Sound-off 5/5

May 4, 2014 

I want to thank tax buyer Robert Luken and the BND for sharing the news about Luken's lawsuit. There is no doubt in my mind that his allegations are correct that Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons, former state's attorney Bill Mudge, County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan and Clerk Mark Von Nida were all aware of Treasurer Fred Bathon's tax-buying scam. I know that getting justice in this corrupt county will be a challenge, so I hope Luken and his lawyers will be persistent.

Scott AFB defended

Once again the BND shields Scott Air Force Base. The paper ran an article about Airman Justin Vangilder and never mentioned that he was stationed at Scott. God forbid that the public should know about the unsavory things that go on at Scott.

High price for homes

Your recent article lists $9.5 million to build 30 homes in East St. Louis. How many $300,000 homes are in Belleville, with a per capita income that is twice that of East St. Louis? How will the residents of the low-income homes afford the property taxes, utilities and general upkeep of these expensive homes? How will they survive in the most dangerous city in the United States?

Costs don't compute

I am befuddled at reading that the government will spend $9.5 million to build 30 homes in East St. Louis. If my math is correct, that is about $316,000 per house. Somebody needs to document why we are spending this kind of money. You can find quality housing for less than this money, a full investigation is needed.

Fairmount left out

Horse racing in the metro-east should not be stumbling. Why would we be depending on a Republican? A form of entertainment should be preserved if for no other reason than tradition. Why would Sen. James Clayborne and Rep. Jay Hoffman not be in favor of keeping horse racing in the metro-east? I think the BND should find out.

Books for the library

I loved Glenn McCoy's April 25 cartoon in reference to the Barack Obama presidential library. What books could you put in there? Comic books and "President for Dummies"?

Why Illinois is broke

Only these corrupt Democrats in this most corrupt state in the history of the United States would vote to spend $100 million to bring the Obama presidential library into Illinois. Nobody else has used public money to build a library. This is a prime example of why I moved out of Illinois. With your high taxes, high gas prices, high insurance, everything you pay for in that state is so much higher than where I moved, it is unbelievable.

Extreme reaction

Regarding Our View April 26: Part of what the police chief of Caseyville did would fall under verbal assault. Nowadays you can't even get in a heated argument. You can't raise your voice, point a finger, curse or whatever. How can people resolve problems? This police nation has gone way too far.

Turn down the music

At Edwardsville High School, where all the students are nearly perfect and they excel at athletics and academics, and the place is run in a very tight fashion, I have only one complaint. The track facility on Saturday mornings is blasting the raunchiest F-bomb-laden rap music they can find. This rap can be heard all across the school grounds and neighboring subdivisions. It's not appropriate.

Hands out in Belleville

Can somebody tell me where to go to the get the money for new carpet and bathroom remodeling? I want to get the money like the Belleville mayor and city officials give out. I'm 70 years old, still working, trying to save money. Stop bleeding the tax-paying citizens to death. I agree with letter writer Jim Walters, we need a revolution.

We're not that stupid

Loved your editorial "Keep promise to roll back income tax.' Either our lawmakers are so stupid they think switching from a flat tax to a progressive tax is really the promised rollback, or they think we voters are so stupid that we will think this is really the promised rollback. The solution? If you don't like what your legislators do, vote them out.

Focus on pensions

Two Democrats are pushing for a constitutional amendment to allow a graduated income tax in Illinois. How about constitutional amendment to change the state's pension program? I'm getting tired of the Democrats taking money out of our pockets. Keep feeding at the trough. Time to change the constitution, but change it to get the pension straight at the same time.

East girls left out

I have a concern with the lack of photos in your gallery of the Belleville East girls track team. The Belleville East girls won the city meet, but most of the photos were of the Belleville West girls. Then there were photos of all the local winners at the St. Clair County meet with the exception of, again, Belleville East. Please help me to understand the reasoning.

Roundabouts on time

The roundabouts in Belleville will be complete several months ahead of schedule. This is no surprise; Hank's Excavating came in with a master plan in place and followed it to a T In two years. Never a day when some work wasn't be done. Hank's is to be congratulated on a job well done. I don't work for the company but do use the roundabouts daily.

Show us the money

I see the Belleville Police Department and St. Clair County Sheriff's Department have collaborated on a joint substation. Where was the leadership on a collaborative jail project? Has anyone indicated if there is money for the additional costs for utilities for the new Belleville station?

