Sound-off 7/7

July 7, 2014 

Wood River just released funds it collected for Wood River Hospital that were never used. The only problem: They gave the money to current taxpayers, even if they were not the ones who paid the taxes. So if you bought a house after they stopped collecting the hospital tax, you still get money. This is not right.

Sour taste at festival

The Wine, Dine & Jazz fest in Belleville was horrible this year. The last three years we tasted multiple wines from wineries all over and had such a wonderful time and spent about $200 each year. This year there were two booths, both with the same wines and not many options. There were more food trucks than wine booths. I hope those who put this year's event together are ashamed; definitely no pat on the back for this one.

Perfect for cleanup

I'm intrigued by President Obama's recent nominee to be his new secretary of Veterans Affairs. Apparently he thinks someone from the corporate world is just what the doctor ordered to fix what's wrong with the VA. His nominee is Bob McDonald, former CEO of Proctor & Gamble. P&G is known for producing detergent, soap, dishwashing liquid, shampoo, mouthwash and stain remover so he'll have the wherewithal necessary for this major cleanup job. If not, P&G also produces odor control, deodorant, cologne and perfume, which could be used to hide the smell. Good luck.

Township trouble?

I hear that the new Stookey Township road commissioner has spent his entire budget for the year. How is there no money and the roads are still in horrible shape? I hear he wants to lay off a couple people or go to a four-day work week. This is absolutely ridiculous. Am I the only taxpayer in Stookey Township who is fed up with this man?

Money necessary

It's true that money alone won't fix Illinois, but we still need money.

Obama asked for this

Commenting on the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby: First, Glenn McCoy hit a grand slam on his interpretation of President Obama getting spanked; it's got my vote for the top 10 of the year. Obama is not the king of the United States. The lesson to be learned here is about those who sit out elections and vote blindly for Democrats. Elections have consequences and the conservative majority on the court is hanging by a tread. On Election Day, do your country a favor and vote out Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart and the rest of the Democrats in this corrupt state.

Tolerance is one way

Anne Harter wrote a letter to the BND complaining that there was not more coverage of gay couples being married in Belleville. She demanded that the community celebrate gay marriage. The legal right to marry was not enough for her. What she really wants is moral acceptance, and I bet she is willing to pass laws to punish those who think gay marriage is immoral. She once fought for tolerance but will grant no tolerance to others.

Where the doctors go

Your recent Sunday letters incorrectly list that patients will need to find new doctors if St. Elizabeth's Hospital moves to O'Fallon. One of the purposes of the new St. E's will be to attract new physicians to the hospital. Currently the majority of the primary care physicians do not go to St. Elizabeth's Belleville hospital. Most primary docs choose to use hospitalists. A few years ago about 100 Memorial Medical Group providers in primary and specialty care quit going to St. Elizabeth's for political reasons. All of the HSHS primary care docs with outpatient offices no longer go to St. E's despite being listed as on staff at St E's. Most docs already do not go to St. E's.

Confusing district

The disengaged Illinois blue Democratic electorate will be encouraged to get to the polls in November to fill in the Democratic boxes and ask for a higher minimum wage. Meanwhile, Republicans in Swansea will continue to be represented by Eddie Lee Jackson, D-East St. Louis, as opposed to favorite Chicago son Jay C. Hoffman, D-Swansea. Why are Republican areas of Swansea not represented by Hoffman? Would he not be re-elected? Who does he represent? Are everyday Democrats OK with this? Would they be OK with it if the tables were turned?

No room to talk

Recently the BND mentioned that Memorial Hospital was concerned about St. Elizabeth's leaving Belleville. Memorial Hospital has an ER group from California, a hospitalist group that is owned by a California company, a pathology group from St. Louis and a radiology group that is Springfield-based. Do you think the profits from the contracted groups are staying in Belleville? Maybe Memorial is afraid of the competition since St. Elizabeth's has full services that are staffed mostly with local medical providers.

A good place to cut

Why is the Regional Office of Education still in existence? A few years ago the candidates for governor agreed it is a busy- work agency and would not be missed. The teachers I speak with consider it a time-wasting hindrance. Maybe it would be a good place to start cutting spending and bloated pensions.

Move based on merit?

