Sound-off 4/7

April 6, 2014 

Freezing the salaries of St. Clair County office-holders is nothing but a feel-good election year ploy. Salaries, benefits and retirement options are out of line with the private sector and must be realigned. Retiring at age 50 or 55 with full benefits and expecting the public to pay for this is outrageous. Where is our leadership? Everyone needs to get out and vote for a change.

Wonderful? Not really

How can you keep printing all this wonderful news about the Belleville hospitals when there has been so much downsizing, layoffs, terminations, disgruntled physicians, etc., for more than two years? There is a lot of backstabbing, physicians leaving, and short staffing, to name a few problems. The main concern is to be able to take care of patients. Just hope the patients are not suffering because of this wonderful news.

Congrats to generals

Great to read that Gen. Paul Selva and Gen. Darren McDew have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate for their new leadership positions at Scott Air Force Base. As some past Air Force general officers will attest, that's not always easily done. It speaks well of their records of outstanding performance and impressive leadership ability. All the best to them.

Did doctors opt out?

I would like to see an article providing names of doctors and hospitals in this area who are not providers to Obamacare policyholders.

Ha, ha, very funny

The April Fool's Day "Our View" ranks right up there with the best of Glenn McCoy's editorial cartoons. It was one of the most entertaining pieces I have read in a long time. The part about St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern appearing at a public forum was priceless. And former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon being apologetic for the tax-auction scam that put him to jail? If only, right? I can't wait until next year. I'll no longer be an Illinois resident, but I'll follow the shenanigans.

Quinn shows courage

Whatever else I might think about Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, at least he has the guts to tell the public he wants to make the tax increase permanent before the election. Most politicians would tell us they oppose the increase, then suddenly change their mind after Election Day.

Can't vote for Quinn

I am a lifelong St. Clair Democrat, but I have no intention of voting for Gov. Pat Quinn, he has lied to us. He knew or should have known the temporary tax increase wouldn't fix the budget shortfall, but he lied to the voting public.

Missouri in the lead

I moved from Missouri to Illinois (Belleville) in 1967 and at that time the small Illinois communities were much more advanced in providing medical facilities and manufacturing plants than comparable communities in Missouri. Fast forward 47 years and it's now the reverse. It seems there are various reasons for the change: pandering to state and local government unions, unsustainable government salaries/benefits, broken state and local government retirement systems, high workers compensation, high taxes and the tax-and-spend policies of our state government. I urge everyone to vote. We know what needs to be done, so let's do it and make Illinois great again.

Trumped-up issue

St. Clair Township Trustee Mary Carroll and former trustee Guy Don Carlos attended what they called a rally with a few others on a Saturday morning. They were holding signs protesting an unfair permanent road tax for Swansea residents, a tax that is maybe 3 percent of their total property tax bill. This tax could equate to maybe $7 on $150,000 home. The posterboard they used to make their signs cost more than that. This was not a protest against unfair taxes, this is a protest against Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan.

Follow the spending

Sorry, Grant School voters. It appears it will be business as usual concerning the newfound money from the school tax increase. Instead of hiring back the severely needed school resource officer and a nurse and bringing back the bus service, what do you think they did first? Grant had an ad in the BND to hire assistants for the existing teachers. Perhaps the teachers could take care of their classes for awhile longer? Superintendent Matt Stines didn't reduce his mega salary, either, and the district has not actively attempted to sell its $2 million worth of excess property. They need to be held accountable.

Haine is out of touch

State Sen. Bill Haine, who said he would not support a permanent tax hike, now has the audacity to say he needs to see how his constituents feel. Has Haine so totally lost touch with reality that he needs to ask how people feel about a 67 percent permanent tax rate after he and the other legislators squandered the money raised by the temporary tax?

Highway needs help

The gateway to Belleville, Illinois 15, is not much to look at. Why can't the city, county and state do something about this? How about the court assigning community service sentences to pick up the trash? It's embarrassing to say I'm from Belleville. If I were from out of town and looking for a new home, my first impression would not be very good.

Joke of a sentence

The sentencing of former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook was a joke, a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. The federal judge claimed Cook received a sentence for a person who is just a drug user. What about the fact that he was an officer of the court? The probation officer connected to this case received five years in prison. Cook should have received at least three or four years for tarnishing the reputation of the judges in St. Clair County.

