Sound-off 3/17

March 16, 2014 

I just got back to Illinois after traveling five states. The cheapest the gas was $3.09 a gallon; it ranged from $3.15 to $3.23. I got back to Illinois and it was $3.68. What a ripoff; Illinois doesn't put taxes collected on gasoline into the roads. What does the state do with the money?

Postal posturing

Some postal workers have nothing better to do than picket an in-store postal center in downtown Belleville. It's already been shown that these places have little effect on post office business operations. With all the yearly losses by the post office, it is by the grace of the federal government that postal workers even have a job.

Better than a tax hike

With a vote coming up on raising taxes to expand the St. Clair County Jail, let's consider that America has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the prisoners. Maybe letting a few nonviolent drug offenders out of jail wouldn't be a bad thing. Doing so might solve more problems than raising taxes.

Reduce jail population

I wonder how many people are in the overcrowded St. Clair County Jail because they were arrested for pot? In another year or two, Illinois probably will allow the recreational use of marijuana. That would take care of the overcrowding problem. No more need to build a new jail.

Slow as molasses

I find it funny the bridge over Illinois 13 and 15 and the roundabout in Belleville is taking longer to complete than the mile-long bridge over the Mississippi River took to complete. Why is that?

Costs don't compute

How can Lebanon build a new school for 400 students that costs $7.5 million while Mascoutah built a new school for 450 students that cost $28 million? When they were selling the school to voters last year, they said the school would cost $9 million; the cost has more than tripled. What's wrong with this picture?

No party required

You can choose a nonpartisan ballot on Tuesday and vote to oppose a tax for the St. Clair County Jail.

Taxes could get worse

Please vote "yes" to keep the Grant District 110 schools open. If the referendum fails, the district will be annexed into one or more of seven adjoining school districts (options include East St. Louis, Collinsville, Pontiac and Wolf Branch.) Property owners will take on the property tax rates of the new school district. They also will continue to pay the debt of District 110 (currently 79 cents per $100 of property value).

Don't risk defeat

On Tuesday residents of Grant School District 110 in Fairview Heights need to vote "yes" on a property tax increase not only to save our schools but to save the value of our property. If the referendum fails, property owners will have to pay even higher taxes to the new school district our children will have to attend. Consolidation is not going to happen. The school district will dissolve and probably be absorbed into the only district that can afford to take over and that would be East St. Louis School District 189. Good luck trying to sell your house then.

Enter the Hall of Fame

I can't believe people want to ban former Cardinals player Mark McGwire from the Baseball Hall of Fame over steroids. How many other players have done it but just weren't caught? If it were not for McGwire there would be no baseball. He brought baseball back to St. Louis; he made it good after the baseball strike.

Public left hanging

What became of the investigation of the St. Clair County judicial system following the arrest and resignation of Judge Michael Cook? In May U. S. Attorney Steve Wigginton said after the first arrests were made that they were the tip of the iceberg. The FBI said indictments would be out the following month.. But nothing happened. Why not? Also, does anyone believe that drug dealer Sean McGilvery was the money man in the heroin purchasing from Chicago? Obviously someone was financing him; I wonder who?

Forced into insurance

Whether or not you like Obamacare, this is the first time in our history that people are forced to buy a product. People say it's mandatory to buy car insurance, but you don't have to buy a car. You can take a chance without car insurance and the IRS will not check on you as it will with Obamacare. You can get your car license tag at a license bureau with no proof of car insurance so you are not forced to buy it.

TIF hurts the schools

An article in an area newspaper that showed Belleville had $15.98 million in its TIF accounts and East St. Louis had $7.4 million. Local schools are struggling because of a decrease in state aid. How much have Belleville and East St. Louis taken from the school accounts? It's time to put a stop to this.

Account for TIFs

Belleville should be forced to publish a list of all the business owners who got TIF money, how much and whether they are living up to their part of the bargain.

Grateful for service

Compliments to Robert Vokes on his letter to the editor about post traumatic stress disorder and his experience in the military. I offer my condolences to him for the trauma he endured serving our country; we owe him a debt of gratitude.

