Letters to the Editor

Sound-off 5/18/2015

Where’s the exit?

What highway exit are patients going to use for the new Memorial Hospital in Shiloh? There is no exit onto the road where the new hospital is located. Is a new exit being planned? Or will patients have to get off on Green Mount Road and wiggle their way over to the new hospital?

Do the math

If the numbers for the development on the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows property don’t work for the developer, why should they work for the taxpayers of Belleville?

Retirees must help

With regard to the state Supreme Court overturning the pension reform law in Illinois: I’ve heard that if the state had been making its rightful contributions annually, we wouldn’t be in this mess. However, part of the problem is the 3 percent annual raise that’s compounded. I’m a retired federal employee. We don’t get an automatic 3 percent raise, we get a cost-of-living adjustment.. A lot of us are fed up with the Illinois pensioners, especially the teachers. My suggestion is to ask the retirees to agree to get rid of the 3 percent automatic raise and replace it with a COLA. If they won’t agree to that, the state should file for bankruptcy and get rid of all its debts.

In league with unions

It may surprise some people, but most workers are not union members. In fact, 85 percent of Illinoisans do not belong to a union. Yet many of our local politician line up behind any and all issues to protect unions, costing state residents millions of dollars. That’s money that could be spent for the good of everyone and not just a few. Why do these politicians do this? Because unions funnel millions of dollars to politicians’ campaign funds, making Illinois home to the best politicians money can buy.

Good riddance

I think Belleville should stop spending money on trying to keep St. Elizabeth’s Hospital from moving to O’Fallon. We were very privileged to have the hospital but hospital leaders couldn’t care less. Let them tear down their old hospital and the old doctors buildings. Get someone who would appreciate bringing business to Belleville like the VA.

Professional and not

Maryann Reese, CEO of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, has acted professionally in dealing with St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s planned move to O’Fallon. Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert sounds like a little kid who lost a fight and is going to keep whining and spending city money in the mistaken thought that he can have his way. We expected better from Eckert.

Bathon’s good deal

Congratulations to former Madison County treasurer Fred Bathon, his time in prison has been shortened. He cheated the taxpayers with his rigged tax auction scheme and now he has cheated the justice system by getting out early. Why was he even prosecuted if he was going to just get a slap on the wrist? With his qualifications and experience, I’m sure he has a position waiting for him in county government.

This wasn’t news

The photo last Monday of the little boy eating the ice cream cone was a disgrace to the Belleville News-Democrat. Almost the entire front page was about him. I can’t believe you want to insult the readers with this picture. I get the paper for the Glenn McCoy editorial cartoon and the obits.

Get out the vote

The major reason government is ineffective at all levels is because only a fraction of the eligible voting population is registered to vote. In the last St. Clair County election it was reported that only 18 percent of registered voters actually voted. That is pitiful. If we as a society want to effect real change, we must support qualified candidates and take an active role in every election. In St. Clair County Democrats are more organized and can run any candidate they wish and win an election. Local Republicans like to complain, but the problem is not enough of them want to do the work to compete in an election.

Not with our money

I’m tired of hearing how Belleville is going to give $15.69 million to the developers of the proposed development on property owned by the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The city has no money; this project will be funded by the taxpayers of Belleville. The city will not receive tax revenue for 16 years, according to the BND. So that’s 2031. Is Walmart paying any taxes that benefit the city? Target? Are they still benefiting for their TIF financing? Who pays for the services such as police, sewers and fire that these business use? Well, the residents of Belleville, of course.

Odd idea of strong

In your article about Alvin Parks’ eight years as mayor for East St. Louis, he said: "I fought to keep the city strong.” If that’s what he considers strong, I’d hate to see what he considers weak.

Quality declines

I have to agree with a caller, your paper is getting pathetic. In the Sports section, half of the front page is covered with a photograph. Page 3 has all the statistics for baseball, soccer, etc., but you can’t read them because the type is so small. I don’t know what your people are doing. There’s nothing in the paper anymore.

Eliminate TIF

Get rid of TIF in Belleville. Does everyone realize that after schools, the highest amount of our hard-earned tax dollars go to businesses and other individuals so they can be a success?

