Sound-off 4/21

April 21, 2014 

Former St. Clair County Judge Michael Cook agrees to be disbarred. I guess so. Otherwise he could have to wait five years to be reinstated vs. three years.

Think of the workers

A letter writer commented on why people had to use additional bags to put garbage in. Adding to landfills is a concern. However, she doesn't take into consideration those who pick up the garbage and have it splatter all over them. It's not much to ask that people properly bag their garbage so we make it manageable for workers to perform their job.

Risky policy to pursue

Someone needs to look into the Brooklyn Police Department chasing cars into St. Louis for minor traffic violations. At least once a weekend they are in hot pursuit across the bridge. Someone is going to get killed.

Some OT is covered

With regard to the overtime being paid to Belleville employees: Some of it's reimbursed. I think we need a report of exactly how much is being reimbursed.

A fine mess for city

Regarding Belleville Alderwoman Lillian Schneider's comment about tearing down the former Meredith Home building: How can we vote to tear down the building in 2015 or 2016 when we don't know where the money will come from? Belle-ville shouldn't have purchased the building.

Mixed-up priorities

A front-page article described Gov. Pat Quinn warning of extreme and radical cuts to school funding and social services if our state's income tax gouging isn't made permanent. Then on page two and an article screams that our broke state is going to spend $4.7 million in our area on bike trails, no mention on how much will be spent statewide. Really? We can waste money on our bike trails but have to cut spending on necessities? Only in our corrupt state could this kind of reasoning prevail.

Political showboating

The BND reported the second of two Air Force "big wigs" have visited Scott Air Force Base yet the photos and quotes are all from politicians. I'm confident the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff were well aware of the value of Scott before they visited. Their trips were more to appease politicians than fact-finding missions. After all, two Air Force four-star generals live at Scott and regularly advocate for its mission. They're not just chopped liver, though politicians sometimes treat them that way.

Belleville misses out

Arrowhead Building Supply is leaving Belleville and heading to Fairview Heights. Did Belleville ever entertain offering this business some TIF money? It has $8 million to $10 million annually in sales; at least 2.5 percent would go into city coffers, that's $200,000 in revenue the city just lost. I guess they weren't with the in-crowd or the elitists who get the TIF funds. If they did get TIF money to open in 2006, have they lived up to their agreement?

Independent no more

I was surprised in the last election when I pulled my Democratic ballot and saw Janet Schmidt running for Democratic precinct committeewoman in Ward 2. I thought she was elected to the Belle-ville City Council as an independent? I should have guessed she would join the mayor's party as she always votes with his Good Government puppets.

Questions on pensions

With regard to your article on Tuesday about the St. Clair County people and nine attorneys not being eligible for IMRF pension benefits:Why didn't you name the people? And what about the Belleville city attorneys who are in the pension program? Whatever happened to that? Also, when is the county going to get these part-timers off the medical insurance? These are tough times and now's a great time to start cutting.

Get the name right

The name of the new Mississippi River bridge is being abused already and so far the BND is the worst offender. In your article you talk about the bridge not being used as much as they first thought it would be; you referred to it as "the Musial" bridge. It's the Veterans Bridge a lot more than it is Stan Musial's Bridge.

Pensions not deserved

Read the article on the pension situation in Illinois and how St. Clair County justified paying pensions to 29 members of the board. What an unbelievable farce that is. First, they ought to be made to sign time sheets stating they worked those hours. Second, there are 102 counties in Illinois. If every one of them has even half the number of board members that we have, that's a couple thousand people getting pensions who certainly don't deserve it.

Here we go again

I find it interesting that Gov. Pat Quinn says the state will provide $7,500 for a down payment for people who qualified for a new home-buying program. Isn't this what started the recession in 2008? Easy credit?

Real life isn't so rosy

Several months ago you printed an article about U.S. Attorney Steven Wigginton and his project of going into the East St. Louis prison and meeting with people who have six months or less to serve, helping prepare them for the outside world. I wonder how that is going. The same thing happened to me, only now that I've reformed I'm still waiting for affordable housing, no one will hire me and it has been six years since I've had police contact. I wonder if he's preparing them for a fantasy world or the real world.

