Sound-off 1/13

January 13, 2014 

An area business is offering health screenings to its employees. It says this screening is voluntary, then in the next breath says your health insurance premium will go up 20 percent if you don't submit. Voluntary?

Keep on the pressure

It's time for the voters of St. Clair County to let their County Board members know they need to have more say in MidAmerica Airport. They get paid to make decisions. They need to get more involved and not leave it up to an appointed commission that answers to whom?

Here we go again

It looks like St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern is messing with a business in the Mascoutah area that wants to do something with an old warehouse. Kern supposedly said that it would be a dead issue and won't pass. Does anybody remember the Caseyville Gun Club in Mascoutah? Does anybody remember the vast amount of money the county spent to try to stop that deal, only to lose in court, costing the taxpayers more money? This is more of the same. Voters in St. Clair County, when are you going to understand these people are dictators?

Eating for three

When the wife and I go out to eat, we look at the bill and the hefty tax and get the feeling we have eaten with a third party. The ever huge and hungry party of politicians are our third guest.

Efficiency in reverse

St. Clair Township Highway Commissioner kip Kernan is advertising for a full-time employee. The previous road commissioner reduced the workforce during his term while more than doubling output. With less than a year in office, Kernan is reversing that efficiency trend, increasing the wages and benefit the township pays. The next thing you can expect is a tax increase.

A patriot now at rest

Granite City has lost one of its most patriotic residents, Steve Conkovich. Rest in peace, friend.

Off the road, runners

Tim Vizer's two photos of the Belleville Running Club reminds me of how my wife shops. Why buy (or print) two when one will do? Why does a pack of runners suddenly become a "vehicle" as they take up one whole lane of a city street? Arrogance and discourtesy like that is dangerous and gives runners a bad rep.

Typical liberal tactic

The Caseyville Township board member's wife who wanted an order of protection to stop a guy from criticizing what the Caseyville Township board does is the most outrageous thing I ever heard. It's the same with all liberals. You are all right as long as you agree with them. The first time you don't agree with them, they scream louder than anybody else does. Her husband ought to quit the board if his wife can't take the problems, or the heat.

Paid to vacation

Last summer I lost my job because the doctor I worked for went out of business. I can't draw unemployment because of some deductible. I have never drawn unemployment ever. I've worked since I was 17 and I'm 67 years old. A young friend lost his job and spent two years deer hunting, fishing and not helping his wife with the kids. When his two years of unemployment was up, he got a good-paying job. We paid him for a two-year vacation. Why don't the bleeding heart Democrats just pay the unemployed for-ever? God knows we wouldn't want them to have to go to work.

Too late to change

A Sound-off caller suggested that the state change the Illinois Constitution to deal with pension problems. There is a provision in the constitution that says no ex post facto laws can be enacted, meaning you can't go back and change the Constitution and rules that apply to people under that rule at that time. They can change the Constitution and it will affect people from that point forward, not people who are already in the system.

What's council doing?

Well our City Council is doing it again, taking rights from the East St. Louis citizens. The council took away our bond for deed protections. Some of us remember cases of residents being cheated out of their money for years and then not owning the property. This type of nonsense will not stop until we do something to stop it. I believe the educational level of city government is "K".

Five hats is too many

How can Herb Simmons be the St. Clair County 911 director, deputy coroner, a parks commissioner, a transit district trustee and the mayor of East Carondolet without having a conflict of interest among those five positions? It's interesting to say the least.

Broader ban needed

Being fined $1,500 for throwing cigarettes butts on city sidewalks and streets is all right with me. Belleville smokers don't throw them on sidewalks, they put them in my private planter on Main Street. If they want to do something, forbid smoking on public property, not just in front of taverns.

Guarding our dogs

I want to thank the volunteers at Gateway Pet Guardians for all the work they do and thank the BND for publishing the large picture of a volunteer helping out a dog in East St. Louis. Some people shouldn't be allowed to own dogs. Someone had a dog chained to a pole in this weather without water. It's despicable.

Worker delivers

A shout-out for the person who delivered my newspaper during the winter storm; even if the paper was late, the person did a great job. I wouldn't have done it. Newspaper carriers work for not much money, but they aren't sitting around on unemployment; they are doing a job that's not easy.

