Sound-off 4/28

April 28, 2014 

Silly people of Belleville, did you really think that the 0.25 percent sales tax revenue would be used to hire more police officers? You know better than that; you've been through this before. Once the mayor and his cronies get hold of that money, it can go anywhere. That's the way the dictatorial rule of Belle-ville is. Don't feel too bad; all the Illinois residents were burned when they were told their money from the lottery would go to education. It's just politics as usual in Illinois.

Can't support Durbin

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin should worry about his re-election as should other politicians. Since the president has put the country and my family in such a deep hole, I have no choice but to vote against anyone who tends to side with the president and his ridiculous policies. I like Durbin, but as long as he supports the president, I won't support him. I would vote for the Easter Bunny if he were running against Durbin.

City's decline begins

Pawn shops, title loan companies, etc., unfortunately are on the rise in Fairview Heights, which is a prelude to the demise of a city. This type of business preys upon the poor. And when the owners of such establishments are elected to the City Council, it is a death knell to the city. Such is the case of Alderman Scott Greenwald. When he ran for alderman, he only revealed that he ran a small business, never that he owned and ran a pawn shop. Is this really what we want in our city?

Get tough on crime

Seems like people will never figure it out. The only way to stop corruption is to really punish crooks. It makes me sick to read about the bid rigging on the Madison County real estate tax sales and former county treasurer Fred Bathon, who only got a 30-month prison sentence for his part in it. And now tax buyer John Vassen gets a little prison sentence in Marion. They should be in a prison like Alcatraz for ruining the lives of a bunch of innocent people.

Unfair to Fairmount

I was devastated when I read the front-page article concerning the gaming bill and Fairmount Park being cut out of video gaming. I know that our legislature is aware of the American way; that's not the Casino Queen way. I am sure the Queen would have a lot more revenue if the owners would collect interest from the politicians whose pockets they are lining with campaign contributions. When the bill is not passed due to unfair politics, nobody wins. I am sure I speak for every race fan, stall cleaner, groom, trainer, owner and anyone else associated with the industry. Kudos to state Rep. Dwight Kay for his support.

Gambling won't pay

East St. Louis and the Casino Queen should not even be considered in the decision to have slot machines at Fairmount Park. That city has and will continue to squander every dollar the casino provides because of its corrupt nature. As far as the Casino Queen, what part of fair competition don't people understand? This casino license should be taken away and given to a community that will actually benefit from it.

New direction needed

Illinois voters need to look to another gubernatorial candidate who is more business friendly. To stop the deficit spending, corrupt pension system, $1 billion short, that would be a great first step to save Illinois. Get a Republican businessman in here. Look at all the other states that have Republican governors and are doing well. Get these anti-business people out of this government. The Democrats have had 25 years to help business and have failed miserably.

Let home buyers save

Helping first-time home buyers by giving them tax money? What happened to the old philosophy about saving for a down payment for a house? If they say they are credit worthy, where is their savings? I'm getting tired of paying for everybody's laziness. This deal with Gov. Pat Quinn is a political ploy.

Still no third screen

I would like to know what happened to the third screen that was supposed to go up at the Sky-view Drive-in in Belleville. All that money spent by the city to get rid of the asbestos with the promise of getting a third screen. It doesn't look like it's anywhere in sight.

Bad medicine

I'm a doctor and I can tell you one of the bigger problems we have in healthcare today is defensive medicine. I dealt with the daughter of a patient who said: You will do this for my mother or we will sue. I tried to explain to her daughter that what she wanted me to do wasn't necessarily in her mother's best interest and that other things, like her kidney function, need to be taken into account. I said, "So if I do what you want and her kidneys fail, what will you do then?" She told me they would sue. This is a serious problem we face today, it's the world we live in with healthcare.

Missed opportunity

Belleville School District 118 had the perfect opportunity to cut down on management positions due to the recent retirement of an assistant principal. But no, they couldn't fill it fast enough. School administrators are not even trying to be fiscally responsible and school boards are useless. School consolidation is an absolute necessity.

Where are runners?

Belleville was named as one of the best places to run because of all its sidewalks. Well, maybe someone should tell the runners they should run on the sidewalks because the only place I see them running is in the street, slowing down the traffic.

Where are the police?

Are you a lawbreaker? Handheld cell phones are banned while driving, according to a law that went effect in January. To date, I have yet to see anything in the Belleville Police report saying that somebody was arrested for misuse of the phone while driving. I'm still being cut off in traffic. When are the police going to start enforcing this law?

