Sound-off 2/17

February 17, 2014 

The Belleville Housing Department is going to spend thousands of dollars outfitting a new vehicle to support the crime-free ordinance. This is coming out of the $25 landlord fee. Maybe Mayor Mark Eckert can give his taxpayer- funded vehicle to the housing department so the city can start saving some money. Additional fees, increased sales taxes, higher property taxes and spending TIF funds like they come from a bottomless cookie jar is all the mayor knows how to do. I can't wait until the Bank of Belleville comes knocking at the mayor's door for TIF money to relocate. The cost associated with moving the Police Department and renovating City Hall will go from $18 million to $19 million overnight.

Why Illinois is a mess

In regard to the "temporary" income tax Gov. Pat Quinn wants to extend, if he wouldn't fly back and forth to Chicago every day on state-owned aircraft with bodyguards when he has a fully staffed mansion three blocks from the Capitol, this state wouldn't be in the shape it's in. Keep voting Democratic.

Too many snow days

Years ago I attended local schools and universities. During those 20 years, school and events were never canceled due to inclement weather. There was no such thing as a snow day. Now it seems that every time there is a snowflake, a lengthy list of school closings is displayed on my TV screen. I suspect that in the future some schools will start having cloudy days off as well as snow days.

YMCA update, please

I was wondering if the BND could follow up on the old YMCA that was supposed to be remodeled in the last year. Another Belleville boondoggle and waste of taxpayer money?

Zero in on pensions

I agree with St. Clair County Board member Nick Miller that the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund needs to cast a wider net and take a good, long look at retired employees receiving benefits that perhaps shouldn't be.

Don't stop with bridge

This $695 million bridge will not connect to Interstates 44/55 South; the only bottleneck is that ramp for I-44/55 on the Poplar Street Bridge. The access going north to Interstate 70 was never an issue, except for getting behind the I-44-55 traffic. Do we have a definite agreement to fix the I-44/55 ramp and a timeframe?

Puzzled by gas prices

Gas prices don't make sense. One end of town is 10 cents higher per gallon than on the other. What is up with the price gouging? Who are the big players making the big money?

No pensions needed

St. Clair County Board and City Council members are being placed on pension plans. Why? These are elected positions. They are not full-time jobs you would apply for. But that seems to be the case for the Democratic Party, in which they keep putting the same people in year after year and then stuffing the ballot boxes to make sure these people have a lifetime job in an elected position. It's time all elected officeholders be removed from pension plans.

Rewarded for risks

I'm getting tired of hearing rich guys get put down. The rich are rich because they work hard and took risks. Put your own money up and risk losing it instead of going to work for somebody, where you are you're going to get paid no matter what you do; you're not taking any risks. The rich people took risks; they took a chance to lose everything.

No comparison

Former lllinois State Trooper's Matt Mitchell's attorney saying he's been involved in thousands of license hearings and he's shocked an outraged that Mitchell isn't getting his license back. Has he been involved in any hearings where a trooper who is sworn to serve and protect showed as much ignorance and stupidity in the performance of his duties that two innocent young women were killed? I doubt it. Thank God someone in the Illinois Secretary of State's office stepped forward to keep Mitchell off the road.

Consequences linger

The attorney for former state trooper Matt Mitchell, who is trying to get his driver's license back, says that Mitchell would like to be a productive man and take his daughter to school. Unfortunately the two girls who were killed in the accident Mitchell caused will never walk again.

Open season on scrap

To all the scrap thieves in St. Clair County: It appears East St. Louis is allowing scrap thieves to strip out the old St. Mary's Hospital. It's not fair that only a few of the thieves know. Aluminum, copper, anything else, the old St. Mary's Hospital is ripe for the picking.

Explain bills or else

At the last St. Clair Township board meeting, trustee Mary Carroll asked Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan to explain a bill that the board needed to approve. Kernan refused to answer the question. He sat back in his chair like a king and told Carroll to call the vendor to get the answer. I have never before witnessed such arrogance on the part of an elected official. The next thing was that three of the five board members approved the bill that Kernan refused to explain. We need board members who are looking out for the taxpayers and not just voting with their political friends.

