by that time.

Don't target teachers

I question whether the BND editorial staff reads its own articles. We have both local and state officials who have proven to be incompetent. The elected local school board members are never chastised when they negotiate and accept a new contract with teachers. The superintendents hired by those elected officials state that their teachers are the best and deserve what has been decided on. They, too, are never chastised for the part they play in this mess -- if there really is a mess. We have teachers who have in good faith played by the rules and yet they are the ones who have been selected to be the targets of the pension problem in the state. Everybody else overlooks the other four pensions that are involved.

Why work on holiday?

I'm on Highway 50 heading toward Carlyle and Illinois Department of Transportation workers are out on a Sunday working on a bridge. They are repairing a hole. Five guys standing out there. That hole has been there for weeks now. So all of a sudden the state decides to send employees out there on double time, maybe even triple time, because it's the holiday weekend. Wow, and they wonder why the state is broke.

Stopping bullying

We constantly hear about bullying going on in the high schools. There is a very simple solution to ending that problem. Each student should be handled to a postcard on which they identify bullies. They don't have to sign their name, but just identify them anonymously. Turn the postcards into the school, have somebody go through them, and when a bully is listed on at least six to a dozen cards, call that students in with his parents and tell him that if it doesn't stop he is going to be suspended.

Bridges to nowhere

If you think the road to nowhere is stupid, what about all those bridges out on new Highway 50? What are there, about six of eight of them? They go nowhere, there is just a bridge and no road. I guess our former congressman was playing favorites and doing a favor for somebody. I think they are worse than the road to nowhere.

Hello, Animal Control?

For the past two weeks I've tried to call St. Clair County Animal Control. Regardless as to what extension I push, it always seems everybody is busy taking care of other customers. Approximately two weeks ago a dog adopted me and the wife. It's not my animal and I know it has to somebody's because of how well-trained it is. Problem is, if somebody has lost a dog the only way I'm going to find out is if I drive to Belleville and go to Animal Control . It seems they are way too busy to answer their phone.

Hole lot of fun

I am calling about the Glenn McCoy cartoon regarding the downtown Belleville black hole. I thought it was funny. It reminded me of an old putdown: How many politicians does it take to get a hole in the ground covered up? The answer to that is none; they are all playing golf somewhere else.

Favoritism at play?

Remember four years ago when Collinsville began its testing procedure for laborers? The end results were that the sons of a street department director and water/wastewater director were one and two on the list out of 29 applicants. Well, the civil service board and city officials are at it again. This time the No. 1 man on the list has been eating lunch and meeting with the city manager, the street department director and the fire chief three to four times a week. This individual did extensive work on the vehicles of the city manager and the street department director.

Look out for lawsuits

We drove by East McKinley Street and it looks like they are starting to move utilities for street widening. I have a question for the city engineer. The power company is putting in the power poles in the middle of the sidewalk. Does that violation handicap accessibility laws? I'd hate for Belleville to get sued again for stupidity.

Reputation matters

I retired from the military after serving as a senior officer on base location analysis, I wish to share with readers the importance of the civilian environment surrounding the base. Our transportation infrastructure is well above average, but the reputation of St. Clair County for dishonest politicians and crime is notorious. All hands should do everything possible to clean up our act to keep our largest employer, Scott Air Force Base, viable.

Why no bids?

St. Clair Township Supervisor David Barnes violated the bidding laws in Illinois when he got the board to purchase a generator that cost over $20,000 without publishing a bid notice in the newspaper. The Township might have experienced considerable savings had the bidding been done legally.

Is the money paid?

We read in the BND about all the fines, penalties and restitution that are imposed upon the lawbreakers by the judges, but I'm wondering about how much of these are actually paid. If the BND could find out the unpaid fines, restitution, etc. in St. Clair and the surrounding counties I am sure it would amaze you and the rest of us taxpayers. Also, what steps are taken to collect these fines and what happens if that is not successful. Are they just off the hook?

A call for enforcement

To the police: Beginning Jan. 1, please don't hesitate to arrest those fools who think they must constantly have a cell phone glued to their left hand and ear while driving. Studies prove that the more a person talks on a cell phone, the lower his IQ becomes. That also goes for the dopes who talk on cell phones while being checked out in grocery stores, in drive-thru lines at fast food places or drug stores, or sitting at a table with family and friends when they should be talking to the people right in front of them. Too bad you can't arrest them for rudeness. Unfortunately, stupidity is also still legal in this state.

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