Hard work for what?

In response to the letter from Paula Jones about Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert: He has done nothing for Belleville and the west end. Jones failed to realize that Eckert wouldn't have to work so hard if he wasn't catering to the Belleville elitists.

Tale of two cities

The Edwardsville business community objected to raising the sales tax to help curb government reliance on sales tax revenue for capital improvements. Contrast that with Belleville. Whatever Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert wants he gets, no opposition. Makes no sense.

Not always right

When will people who work for St. Clair County learn their lesson? Under Debra Moore, who is in charge of the intergovernmental grants department, thinks she is right all the time whether she is wrong or right. It is a waste of taxpayers' money to have employees fired and escorted out by deputies. The real laugh will come when County Board Chairman Mark Kern or board member Craig Hubbard are walked out of the building by deputies.

Right to a point

I agree with Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons that the taxpayers shouldn't be held responsible for the lawsuits filed against former county treasurer Fred Bathon. I would disagree that other party officials, including our County Board chairman, were blind to what was going on.

Dogs' best friend

Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue in St. Louis and featured in 618 Magazine, is a true hero for dogs. Shelter dogs make the best pets. Stop buying from breeders; there would be a lot less suffering for dogs if we used the shelters.

Bobcats endangered

The Democrats' response to the evidence that bobcats are locally extinct is typical. You are not allowed to shoot yellow tail or red-tailed hawks that are also predators, but bob-cats seem like fun. If the state allows hunting, it could wipe out the adult population and leave many kits homeless and starving to death.

College on a budget

Students who can't afford to pay their student loans get no sympathy from me. We have great colleges and universities right here, top of the line. Students think they have the right to go away to school and have the college experience. Where is that written? My kids got an education, loan-free, without leaving home.

Reflection of village

I read the BND's coverage of Darron Suggs' sentencing with jaundiced eyes. From the reported reaction of the packed courtroom to his sentence of probation, you'd have thought Suggs was Robin Hood rather than a common thief. Assuming they're all taxpayers, Suggs indirectly stole from everyone who was praising his relatively lenient sentence. Until his conviction, Suggs was Washington Park trustee. Their reaction speaks volumes for the sad state of affairs in their community.

So crime does pay

Congratulations to former Washington Park trustee Darron Suggs. A man of his intellect and education deserves kudos to pull off what he did with his Medicaid fraud. His sentencing to probation was an insult to taxpayers and voters everywhere.

Means test needed

In Illinois, retirement income is exempt from taxation. I can understand not taxing people living on Social Security alone, but all seniors are not poor. In most cases, retirees have their mortgages paid and don't have to feed, clothe or educate children. The income tax was raised 67 percent on the working individual who in most cases will never have an income equal to some pensions. Why not tax retired politicians, university professors, school superintendents and government workers, many of whom have pensions ranging from $80,000 to $200,000 annually.

Stick to town patrols

I recently saw three Troy police vehicles parked on the exit ramp at Interstate 55 & Highway 40 running a radar detail. Who was patrolling the city? This may be in their legal venue, but being a few miles from town does not serve the public's best interest. Leave law enforcement on the interstates to the state police.

Close the pool

I recently attended a Millstadt Commercial Club meeting and Mayor Mike Todd addressed the municipal swimming pool's annual losses. Last year the pool lost between $35,000 and $37,000. That's terrible. Why keep sticking money in this old, dilapidated eyesore while other towns close them down? The taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for this.

Track was here first

People are complaining already that race season in Belleville has started. The first night it couldn't have been too dusty and noisy because the track was wet and the cars do run the required mufflers. Evidently the people complaining haven't lived in this area very long; if they are new, their Realtor didn't tell them about the race track that's been there for 60 years. They should ask their real estate agent why they weren't told.

Where are the police?

The problem I have with East St. Louis is we have so much crime up and down Bunkum Road, Caseyville and the Roosevelt area, these kids walk around with weapons. The police officers are non responsive or take forever to get somewhere. You see police officers in Washington Park, but they don't care. They give the criminals a buffet. Someone got off two shots on a 12-gauge shotgun on my truck in my driveway. Where are the police? We need to see them, we need help badly.

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