Letters to the Editor

BND readers sound-off on MetroLink, mayors and sales taxes

Vote fraud sentencing fraud

After several years of adjudication, a man served 12 days for voter fraud. How is that a fair sentence? St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, you’re nothing but a puppet for the current administration.

Hofbräuhaus or highway?

The BND should run a reader’s poll to see which building project will be completed first: the Hofbräuhaus or the bridge on Illinois 15.

Makes me ill

None of the solutions to insurance presented now under President Trump or previously under President Obama are affordable. How are regular working people supposed to pay for it? And, if we can’t afford insurance, we’re penalized at tax time for not buying insurance that we can’t afford. It is so frustrating.

Sue MetroLink to halt trains

About the recent murder on Metro-Link, a family member of mine was accosted on MetroLink 10 years ago. We would have reported it, but there were no security officers around to report the crime to. I hope the family sues MetroLink for everything to stop all service because this was a bad idea from the get-go.

Turnstiles for MetroLink

Metro-Link will not be safe until they secure all of the platforms. Some ideas: have a security staff of armed security guards, or better yet police, and install turnstiles so no one gets on the platform without a ticket. Install security cameras so a good photo is taken of each passenger entering the platform. Large groups of young people should be required to ride separate trains. No one under 18 allowed after dark without an adult. If a platform is not staffed, the train doesn’t stop there. Turnstiles will slow everyone down and it is a little inconvenient but it may save a life.

Don’t dine al fresco

Regarding resale shops putting items for sale on outside their shop, I have yet to see one where they blocked the sidewalk like the restaurants. These restaurants are using public property for their benefit, pedestrians either need to walk out in the street or through a group of diners. At least thrift shops keep their items on their property. Stop restaurants from using public sidewalks.

Deputy coroners could kill

To allow deputy coroners to carry guns is ridiculous. He doesn’t need to show up at murder scenes. This is just another way for private citizens with political connections to carry handguns. These folks aren’t trained and didn’t go through an academy. This is just asking for lawsuits.

Judge Cruse’s light touch

Judge Zina Cruse sentenced a violent bank robbery suspect to 7 years in prison. This is why Belleville and St. Clair County continues to have a black eye on the issue of crime. Judge Cruse gives light sentences to violent criminals. I ask the BND to look into the lopsided sentencing Judge Cruse issues on black to white defendants. The victims of these crimes should be outraged.

No TIFs for millionaires

Shiloh was able to attract Auffenberg without a TIF. I guess it is possible to encourage businesses to settle in cities without giving tax money to millionaires.

Put donkey out to pasture

Senator Dick Durbin’s recent comments on the confirmation process for potential Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch just confirms that he’s incapable of original thought and past ready to be put out to pasture. Durbin’s memory is failing too as he seemed to have forgotten that he voted to confirm Gorsuch for federal judgeship in 2006.

Can’t trust Kern with tax

Mark Kern co-authored an opinion piece in Sunday’s BND on the county’s two proposed sales tax increases. Kern teamed with the state’s attorney and sheriff to push the tax increase for public safety. While Brendan Kelly and Rick Watson’s focus seems pure, Kern comes off as disingenuous since he continues to throw tax dollars at his sacred cow and money pit called MidAmerica Airport. If Kern can’t responsibly spend the money he’s currently given, can we trust him with more?

Sheriff made fire districts look bad

This public safety tax smells like a dirty rat. The sheriff is banking on the sympathy vote of the voters by “donating” 25 percent of the tax to your local police and firefighters in the hopes that you’ll vote yes. He did not go and gain the support of police and firefighters, he just did it on his own accord. Cahokia, Northwest and Freeburg submitted bond issues without any knowledge of the sheriff’s plan and not it makes it look like they are trying to double dip. Shame on the Sheriff of Nottingham, aka St. Clair County.

Regional Chamber supports penny taxes

The St. Louis Regional Chamber, the region’s economic development organization, supports the public safety and school sales tax initiatives that will be on the county ballot April 4. St. Clair officials recognize their most important job is protecting public safety. The public safety tax invests every dime towards keeping people safe by hiring more police and paying them adequately, ensuring inmates released from Illinois prisons are monitored and supervised so they don’t commit new crimes, implementing new police strategies to reduce violence, and giving prosecutors the resources needed to put dangerous criminals behind bars. This tax will expire in 12 years, ensuring that voters will be in a strong position to hold the elected officials accountable for the results that they rightly expect and demand. The one-cent sales tax for school facilities will allow us to renovate and build new school facilities, pay off building bonds and make our children safer and more secure at school.