Conditions on jail tax

I'm somewhat in favor of the sales tax increase for th St. Clair County Jail expansion. I feel county officials need to show that this money is going to go to that project and only that project. As far as the prisoners go, they need a room, a bed to sleep in and their three meals a day. There's no reason to give these people who broke the law anything special, TV's, radios, etc.

Lawsuits are a drag

Madison County leads the nation in asbestos lawsuits. Is it any wonder we don't have much industry in Illinois? The state is broke and the trial lawyers control everything.

Turner's a role model

I read your recent article on former Belleville Treasurer Jerry Turner. He did so much for the city. He also was an excellent educator. He never cared to be a politician, he just wanted to serve the community. I wish others would take that approach.

Missed the point

Letter writer Bob Clark missed the point of Glenn McCoy's cartoon in which "entitlements" is shouting at the military. The whole point was the entitlements in this country are causing problems for the military. Too many people are on the dole; not enough people are doing something of good service like the military.

Obama's no Carter

As a result of the recent economic reports, much has been made of Barack Obama statistically supplanting Jimmy Carter as the worst president ever. True, both men are naive fools but it should be remembered; that while he was in office no one ever questioned President Carter's honesty or integrity.

Get Plan B prepared

So Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, the all-knowing expert, predicts the referendum to take $18 million more from the taxpayers to remodel the jail will not pass. He is very astute; in fact, I agree for once with him, so county leaders can get ready to spend the millions they already removed from our wallets. Dunstan said doing it in stages will be more costly. Well, if he and his fellow gangsters have anything to do with the bidding, I guarantee if will cost us more. When will the voters in this county ever wake up?

Pledge to stand up

It has come to my attention that a small minority of students at both Belleville East and West high schools refuse to stand for the morning Pledge Of Allegiance. I find this intolerable and feel both teachers and the school district should be held accountable. If a student doesn't want to support our country, he should not have the privilege of going to our schools. If this is true, I am outraged as a taxpayer and a military veteran.

Offended by cartoon

I detest Glenn McCoy's cartoon in the March 12 paper, I resent it very much. Men go through change the same as women.

Apply same standards

A recent contributor to Sound-off lamented the use of the earned income tax credit by people who were employed less than the entire previous year. I hope that reader has at least as much disdain for the individuals and corporations at the high end of the income curve who also use the tax code to their advantage to avoid paying their fair share.

Settlements reached?

Is it true that several employees in the St. Clair County Clerk's office have received settlements from the county regarding complaints against former clerk Bob Delaney? If so, why have the amounts and names of the people involved not been made public? I hope the News- Democrat will investigate. We have a right to know how our money is spent.

Poverty's avoidable

I read the front-page article in the March 9 BND regarding poverty in the metro-east. I wanted to scream: "Stop having babies." If people cannot afford to raise a child, they shouldn't have one. Contraception is cheap and often free. Poverty is a societal problem controllable by the individual, not the reverse.

Odd time to expand

Memorial Hospital broke ground to build a new hospital in O'Fallon. Yet the hospital in Belleville has been running on a skeleton crew for a very long time. Hiring is frozen, departments are eliminated, housekeeping is short-staffed but they want to build a new facility. It doesn't make sense.

Can hospital work?

How can Memorial Hospital in Belleville build a new hospital in O'Fallon when their executives complain about not enough reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance companies?

Let the gawking begin

The Memorial Hospital groundbreaking will begin the traffic hazard of gawkers, trying to eyeball the building site during the next 16 months. When the land preparation was underway in 2013, I called the St Clair County Highway Department requesting a speed limit reduction from 50 m.p.h. to a more reasonable 40-45 m.p.h. to minimize the road hazard and prepare drivers for the future hospital entrances. They laughed and said it was unnecessary.

Typical in St. Clair

I read the comment from someone who was puzzled that Belleville is going back to put in sewers along the completed 17th Street project. I'll tell you why. Government in St. Clair County always does things like that so it will create work for their contributors. They did the same thing on Green Mount Road. They put it all in and then added some left turn lanes. That's standard operating procedure in St. Clair County.

Thanks for nothing

I want to congratulate Fairview Heights Alderwoman Denise Williams for voting to hire back the director of planning who is directly responsible for the many problems associated with our Fox Creek subdivision. Her actions demonstrate that she really does her homework and is concerned for her residents. Not.

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