Sound-off 3/31

March 30, 2014 

Whoever complained about St. Clair County emergency director Herb Simmons should realize even he cannot make it to all the incidents posted on Facebook; he has a staff that assists him. These videos provide a public service. If it wasn't for the weather and traffic updates in January, I might of been one of the unlucky ones in the ditch trying to get to work. When I saw the videos of how bad the streets were, I called off work. So the caller needs to get off the high horse and appreciate that Simmons cares enough to let us know what's going on.

Burned up over order

A no-burn order was put in place in St. Clair County because of the danger of brush fires. Why did it not happen until last week? The only problem is, where is the enforcement? Unless there is an ordinance and penalties, no one is going to listen anyway. What a waste of time.

Cameras are bad idea

Is East St. Louis trying to scare everyone away? The crime and massive decay is bad enough and now the speed cameras. Why would anyone go to East St. Louis unless they had to? The city is doing a very good job of ruining what is left of the business community.

Danger, rough road

Townhall Road between Cloverleaf and Dupont Hills is in terrible shape and someone is going to have an accident or tear up his car if it isn't repaired. I realize we have had a rough winter, but there is no excuse for some of these potholes and/or monster piles of broken asphalt in the middle of the road. Where is the road commissioner? We will remember this when election time rolls around.

Follow up on trash

Kudos to the young folks who came out March 22 to pick up trash along Seven Hills Road in O'Fallon. Now, almost a week later, I'm wondering who's responsible for picking up the bright orange trash-filled bags that they left on the side of the road?

Don't blame bobcats

Contact your representative regarding state Rep. Jerry Costello's legislation on a hunting season for bobcats. Deer hunters are responsible for the decrease in the deer population, not bobcats. This is misguided and unnecessary legislation that will do more harm than good. Leave the bobcats alone.

Weather played a role

In regard to the proposal to tweak the deer hunting season to increase the deer population: Has anyone considered that the weather was a factor in the substantial drop in number of deer harvested in the 2013-14 season? For many of the days the temperatures were below normal, sometimes 0 degrees, or snow or rain was falling. So quite naturally the number of deer harvested was down. Even the deer hunker down in bad weather. Also, many hunters wait for that trophy buck rather than shooting a doe or young buck, thus also reducing the number harvested.

Deer aren't on menu

State Rep. Jerry Costello II needs to do his homework before supporting a bill that would allow the killing of bobcats. If he even checked, he would see that bobcats rarely eat a deer, and feed mainly on smaller prey such as rabbits, mice and squirrels. The ecosystem is based on predator/prey, and the natural world can do just fine without humans destroying the food chain. Without natural predators, we could end up with more rats.

Too much coverage

I'd like to know what the deal is with the BND. Every time state Rep. Jerry Costello II proposes a miniscule piece of legislation, his name gets thrown in the newspaper.

Jail tax redux

Let's get the St. Clair County jail tax initiative back on the ballot soon. This time, make the proposed tax fit for the estimated cost of the jail rehab and not a penny more. Let's see if St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and his cronies can manage a critical project like this without cost overruns and schedule delays.

Bigwigs and the base

Someone wrote in that the BND needs a new headline writer. I didn't think much of it until I saw the headline that called the officials coming to Scott "bigwigs." I'm sure they love to be called "bigwigs." This is part of the dichotomy we seem to have with Scott Air Force Base. Do we want the base to continue to be a major economic factor, or are we going to use real estate taxes on military housing to make it too expensive for the people to live there?

Don't resent the rich

We live in a society of people who resent the wealthy. I'm 72 years old and I never got a job from a poor man.

Cut retiree benefits

Instead of slimming down our military to a point where it's dangerous, why don't we just slim down the benefits of military retirees?

Instead of more taxes

Tax, tax and more tax, that's all we hear from Gov. Pat Quinn. Why doesn't the government stop rewarding women for having babies out of wedlock? These girls don't get pregnant by themselves; where's the daddy? Also start cutting politicians' paychecks and pensions.

