Sound-off 12/16

December 15, 2013 

Regarding the workers walking out and protesting at Touchette Hospital and also the fast food restaurants: These people should be happy they have a job given what's going on in this country economically. A record number of people are out of work and on food stamps. I've been out of work for more than two years now. At my last job I made only $13 an hour but made things work. A minimum wage of $15 or $16 per hour will put more people out of work.

Doubletalk from Quinn

Gov. Pat Quinn was bragging about how he resolved the pension issues. He was quoted on CNBC that no one would lose his retirement benefits in any way. Then he said that "the cost of living benefits will be modified." So he lied. We cannot trust what our government officials.

Keep on reforming

The state has reduced pension benefits for teachers and state employees to lighten the burden on the taxpayers. Now it's time to reduce the pension benefits for municipal and township employees. For example. St. Clair Township employees pay only 4.5 percent of wages toward their pensions. The taxpayers pay 13 percent of wages toward pensions. How many of you have an employer who contributes 13 percent of your wages to your 401(k)? The taxpayers need relief from the burden of municipal and township pensions.

This isn't learning

At Wolf Branch School the students can stack plastic cups really fast and kids at another school know how to run with cheese. And we taxpayers pay teachers $60,000 a year and administrators more than $100,000 to think up these schemes. Then in a recent BND we read that American child-ren are far behind those of other countries in terms of education. Big surprise, huh? Children used to do something called schoolwork all day but now not so much. They don't know the parts of speech, can't diagram a sentence or even write a correct one. They don't understand the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, can't identify the nations of the world on a blank map. Guess you know it's not about money spent; it's about the deliberate dumbing down of the young U.S. citizen.

Don't mind the mayor

I'm calling about the article Dec. 8 about Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert stating that City Clerk Dallas Cook is not doing his job after seven months in office. The only reason I can think of that Eckert found a new person to pick on is because Cook fought for transparency. Eckert continues to operate in the old school way and does everything he can to hide things from the public. He makes decisions in the snap of a finger and it's ruled and passed before any residents even know about it. And I'd like the BND to look back at Eckert's first term (seven months) and would love to see what he accomplished.

Easier for Eckert

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert was patted on the back for his accomplishments with the crime-free housing ordinance, etc. I should hope after three terms in office he's accomplished something. He needs to keep his nose out of City Clerk Dallas Cook's business. If Cook wants to let people know what's going on for the people, other than the night before the vote, he should let him.

Losing control

Your story about Belleville elected officials being able to keep their campaign promises brought one thing to the surface: Mayor Mark Eckert can't or won't work with anybody who cannot be controlled by him. No wonder he was disappointed in the voters voting out Jerry Turner and Linda Fields; they were his "yes" people. Treasurer Dean Hardt and especially City Clerk Dallas Cook have showed them they do not have to be.

Too much caffeine

I think that Belleville has enough coffee shops. Why are we going to put in another one? Look around; let's fill the empty buildings with something we don't have.

Add on sewer rates

The article about the Collinsville water rate increase stated that the increase would be approximately $10 per billing period or every other month for the average resident. The half truth that was reported did not indicate the increase in the sewer bill, which is approximately one and half times the water bill. So instead of the average of a $10 increase every other month, people will see a $25 increase every two months. Six billing cycles a year times $25 is approximately $150 a year increase for water and sewer rates in Collinsville. We have a lot of low-income people in our area and this is not affordable and very unwise.

Follow own advice

Signs to shop Belleville first seem to be everywhere, but it only causes me to ask: Why doesn't the city do what it preaches? Why do we buy police cars upstate and away from Belleville? Do the dealers not want the business? What about the Ford dealer in Millstadt? Do they use Belleville printers, Belleville facilities? A lot of questions I have about the sincerity about Buy Belleville First slogan.

'Present' is an excuse

I wonder how the state legislators would like it if they had their pensions cut, the same as they are voting to cut all the teachers? I just want to let Sen. James Clayborne know that voting "present" on the reforms is a sign that he is chicken. He thinks he can say in the next election, "I didn't vote for that pension cut." I think the people of Illinois should realize that these legislators that are running our state are doing a poor job. It's time to get rid of everyone from the governor on down. Th governor is not doing his job either. If that was his pension on the line, he wouldn't vote either. He wouldn't sign a bill to take pensions way from teachers.