Not the state's place

The state giving first-time home buyers $7,500 toward a down payment is ridiculous. If people can't save a down payment, how will they pay the insurance, taxes, house payment, upkeep, trash, water, and sewer?

Just say no to Ameren

Ameren is looking for another rate increase. They do not need one. Look at their profits, they are record high. People can't pay bills now. But don't tell the politicians in Springfield who get their pockets lined by Ameren via campaign contributions.. Contact the Illinois Commerce Commission and tell them to reject a rate increase.

Where Quinn can cut

As Gov. Pat Quinn keeps harping on making the income tax permanent, I have a few ideas for trimming a few millions from the state budget. Eliminate the Secretary of State Police force, wipe out the governor's personal fleet of aircraft, eliminate grants for bike trails and decorative street lighting, eliminate funding for the poorly attended DuQuoin State Fair, eliminate the unnecessary regional school districts, and put a stop to the first-time home mortgage giveaways. Just a few measures that can be taken before any tax increases should be considered Illinois.

Goodbye, free speech

I thought we had freedom of speech in this country. That basketball owner expressed his views in a private conversation that was sold to a TV station. Why isn't he allowed to say what he wants? Wasn't that in our Bill of Rights?

Keep fuel tax as is

The plan to raise the fuel tax for our state is over our limit. Our taxes are too high now. If the state would put the money where it belongs, we'd be all right. If there is a problem with funds, table other projects. Let's get our priorities in order rather than keep spending recklessly. Use the money for repairs rather than take on new projects.

Police are guilty, too

In regard to the Sound-off "Where are the police?" and to cell phone users: It's difficult to write tickets when the officers are driving in the squad cars doing the exact same offense.

Keep police in city

Why is Belleville's Police substation in unincorporated St. Clair County? I object to my taxes going to pay for people who never wanted to live in Belleville to get Belleville's city police protection.

Let St. E's move

The proposed St. Elizabeth Hospital location in O'Fallon is ideal. O'Fallon has a per capita income of $68,500, whereas Belleville is $36,000. Belleville cannot keep the homeless people from wandering around the St. Elizabeth's and the area is ripe for crime. I don't feel safe and look forward to the much safer location in O'Fallon. If Belleville fights St. Elizabeth's, it may not have any medical presence in the city.

Take down the signs

When is Swansea going to start enforcing its sign ordinance? On Huntwood Drive, how about fining the people who put up signs for lawn care, garage sales , etc.

A way to raise wages

For those people who believe with the Democrats that the minimum wage needs to be raised I'd also tell them to tell the Democrats, legal immigration needs to be resolved. Illegal immigration means people come in and work for cheaper dollars. If those people weren't here taking those jobs, minimum wages would naturally go up. Call your Democratic congressman and say, "I support a minimum wage increase, but I also support a decrease in illegal immigration.

Back to big raises

O'Fallon High School's contract with the Service Workers Union is for four years; for the final three years they get 3 percent increases. Everybody's always saying how O'Fallon is short on money, so how can they negotiate such a contract?

County observations

I have attended several St. Clair County Board meetings. Is there a requirement that the members have to be able to read? Some of their agenda packets are never unopened. And why do we need 29 board members? Most board members do not spend 20 hours a month on county business, much less the required 50 for the IMRF pension.

Pension politics

St. Clair County Board candidate Tim Buchanan planned his entire political career. He ran for Swansea trustee in the off term. He knew he would be vested in the pension plan. Once vested he ran for St. Clair Township supervisor, knowing his pension would jump from $7,200 to more than $60,000 for his final four-year average. He now knows if he takes the county pension, it will reduce his last four years average, which is why he can campaign against board pensions. It's not rocket science. He played us as taxpayers and now it's wrong for everybody else. And he wants to be our leader?

Follow O'Fallon's lead

As a senior in O'Fallon, I've just paid my trash bill for May, June and July. It's a bargain price thanks to Waste Management's pricing deal with O'Fallon; my household pays only $61.95 for three months, that includes a rolling tote for recycling, a rolling tote for trash, plus unlimited pickup of yard waste. The totes are available in two sizes, 64 gallons or 96 gallons. All three trucks come through on the same day, so it reduces traffic, noise and wear and tear on the streets. So when is Shiloh going to make a deal, reduce the cost to its residents and get rid of its expensive and troublesome recycling dropoff?

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