Sound-off 3/24

March 24, 2014 

Are the taxpayers any smarter on the day after the primary? Can they understand that they beat the St. Clair County machine by not falling for their disingenuous plan to fix the jail and also put money in their pockets? The power the people have when they band together is incredible,. They can beat the Belleville mayor or the County Board chairman; all they have to do is vote.

Get the message?

The sales tax increase for St. Clair County went down in defeat. Are the elected officials scratching their heads? People are tired of turning over their money to the Mark Kerns, Mark Eckerts and Jerry Costellos to spend it as they please.

A matter of mistrust

Regarding the articles about the St. Clair County Jail referendum not passing: Trust seems to be an issue. If the people who run this crooked government would treat taxpayers honestly and fairly, they wouldn't have to have people fighting every time they try to do something. They have a poor track record and finally the voters might be waking up.

Need some space?

If St. Clair County needs more space for prisoners, convert the top part of the jail from living quarters into cells. Pay for a sheriff to live elsewhere.

How many pensions?

John Lakin, the Demo-cratic candidate for Madison County sheriff, is retired from the Sheriff's Department. He's now working for Glen Carbon as police chief. If he is elected sheriff in November, how many retirement checks is he going to get?

Trapped in poverty

Reading about the poverty in East St. Louis and Washington Park: Why do women living in public housing, unmarried, keep having kids when they can't support the ones they have? Why do they subject these innocent children to squalor for a few extra dollars from the government?

Asking for trouble

I went to my first St. Patrick's Day Parade in Belleville. I thought parades were for children. But people were drinking, yelling and knocking kids down for beads. And we wonder where kids get it from? Eliminate drinking on the streets. The only thing Belleville has to offer people is beer. Better stop and think about all the party lights going up. The city is just asking for trouble.

Sounding a sour note

I went to the St. Patrick's Day parade in Belleville. They had a lot of nice floats and giveaways for the kids. But why were the Belleville West and East bands in the St. Louis parade instead of the Belleville parade?

Teach lifetime skills

Letter writer Larry Brown's divisive rhetoric about poverty shows why we have problems in America. Conservatives want to deal with the underlying causes of poverty instead of just the pain of poverty as liberals do. In the Bible it says: Give the man a fish and feed him for a day; teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime. That's the difference between a liberal and a conservative.

Clean up Illinois 15

The new name for Illinois 15 is called Filthy 15. St. Clair County needs to do something about the presentation of this community. It's an insult to the residents to drive down Illinois 15 and see all the trash. All the businesses have a responsibility to protect our highways from litter. There needs to be something done in picking up the horrible trash on these roads.

Still a good gift

Robert Brunkow's letter regarding George Blair's role in the founding of Belleville is at best off-base and at worse a bitter condemnation of Blair's alleged motives. Regardless of what Blair did with the lots he retained, he did in fact donate every fifth lot and the town square, which by its very nature indicates a gift. Without those donations, Belleville would likely not exist. If Brunkow wants to pontificate on something, I suggest he look at Mayor Mark Eckert's motives in grossly overpaying for Bicentennial Park, and then dedicating funds raised from festivities to further develop this shady venture.

No place for politics

My recent visit to the flea market at the St. Clair County Fairgrounds was spoiled by political campaigning. Among the vendors was a booth for campaign term limits paid for by the Bruce Rauner campaign. Why can't we just enjoy the simple pleasures of shopping without politicians ruining that, too?

Cancel consultants

Paying consultants to keep Scott Air Force Base open? Former congressman Jerry Costello has been on the taxpayers' payroll all his life. He retired from Congress and now is getting more. As for consultant and former Gen. Duncan McNabb, at least he was a real soldier. There's a problem with these consultants. How much money do Costello and his wife want?

Time to give back

You would think that after years of taxpayer support, a generous pension and jobs for family members, former congressman Jerry Costello would use his influence without charge for Scott Air Force Base and other area projects. Instead he continues to gouge the taxpayers with his consulting firm. How much will ever be enough?

Remove the red shoe

As the Belleville centennial proceeds this year, how much of a donation would be required to get the city to destroy the huge, ugly red high heeled shoe at Fifth and East Main streets? I think it looks tacky.

