Sound-off 3/3/14

March 3, 2014 

St. Clair County wants to raise the sales tax to build a new jail. Yet the county has the detention center in west Belleville that has more than 100 cells. It very rarely has more than 15 kids and has quite a significant number of employees, more than 15. It seems to me they could put the women or nonviolent offenders there and build a smaller detention center for the kids. What a waste of money.

Time to collect on TIF

Regarding the plans for the new St. Clair County Jail: Take the county property taxes that have been siphoned off by various cities through TIF and give them back to the county. There's probably enough TIF money right now to pay for a jail. So how about it, cities? Especially Belleville and East St. Louis can contribute.

Too much road work

Belleville officials waited until the 17th Street extension was completed and people began to depend on it and then decided that maybe they should put in sewer lines. Combined with the roundabout on the South Belt, people are just driving around in circles. Isn't it wonderful?

Why a fare increase?

I see MetroLink is asking for another fare increase. What a joke; Metro hasn't given the mechanics or the bus and train operators a raise in more than five years. Management has received two raises in that time. What does management need, another raise?

Must be election time

A Madison County heroin task force? It must be an election year for Sheriff Bob Hertz.

Quiet at the library

There should always be a respectful silence in the library. Someone needs to tell that to the employees of the Belleville Library downtown. They are constantly running their loud mouths, making it difficult to concentrate or to read. Late Michael Jackson's song had a refrain, "Just beat it, beat it, beat it." To the library employees I say: Just zip it, zip it, zip it.

Bad for prosecution

In your editorial Friday, "Justice gets rebalanced," you stated that U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton and former judge Michael Cook are furious now. I think it's more that Wigginton should be embarrassed that he didn't uphold his duty to negotiate an appropriate sentence for Cook. It took Judge Joe Billy McDade to reject the plea bargain and put Wigginton in his place. Thanks for that upstanding vote of confidence that justice will be served and our judicial system will be righted.

Beef up the sentence

The proposed 18-month sentence for ex-judge Michael Cook was laughable at best. Really, 18 months for possession of drugs and guns while he was a judge? Other people have been charged with murder for being found with a dead body and drugs and a gun. Cook was under investigation for years and was allowed to sit on the bench and judge other people for the same transgressions that he did. Let's see Cook go to jail for a long time. He used his position as a cheap way to buy drugs and stay out of jail.

Ticket for cellphones

When are the local police departments going to start enforcing the new law that bans handheld cell phones while driving? On two separate occasions I had to take extreme measures to avoid an accident because of two idiots on the phone. I don't see anything in the police reports about people getting pulled over and ticketed for violating this law. Come on, police, when are you going to do your job and protect the rest of us?

No taxes for churches

I'd like to know what the deal is with Belleville channeling tax money into the Catholic Diocese treasury. First it was purchasing the Meredith Home, and now more money is being given to the Catholics for construction of senior housing. Why is tax money going to church organizations? Isn't there a separation of church and state? I don't understand why my tax money, which could be used for police and other services, is being given to religious organizations.

Check up on TIF deal

When will we see anything in the BND about all the TIF money that was given to Wagner Buick in Belleville? If Wagner Buick has failed to keep its end of the TIF agreement, what is the city doing to recapture some of this money?

The next eyesore

Now that the hole is filled on East Main Street in Bellevile, let's work on the existing building facade. It's as ugly as the hole was.

Stifled by politics

Is it any wonder Fairview Heights became a city only in 1970? Look where they started and where they ended up today. Compare that to Caseyville, which has existed so much longer than Fairview Heights. Caseyville is not much further ahead then when the village started. Caseyville has that long-time tie to the corrupt Democratic machine in St. Clair County. Village leaders are controlled by machine people; the village won't go anywhere until they get rid of that influence.

Give Alvarez a break

People expect police officers and public officials to be thick-skinned and not be bothered or upset when negative things are said about them. We must remember, however, that they are human beings with feelings and emotions. After almost two weeks of being the victim of a verbal onslaught in which terrible things were said about him, his family and friends, it is understandable that Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez became angry and emotional. He has sincerely apologized and regrets his actions and yet the verbal attacks continue. Hopefully the people of Caseyville will understand, forgive and show support for their chief and allow him to do his job and focus on getting the Caseyville Police Department back on track.