Ready to double dip?

I see in the BND that the Belleville fire chief is retiring. He is only 53 years old. My question is, does this mean that either Mayor Mark Eckert or St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern has a newly created job waiting for the fire chief? I am a local retired teacher and I would appreciate it if one of the BND reporters would research the new Illinois pension law and tell us what's in it. I know that the law has changed the inflation percentage we will receive, but there is surely much more that Gov. Pat Quinn is hiding from us.

Quick learner

Bill Enyart may be only a freshman congressman, but he has learned how to play the game in Washington, D.C. Every vote he makes he makes excuses why he did it instead of thinking about the voters and how it affects them. One term is surely enough for Enyart. Bill Enyart is no Mel Price or Jerry Costello, two former lawmakers.

Controls needed

I've been following Caseyville Township on line for months and I can't believe what goes on, from the new sewer debacle in Weinel Hills to the discrimination lawsuit involving the disabled and the lawsuit. I would like to know who's in charge of all this mess? Supervisor Bruce Canty blames the board of trustees, the board blames Canty, and individuals on the board blame the township attorney. But no one does anything to fix this circus. Now on top of all this mess I hear the board is trying to break the union that represents their sewer workers. Wow, quite a record.

What a waste

This ridiculous stuff about the Caseyville Township, discriminating against a home for people with Cerebral Palsy. This is just a perfect example about why voters need to start learning about how much money township government is taking out of their paychecks every week. It is dual taxation. We have counties and cities, why in the world are we supporting townships? This is absolutely the biggest fraud going on and these characters that are township supervisors keep putting it over on all of the voters to keep this ridiculous operation in effect. It needs to stop.

What about life?

I saw in the paper on Friday that a St. Louis man was sentenced to 55 years for killing three people. He killed three people and he only got 55 years, what happened to life imprisonment? Why wasn't he given the death sentence?

Take away the profit

It's outrageous that former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon will get just 30 months in prison. Look at the lives this man has ruined and the damage he's done that's going to last forever. He should have gotten 30 years. Now if anyone wonders why these slimy worms do things like they do, it's because it's profitable for them. Who wouldn't trade 30 months in the pen for the kind of money this guy made?

Too light a punishment

If we don't punish criminals like former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon harshly enough they will keep it up. Others just like him will come along and do it too. And this federal judge who presided over Bathon's case sat there and sang his praises. The judge should keep his opinions to himself.

Dunstan slow to react

Very disturbing quote regarding former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon's light sentence. Alan Dunstan, the County Board chairman, released a statement in which he said he was "heartened by the fact that, once again, our system of justice worked and Mr. Bathon will now suffer the consequences of his actions." Dunstan knew about this tax scheme because Kurt Prenzler blew the whistle in 2006, but it took four years for the prosecutor to finally put an end to Bathon's stealing. In other words, it took four years to make Dunstan finally agree that the stench of this crime was too bad to cover up anymore.

Ask Costello

With all the fanfare and disagreements and concerns about the Obamacare, I seem to recall that our former congressman Jerry Costello was one of the instrumental legislators who cast a deciding vote to enable Obamacare to become law. I would like the News- Democrat to interview him now and ask him why he voted for a law he had not read and to ask for his particular comments as to its effectiveness. Additionally current congressman Bill Enyart now seems to be skirting around the whole issue. Why doesn't he state specifically if he in favor of the law or against it? It's time these congressmen and former congressmen be held accountable for their actions.

Where were plows?

Please, someone, explain why Madison County would drop a mountain of salt on Friday but after an all-night snow, 4 inches and growing, not plow? I mean at least they normally come out after the snow long enough to knock all the mailboxes down for more overtime to put them back up. Did they run out of gas-wasting salt?

Waiting for a chief

Here in Lebanon, we are now in our seventh month with an acting chief of police. We have heard practically nothing about the search. Are we going to have a repeat of the last police chief appointment, with a small committee changing the qualifications required in a back room meeting so as to accommodate a City Council favorite? We want our elected officials to be transparent and get the the most qualified person we can afford to lead our Police Department.

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