Extraordinary leadership was demonstrated by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea/Belleville/Collinsville/Chicago, in addressing budget cuts. He’s already scolded us for not keeping the Pat Quinn-Rod Blagojevich gravy train rolling; now he’s going to scare us. House on fire? Sorry, no money for firefighters. House being robbed? Sorry, no money for police. Don’t like your real estate tax bill going up? Sorry, you should have voted to re-elect Quinn as governor. Had Quinn been re-elected, Hoffman and Quinn would have already phoned their favorite Wall Street bond salesman, borrowed another $100 billion and kept the party going.
Bigger print, please
The basketball season has come and gone. During this time I called the sports department two times to say the results of the games should be in larger print. This was not done. The paper did have room to make many pictures very, very large. The rest of the paper is very good. I hope the format for the sports section will be changed with the idea that the local sports should be in larger print. I guess I should have contacted BND cartoonist Glenn McCoy. He would get the idea across very nicely.
Oppose the ban
The proposed Swansea ordinance to ban the burning of leaves, tree limbs and garden waste will have a committee hearing at 6 tonight at the Wolf Branch Middle School gymnasium. The meeting will allow questions and complaints from residents. If you are against the no-burning ban, please reach out to your neighbors and friends and plan to attend this meeting. We have to let our elected officials know that the current ordinance is not broken, so don’t try to fix it.
Perfect for the plan
Belleville spent a lot of money on a comprehensive plan. City leaders formed an advisory group, held public meetings, and set up a website so the public could communicate what they wanted for the future of our city. The plans calls for a strategy to cultivate a “business friendly” environment to retain and attract new businesses, it calls for a hotel and convention center to expand our tourist base and improve quality of life, and it calls for development at our borders to improve Belleville’s visibility in the region. The Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows development fits perfectly with the plan. Let’s do everything possible to make the Shrine development a reality. Don’t let a few negative and small-minded people hold our city back.
Hate crime ignored
The three black youths on the MetroLink who beat a white passenger should have been charged with a hate crime. I guarantee you if three white guys had beaten up a black guy and talked about Michael Brown, the black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer, they would have been charged with a hate crime in nothing flat. Some justice this is: blacks get to do whatever they want, and nobody holds them accountable.
After watching the videotape of what took place on the MetroLink, I was amazed. Since it was a black-on-white crime, nothing was made out of it. Now if this would have been reversed, the Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would have come down to find out what was going on here. And people want to know why we get a little racist?
Keep moving ahead
The Belleville City Council needs to be forward thinking when voting on the Shrine TIF. Aldermen are setting the course for our future. If they vote against the Shrine TIF and turn away this project, they may never have the chance to develop the Illinois 15 corridor again. Aldermen need to start representing the residents of Belleville and get over their petty concerns. Residents want a city that is moving forward.
Quit the shuffling
When will the daily BND hunt end? The TV, classifieds and comics are continuing to hopscotch through the various sections of the paper. Find a final resting place for each and rename the sections to reflect the contents.
I’m calling about former St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney. He never had to pay restitution for the sexual harassment settlements the county made regarding his alleged actions. He draws a $100,000 public pension. I see him out eating and drinking and laughing about how he was taken care of by the Democratic boys at the county building. It makes me sick. I used to be a Democrat, but I’m not voting for them anymore because of Delaney.
Follow the grants
Thanks to BND reporter Joe Bustos for the article on St. Clair County taking requests for house rehab money. Please do a followup on the 50 people who are receiving $20,000 each. What right does the county have to use taxpayer’s money to fix up a few homes?
TIF changes needed
The recent article about proposed cuts to the city is the most ludicrous thing I have heard, especially Belleville’s comments. Why doesn’t Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert quit siphoning off TIF money? Then maybe we wouldn’t have these deficits. It’s pure lunacy to take tax money and give it to developers. If that didn’t happen, there would be enough funds in the city.
Spread the blame
A Sound-off caller last week criticized the Cahokia and East St. Louis school districts. He placed blame on the administrators. That may be justified because of political cronyism, but the caller also has to look at the upbringing of the students. Many of the parents are undereducated and they don’t care about their children being educated. That’s where education needs to start: in the home.
