Sound-off 12/30

December 30, 2013 

Note the subsidy

I find it interesting that former Madison County treasurer Fred Bathon paid $118,000 into his pension and was collecting $90,000 a year. It would be nice if those people on a public pension would at least acknowledge the taxpayer for heavily subsidizing their incredibly rich retirement benefits.

Just a small COLA cut

The small 1 percent cut in cost of living to military pensions of retirees under the age of 62 is a small amount to pay for only having to work 20 years to retirement. And after all, they did enlist.

Democrats move in

I'm sure the residents of Caseyville Township are wise to the subtle attempt by the St. Clair County Democratic Machine to take over our township. They provided money and manpower to elect Richard Donovan, a retired courthouse worker already drawing a $25,000 pension from the county. They also backed Jim Lemansky, a retired St. Clair County jailer, drawing a similar pension. In addition to Social Security benefits, both draw an $11,000 salary from Caseyville Township plus an annual $6,000 medical insurance reimbursement. The same is true for Don Chrismore, a retired state worker. The big prize for feasting at the public trough goes to Clerk David Jacknewitz, a retired county probation officer who, besides his annual $25,000 pension from the county, still receives approximately $14,000 from the county as a part-time probation officer, plus $19,000 as township clerk. He made sure his son got a good-paying job with the township sewer system also. Is this nepotism or what?

Questions for ESL

Will the 40 days of nonviolence really address the issues of crime in East St. Louis? Will the city invest the $2.5 million savings from bond payments to support police and fire? These are questions for 2014.

Thanks for nothing

It's nice for a gas station to appreciate its loyal customers by giving them the shaft by raising prices from $3.18 a gallon to $3.89.

Misguided spending

Once again Bernie Ysursa, vice president of administrative services at Southwestern Illinois College, is on track to further another President Georgia Costello ostentatious project. This time, it's the ground work for an outdoor theater of sorts for concerts and the like in the quad. The $809,000 is "the ground floor," as Mike Fleming, SWIC spokes-man, stated. Stop wasting money. Is SWIC an entertainment venue or an education campus with more pressing needs? This money could be put to better use modernizing worn-out biology laboratories in the oldest section of the campus that has original equipment, as one simple example. The main building, I'm sure, could use some upgrades. Repairs and upgrades to the physical plant often cannot be seen, aren't sexy, and aren't an awesome addition to Costello's photo album. This misdirected use of money is so typical of the way the state operates. Rome burns; Nero fiddles. Students and taxpayers, where are you? How do these projects get to this stage with no input from those footing the bill?

Try this triple dip

The Belleville fire chief double-dipping? What about the retired Belleville police detective drawing a pension, now in a job he's not qualified for and living rent-free in Laderman Park. Wouldn't that be a triple dip?

Empty symbolism

I recently read that President Obama signed up for Obamacare, the bronze plan, at a cost of $400 per month, even though he will never use it because he has health care courtesy of the U.S. military. The move was supposed to be symbolic, but really, of what? Since Obamacare doesn't take donations, his $4,800 annual payment goes for nothing and shows he has no concept of what Joe Citizen is going through with his health care challenges. Obama's misguided act serves to just add insult to injury.

Symptom of an illness

Regarding former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney's statement that he was a very good boss, I urge his family to seek medical help on his behalf immediately. He is suffering from an illness common to those in positions of power in St. Clair County. It is called illusions of grandeur.

City plays favorites

The BND should investigate snow removal in O'Fallon. It appears that in the more affluent neighborhoods the city has snow removal in place immediately after a snow storm. In the more moderate income and apartment areas, such as Ponderosa, the snow is never removed. I've never seen a snow truck come on the street in the two years I've lived there. For public safety, O'Fallon needs to be investigated on its discriminatory practices.

Message from Obama

The president is going on vacation to Hawaii even though a lot of people are still looking for a job. He appears to be above it all. This country is going in the wrong direction and he struts around. It's pathetic. People are delivering pizza for money and this guy is just smiling.

Look behind curtain

Who was directing our people in Washington when Obamacare was written? What was the reason it was done behind the closed doors? So we wouldn't know who was directing those who were writing the bills. Now we are paying for it.

