Letters to the Editor – February 22, 2017

Response to Barb Viviano’s Letter

Recently Barb Viviano, First Vice Chairman of the St. Clair County Republican Party, sited that the Chairman of St. Clair County Board attended a fundraiser for Mayor Candidate Herb Roach.  Did she also notice that a former Republican State Representative from Missouri with his wife, a former aide to an Illinois Republican State Representative, two members of the local Republican (pachyderm) club and members of the local Democratic club were also present?  It should be pointed out that only one candidate belongs to a political party, and that is not Herb Roach.  Ms. Viviano also complains that it is Mark Kern who is behind the challenge to Chris Hursey’s candidacy, but it was Phil Goodwin who gave Hursey the wrong requirement for filing.  This was subsequently substantiated by the local elections board.  Go figure!

There were bankers, doctors, insurance executive, contractor, manufacturer, carpenters, laborers, realtors, manager of auto dealerships, lawyers, waitress, bus driver, mechanic, a former state trooper, retirees and people in their mid 20’s.  It seems like we have a candidate that reaches out to all sectors of the population and NOT just a Select Kitchen Cabinet.

I’m extremely pleased to see Mr. Roach attract the support of both sides of the aisle.  Hopefully this means that we will keep our city politics out of the same partisan politics that we see in both Springfield and Washington.

It’s great to have someone running that cares equally for all sectors of our community and I couldn’t be prouder to support Mr. Roach.

Mike McAnally

Appalled at campaign tactics

I was appalled to learn that Herb Roach’s campaign supporters who are Union workers were caught by the O’Fallon Police Department taking down Goodwin for Mayor signs the weekend of February 18 and 19th.

Herb Roach should be ashamed to be associated with this type of activity.  It is the lowest of low form of politics and beneath anyone wanting to become the Mayor of O’Fallon – not to mention that it is a crime to take down an opponent’s signs.

It also reeks of the Belleville Democrat Machine’s political tactics to do anything to win an election, even if it means breaking the law.  It appears that Mr. Roach has gotten in bed with the Democrat operatives in St. Clair County who believe the ends justify the means.  This is bad news for O’Fallon.

My family moved from Belleville to O’Fallon to get away from this type of negative activity.  But now the Democrat Machine is attempting to take over our city by backing Roach and a slate of City Council Candidates.

Every voter in O’Fallon needs to send Roach a message that we will not stand for this type of behavior in our city.

The best way to do that is to vote for Phil Goodwin for Mayor on April 4th.

Barb Viviano

Water concerns are no concern

Mr. Zelms letter (O’Fallon Weekly letters to the editor, 3/15/17) presents a reasonable concern that the City must continue to plan for and fund water and sewer growth and maintenance. However Mr. Zelms math is flawed. Using the same 11/30/16 Treasurers report Mr. Zelms referenced, total operating water and sewer fund reserves are $4.15M, total emergency reserves are $1.17M, and total obligated transfers are $3.08M, which add up  to $8.40M in required set-aside funds. The total cash-on-hand for water and sewer funds is $11.74M. After subtracting the required set-aside funds from the cash-on-hand, there is $3.34M unallocated or “extra” funds, which is what Mr. Goodwin is proposing be returned to O’Fallon water and sewer customers. Is Mr. Zelms really against returning those funds to customers when there is no requirement for the  City to keep them?

And why is Mr. Zelms bringing up the water and sewer leasing initiative that was resoundingly rejected by the electorate and is no longer being pursued? His insinuation that Mr. Goodwin is planning to deliberately bankrupt O’Fallon Water Department is callous and unfounded, without factual support and based on erroneous math.

Finally, that the City Council has never voted to “end” the proposal to lease O’Fallon’s water and sewer assets is unsurprising because there was never a formal motion before the Council.  After the decisive “no” vote by the electorate, Mayor Graham terminated the leasing initiative without placing it on the Council agenda. One cannot formally vote on a motion that was never formally made.