Here’s an interesting vignette for the generations that grew up in the 1960s and the ones that follow now. Two couples, one senior citizen age and one middle age, had dinner at a restaurant. They headed to the same car; the wives got in the back seat and the husbands got in the front. The difference was the senior gentleman opened his wife’s door; the younger man did not. That’s the difference between manners then and now.
Fun with big shoes
Did BND editorial cartoonist Glenn McCoy depict Sen. Harry “Dead on Arrival” Reid’s shoes as clown shoes? And Sen. Dick Durbin standing there with the big feet to fill them? What a laugh. For those of you who were offended, it’s OK. None of the other newspapers that are published in the United States did this. I checked all three of them.
Consequences of TIF
The mayor of Belleville is whining about the $2.2 million of state money that is not going to be coming to the city this year, which could possibly result in layoffs and not being able to do projects. It seems that Belleville’s TIF and tax rebates are coming home to roost. If they wouldn’t have given the money away to begin with, they would have plenty of money already and would not have to worry about the state. As far as not having money for road improvement projects, I was told by someone in authority that they weren’t going to have money for that anyway because of the millions of dollars they are dumping into the new Belleville Police Department building.
Unfaiar tax system
I recently listened to a radio show regarding the Illinois pension fund shortfall. They even mentioned some of the pension amounts, the highest of which was $430,000 annually. Some others were in the $300,000 range. Retirement income is exempt from Illinois income tax. The state could allow an exemption of, say, $60,000 for a married couple with the remainder treated as taxable income. The working individuals of Illinois should be up in arms over this hugely unfair tax system.
Better than Clinton
Someone calls in about crazy presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz. I’d rather have someone with his craziness in the White House than have the current resident of the White House in there or even have Hillary Clinton, who can’t control her husband but she wants to be president.
Check the record
Certainly you can believe Hillary Clinton’s defense of the use of her private email, just as you could believe her years ago when she told “The Today Show” that rumors about Monica Lewinsky were started by a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Finances are key
I’m calling about the crisis in Belleville and the governor putting cities and governments on a financial diet. I hope that people remember April 5, 2010, when four candidates running for City Council in Wards 2, 6, 7 and 8 were all on the council when they passed the hated wheel tax. Think wisely when you vote; your wallet might depend on it. It’s the beginning of creative taxes and fees. I wouldn’t be surprised if the local police become local revenue enforcement agents. Vote wisely and hope the people you elect will budget properly just as you have to do.
Stop the handouts
Why on earth were 50 people picked from a lottery to be given $20,000 of taxpayer money to fix up their homes? It seems like all the money I work so hard for is just given away.. Try a fundraiser on the Democratic Party, not the taxpayers. Stop taking our tax dollars. It stagnates the business in this area and makes everybody wait for a handout. They take the handout and make poor decisions.
Check for conflicts
I completely agree with Timothy Buchanan’s letter to the editor concerning conflicts of interest for some Swansea trustees and that goes for members of all boards. You never know who they are related to or what they do or did do before they retired. Retired school teachers get on school boards, maybe not where they taught but in another district, all knowing that they all pay into the same teachers union. That should not be allowed.
Vote on Tuesday
Suggestions on the eve of the Belleville election: Do vote. Don’t let somebody who is being paid to vote because he works for the city or works for somebody who wants a city contract decide the outcome of the aldermanic races. We need more than 24 percent voter turnout; 76 percent of the voters don’t care one way or the other. Some of the current aldermen running for re-election don’t have any new ideas. They have done what their parents always did: Ask no questions, do as you are told. Mayor Mark Eckert subscribes to that theory. Vote carefully, but please do vote.
Wrong party backed
I couldn’t agree more with BND letter writer Ritch Alexander about teachers and their state in Illinois. But let me ask Alexander, why do the teachers keep telling us to vote Democrat when the Democrats created this debacle? Teachers thought they could get more money by voting Democrat. Now they found out it just doesn’t work that way. This is a problem they helped create. They are not victims but masters of their own future.
Why keep teaching?
In regard to Ritch Alexander’s letter to the editor about all the trials and tribulations of being a teacher. If it was so rough, why didn’t he seek other employment? Please don’t tell me he stayed for the children. Every type of job has its own set negatives but we keep plowing along, we don’t blame others. The only accomplishment teachers can claim is putting this state in bankruptcy with their outrageous salary and pension demands.