Face up to reality

The police chief of Caseyville, Jose Alverez, is correct; Bob Romanik does run Caseyville. That's the way it is, and that's the way it's going to be. If Alverez doesn't like that he should go somewhere else. The people of Caseyville should know that Mayor Leonard Black may be in the process of bringing in a strip club and letting a gay bar come into the village.

Fed up with cupcakes

Now that the cupcake girl has her kitchen, can we go on to other news? Enough already.

Does IRS get a cut?

Just one observation after reading about the cupcake girl in the paper. Nowhere was it mentioned whether she is paying taxes on her earnings. If she is not paying taxes, she is enjoying an advantage over other similar businesses and forcing the rest of us to make up the difference to the IRS.

Keep train going

The St. Clair County Board is donating $500,000 to try to get a high-speed rail stop in East St. Louis. Who in their right mind would want to drive to East St. Louis to use any services there? If they build it, then what? Spend another $500,000 to provide guards so people don't get killed? Until the city cleans up its act, anything spent in East St. Louis is a complete waste of money.

Not really high speed

In an article last week, a politician was talking about how wonderful it will be to have high-speed rail between St. Louis and Chicago -- high speed meaning trains that run at 110 mph. Just for the record. 110 mph is not high-speed rail. True high-speed trains run in excess of 200 mph and they do so in France, Germany, Japan and China, just to name a few. So what we are really talking about from a taxpayer investment perspective could be antique rail.

No more rail stops

The recent St. Clair County Board decision to donate $500,000 for the high-speed rail is a joke. The purpose of high-speed is to go from St. Louis to Chicago, it's not to stop in Alton and East St. Louis, What's the point of high speed if they have periodic stops along the way? This is just sending taxpayers' money down into a bottomless pit.

A bad location to stop

Just when I thought the St. Clair County Board could not be more stupid, it happens. They want to build a high-speed rail train station in East St. Louis, three miles from the St. Louis station. If I ever had to use that train, I would go the extra three miles to St. Louis rather than stop in East St. Louis. I wonder how many board members would go to East St. Louis?

Thanks for help, BND

I salute the BND for being the voice of freedom in St. Clair County as we read about the residents of Caseyville having to deal with the shame of politics within their city. One can only wonder why such a suffering patrolman would need to have his father fight his battles.

Use right bridge name

Shame on BND columnist Terry Mackin for using the forbidden name of the new bridge in a column Feb. 23. Where was he when the brouhaha was going on for naming the bridge? Was he under a rock? The name the Stan Span is offensive to all veterans. Stan Musial was a veteran so he can consider himself verbally chastised.

Too dangerous to sell

Someone, please explain to me why schools keep on insisting children go door to door selling candy? The children all live in the same community so you not only have one but several children knocking on your door. With all the crazy people out there, you would think it's the last thing school officials would want children to do. And I might add, parents are irresponsible to let their children do this. Schools need to rethink their fundraising events.

Spare golden goose

What is going on in St. Clair County now? When the County Board or Belleville has a chance to make a decision that would be good for us, they make the wrong decision. The county is going after property taxes for the military housing at Scott Air Force Base when it should be figuring out how to close down MidAmerica Airport; then the county would not need those taxes. They are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

New coach needed

It's time to make a change at McKendree University. Its basketball program has been going down rapidly; the last two years have been disasters. Harry Statham has been a great coach, but all great coaches reach a time when they need to retire. I think we are there now. Attendance is down; interest is waning. Wake up, coach; retire, we need new blood.

Don't aid scammers

Tax time, how great, especially for those who receive a Link card and free medical care all year. Amazing how they can find a job the last few months of the year, earn just enough to file taxes and then reap the benefits of the earned income credit of $2,000 for each child. Change this benefit so it only applies to people who work all year. We keep giving and giving to the scammers. Why do we make it so easy for them?

Knuckleheads all right

Recently on a late night talk show, Michelle Obama made the statement that most young people are knuckleheads. Since the vast majority of young people voted for Barack Obama, in essence what Mrs. Obama is saying that the people who elected and re-elected her husband are knuckleheads. Finally Michelle Obama made a statement with which I can agree.

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