Sound-off 6/9

June 9, 2014 

I see no point in extending the school year to cover the snow days that were taken during the winter. After all, the teachers just turn them into play days. They don't actually teach anything on these extra days. They try to entertain the kids and keep them busy.

Late start, late end

I wish East St. Louis School District 189 would stop lying about the reason why school is being dismissed on June 17. Maybe they did use a few snow days, but it mainly was because school didn't start in that district until after Labor Day. Once again, since the state-appointed school leaders have been in town, schools were not ready to start in August like they were prior to the leaders' arrival. It will be nice when the end of June gets here and the three assistant superintendents go about their merry way. I hope the superintendent will be joining them soon.

Is this in the future?

Regarding the two-year prison sentence given to former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook: I hope we don't read in a year that he's out for good behavior, and then later that he's working a St. Clair County job doing something bogus, and in two or three years he's back to being a judge. St. Clair County is known for doing those kinds of things. Keep your eyes open and mark your calendars.

Job awaits Cook

If you think you are angry about former judge Michael Cook and his drug conviction now, just wait until the good old boys give him a job with St. Clair County when he gets out of prison.

Wise up in Illinois

Interesting reading about the millionaire tax advisory referendum that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to put on the ballot instead of having the legislators make the decision. You can tell it's an election year. I don't understand why people in Illinois don't realize what the Democrats have done to the state in the last 12 years.

Questions on cameras

I read with interest the information about the East St. Louis speed cameras. The information brought strong questions to my mind. First, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly was a part of the original group of 18 and was a part of the discussion about the cameras. Why did he suddenly announce the program was illegal when he was a part of it upfront? Was he encouraged to criticize it because some prominent people in Belleville received speeding tickets? Was it more about which city would receive more money? Where was the East St. Louis city attorney? What explanation can he give about the advice he gave his clients? It's time to work together.

Turn off those phones

Do you think people talking on their cell phones in restaurants and movie theaters are aggravating? That doesn't hold a candle to the lunches I attend. People at those events should know better but they can't shut their mouths. People are trying to make announcements and still people are talking on their phones, even when the preacher gets up to give the blessing at meal time. Does anyone have any suggestions on shutting up a group of ungrateful attendees on their cell phones?

Delaney's bill to pay

Tax bills are in the mail. Some of the tax revenue will pay off the out-of-court settlement that former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney is responsible for. Why does he get off scot-free while the taxpayers get stung? Why doesn't the BND get on this and find out why Delaney isn't being made to pay?

Switch to MetroLink

What should people do about getting over to Missouri with the bridges? Dismiss the bridge idea. MetroLink is the obvious choice. Much better idea; save gas, parking and your sanity. It goes to West County, South County, Shrewsbury and the airport. You can get to your destination in half the time, relaxed and ready to go. It is almost 100 percent reliable unless there is an electrical outage.

Drop the Julian dates

When I retired, my friend told me to do things to help me remember what day of the week it was. First, the big paper always came on Sunday. Second check the paper each morning to see what day and date it was. This is getting more difficult to do since the BND started publishing Julian dates. On Saturday, May 31, the paper listed the date as June W2314. Do we really need to know the Julian date?

In denial over climate

It is said that 60 percent of Americans do not believe in global warming. People think the weather here is close to normal so it must be close to normal everywhere. The people in denial are similar to those who didn't believe that cigarettes cause lung cancer or that obesity causes kidney, heart and pancreatic problems in the form of diabetes.

Obama fails as leader

Another scandal under President Obama, this time involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. When is it going to stop? When are we going to realize that maybe we should not keep giving him the benefit of the doubt? Maybe he's just not competent. He tried to blame it on George Bush. Recently he said he didn't know anything about it, he just found out. What kind of administration does he have when he has no clue about what is going on? One of his key objectives was to take care of veterans. I'm not a conservative or liberal, I'm an American. We need a leader to lead America. This man is not a leader.

VA problems ignored

I write my lawmakers when I have a problem. It would be nice if a survey was taken of our senators and House members. How many times a day were they contacted by all these veterans having problems and they didn't answer? I'm pretty sure our House and Senate members knew all about these problems at the veterans hospitals and did nothing. Former Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki took the fall.