Charlie Pitts

Take a look into the numbers

If you really look into the numbers of Mr. Goodwin’s Financial Proposals you will see a continuation of the Smoke and Mere policies of the current administration.  But why should we be surprised he was handpicked to run when the Mayor dropped out in November.  He was also given $5,000 by the Mayor. Just like Mentor Mayor Graham who early in his tenure said he would eliminate property taxes, Goodwin has made a big splash but it has so many what if’s, that amount to nothing when you breakdown the proposal.

Then he throws out a second concept that he copied from a proposal made by Mr. Roach months ago but declined by the Mayor’s Chief Staff Members.

Alderman Roach suggested using reserves or other revenue sources vs. increasing the tax levy.  Staff commented that it is not a good practice to use one-time revenue or reserves to pay for reoccurring expenses.  You will find this in the minutes of the meeting.

You can also check and see that Alderman Roach has voted seven times to freeze or lower taxes.  We have never heard a word from Mr. Goodwin speak out at Committee or Council meetings cover the years when real-estate taxes were increased, when over 20 Fees were increased, when new fees were established or when the Communication tax and Utility tax were established.

He wants to hide behind the fact that his office doesn’t vote,  other City Clerks speak out in their cities on issues.  But it is more convenient not to have to take a stand.

I’ll put my trust with a person that has been willing to stand up and oppose tax increases seven times.  I’ll support Herb Roach.

 Lloyd Soeters

All voices should be heard

While we have certainly seen elections at a low point recently, elections can spur a fruitful exchange of ideas of how to best live our common lives together.  Our city has a wonderful opportunity for just this as we prepare to elect a mayor and other local government servants. How blessed we are to have so many candidates entering the dialogue!

Unfortunately, this opportunity can only be realized if every voice is honored and people seek the truth and speak the truth. How sad it was that a letter with Dan Polites’ signature attached to it last week suggested that one of our citizens should be silenced.  In a fruitful dialogue, it is essential to challenge each other to speak the whole truth but NO ONE SHOULD BE SILENCED. If someone has given a twisted truth, a half-truth, or false information, we ought to challenge each other with the whole truth. In dictatorships, people with opposing views are silenced.  It is not appropriate in a democratic republic.

Speaking of qualities of a democratic republic, the open conducting of government business is also crucial. The Illinois Attorney General recently ruled that the O’Fallon City Council was in violation of the Open Meetings Act and ordered that the video and transcript of a previously closed meeting be shared with the public. Why are the mayor and city attorney not complying with this order? Whether the order is binding or non-binding, one would think that they would be eager to have an open government, which a democratic republic requires.

One of our mayoral candidates is proud of his military service. If this military service was for democratic values, then he and his opponent should both be speaking out for open meetings and tor every citizen’s voice to be heard.

Cheryl Sommer

Candidate urges participation in election

As a lifelong resident of O’Fallon and the grandson of a former Bank of O’Fallon President – Wally Phillips –  this is a letter that I never thought I would have to write. Local elections should be a conversation about what is best for the city and not impacted by partisan antics. Unfortunately, many candidates are not abiding by that standard. This cycle has been contentious and heated to say the least.

I have been General Manager at Chick-fil-A Green Mount Commons since 2014. There I have led a diverse team and focused on business growth, profitability and lowering expenses. I also serve the community as an Ambassador for the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce and as Honorary Command Staff on Scott Air Force Base. The decisions we make as Aldermen have an impact on you, therefore it is important to have a city council that understands the impact those decisions will have on businesses. As a General Manager, Chamber Ambassador, and Honorary Command Chief I have the foresight necessary to make decisions that encourage economic growth within the city of O’Fallon. I see issues through the lens of both a businessman and a resident, something of great value to you.

I urge you to make your voice heard on April 4th. This election cycle is of the utmost importance. Candidates on both sides have made their positions clear. My goal as an Alderman is for O’Fallon to continue to be a leading community in the region. A place where families are safe and businesses are welcome. We have had some great successes as a city in recent months, but there is more work to do. Projects like Destination O’Fallon and the redevelopment of Southview Plaza present themselves as opportunities to uphold O’Fallon’s reputation as a bastion of  economic opportunity. It has been my distinct honor to represent my hometown as alderman. I look forward to working with you and continuing to represent you and your interests.

Matthew Gilreath
Candidate for Alderman Ward 3

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