Little relief on bridge

Anybody who has traveled over the new bridge knew it would not take that much traffic off the Poplar Street Bridge. Anyone who travels the Poplar Street Bridge on a daily basis knows it's the exit ramp for Interstates 44-55 that is the problem that causes the slow traffic. The only thing the new bridge did was relieve pressure on the right outside lane of the Poplar. Now there's no traffic there. It doesn't do anything for the other traffic problem, it's still there.

What a cushy benefit

These St. Clair County Board members getting pensions for a $20,000 a year job is stupid. They only have to work 600 hours to gain benefits, that's outrageous. The normal person works 2,080 hours a year to gain some benefits.

No comment Kern

In your article Wednesday about the pensions being revoked by IMRF, it stated that St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern could not be reached for comment. He is never available for comment. If he is too busy to talk to reporters, how about him writing a response to the paper so we know he is on the job?

What a great tax rate

The tax rate that the president pays is 19 percent. A lot of people would like to have that low a rate. Let's all get it.

Officer's endorsement

I see that Carl Officer is backing the nonpolitician billionaire Bruce Rauner for governor. What will Rauner give Officer for that? Officer is only in it for himself; he's proved that time and time again.

Not free for everyone

That caller who thinks he's getting free medical care under Obamacare is completely wrong. I am paying a $104 premium plus another $164 based on my income. It's free for him but not for me.

Promises, promises

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert is doing the same thing Gov. Pat Quinn did. Quinn promised a "temporary" tax increase that he now says must be made permanent. Eckert promised two police officers would be hired if a sales tax was extended and now he's building a new police station. And we wonder why politicians ranks lower than used car salesmen for trustworthiness.

Justice out of kilter

I am not a lawyer, so please explain to me why a state trooper who pulls over a suspect, has him pull his pants down and searches him with a flashlight could be subject to two to five years in prison for an illegal strip search but a trooper who drives in heavy traffic like a maniac and causes an accident that kills two innocent children (the Uhl sisters) walks home scot-free. How does this happen?

Less would be more

Regarding Glenn McCoy's cartoon Wednesday about more cops, not a new police station: Three quick ways to improve the lives of everyone in Illinois would be to get rid of St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Belleville Mayor Eckert and Gov. Pat Quinn. Get some responsible people in government, not people like these three characters.

Just the facts, BND

I read, for the second time in as many days, your coverage of the state trooper's alleged "strip search" of a suspect in East St. Louis. What does the trooper's former residence, college gridiron experience and annual salary really have to do with it? Your reporter could take a lesson from the old TV show "Dragnet." As detective Joe Friday used to say, "All we want are the facts." I think he was referring to the relevant ones.

Short-lived savings

Good comment from letter writer Raymond Monte. Shady Lane is in worse condition than it was before it was replaced. This is because previous St. Clair Township road commissioner, Mark Burk, thought he could engineer a road himself and skimp on the asphalt thicknesses to save money. What a disaster he created, now Monte is stuck with a really bad street.

An expensive ticket

I had a vehicle towed after being pulled over for a traffic violation in O'Fallon. The towing occurred on a Friday evening. I was charged $250 by the O'Fallon Police Department for an administrative fee, also charged $370 by O'Fallon Shiloh Towing -- $200 for the tow, $160 for storage and $10 for mileage. This practice seems outrageous by both parties. The tow yard is closed on Saturday and Sunday so I picked up the vehicle Monday morning and was charged for four days' storage. I am outraged that a public service would scam the community is such a fashion.

Where are the police?

Where are the St. Clair County sheriff's patrols when you need them? I reside in Oak Hill subdivision in west Belleville. I can't tell you the number of motorists who speed, run stop signs, run stop signs while speeding and and are texting while doing all of the above. School buses too. It's a safety issue. Ticketing the above individuals for these infractions would more than fund a new jail.

Rescue's still open

Spencer Pet Rescue will be moving soon, but it is not gone yet. It is still at 1405 East Highway 50 in O'Fallon, even if its sign is off the kennel building prematurely. Spencer Pet Rescue still has a lot of wonderful dogs and cats available for loving homes. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. On May 14, Spencer Pet Rescue will be moving to a new location in Lebanon.

When will Illinois cut?

A few years ago in a debate involving the governor's race, the candidates were asked to suggest some ways to get the bloated state budget under control. It was generally agreed that the state regional office of education was a redundant busy work agency and would not be missed. All the teachers I know agree. Why does this office still exist?

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