At risk from a flood?

Regarding the purchase of the new police station building in Belleville: Is any portion of that building in the flood plain? Remember in 1957 when the creek came out of its banks and flooded the area? I'm sure some of that area was under water in 1957. If it is a flood plain, whoever decided to put a municipal building, especially a police department, in a flood plain is a complete idiot.

Will safety improve?

Will the new police headquarters in Belleville stop crime any better? Will it make it any safer for anyone trying to cross the street and get to the other side? Will it make a pedestrian safe to walk down an alley at night?

Questions for Clay

Why is Belleville Police Chief Bill Clay doing a 360-degree turn? In 2013 when then mayoral candidate Joe Hayden proposed staffing the west end police station, Clay opposed it. Now in 2014 with the help of political candidates Rick Watson and Heinz Rudolf, it's now a good idea? How many crimes would have been prevented before now if politics hadn't gotten in the way?

Doing more for less

I'm a primary care physician, and people need to understand that 50 percent of my time is spent doing things not related to patient care. I'm filling out forms or I'm answering questions for the government. None of this is reimbursed. The only time your doctor gets paid is when you come in and see him or her. The government has added new regulations that require that each time we see a patient, we have to answer certain questions. The next time you see your doctor, know that he or she is getting paid less to do more.

Money goes to the top

Are the board members at Metro asleep at the wheel? Metro's budget is more than $1 million a year for transit. Management personnel have doubled in the last 10 years. Metro pays $30,000 a year for membership to the Men's Athletic Association for its CEO. Mechanics and operators of the trains and buses have not had a raise in more than five years. The list goes on and on. The taxpayers of the metro-east need an outside source to investigate the policies of this agency before any fare increase is even considered.

Schmidt defended

Belleville Alderwoman Janet Schmidt is actually a wonderful representative of the people. I don't know who is trying to stir things up, maybe Alderman Joe Hayden? He seems to have it in for her. It makes no difference what kind of religion a person has. She's an excellent alderwoman.

No surprises here

In response to a recent Sound-off: Belleville Alderwoman Janet Schmidt has been a Democratic pre-cinct committeewoman for more than10 years. She's a fine Democrat and I've worked with her often.

Art over function

Is the state's entry into Art on the Square the finishing of the construction of new Illinois State Crime Lab at 21st and West Main streets? It had to be architecturally unique instead of an ordinary rectangular structure that houses lab equipment. I see a huge waste of money here; what is the reason?

Difficult to compete

What will the Belleville Chamber of Commerce do next? First the Chili Cook-Off, then the Bar-B-Q and now Ale Fest. I am a hard- working owner of a restaurant/bar and now the Belleville Chamber is my competitor.

Double benefits?

Maybe I'm wrong, but doesn't Carol Clark get health benefits from being a St. Clair County Board member? So why would she get $6,000 for a draw against health benefits as the office manager for Caseyville Township? Surely she gets a pension from AT&T and from being a County Board member, now will she get one as an office manager for the township? This is politics at its best.

Good job, police

The Fairview Heights Police force have to be the absolute best in the area. Once again they capture a suspect within minutes of being notified of a robbery on Lincoln Trail. Congratulations to Police Chief Nick Gailius and his team. Please keep up the excellent work.

No to higher taxes

I am responding to Doug Whitley's guest column on Wednesday, "We have to invest in state highways." He says an additional 4 cents per gallon is a small increase at the pump. He says the increase in user fees is fair, placing more of the burden on those who drive more. Enough is enough. Until this state can get a handle on its own mistakes, I will not vote for anyone supporting any measure to increase taxes.

It's OK to refuse perks

Regarding the letter from St. Clair County Board candidate Timothy Buchanan about the retirement perks he received as teacher and elected official: He wrote that he participated in a municipal pension plan as a part-time Swansea trustee, then received a pension bump when he was elected St. Clair Township supervisor. Why didn't he just refuse that? What makes people think he will change?

On taxpayers' side

County Board candidate Tim Buchanan wrote a letter demanding that the St. Clair County Board eliminate pensions for part-time board members. Finally a politician who will take on the county power brokers. I expect he will be attacked by the establishment who wants to keep the undeserved pension benefits. They will try to destroy him to distract from his call to eliminate the pensions. I hope the voters see through their ploy and support him in his quest to end the unfair pensions.

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