Sound-off 3/10

March 9, 2014 

I read in the BND about Alton's planned high-speed rail hub. It appears they have a grand plan in place and dollars flowing. Contrast that to the recently proposed station in East St. Louis. It seems that St. Clair County is behind and willing to throw $500,000 out like it was a worm on a fishing hook and hope for a big bite. That's no way to run a county or a railroad, no pun intended.

Misguided spending

Before spending $500,000 of St Clair County taxpayers' money planning for a high-speed rail station, perhaps a quick math review of the fare revenue from trains is needed. Why not use non-stop buses? Oh, right, that doesn't employ engineers and construction workers.

Another MidAmerica

It appears St. Clair County leaders want to spend $500,000 to plan a train station in East St. Louis for the high speed train to Chicago. This is the same crowd that built us an airport on this side of the river so we don't have to go to St. Louis to get on an airplane. If the County Board members keep bobbing their heads to what the bosses tell them to do, there's an election coming. Time for some quick changes.

Station would work

Regarding the proposed high speed rail station in East St. Louis: The same questions were asked about MetroLink before it was committed to the East. St. Louis site, now people drive to East St. Louis to board the train to shop, work and attend major sporting events. We do have people who come to East St. Louis faithfully and happily. Stop ridiculing and prejudging.

No mention of jail

We received the a primary voters information guide in the mail and in the back were the nonpartisan ballot items. One is called the St. Clair proposition to impose a county public safety occupation tax; nowhere in this description does it say it's for a new jail. This is a scam. It's not written correctly for the people.

Not a Hall of Famer

Who thought it was appropriate for the St. Louis Cardinals to nominate Mark McGwire to be inducted into the Cardinal Hall of Fame? Mark "Steroids" McGwire should not be elected. Please, Cards fans, vote for any of the other players and please don't vote for McGwire.

How is this TIF?

I would like someone in the Belleville City Hall, especially Mayor Mark Eckert, to explain how LED lights installed on Main Street meet the requirements for TIF funds? TIF is supposed to be used for correcting deficiencies on a property.

Party on? Bad idea

Now TIF is paying for party lights for Main Street in Belleville; why? Do we really want to copy Washington Avenue in St. Louis? Frankly the lights give the wrong message: Party on.

Costly and unneeded

The recent sewer installation in Fairvew Heights was forced upon residents. Some areas near lakes and ponds may have had some leakage, but most areas did not threaten any water sources. The outrageous amount for permits, hook-up fees and the monthly charge is not in the residents' best interest. Some people will say that sewer hookups will increase home values but there is no proof of that. Actually when prospective homebuyers are informed they must pay an additional $4,000 to $7,000 on grandfathered properties, they will undoubtedly look elsewhere.

Proofread, please

Where does one apply to be a headline writer for the BND? A headline last week for a story about federal agent Eliot Ness read that he was "underserving" of having a federal building in Washington, D.C., named after him. And I didn't even know he was a tennis player. Proofread.

No problem with chief

Caseyville Mayor Leonard Black saying that he was afraid of Police Chief Jose Alvarez is a joke. Black is only afraid of Bob Romanik when he cannot control the board the way Romanik wants. As far as Sgt. Frank Moore filing assault charges against the chief, that is also so funny. I watched the same video everyone else did and the only physical contact I saw between Alvarez and Moore was Moore putting his hand on the chief. So maybe the chief should file charges against him. I hope the board stands strong and continues to fight Black and brings back the decency to our town.

Switch traffic signals

Why is there a set of traffic signals at Maroon Way and Frank Scott Parkway in Belleville going nowhere when one sits at least 10 minutes some afternoons at Illinois 15 and North Illinois Street trying to turn south. Can we do a swap?

Wrong election race

Great article on Jerry Turner, except for the fact that he was the Belleville treasurer not the city clerk. He was not defeated by Dallas Cook. This is really sad that you are right across the street from City Hall and you have no idea who won what election. Sadly, Dean Hardt is the treasurer now. Even more unfortunately, Cook is the city clerk.

Leery of sales tax

I don't trust St. Clair County when it comes to the 0.25-cent sales tax increase on items purchased in the county, which is to last for 25 years. They say it is to be used for a new addition to the County Jail, but on the ballot it states that it will be used for "public safety." That could mean anything including additions to the boondoggle called MidAmerica Airport. Now that would be just great. Not.

