Letters to the Editor

BND readers sound off on failing students, City Hall, sex harassment

Self-service city hall

Our self-serving leaders at Belleville City Hall took another opportunity to show us how self serving they really are. They spent $5 million of our tax money to renovate city hall. I do understand that the building really needed improving, but for $5 million? What did they do? Install 24 karat gold doorknobs on the mayor’s private bathroom? The original bid was for $2.25 million. But that proposal was submitted two years ago. Didn’t anyone stop and think that maybe they should rebid the project and make some cuts instead of flippantly spending $5 million? These guys are all just in it for themselves.

More public seating?

Belleville City Hall fights grime, not crime, for $5 million. With the addition of the balcony, how many more seats were made available to the public? The statue that is in the front, off of Illinois Street, who is it of? It can’t be original as it doesn’t fit the building. When are they going to replace the temporary window treatments?

Tie pay to PARCC

Illinois teachers excel, but their students fail. Talk about a dichotomy. Your property taxes rise disproportionately, but student test scores still don’t meet minimum educational standards. School administrators give union teachers an approval rating of 97 percent, with large raises. You might ask why can’t the majority of students pass the PARCC tests or attain acceptable competency in math, science or reading? Can’t be the union teacher’s fault? After all, Illinois teachers are exceptional. Next time the school systems cry about needing more money for teacher and administrator raises, tell them raises should be based on student achievements, not incompetent administrator teacher evaluations. Only a minimum proficiency of 70 percent in math, science and reading should be acceptable to the parents. Anything less means the teachers have failed. Cut the dead wood in the schools.

Test teachers

What a great deal. School administrators evaluating teacher performance and giving them a 97 percent rating. Now the teachers can get maximum raises for the year based on excellence. The teachers sure appreciate that. The question is, why are the majority of the students failing to achieve the minimum proficiency scores in reading, math or science? Is it because the administrators are being paid big bucks but are really incompetent clowns? Maybe there are too many bad teachers, who can’t be fired because they are union? Why do we pay more taxes so the schools can give teachers big raises to produce less educated students? Is this the reason U.S. student performance has fallen to 28th in the world? There needs to be an unbiased method of evaluating teacher performance.

School shooting survival

When I first started my teaching career, nearly 50 years ago, I could never have predicted having to participate on a crisis management committee, explain a “lock down” procedure, demonstrate how to become invisible in a classroom, or how to signal for help quietly. I never thought I would ever be required to train for an active shooter scenario, learn to shoot a firearm, or order armored shields to insert into my grandchildren’s backpacks. What I learned, however, it is not locked doors, exit locations, or how fast one runs that will determine survival but knowing and practicing what you would do before getting into a situation. Like many things in life, it is about mental preparation and trying to anticipate all possibilities.

Democrats, harassment

I’m astonished Illinois Democrats had left the position of legislative inspector general open for three years. How about the backlog of 27 sexual complaints that haven’t even been investigated, and we are just hearing about it now? Shocked that 130 people have signed a letter circulated by women claiming an epidemic of sexual harassment in the statehouse. Is this the reason Madigan and his boys can’t concentrate on helping the state resolve its dire fiscal problems? I had to laugh when reading the BND’s article. Wonder if the BND has ever investigated the goings on in the St. Clair County courthouse? I’m astonished that women even vote Democrat anymore, given the sexual harassment revelations in the news lately.

Slots at track

Slots at Fairmount Park? Like it or not, Illinois communities are now in the gambling revenue business. Desperate for new revenue to spend, communities are approving slots for any business that applies. I don’t understand why the state hasn’t approved adding slots to Illinois’s three race tracks. Surely Hoffman has received sufficient campaign donations to get an authorization bill passed. How much gambling revenue would be lost to the state if Fairmount closed?

Private school scores?

I read Alexis Cortes’ article about local schools and the SAT in Sunday’s paper with great interest. I have an eighth grader and I was wondering if it’s possible to also include private high schools such as Althoff and the schools across the river to get a comparison. I have friends saying that I don’t get much bang for my buck for the extra money it takes to send my child to a private high school. I would be interested to see how they compare.

Wrong on St. E’s

St. Elizabeth’s did not use the precious TIF monies. The city went so far as installing parking meters so visitors would feed them to visit loved ones in the hospital. Perhaps the caller has been drinking the gossip waters from the city for too long.