Unnecessary spending

Look how many things Belleville has bought that have no use. First the former Meredith Home building, spent $1 million on a new park that no one uses, now the former Loflin Furniture building was purchased for $159,000. It apparently has no value and sits idle; it is still a nuisance property. The list goes on and on. Why not fix up what really needs to be done in Belleville? Sidewalks are in need of much repair. Putting up fancy lights when your sidewalks are a hazard is ridiculous. Is that so you can see where you are walking and won't fall and hurt yourself?

TIF hurts our schools

When is Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert going to get it through his head that TIF money is destructive to St. Clair County? TIF siphons off education funds. Instead of putting up Christmas lights downtown, why not give it back to the schools, where it belongs?

Mixed-up priorities

There's no money to knock down the Loflin building in west Belleville? Mayor Mark Eckert got $25,000 to put up fancy lights downtown, where did he get that money? Couldn't that money have been used to help tear down that building?

Look beyond color

Shame on the BND for making it sound like Lt. Gen. Darren McDew only made it this far because of his color. He is a hard-working member of the military and has earned every star he has and the one he will get. It is time we leave color out of achievements and let hard work stand out on its own.

Beyond the barricade

The barricade in front of the Arcades on West Main Street in Belleville has been there for three weeks. When will it get taken care of? If it were uptown, the work would have been done already. Is the west end of Belleville too far for the Street Department?

Still bumpy riding

The lane closure was a nuisance on Interstate 55 at Illinois 3 while the work crews removed the bumps and potholes in the road. But now after it is completed, I see their new bumps work just as well as their old ones. Thanks, Illinois Department of Transportation.

Cartoon is right on

BND cartoonist Glenn McCoy hit a grand slam with his editorial cartoon on Friday. This is exactly what happens when a community organizer goes against a top KGB agent.

Call this race

I just don't understand. I have to get my vehicles tested every two years for emissions to make sure they are not polluting too much. But every Friday night from March to October, more than 100 stock cars send toxic fumes into the air for five straight hours. My neighborhood smells like a refinery after these races. I am sick and tired of not being able to sit on my deck on a Friday night because of the fumes, dust and noise. I hope in the next election we will get city leaders who will clean up this nuisance.

Stay vigilant

So the all-knowing Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan was right, the taxpayers didn't want this $18 million tax shoved down her throat to rebuild the jail. Now we just need some watchdogs to make sure he doesn't pad his and his buddies' pockets getting this remodeling done.

Front plates, please

Why do drivers only display rear license plates? It is the law in Illinois to properly display both front and rear plates, not in your front window or covered or with a tinted film. About one out of every 10 cars on the road shouldn't be on the road because the plates not displayed properly. I don't know why the police don't pay more attention to this.

Focus on emergencies

I see that St. Clair County Emergency Management has a Facebook page that from time to time says different agencies are responding to something, but does little to provide information about where. What good is this? Also I'm glad to see that Director Herb Simmons has time to drive around all day videotaping and taking pictures of emergency scenes. I guess our county is really ready for an emergency since he has this kind of time. What a waste.

Why math matters

The article on March 10 regarding children and math was interesting and so true. Too many children dislike math and ask why they must learn it. Books like "Math Is All Around Us," written by a local author, uses real-life situations to show students just how important math is to them. Students need to gain confidence in applying their math skills to real life, practical situations.

One less expense

Based on his tentative road budget, I see that St. Clair Township Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan has bowed to public pressure and has stopped the annual donation of $3,000 in road tax money to the Belleville Area Humane Society. I guess I will have to cancel my request for a donation to the American Cancer Society.

Abate this road tax

If you live in Swansea, Fairview Heights or Shiloh and also live in St. Clair Township, you are paying an unjust township property tax that is set to increase by an estimated $130,000 this year. This tax is called the permanent road tax. It is unjust because you have to pay it, but none of the tax is used to care for your roads. Your city maintains your roads, not the township. Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan has the power to cut or eliminate this tax. He can do this by a process called tax abatement. Will Kernan choose to abate this tax or allow it to increase?

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service