Ups and downs

Someone needs to do something about these fluctuating gas prices. A station in Collinsville had gas at $2.89 a gallon the day before Mother’s Day and then it went down to $2.59 the day after. Motorists need to take one day and boycott buying gas. Someone needs to investigate this price-gouging. The price of oil does not dictate this fluctuation.

Cartoons on target

It's unfortunate that editorial cartoons have that name, as they aren't necessarily funny. Political cartoons are a commentary on current events. So readers need to stop being disgusted and angered by BND editorial cartoonist Glenn McCoy's gems.

Look the other way

Glenn McCoy’s editorial cartoons are right on all the time, even if he steps on my toes. The transgender thing, it’s a sin. If people don’t like his cartoons, they don’t have to look at them. That’s what they tell us about the raunchy TV programs.

Promises, promises

The first words out of the mouth of the worst boss I ever had were: Everyone who has ever worked for me has enjoyed working for me. Shortly thereafter we were losing employees like crazy as people left to get away from this jerk. I also found this phenomenon occurs with politicians. President Obama said he was going to have the most transparent administration ever, and did he? No. So when I see the new mayor of East St. Louis promise safety, investment and open government, I think that none of those things is going to happen.

Invest in Cahokia

According to the BND, Cahokia is 64 percent black but has only two black police officers. Of that 64 percent, how many people own a home and pay taxes in the village? Some people may say it’s not right to ask that question, but those who don’t own a home have no true interest in Cahokia because at any time they can pull up stakes and leave without paying the rent. If they care so much about Cahokia, they need to invest in the community.

Free to relocate

What is Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert's problem? The last time I checked, I lived in the United States where our government is a democracy and our economy is capitalistic. Why is he still trying to stop St. Elizabeth's Hospital from moving? He has no say in where the Sisters build their facility. How dare the city and Memorial Hospital claim St. E’s is "abandoning" anyone? St. E’s will continue to care for the disadvantaged just as they do now. I personally welcome a new and modern facility no matter where it is built, and I will continue to patronize them.

Focus on voter fraud

After reading the comments in the Wednesday BND, it seems we have more than a few cases of voter fraud in Cahokia. If you don’t have an occupancy permit, you are there illegally and you don’t have a right to vote. When will St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly do something about this? Never.

Amtrak reaction

The Amtrak accident was sad in several ways. One, the loss of lives it is a tragedy. Second, the Democrats in Congress immediately started pushing for money for infrastructure and Amtrak improvements. Everything so far was human error, not infrastructure problems.

Hold that job

It’s sure strange how Dupo kept a position open during Mayor Ron Dell’s tenure. Now that he will not run again, he is going to become head of the utility department. Why did this position stay open for the whole term? I thought these positions were for all people to apply. This was an inside job if there ever was one.

TIF costs taxpayers

Thank you, News-Democrat, for calling attention to TIF. Do away with it and we can save the real estate taxpayers a lot of money or give more to schools, fire departments or the police instead of restaurants and other private developments.

Say it straight

I read St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern’s commentary in the BND with a skeptical eye. In it he referred to Boeing’s aircraft subassembly facility in Mascoutah. Is that just political mumbo jumbo for MidAmerica Airport since the facility is located inside the airport’s perimeter fence? Why didn’t he just say that?

Crossing alone

I was at the intersection of Lincoln Trail and Potomac in Fairview Heights recently and a school crossing guard was parked across the street, sitting in her car while four kids walked across a busy highway. Why didn’t she gut of her car? Two more kids came along and she was still sitting in her car. At least there is a traffic light, but is she getting paid for this? This is terrible.

Keep game as is

The recent Sound-off contributor who promoted the designated hitter for the National League is obviously a baseball nontraditionalist and probably an American League fan. Like Adam Wainwright, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard also injured his Achilles tendon in a similar play, so it’s not just a pitcher thing. These are high-paid professional athletes who need to prepare and perform like that. There is already entirely too much specialization in baseball. Some high schools have a “courtesy runner” rule to run for catchers and pitchers that reach base. Will that be next?

Kern in the spotlight

Was that the Armed Forces Ball or the Mark Kern Show highlighted on the back page of Friday’s BND? The article featured three photos of St. Clair County Board Chairman Kern and six mentions in the text. Is Kern running for higher office or what? Kern should have stepped aside and let the intended and deserving military have the limelight.