Sound-off 5/12

News-DemocratMay 11, 2014 

Good people are going

I enjoyed the editorial about why people are leaving Illinois. One reason left out is the corruption at all levels in the state. A mayor uses grant money to overpay for park land, the county executives hire political bums who have been fired from other public jobs, the legislature blocks reform that would lead to fair elections. It has been said when bad people take over, good people leave. That's what's going on in Illinois.

Little left to take

"How low can Illinois sink?" asks a recent BND editorial. Low enough to drive away a good number of the workers who provide the way for the many takers in this state. If the city of Belleville were a business, it would have a law firm on retainer and pay hourly rates to its attorneys. Instead, it rewards loyal Democratic lawyers with a pension in addition to their fees -- all courtesy of the ever-dwindling number of taxpayers. Of the 50 states, there are those that reward takers like Illinois and California, and those that respect the providers -- a good number of the remaining 48. What happens when all the providers are gone?

Alderman off the grid

Why is Belleville Aldermen Trent Galetti the only city elected official who does not provide his home address on the city's website? He also has a 773 area code, which requires a toll call to reach him. Talk about inaccessible.

Different standards

The NBA's Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was rightfully pilloried for his disparaging racial remarks made in private. Meanwhile NFL owner Dan Snyder's franchise wears its disparaging racial remark on their team logo and the public barely bats an eye. So much for a level playing field.

Top heavy at Scott

Scott Air Force Base is a retired officer's club. I wonder how much support Scott would get if the public knew about all the double-dippers raking in huge salaries. We need them like we need Mid-America Airport.

Fight to keep St. E's

Some individuals want to present statistics to justify St. Elizabeth Hospital's move. Belleville can match and exceed the household incomes of any area in St. Clair County, especially when factoring in unincorporated areas and neighboring communities. Promoting an area dependent on the military and St. Louis commuters is faulty. The real beneficiaries for a new hospital are the land speculators and construction industry. Don't buy the sales pitch. A physician's recent proposal to unify Memorial and St. E's is spot on. An interstate hospital is not magical, as St. Mary's Hospital in East St. Louis and the Forest Park Hospital in Missouri realized. Rebuff the modern day medicine man/ music man. We have enough sprawl. There are 200 reasons why Belleville remains the center of St. Clair County.

When a door closes ...

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert should not be concerned about St. Elizabeth Hospital possibly leaving town. If it does leave, all he has to do is what he did with the old Belleville West: Pay millions of dollars for the building and then sell it to a college, maybe Lindenwood University. Turn it into dorms, maybe a medical school. Everything will work out fine. When God shuts a door, he always opens a window.

Park is for adults, too

I am a former O'Fallon baseball player who wants to have my men's baseball team play at Blazier Field in O'Fallon's park. My team consists primarily of former O'Fallon baseball players, yet we are not able to gain access to the field. In November we submitted our request to the parks district, yet now find out that youth practices are going to take precedence over our games. I understand youth sports are important, but they have a brand new park along with about 15 other fields around O'Fallon in which they can hold practices. O'Fallon has two fields that are the right size for men to potentially play on. When I played youth sports in O'Fallon, we played on youth fields that fit our age level and never on a field like Blazier because we did not need a field with such a vast outfield. As an O'Fallon resident and taxpayer of 23 years, I wonder why we built a new park full of youth fields?

Music but no mayor

I attended the recent bicentennial concert at Lindenwood University and it was a wonderful performance celebrating our city's birthday. However, there was something missing. Where were the mayor or other city officials? You would think someone would have been there to represent the city, but as far as many attendees could tell, none of our city officials were there. Shame on them for not taking a couple of hours on their Sunday afternoon to celebrate Belleville's musical heritage.

Term limits work fine

I read your editorial about Illinois Sen. James Clayborne not supporting term limits because he wouldn't have a job to finish off us taxpayers. "Term limits haven't worked in Missouri," he said. Wrong. I live in Missouri and I believe term limits have worked very well. We don't have to put up with career politicians like Clayborne. Our politicians come in and do their job well for the length of time they are here. They know they won't be in office that long and they do the best job they can.