Not the way to win

Regarding the article about U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart wanting to cut military benefits: He will need more that good luck to be re-elected. He's not going to get the votes of retired military, active duty or Vietnam vets. If it's such a crisis and he's going after just the military, he should offer up his military retirement, not from today but from the very beginning. As they say: Share the wealth.

Taxed indirectly

It's amazing how little letter writer Kevin Sheridan understands about economics. He talks about "parents without property" needing to pay a $100 per child fee for their education. Is he talking about the homeless or renters? If he's talking about the homeless, shame on him for wanting to add one more burden to people already suffering. If he's talking about renters, he must foolishly believe that landlords gladly pay their property taxes and do not pass these costs onto their renters through their monthly rent payment.

Taxes added to rent

BND letter writer Kevin Sheridan seems to think only property owners pay property taxes. Renters also pay this tax as part of their rent payment. Show me a landlord who doesn't include this in the rent and I'll show you a landlord who is out of business.

Stronger together

Regarding your article about division on the Belleville City Council: Independents have to run together or they are never going to win. The Belle-ville political machine thrives on people who are divided. They know they can get what they want. If candidates want to beat the political machine in the city, they need to run together, not divided.

Message to Schmidt

I need to remind Belleville Alderwoman Janet Schmidt that I and other voters gave her money to help her with the party platform. If she only ran to remove incumbent Dorothy Meyer, she did voters and supporters a disservice.

We are what we view

The saddest part of the "Duck Dynasty" controversy is not what Phil Robertson said, but that a large part of the population listens to and buys into these hillbillies. This along with Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians and countless other forms of entertainment that dumbs down our citizens is why we are a nation of morons.

District 189 loses out

What are they doing in East St. Louis School District 189 to protect students? Had these state people not come in and laid off everybody, there would have been enough people out there to watch what's going on. All they are doing is constantly hiring people with six-figure salaries. They need to be let go; this district is a mess. School Board President Lonzo Greenwood wasn't that bad, and people had jobs.

Perfect spot for a jail

Instead of raising the St. Clair County sales tax, why don't we just turn MidAmerica Airport into a jail? Put some bars on it and get use out of the millions of dollars we are spending.

Don't want a new jail

If the conditions at the St. Clair County Jail are not as pleasant as the detainees would like, maybe they will end their criminal careers. Sleeping on a floor would seem like a paradise for a detainee fighting for a space of dirt to rest on in the jails of some other countries. Taxpayers have already been victimized by criminals. Why make the citizens suffer even more?

Double standards

Double standards are becoming the norm in America. Consider the case of Paula Dean, branded by what she said and thrown to the wind by retailers and other purveyors of her profession. Now consider the "Duck Dynasty" bunch. The patriarch of "Duck Dynasty," Phil Robertson, said some things and had been suspended by the A&E network for what he said. But all is forgiven. Why? Because of money. Louisiana would lose millions of dollars in tourism to people who will come to Louisiana because of "Duck Dynasty" despite what was said.

Marijuana defended

Evidently BND letter writer Tom O'Leary does not know what he's talking about. Marijuana smoke isn't more powerful than cigarette smoke. Smoking marijuana helps lung diseases. Most of the so-called scientific proof that has been quoted is a lie. The minutes of research would show you that it has been proven around the world that pot helps cancer patients, it helps people with epilepsy. There have been zero deaths attributed to just smoking marijuana.

Coal instead of a card

I feel cheated this Christmas season. I didn't get a Christmas card from St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, or U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart's calendar. In 2014 I may have to reconsider my vote.

One Reagan's enough

A recent letter by John Schrand claims that President Obama is no Ronald Reagan. Thank God. This country will never recover from Regan's war on the working men and wome and his trickle-down economic policies.

Farewell, Illinois

In the world of sports, fans like to cheer, "We're No. 1." In Illinois we can cheer, "We're No. 2." But don't worry, the corrupt government systems that run rampant in Illinois will soon allow the state to take over the No. 1 position in an exclusive league. What league? The league of state residents who have found that burdensome taxes and overregulations have driven businesses from the state and they are forced to leave to find a job. Illinois is No. 2 in that league, closely trailing New Jersey. Just wait, our wonderful representatives will continue to turn to its residents and remaining businesses for more taxes to pay for wasteful spending, which will lead to more businesses leaving and the cycle will continue.

Airport is grounded

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is a loser. Anyone who thinks MidAmerica is keeping Scott Air Force Base open is mistaken.

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