Here are places to cut

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to make the temporary income tax hike permanent rather than do anything to control the state's out-of-control spending habits. He's using more scare tactics to convince the people of Illinois that unless the tax becomes permanent, teachers will lose their jobs, poor children will suffer and on and on. Here are a few suggestions on how to cut spending: Suspend all state grant programs that fund such superficial projects as decorative lights. Stop handing out grant money to buy park land at inflated prices. Stop spending state money on decorated fences around educational facilities. Stop handing out grant money for art exhibition buildings at community colleges. Finally, end the ridiculous compensation packages paid for elected officeholders.

Quinn can't do his job

Gov. Pat Quinn has proven he is unable to balance the state's budget, even with the supposedly temporary tax increase, which now he assures us, "honestly," has to be extended. The man cannot do his job and he has proven it to us. Quinn needs to go.

Vote out Quinn

Shame on Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. We all knew that the temporary income tax hike eventually would become permanent. Shame on Quinn and every single Illinois legislator, how dumb do they think the voting public is? We've got a chance in the November election to get rid of Quinn.

Get tough and cut

In regard to Gov. Pat Quinn wanting to make the state income tax hike permanent: Why doesn't the governor and state legislators get that we, the taxpayers, want tough cuts in spending? We've had to make tough cuts in the private sector over the last six years, why shouldn't state government be required to do the same?

Class warfare begins

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton would like to add a 3 percent tax on millionaires for education. Cullerton knows it has no chance of passing. This is simply the beginning of the election, pitting the poor against the rich.

Cuts exaggerated

State lawmakers are threatening spending cuts that would be staggering to metro-east. We need to call their hand and let those cuts happen. It would be just like the federal sequester; the bills would get paid, everything would be all right and the stupid politicians would not have learned a lesson.

History repeats

I can't believe people are so blind. President Obama and the war hawk Democrats are at it again. They sit back and don't do anything, just like they did with World War I and II, Korea and Vietnam. They wait for us to get attacked, don't do anything and then our hand is forced. We will be in a war with Russia, all because of Obama and the Democrats.

Cartoon's on target

Glenn McCoy's recent cartoon about Michelle Obama was right on target. The first vacationer would need a much bigger rickshaw for her China tour since she brings the family with her.

What, no cameras?

Michelle Obama's vacation posse spent a lot of time trying to avoid photographers during her China vacation. Imagine that. The queen of the TV talk show circuit doesn't appreciate all the paparazzi.

Disband the township

Regarding the story about the Belleville Township budget being inflated: It's not only inflated it's a political slush fund. I would like somebody in the township to explain why my tax money is going to support some Catholic churches. There is a practice in Belleville of supporting the Catholic Belleville Diocese: the old hotel, TIF donations and eight of the churches receive benefits from the township. The township duplicates services the city should be providing. The township needs to be dissolved.

Township's redundant

Belleville Township employees have salary and benefits of $263,500 total. For three employees, that's an average of $87,833 each, that's unbelievable. I agree with Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook, let's eliminate the township. Let's get rid of this tax burden.

On the road to ruin

Public unions in Illinois are leading us down the road to bankruptcy. The unions I refer to are police, fire and education. We have police and firefighters retiring with a pension at 50 to 55 years old and because they are young, they get another job to fill their time and pay for insurance. No one should get a public pension before age 62. School consolidation is not even attempted. Superintendents and principals pad their salaries in later years so they can collect exorbitant pensions, which seems criminal. My advice: Follow the businesses moving out of Illinois.

Enforce phone law

On Jan. 1 it became illegal for people to talk on a cell phone while driving other than with a hands-free device. For a while most people observed that law. Now three months into the year, people are back to their old habits. I've not seen one report in the newspaper that someone was cited for this infraction. Motor vehicle operators are supposed to follow the law and police officers are obligated to enforce it.

Better to stay silent

Everyone has a right to voice their opinions. It seems to be letter writer Lee Pitzer's self-appointed role to chastise the writers he doesn't agree with. He should just read the letters like we all do and then come up with some original thoughts if he feels the need to join the frequent writer's club. No, I didn't sign my name because I don't want to be associated with him, Jim Walters, and the rest of the writers who give us reason to shake our heads and chuckle.

Is God out or in?

If schools are not allowed to have God in the classroom, why is the Triad School District taking a religious holiday called Good Friday? Good Friday is about Christ being crucified. Didn't the district use snow days and call it God's will so they wouldn't have to make up the days? Isn't it funny how they call on God at their convenience?

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