O'Fallon Progress

Letters to the editor

Don’t be fooled by sales pitch on sales tax

I read with an open mind the sadness and dread about the “financial crisis” occurring within the schools. I have heard this every year since I moved to the area. The superintendent stated “Sometime in the 2020-2021 school years, we’ll run out of cash to operate.” I guess the school will shut its doors, unable to teach anyone, anymore.

Budget cuts were mentioned. I didn’t hear about the band cuts with its trips. I didn’t hear about the baseball program or football program. The administrators have the ability to address the swim and lacrosse students and don’t mind saying that their programs could end. Our superintendent said that other programs could be cut, as well as the swimmers and lacrosse players. Let us wait and see.

School plans include up to a 10 percent reduction in administrators. They include up to 7 percent reduction in teachers and 2- to 3-person reduction of non-certified staff. The state’s contribution of money to the schools has endured a 13 percent reduction over the last 10 years. But, do not be enticed to pity them. I remember one year they said that our taxes would not go up if we give them money to build more schools. They lied. Perhaps it is this lack of trust and school effort that makes us suspicious. Ms. Benway stands there at every meeting talking about our dire schools, while she pulls in $210,000 every year.

Say no to a sales tax increase on the April ballot.

Nikki Edwards, O’Fallon

Newspaper editor shows bias

I just found out Nick Miller, editor of the O’Fallon Weekly, is also on the St. Clair County Board. I bet many people don’t know that, or maybe I’m the only naive person in town.

That may explain the bias in Miller’s reporting of the O’Fallon mayoral race, including a scathing March 1 story about Herb Roach and the laborers union.

I thought it odd that a responsible journalist would not reach out for a statement from Roach or other individuals named in the story. I have since found out the story was a press release from Phil Goodwin’s campaign. I can’t believe Miller printed it without checking the facts, the No. 1 rule of good journalism.

Why does this concern me? Because Miller rubs elbows with John West on the County Board, and West is chairman of Goodwin’s campaign committee.

The Weekly is also a sponsor of the Meet the Candidate forums. How can we be assured that Miller did not let any of the candidates get a “sneak peak” at the questions?

Miller has also refused to publish a letter I submitted to him three times. The Progress and BND had no problem with it, but since it might have painted Goodwin in a negative light, I guess it didn’t pass muster at the Weekly.

When it comes to local politics, I am a conspiracy theorist by nature. But I fear Miller’s political ambitions/alliances may have overshadowed his editorial integrity. It’s time to come clean, Mr. Miller.

Ron Zelms, O’Fallon

Goodwin’s record as clerk is a poor one

Ever wonder why someone running for elected office always talks negatively about their opponent’s record? In Phil Goodwin’s case, it’s because he has no record of his own to run on. Unless you consider:

▪ Goodwin was in favor of selling or leasing O’Fallon’s water and sewer system two years ago and now calls it our greatest asset.

▪ Goodwin gave inaccurate information city treasurer candidate about the number of signatures required on his petitions, and accepted petitions from an aldermanic candidate that were incorrectly filled out. The result is that both candidates were thrown off the ballot.

▪ Goodwin is responsible for ensuring the council complies with the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Yet the Illinois Attorney General’s office recently concluded that the council was in violation of the OMA during an important meeting dealing with the potential sale or lease of the water/sewer system. If after 16 years as city clerk, Goodwin hasn’t figured out how to do that job, why should the citizens promote him to mayor?

In my opinion, a vote for Goodwin is really a vote for Mayor Gary Graham. Even though Graham is not officially running for re-election, he’s backing Goodwin with at least $6,300 in contributions. You don’t put that much skin in the game unless you plan to be pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Of the candidates running for mayor of O’Fallon April 4, Herb Roach is the best qualified to lead our city for the next four years. Herb cares.

Mike Cook, O’Fallon

Former alderman says O’Fallon politics reach new low

Since this campaign has a penchant for writing sensationalistic headlines, I thought I would, too. “Former alderman panics over noise. Contacts police. Endangers public safety.”

Last Tuesday night as storms blew through O’Fallon, I was working late and heard something hit a window. I went outside to check, but didn’t see anything. A little later, it happened again. This time, I went outside. But again, I didn’t see anything.

A police car was parked nearby watching traffic on Highway 50. I asked the officer if he had knocked on the door. He said, “No. Why?”

I explained what happened. He offered to drive around back and take a look. I walked alongside as he shined his light. Neither of us saw anything. We talked about the storm, then went about our business.

The point is, that in the wrong hands, this story could easily be twisted to sensationalize it. I am a former alderman and was concerned about a noise. I talked to a cop. He left his post to check on what turned out to be nothing. Of course, the reality is that the headline is misleading.

That’s exactly what the Phil Goodwin campaign did last week when it issued a “press release” with a sensationalistic headline written to look like a news story. It distorted the truth by claiming Goodwin’s opponent broke the law. Politics have truly reached a new low in O’Fallon.

There’s only one trustworthy candidate for mayor, Herb Roach.

John Drolet, O’Fallon

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