Sound-off 12/9

December 8, 2013 

It isn't rocket science. If you want civility at Belleville City Council meetings, have aldermen who are responsive to the citizens instead of their own self-interests. People will naturally become angry if they feel they are being ignored and they are witnessing a corrupt government in action. Belleville is on a downhill slide toward the river, and we all see how those communities are failing.

The mayor problem

On your story on civility at Belleville City Council meetings, the first problem is the mayor. This is not a dictatorship. This is a participative democratic process. and if he would let the aldermen run their committees and the public were aware of the issues in advance, we would have a little more civility. The aldermen work for the public, not the mayor. Until there is a wholesale change in the city, it is not going to change.

Source of frustration

I'm calling on your editorial about Belleville wanting to have rules for public debate. The bigger problem is we should be asking why city leaders are inhibiting residents from being able to talk to city departments through their aldermen. Mark Eckert needs to learn that he is the mayor of all of Belleville, not just his Good Government Party interests. A lot of the fighting and frustration is because of the way he conducts himself. People may want to go to the Bob White YouTube series and watch a few of the City Council meetings. They probably would get an education.

TIF to the rescue?

I read in the Dec. 1 paper that the Belleville Police Department wants a new home and we want to remodel City Hall. If the Meredith Home building across from City Hall is in a TIF district, why can't we use that money instead of raising taxes again? One of these times people are going to run out of money and then where are they going to get it? Our mayor wants to use TIF money all the time; why doesn't he use it for that?

Hard to compete

When you consider Belleville's idea of expanding the Police Department and raising taxes, several things should come into play: Belleville is an old town; we have more old properties than almost any city nearby. Take O'Fallon or Shiloh. New housing developments are springing up; nothing like that in Belleville. Do you think the hospitals will stay in Belleville when they get the new ones in O'Fallon open? I don't. My first reaction to the picture showing the police officer's desk below the holding cell was to move the desk and the second was to reprimand the inmates who are causing sewer blockages, then call a plumber. I think it shows that a rehabbed Meredith Home building could be the space for all of the city administration.

Library troubles

I'm calling about the East St. Louis Library. I thought they had lost their mind in June when the director and six board members went to a library convention in Chicago and spent more than $10,000. At the time there were no toilet paper or paper towels in the restrooms but they could spend that kind of money to go on a convention trip. Recently the director closed the library for three days so he could go out of town. I go to the library almost every day; I had to go to St. Louis to use its library because I was trying to finish a paper for class. Someone needs to investigate; a lot of things don't look right.

Puzzled by mistakes

I'm never finished reading the paper until I have completed the crossword puzzle. So I found the front page of the Dec. 1 C Section fascinating -- until I realized there was one square missing for 9 down, which made it impossible to fill in 12 across. And to top it off, the clue and squares for another word were entirely missing. I shrug my shoulders and shake my head over other errors in the paper, but for you to mess up this article and puzzle is unforgivable.

A blight on Belleville

Many people travel on Illinois 159. At the north entrance to Belleville people see a welcome sign. Now there's also a sign that says to shop downtown Belleville. But when people look beyond the city sign, there is a pond with a fountain. Why can't the city get the weeds and algae off it? If the city can spend $1 million on a park, I'm sure it can come up with enough money to take care of this pond. City leaders want everyone to go to downtown Belleville. If you take the bars away, what else is there?

A victim forgotten

Recently in St. Clair County there was sentencing hearing for a drunken driver. This driver had been in an accident with a young man who not only almost died, he also lost a leg. St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly neglected to tell the victim that there was an impact hearing the day before the sentencing. How would Kelly feel if this happen to him or one of his family members? Kelly should be ashamed.

A lot of nothing

The photo of the 100 firearms collected in East St. Louis in exchange for $100 grocery cards is one of those feel-good things that accomplishes nothing. There are thousands of firearms in East St. Louis; It's probably the kill center of the United States. The good people will turn in their guns but the bad guys will not.

Follow the TIF money

Your TIF article was excellent. I never thought about East St. Louis collecting so much money in its TIF districts. The tax money for the schools is being diverted into TIF and then the state has to provide more money to the East St. Louis schools.