Feeding at the trough

Your recent article about state pensions for Belleville's two city attorneys said they would contribute only 4.5 percent of their salaries and the municipality would contribute 12.5 percent. Most of us common folks on Social Security or other pension plans have to contribute a matching portion to our employer. Basically we contribute 6.5 percent and the employer contributes the same amount. Why is it the municipalities are contributing more to the fund than the employees? It's more of the political patronage system and public officials feeding at the trough.

Lower contribution

The article about Belleville's two part-time attorneys fighting for Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pensions said IMRF personnel contribute 4.5 percent of their salaries and the city contributes 12.5 percent. This is terrible. The maximum city contribution should be 3 percent.

Missing in action

When Osama bin Laden was killed there was a picture of President Obama in the situation room; when four Americans were killed in Benghazi, not only was there no picture but he wasn't even in the situation room. That tells something about his character.

Lindenwood's outlook

I'm following the improvements made to the Lindenwood University campus in Belleville. I agree, it's a great improvement to West Main Street. When renovating the old Belleville West cafeteria building, please replace the small windows and plastered-in areas with the large windows that Charlie King envisioned when he designed and built that structure. If it's restored to its original appearance, it can continue to be a beautiful building.

Where's the business?

Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert claimed businesses would follow Lindenwood University, which came to town 10 years ago, to serve the needs of the students. Where are those businesses?

Incentives to improve

The guest column by Belleville Alderman Joe Hayden was quite informative. It's a shame Mayor Mark Eckert can't understand how TIF is soaking the taxpayers of Belleville. The first thing the city needs to do is get rid of the crime element in Belleville if people want businesses to come to the city. The second thing: Offer tax abatement to these people. What is a person's incentive to improve a property if his taxes go up? You get the same effect as a TIF, except Eckert would not be taking the taxpayers' money for his adventures.

Next battle: obesity

We've taken care of the smokers, and we have campaign against the drinkers. What about the problem of obesity? It's affecting more than 35 percent of the population and it affects children. Kids eating the same things as their obese parents are more at risk of coming down with juvenile diabetes. This can cause kidney problems, heart problems and a variety of other diseases.

Let Obama pay the bill

If Illinois is broke, why are we talking about spending $100 million on a presidential library? If President Obama wants one, let him pay for it himself.

Bypass Collinsville

On the way back to Navy service in the Washington, D.C., area, my son made the mistake of stopping in Collinsville to fuel up. His car had Virginia plates on it, and he was followed, stopped and hassled by the Collinsville Police. Of course no violations were determined. Can signs be erected on the highway to warn motorists not to stop in Collinsville?

Mixed-up priorities

Did Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert really say that the city's first priority is the new police station, not hiring more officers? I thought the mayor would understand that the police chief's priority is reducing crime, not building another building on the taxpayer's dime.

No reason to work

Why should a person work when she can have expanded Medicaid, food stamps, paid baby sitting and public housing with paid utilities? Come to the United States even if you are illegal and the tired, working people will support you.

Flags need replacing

The flag at the Cahokia Fire Department and the flag in front of St. Louis Gardens in Cahokia both need to be replaced. Firefighters should know that once a flag becomes tattered in needs to be replaced promptly.

Look beyond leggings

Regarding your article about the leggings the girls wear to school, how about doing something about the boys wearing their pants so low their underwear shows? The boys hold up their pants by the crouch because their pants hang so low they can't walk. Isn't this a bit of discrimination toward the girls?

Free Marine sergeant

Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi has been jailed in Mexico on weapons charges and is being held without bail. He said he mistakenly crossed the border near Tijuana. I believe him; who would intentionally cross into that country? Mexicans come over our border illegally every day with worse than three guns. They disrespect our laws and get food, education and medical care and we pay for it. This instance makes me dislike them even more.

Don't expect results

Calling and complaining about corrupt politicians or tall weeds seldom gets you anywhere. Belleville residents should have learned that lesson long ago. It's fun to read all the stories in Sound-off as long as you know they are for entertainment purposes only.

Belleville offers it all

Belleville is a premier place to pursue your passion, whether it is art, historic restoration, recreation, education or other interests. Look no further than this city to partake in faith amidst a family-friendly place. Take action to experience the excellence of this special environment. There's no better time than now.