The extra time St. Clair County leaders obtained to react to the wrong-headed preliminary decision on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has borne fruit. North St. Louis radiation, security issues and the likelihood of more defense base closings all argue for placing the new facility next to Scott Air Force Base.
There was a shift in Springfield when they passed the $600 million college funding bill. House Speaker Mike Madigan’s effort to poison the bill met with a revolt from lawmakers, showing Springfield may finally be ready for compromise and progress.
A new bill before the Illinois Senate would try to fix many of the sex felony prosecution failures uncovered in ‘Violation of Trust’ series. Society, law enforcement and lawmakers owe these measures to those who relive their attack so justice is done and rapists are stopped.
MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is 20 years old, so St. Clair County leaders are adding $1.4 million in improvements to the $12 million annual gift that keeps the place operating. At some point someone needs to stop using stacks of dollars to prop up this failed endeavor.
Maybe that consumer math course back in high school was where future utility and government workers learned how to explain how the math never works in favor of the consumer. Ameren Illinois electricity rates and property tax changes in Belleville and O’Fallon appear to be victims of consumer math.
Illinois schools have $20 billion in debt, or $10,000 per student, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis. Lawmakers helped many districts push up their statutory debt limits. So can local school districts be trusted to offset property tax burdens if St. Clair County voters approve a school sales tax?
Illinois leaders will finally feel some pain from the budget mess they created now that their paychecks are being delayed. Still, an end to the state budget siege seems far away as the debt builds and more of the vulnerable are sacrificed.
Another rally to solve homelessness cites a Belleville shelter as the solution, yet there are many issues creating homelessness and many groups that can fix the problem. A shelter should be viewed as the first step in connecting to services.
Belleville’s $254,610 legal battle to halt St. Elizabeth’s Hospital from moving to O’Fallon is lost. Both sides have made up and are discussing the future of the Belleville site once the hospital is gone.
The 1931 art deco Hotel Belleville is again in need of a developer, but with the improving economy and the building’s location on the Public Square the city should wait for and build the right deal instead of “giving away the farm.”
St. Clair Township Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan’s insistence that he hire five workers but only has the budget for 3.5 will lead to a slippery, pothole-filled winter for residents if he refuses to back down. Dollar dispute seems to be more about kingdoms than serving taxpayers.
Illinois’ comptroller is roaming the state to apologize for the damage being done by state lawmakers unwilling or unable to pass a state budget and stop spending money they do not have. She’s not the one who owes Illinois taxpayers an apology.
Putting the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in North St. Louis could involve putting it on land covered by radiation from Cold War military experiments. Even without the radiation issue, costs will likely rise from delays associated with archaeological, legal, pollution and historic issues. St. Clair County’s site next to Scott Air Force Base offers a shovel-ready site with no problems.
Tax increment financing is not the only effective economic development tool available to local cities, yet Collinsville and Fairview Heights are both considering establishing new districts despite residents’ and schools’ objections.
Recent obituaries for two local leaders remind that lives lived in service offer lessons for those who follow. Former Illinois state Sen. Evelyn Bowles and U.S. Air Force Gen. Duane Cassidy both left their marks on Southwestern Illinois and influenced generations of leaders.
Collinsville City Councilman Jeff Stehman is taking exception to a Freedom of Information Act request for records from his employer, the City of O’Fallon. Public servants need to have thick skin and view transparency and disclosure as an ally, not an enemy.
Local state lawmakers are supporting House Bill 4474, which would essentially push local schools to segregate transgender teens into separate locker rooms and bathrooms. Separate but equal failed regarding race, and it certainly has no place in the Land of Lincoln regarding transgender teens or anyone else.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin claims the News-Democrat Editorial Board fostered the parochialism and hurt the bid for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but in doing so he offers more evidence that he considers the North St. Louis site a done deal.