Wrong lesson taught

Chloe Stirling's handlers will soon be positioned to launch Chloe's Cupcake Co. She's learned some great lessons in the time since Madison County shut down her home cupcake business: Hard work be damned, all you really need to get ahead is to make a spectacle and free stuff will come. She's going to have a commercial kitchen built on her home through donations. With all that free publicity, business should really pick up. I just wonder how many future cupcakes will actually have Chloe's fingerprints on them.

Not in the office

Just when I thought Caseyville could not be any more unprofessional, what I saw when I went into the Village Hall was disgusting. A young woman on the mayor's side was sitting in full view of the public at her desk, brushing her teeth. She should do tooth brushing in the restroom. The workers in the water department were very professional and were not performing personal hygiene for the public to see.

Pay out of proportion

The sewer clerks in Belleville make $15 per hour or less. How do the sewer clerks at St. Clair Township rate making $26.25 per hour?

On the wrong side

St. Clair Township is in contract negotiations with the labor union, so one would expect that the elected officials would stand united to get the best deal for the taxpayers. Wrong. At the last two board meetings, Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan gave speeches supporting the union. Why would he do that? First, the union endorsed, financed and worked to elect him. Second, his benefits are tied to the employees' benefits. If the employees had to pay something toward their health care premiums, Kernan would too. Kernan now has free health care with no deductibles.

Tuition bill welcomed

What a great idea state Rep, Jay Hoffman has about offering students help with college debt. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. We are making it impossible for kids to get an education and to be competitive in the workforce without having to be loaded down with debt. Kudos to Hoffman and others who were behind it.

One notice is enough

Our polling place was moved and we have received two notifications. How many other voters in French Village received two notices? How much is it costing taxpayers for duplicate mailings? Obviously County Clerk Tom Holbrook isn't such a good clerk with his wasteful spending.

Show some respect

Just because the majority have always done prayers at the start of public meetings doesn't make it right. It is disrespectful and intimidating to others.

Just looking for loot

Glenn McCoy's recent cartoon on immigration was spot on. If you thing the millions of illegal immigrants in this country want citizenship so they can legally landscape your yard or bus your dinner table, you are either naive or politically stupid. The day they get their citizenship papers they are running straight to the welfare office for the free American loot. You think our national debt is staggering now? It will grow exponentially if we make these 10 million or 20 million people citizens. How much are you willing to be taxed to pay for them?

Keep our mail safe

The problem with Ben's in-store postal unit isn't only that it may lead to reduced hours and reduced business at the Belleville Post Office but that the workers' union is adamant that these in-store units be staffed by uniformed USPS employees who are accountable to the public and have taken an oath to protect mail. Do you want your mail handled by a person who has no interest in protecting your birthday gift cards, bills and important documents or by a professional, career USPS employee? Welcome to privatization. I'm sure the first postmaster general, Ben Franklin, would be rolling over in his grave.

Think of the future

A Ben's worker stated she was told that the in-store postal service would not impact current postal employment. But what about the future? Did they or the city leaders not care about the fact that they may very well be left without a full-service facility downtown because of this quasi postal unit? Did the city leaders know about this or worse, encourage this to take place?

Too many taxes now

Well, I got my postcard from St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern in the mail threatening to hold my house hostage if I don' support his new jail tax. I'm sure he is correct in saying that the federal government will force the county to build a jail. Government is good at telling taxpayers what they must do. With the federal government broke, state and county broke, why does he think county taxpayers aren't broke too? Kern should read the local paper. People and businesses are moving out of Illinois, including St. Clair County, because of taxes. If Kern wants or needs more tax money, the answer is more people working -- and better paying jobs, not part-time or minimum wage jobs the government now counts as a job.

Who'd want prison?

In response to letter writer Tom Hulbert's comments about prison: I just don't see how prison is in any way desirable for anyone. I have no desire to go to prison because of the "freebies," and I'm sure Hulbert doesn't either. I just don't understand his kind of thinking.

Potholes already?

I heard on the news the Stan Musical Veterans Bridge was built with preformed concrete slabs . Some people complain that the bridge is bouncy. I find it a little bit bouncy. The bridge has been opened for a few weeks and there are already potholes on it. You would think with spending $695 million, we could finish one winter without repairs. Go figure.

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