Hospital move

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital used its own employees’ personal vehicles to move office supplies and boxes to the new hospital. Several of us thought that was ridiculous. We loaded our own vehicles top to bottom and moved it. The employees had no say about it.

Decay coming

Now St. Elizabeth’s has moved, that old building will turn into another St. Mary’s Hospital and the Christian Wellfare Hospital in East St. Louis. When the local residents get done busting out windows and hanging out in there, they’re going to tear it up. I don’t care what Eckert or anyone else says, Belleville is turning into East St. Louis. Everyone who has lived in Belleville their whole lives knows it.

Death for deer

Thank you very little for publishing the picture of the albino deer near Waterloo. You’ve probably signed a death certificate for that animal. The fools who hunt deer will kill that thing and mount it on the wall in his man-cave. That beautiful animal didn’t need the publicity.

Protest permission

With the abortion protestors standing on state-owned land at the intersection of Frank Scott Parkway and 159, it gives the impression that the state of Illinois supports them. They shouldn’t be on state-owned property. They should be on private property and have permission to do it.

St. Louis merger

Got news for the BND Editorial Board regarding St. Louis merging with the county again: St. Louis is broke and a county merger would provide a nice cash infusion for the city. Most people in the county know it’s a bad deal. Mayor Slay retired because he knew where St. Louis was going. As far as Illinois being a mistress to St. Louis, what does the Illinois metro area have to offer? East St. Louis? The Illinois political idiots have been trying to figure that out for decades. Belleville has a mayor who can’t get a subdivision or Hofbräuhaus built, and we have a clown who thinks losing $8 million a year on an aging airport is smart. Maybe Kern can get together with Krewson to concoct an idiot scheme to waste even more millions they don’t have.

Healthy eating

Bravo to the Belleville News-Democrat for informing the public about the filthy conditions at the local IHOP on Carlyle Avenue. Without the newspaper I doubt the residents would have ever known about the horrible conditions of the restaurant. I do have a question. According to the Health Department’s website, IHOP was inspected on Aug. 10. Why were they allowed to stay open until the end of October? And why did it take a complaint to shut them down? Did the inspector do anything when he or she was out there? The problems described in the newspaper didn’t happen overnight. Somebody fell down on the job. Please BND, look into other eating places. It is obvious the Health Department isn’t really looking out for us.

Judicial conduct

The county is going after Judge Duebbert for his sexual encounters, how about St. Clair County judges who are going out with women from divorce cases? Men can’t get a fair shake because the judges are dating the women from divorce cases. I went through it. My attorney told me I had to keep my ex-wife out of the judge’s chamber because she was blonde and he would go for her.

Honor system

In the aftermath of the Jason Stockley verdict, demonstrators across the metro-east continue to protest how the justice system treats blacks and whites differently, particularly public officials. Ron Duebbert is now charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, intimidation, battery, and solicitation of a sexual act, in addition to the ongoing investigation by a grand jury for obstruction of justice in connection with a murder case. This is not even the first time he has been charged with a sex crime. Yet, he was not arrested. Instead, he was issued a summons for Dec. 1. How many people charged with violent crimes and sex crimes are simply allowed to show up on the honor system? I guess the justice system considers him a pretty trustworthy fellow.

Safety info

I was in the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants offices the other day and saw something I just have to share. In the waiting area, they have a television that displays important safety information. When I was there, they had a display of Halloween safety tips. The presentation was colorful, fun to watch, informative and I bet even kids enjoyed watching it. Just wanted to say: good job.

Bungling state agencies

Finally, the Illinois legislature passed a bill requiring state agencies to publish the money owed to vendors, and how long the debt has been on the books. The numbers of vendors owed and the amount owed is unfathomable. We can thank our Democratic lawmakers for Illinois’ dire fiscal mess. The new monthly report will provide taxpayers with a breakdown of the agencies who are the biggest abusers. The monthly reporting will allow the news media, if they can figure it out themselves, to provide voters with a road map for the worst-managed agencies. Hopefully, we can fire the fools who bungle state agencies operations on a daily basis.

First lady fashion

Have you noticed the media says nothing about First Lady Melania Trump? Do you remember in the ’60s how the media continually said how beautiful Jackie Kennedy was and also commented on the impact she had in the clothing and fashion industry? Melania Trump, in my opinion, is a beautiful woman and dresses immaculately.