Interchange criteria

Illinois lawmakers need to see what effect their decisions are having on cities throughout the state. When they decide to put in multiple interchanges and allow TIF money for the medical mile, it is shifting what exists already from one town to another. My dentist, orthodontist and gynecologist have moved as well as potentially a hospital. When the state approves interchanges, it should be to support what exists, not to encourage the transfer of business, medical and residential. Also those newly developed areas should be required to help support other communities for 25 years by giving a decent portion of their property and sales taxes to the other communities. Then and only then would you know if a project is really needed to support true growth.

An avoidable death

The motorist charged with killing the pedestrian in Caseyville has been on the revolving door of probation for several years between here and Missouri. Judges keep letting him out and he keeps doing stupid stuff. When are the courts going to take responsibility and lock up people? Criminals need to go to prison and we need to bring back the death penalty.

Walk toward traffic

The suspected DUI driver who hit and killed a pedestrian walking south on the southbound lanes of Illinois 157 in Caseyville on Nov. 27 caused a horrific tragedy. However, there is a lesson to be learned that could save countless pedestrians from similar fates. If you must walk along a highway, walk facing the traffic. Had this pedestrian been doing that, he would have seen the impaired driver coming and would have had an excellent chance to move a few feet to his left and live.

Photo in poor taste

I find it very upsetting that the BND had to publish the picture last Monday of a family disrespecting a war memorial in Granite City. The memorial is fenced in. We don't crawl around these memorials in other places. If everyone would climb up and take such a cool picture, there wouldn't be much of a memorial left. I think it is very poor taste of the photographer to have thought this was a good thing to print and encourage. He should have said something to the mother.

Veterans edged out

I violently object to your paper referring to the new Mississippi River Bridge as the "Stan Span." This is a slap in the face of all veterans. This is supposed to be the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. Granted it is a long name, but we did not have a say in that. The TV news and radio are doing the same. Stop this contamination before it spreads anymore.

Use existing buildings

Why does everyone always want to spend more money on new buildings when we can't get tenants in the old ones? How about moving the Belleville Police Department to the vacant Wal-Mart or the Meredith Home building? These properties have plenty of space and parking. Quit picking on the taxpayers to provide a brand new development.

The price of relief?

With the increase we will have to pay Belleville for sewer service, I sure hope the people in the vicinity of North 72nd Street will finally get relief from the smell that we have been experiencing for the past few years. I had out-of-town guests over the holiday weekend and they couldn't believe the horrible smell that was coming from the sewers.

Don't force a Cadillac

This is in response to a couple of letters Wednesday, one from Michael Ray Dillier, the other from Pauline McCottrell. Dillier wrote that it is not Obamacare's fault that insurance policies got canceled; the insurance companies did it and people will get much better policies now. That would be like the government telling Dillier that the Chevy he is driving and likes is not good enough for him, that he must buy a more expensive Cadillac. To McCottrell: I don't know that people are doing anything trying to make President Obama look irresponsible and show a lack of leadership. Obama can do that without anybody's help.

Ice pellets, anyone?

The weather forecast in a paper last week was the most interesting I'd ever seen, it called for cloudy and ice pellets. What are ice pellets? Is that the same as hail, snow, sleet or what? The weather bureau said a wintery mix of ice and snow, but ice pellets? I don't think so.

Better than nothing

I'm an Illinois state retiree; I don't draw a lot of money. I never had a big-time political job like some of these guys do. I'm happy with what I have because look at Detroit. I don't like it that these miserable, crooked politicians failed to fund that pension system in years past, or the fact that they raided the system to get money for their miserable social programs. But retirees better accept the changes they passed or this state is for sure going to go broke and retirees for sure would end up with nothing.

No beds for the poor

During this season in which concern for the less fortunate is a priority, maybe the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows could shine a few lights from its Way of Lights toward its nursing home operation. Why is it that they have no beds for people on public assistance? While I don't expect the Shrine or any other nursing home to devote its whole operation to this because of the state's delay in reimbursement, wouldn't it be the Christian thing to share the load? Given the prices they charge for the residents at this and their other senior living centers, I am sure they could handle the expense.

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