Liberals' rosy spin

It amazes me how poor economic news comes out and yet the president comes out and says how the economy is improving and unemployment is going down, just the opposite of what is actually happening. Yet listen to the nightly news tonight. The liberal news channels will tell you how fantastic the country is doing under President Obama. Even though we know it's not, they will convince a lot of people.

Adults take over

I'd like to call this a cupcake smokescreen. Anyone who thinks it's about 11-year-old Chloe Stirling is kidding himself, it's clearly about advertising for the mother's business and for the dad's employer. Let's say I'm wrong, which I'm not. What better lesson to teach Chloe than to follow the laws and pay taxes on your income?

Can't get your way?

As a kid I remember thinking, "If I don't get to pitch, I'm going to take my ball and go home." Now adults say, "If you don't do it my way, I've got a pen and a phone."

U.S. gets no respect

President Obama ran for president and said he would improve our standing in the world and repair the damage done by George Bush. Yet look around, our ambassadors have embarrassed us, our drones have embarrassed us, we have a spy who stole information, runs to Russia and we can't get him back. We have countries that have no fear of us; they hold our citizens and will not give them back. Our standing in the world is so much better now that no one respects us. Thought they were supposed to respect us more.

No reason for hunger

I wish the BND would get it right. I'm sick of reading about how the food pantries are running low on food and children are going to school hungry. It's because the parents don't know how to manage their money. I'm 67 years old; I work with a lot of young girls at my place of employment. They get food stamps, housing, dental, eye care; they get it all and eat out, too. And yet I have to listen to how they don't have money. I'm tired of it. These people have money, they just don't know how to manage it. I raised my son by myself; he's a computer technician and nobody gave me food stamps. I was a waitress for 52 years and I'm still working because I can't afford to quit.

Don't blame God

Letter writer James J. Price has an excellent point about school closings and "acts of God," but he stops just short. How can a government-funded school like Belleville East or West claim an "act of God" when, as our Constitution provides separation of church and state, there is no God? There is snows and hurricanes and tornadoes and melting ice caps because of George W. Bush and Republicans and evil oil companies, remember? Not God. I am confused.

Can't justify a strike

I'm growing so very tired of hearing about another looming teachers strike in a local district. Do these teachers not understand the gravity of the economy in this area? Cutbacks at Scott Air Force Base are being discussed, the state owes districts money and there are so many foreclosures, I'm sure local taxes are being lost as well. Sure, most teachers work hard. However, the well is dry. Teachers need to stop threatening to strike and do the job they are paid to do.

Be careful out there

Please bicyclists, runners, walkers and especially motorcyclist; wear clothing that has reflective qualities (day or night).

Confused by polls

It never ceases to amaze me, the media and their polls. I read in the BND an article out of Washington: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie falls far behind Hillary Clinton in presidential polls. So because Christie may not be telling the truth about his role in the closing of a bridge as political punishment, Clinton -- who has never told the truth about anything in her life, including the innocent deaths in Benghazi -- has taken the lead. The only thing I am sure she has been truthful about in her life is her devotion and support for communism.

Birds, bees and eggs

I recently attended a Belleville city meeting regarding an ordinance allowing citizens to house live chicken in the city limits. The first argument was the children and grandchildren don't know where chicken eggs come from. Are you kidding me? What do these same parents and grandparents do to demonstrate where babies come from?

Worse than chickens

Three hens don't make the mess or create the smell that 30 birds do around a feeder.

City isn't a barnyard

Chickens do not belong in the city but in the country; do you want the city to smell like a barnyard?

Who's on the PBC?

In a review of MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell's contract, I noticed that one of the members on the Public Building Commission is Rick Effinger. Is this the same gentleman who is on the county's jury commission and who is included in one of the News-Democrat articles pertaining to county officials' pensions? When does he have time to operate his own business?

For safety's sake

Cupcakes and cookies made in a private residence aren't always made with safe food handling, that's why the county Health Department is mandated to inspect. Better that than scattered E.coli and salmonella outbreaks.

Salaries way too high

I recently saw a listing of the salaries we are paying the employees at Southwestern Illinois College. Wow. For Pete's sake, it's a community college. No one, administrator or instructor, should be making more than $60,000 per year. No wonder our state is broke. Workers are grossly overpaid at SWIC.

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