Working or playing?

I'd like to comment on my recent visits to Facebook. Several school teachers I know are posting during the school day. I'm wondering how they are able to be on Facebook during school hours? Why aren't they paying attention to their jobs as teachers?

Let businesses pay

Get rid of TIF and all governmental grants. The millions of dollars that the government has given businesses to start a business is ridiculous. No one is going to invest his own money anymore. They get money given to them and they still can't succeed. Get the government out of private business and see how the country proceeds.

Whose sidewalk is it?

How much does Belleville charge private businesses to put their tables on public sidewalks? Who pays if someone trips on these tables? Does Belleville have insurance to cover this?

Too big a distraction

I attended a concert at Bellevue Park. The band was good, but an outlandish person danced throughout the whole performance and that was distracting. He or she was dressed in tights and a sequins outfit and had a suitcase full of accessories. Someone said this person is at all the concerts around town. Why should other concert-goers have to put up with this disgusting display? Isn't this disturbing the peace or a public nuisance? We, too, have First Amendment rights.

Time for Durbin to go

I'd like to thank Sen. Dick Durbin for being on the wrong side of the voters of Illinois in his support for President Obama with regard to the prisoners being released from Gitmo. Five terrorists were exchanged for one American who looks like an Army deserter. Durbin does what top Democrats tell him. He'll hang with the president and pay homage, ignore the reality. I hope voters remember him. He's stymied Illinois growth. We need someone else in the Senate seat representing Illinois.

Fair tax for everyone

I'm not a millionaire, but I believe in a fair tax law. Everybody should pay the same percentage of taxes on what they earn.

Impact overstated?

Lindenwood University in Belleville says it has pumped $1 billion into the local economy over the last four years. Not only is the city not benefiting from this cash flow, Mayor Mark Eckert and city finance director have stated that the sales tax revenue for the city is flat -- another reason given for the quarter percent sales tax increase. Someone in City Hall needs to check with Lindenwood scholars to see if their calculations are correct, and if so, why the city hasn't seen a sales tax increase during this billion-dollar bonanza.

Obamacare's future

Listen carefully to the VA medical problems; that's Obamacare in the future.

Cooperate, judge

What a great example of disregard by a Republican officeholder. Federal Judge William Stiehl, husband of former state Rep. Celeste Stiehl, had an accident when he allegedly ran a stop sign at McClintock and Garden Boulevard in Belleville. He was sued but according to news reports he refused to answer the plaintiff's interrogatories. He apparently is ignoring the problem and the law. He's near 90, but that does not exempt him from the law.

Partisan on D-Day

The Friday edition had many articles about D-Day. There was a beautiful letter written by a veteran, and right underneath it was a letter by a disgruntled Republican criticizing President Obama. Even on a day like D-day, he had to criticize our president.

Suggestions for BND

I wonder how many trees it took to put out 618 Magazine. There wasn't anything in there that couldn't have gone into the Sunday Magazine. The Westender is a homage to those who think they are special because they live on the west end. Belleville has an east end with some very fine people living here, too.

Veterans get bumped

Regarding the VA scandal: Our House and Senate representatives and their families, most of whom never served in the military and are not veterans, get priority at the veterans hospital in Washington, D.C. Does anyone know how many veterans were bumped because our elected officials' families were using the VA and not a veteran? Our commander in chief is not a veteran.

Why no park grant?

Twenty-three different St. Clair County local governments received park grants ranging from $12,469 to $30,000. Noticeably missing from the list was St. Clair Township. Did Supervisor Dave Barnes forget to apply for a grant or was his application rejected? If it was rejected, why? The township board needs to get answers to these questions because the township cannot afford to miss out on $30,000 grants.

Mixed-up priorities

Last Monday's BND headline, "Illinois is near bottom of list for military retirees," probably came as a surprise to the state's blue electorate. A companion headline could accurately read, "Illinois leads all 50 states in money paid to elected public servants and retired public servants drawing pensions." No surprise there. Do everyday Democrats in this state truly believe it takes 7,000 units of government to see to their needs while veterans suffer? Instead, how about funding 7,000 VA facilities and 1,000 units of government? Doubtful, priorities being what they are in this shameful state.

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