Pass it to know it

Nancy Pelosi should pass this Republican healthcare plan so she can see what’s in it.

Free ad for Holbrook

In the voter information guide, Thomas Holbrook puts his name on the front and back for free advertising. Holbrook says he has to provide his name for the “certification.” But, that isn’t necessary. That is only required on legal notices for the publication of the ballots.

Stookey Township ignored

I was disappointed that the BND moderated the recent Stookey Township debate but did not write a story about it. If it isn’t about the Cook/Eckert political war then it is not worth writing about? There are some fresh and vibrant newcomers on the ballot such as Sal Elkott, Brent Scharf, Mark Bagby, Jean Friederich and Leticia Lopez. Remember voters, you have a choice to end cronyism in Stookey by voting the incumbents out that have ignored you for the past 4-12 years and let our infrastructure crumble.

Lawmakers can sacrifice

On March 7th, Illinois House of Representatives members voted to divert $314 million in tax dollars to local governments, thereby shorting teacher pensions possible dollars. Illinois has the highest-paid politicians. Why don’t they give up their money to the local government?

Citizens for Burgeoning Taxes

I will not vote for anybody running under “Citizens for a Better Township” or whatever they’re calling themselves. It’s just another name for the Democratic machine members who are seeking election or re-election. These people only thinking of one thing: spending, spending, spending.

Where were trustees?

I attended the Citizens for a Better Township “Meet the Candidate” forum at Whiteside Middle School this past week but none of their four trustee candidates or their assessor candidate showed up. The audience was not allowed to ask questions. St. Clair Township will be in bad shape if this slate gets elected.

Feeding at Belleville trough

Dallas Cook would make a better mayor than Mark Eckert because Eckert has the blind support of the City Council. If Eckert said he wanted to change the city square into a pig feeding trough, it’d pass 10 to 6. Cook, if elected, would have to come up with good ideas to get anything done.

Cook for auctioneer

When the mayor thing doesn’t work out for Dallas Cook, he should maybe look into a career in auctioneering. Anyone who has heard him read at a council meeting will agree.

Cook a hard worker

It seems pretty simple to me. A vote for Eckert is a vote for more taxes, paying for his car and gas, and no plans on adding more cops. A vote for Cook is not paying extra taxes, the mayoral car goes to the police chief and we get a hard-working mayor who will want to do a great job while in office.

Cook isn’t calling cops

I reviewed a recent FOIA on Dallas Cook’s calls to the police over the last four years. If Dallas Cook is so scared to live in Belleville, you’d think he would have dozens of calls to the police. Dallas has made only six calls to the police over the last four years and five of them were work related. Dallas is only using crime as a campaign slogan.

Cops living out of Belleville

If the city of Belleville is so safe, why did cops and firefighters negotiate contracts to live out of the city? They know better than anyone what the true situation is in Belleville.

Library patron harassment

I recently saw a Belleville police officer go into the library and harass someone who was just sitting and reading the newspaper. How do they justify that conduct?

What since high school?

Libby Barbeau is passing out literature touting her high school accomplishments. But what has she done in the last 17 years to qualify her for a leadership position in Belleville? Jennifer Gain Meyer has a master’s degree and years of leadership experience.

Ageist in O’Fallon

With the average resident age of 37-years-old in O’Fallon, do we really want someone that is 83-years-old as mayor?

Beating on the bus

Why didn’t we see anything in the paper about the beating that took place on the bus that stopped at 17th Street a few weeks ago? Then, the kids ran off the bus behind St. Mary’s school. Where is the information about it?

Oust Stookey road boss

The Stookey Township Road Commissioner Don Lillis, has wasted thousands of taxpayers dollars. When he first got elected, he spent over $17k of our money to fight his employees’ union contract. He spent over $60k to re-pave an asphalt road he oiled and chipped in the rain. We need to get him out of office.

Oust Freeburg High board

It’s time to elect new board members to Freeburg High School. The current board rubber stamps the administration’s proposals and because of this spending is out of control. The district is on the state financial watch list. The district has been spending more than they take in for almost 10 years now and this is not sustainable long term. Also, a sizable percentage of the students are struggling with college readiness because the curriculum badly needs updating. I urge you to vote for Michael Reynolds, William Wilson, Victoria Staub and Angela Mueller to bring new fresh ideas to the school and right the ship.

Ask parents about special ed

In Belleville School District 118, principals put regular, non-special education students in special education classes. Shouldn’t they at least ask the parents?