Good job, Cahokia

I'd like to thank the street workers who cleaned all the streets in Cahokia. This citizen is happy with the effort, as well as they could do with all the snow that we had; great job.

Upset with the mayor

I wonder how the mayor of Cahokia would feel if he lived on a major snow route in Cahokia and didn't have his street cleaned until 8 p.m. then he found out that most the secondary roads were cleaned earlier that day. What's the deal, mayor?

Stay off cell phones

Some folks must have not gotten the memo. It is now illegal in Illinois to talk on a handheld cell phone while driving a motor vehicle. A person who violates this law can be fined $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth and subsequent offense. Injuring or killing someone in an accident involving cell phone use would elevate the charges. Those conversations can wait, or drivers should invest in everyone's safety by installing a hands-free device.

Add more Sound-off

Contrary to letter writer Kevin Sheridan's belief that Sound-off in has no validity, I would hope that the BND would add another day of Sound-off instead of the boring and redundant far-right and -left letters from the same people. As long as Sound-off offers constructive criticism and encourages conversation, I see this as a benefit without fear of retribution from politicians, law enforcement and from an increasing number of wackos.

Read and learn

Letter writer Kevin Sheridan may not like what people say in the Sound-off column, but name-calling isn't a mature response to criticism. This isn't the schoolyard. Sometimes people have to accept that something of value could be learned from another's view. The Sound-off column isn't going away, so either ignore it or learn from it.

Move that car

A derelict car on Union Hill Road is blocking a road that goes up a hill where there are a lot of houses. The Fairview Heights Police have been notified at least a dozen times. When there was a trailer fire at the top of the hill recently, the Fire Department couldn't get by that car. The car is still there, even after its presence may have caused a death.

Hate isn't funny

Regarding Glenn McCoy's cartoons: Isn't there enough hatred and ignorance, hypocrisy and intolerance in this world without trying to inspire absolute hatred against law-abiding, hard-working citizens who happen to be Muslims? I'm all for free speech, but when you are fanning flames of hatred for something that happened in New Jersey, that goes beyond free speech, that is a hate crime. McCoy owes the Muslim community an apology.

Stuck with trash

Which public official decided to defer trash pickup until next week and use the employees to help to clean off the sidewalks for the downtown merchants? If the business owners want their sidewalks clean, they should pay for that service. I spent $50 to have part of my driveway cleared, in part to get my trash can to the street so it could be picked up. Who is reimbursing me?

First responders shine

I want to commend the state road crews and the first responders during this past snow. It's not nice to be out in this stuff, but they still have to do their job. My son is a volunteer firefighter and spent six hours out in it Sunday night. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

Don't back tax hike

High taxes have made Illinois less desirable to business and more difficult to compete with adjacent states. One would expect, therefore, that the BND should oppose tax increases. Temporary increase become permanent; sunset clauses are extended. Governments always want to increase their power and take more and more money from the people. Police and fire protection popular reasons to advocate their tax increases, but the funds for these vital services are diverted such as building and maintaining an unprofitable airport that most taxpayers will never use. The BND should not be an advocate for any tax increase.

Kudos to the judge

I want to commend the judge who made the ruling on the Deborah Donovan request for an order of protection against the guy at the Caseyville Township Board meetings. I would have expected a political opinion but the judge did the right thing and ruled the way she should have. I hope we see more of that out of the courthouse.

Job numbers skewed

Friday the job reports came out, 74,000 jobs created in December. Half of them were part-time work. It's a disaster what's happening to the job market; 9.2 million people don't have a job. Amazingly 6.7 percent is the unemployment rate. How can that be? Does it count it if you are only looking for a job? The real unemployment rate is 13 percent.

Advantage flies away

My family and I flew back to Orlando, Fla., the day after Christmas (no bad weather) on an Allegiant flight out of Mid-America. Thought we could save some time and money given the location. I got a call at 1 p.m. indicating our 5:15 p.m. flight would be delayed, no reason given. Baby in tow, we were dropped off at the airport only to wait in a very long line, searching each person and parcel going through security due to the x-ray machine being out of order. One flight out and they can't get it right?

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