I read the good news that the Air Force will be sending more than 300 cyber-security jobs Scott's way. The scurrying sounds you hear in the background are all the local politicians, government consultants and political action organizations lining up to take credit for making it happen. Is it possible that the Air Force just made a good business decision on its own? It speaks to the health of Scott despite innuendos to the contrary.

Pot calls kettle black

Your recent article stated that Memorial Hospital is upset that St. Elizabeth's is discontinuing inpatient psychiatric care, yet Memorial discontinued the money-losing inpatient psychiatric care over a decade ago. Currently Memorial has no admitting psychiatrists. Memorial Hospital is building a limited services satellite hospital in Shiloh to capture some of the higher per capita income. Is Memorial afraid of some competition for the insured patients from the new St. Elizabeth's full-service O'Fallon hospital?

A rough first year

St. Clair Township Highway Commissioner John "Skip" Kernan has been in office for one year and here is his record. First, he hired a friend as an additional full-time employee. Second, he increased road taxes by $115,000. Third, he failed to negotiate a new contract with the union, thus allowing him to maintain his 100 percent taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage. In contrast, Supervisor Barnes, who answers to the board of trustees, did not hire a new employee, reduced general township taxes by $68,000 and negotiated a new contract, which makes the non-road employees and supervisor pay a portion of their health care premiums.

Aim higher than $10

Gov. Pat Quinn only wants to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour and I think that's terrible. How can you have a nice house, cars, vacations, college educations for your children and save for retirement on $10 per hour? Some people have way more than that and I bet they're Republicans. It's not fair. It's time for all citizens take part in our constitutional rights to fair income, not just the wealthy. This is America, right? I know someone who makes $50,000 per year and he is doing pretty good. Minimum wage should be $50,000 per year for all working families. Shoot, even if you don't work, you deserve at least that much. That's only fair and I know President Obama would agree.

Stay on the sidewalks

In Fairview Heights some people walk in the streets rather than on the sidewalks. This is very dangerous and yet I see it every day, especially after dark. Not only do these individuals walk in the street, but they also walk three and four abreast. Someone is going to get hurt.

Keep the traffic going

When mini festivals are held in Belleville, why does Illinois 159 need to be closed off? It doesn't make sense, there are no functions going on around the Square. Put the barricades up where they are needed instead of blocking the traffic. No reason to block off Illinois 159 and cause people to go around. And then the elite police pull you over because you've drifted out of your lane because you can't figure out the routes.

Short-sighted views

The downtown Belleville merchants' protest against bringing in transient merchants for the Christmas holidays is nothing but another repeat of history that created some of the shopping malls in Fairview Heights. When Belleville had a shopping district, part of the problem was the union refused to allow workers to work without overtime and keep the stores open for a longer time for instance on Friday evenings. Where were the people supposed to shop who work from 9 to 5 during the day? Just idiotic business attitudes from local merchants.

Wigginton for mayor

I don' t know Roger Wigginton, but based on everything I have heard and read about him, he should forget about running for Belleville alderman and run for mayor instead. Get a decent, honest, business-thinking guy like him in there and get this mess straightened out.

Just like a Democrat

Shame on Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler. He's not supposed to use his office for his advantage. Who does he think he is, a Democrat?

Upset by the judge

Regarding the article June 15, federal court program manages to keep ex-con out of prison. I take exception to the last paragraph. Federal Judge David Herndon said, "Some people think judges enjoy putting people in prison, but that is truly not the case." Not so because he breaks his arm patting himself on the back. He enjoys grandstanding to the courtroom audience and does not know the meaning of the word "dignity."

Power abused before

It's good to see that former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney has gotten some amount of criticism for his abuse of power. Several years ago I wrote him a letter complaining about having to wait two hours and 45 minutes to vote and seeing a number of people simply give up and leave. He looked up my phone number and chewed me out, saying the increase was unexpected and it was the County Board's responsibility, not his. His office had mailed new voter registration cards a short while before the election, which would have indicated an increase. It was surely his responsibility to advise the County Board if such was necessary. He never admitted any fault or apologized for my inconvenience. I am female. I wonder if he would have called and confronted a male?

Follow transit dollars

MetroLink and bus fare increases are ridiculous. All you have to do is watch the buses ridding through Belleville, half the time no one is riding them. So why doesn't someone start curtailing some of the routes? How about a cost per rider study by the BND? How much are we paying in taxes, how much is going into the system, how much are drivers being paid? And how many people are using the service? It would be cheaper to buy them a car.

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