Letters to the Editor – March 8, 2017

Still looking for bulldozer

Last week, I read Mr. Roach’s press release where he announced he was going to take a bulldozer to the City’s debt.  After reading it, I am still left looking for the bulldozer because the release gives no details.

If you are going to write a catchy headline, then you need to back it up.  There is no plan put forth to reduce the debt.

He has created a false narrative that the City is going to pass along a “looming debt” to our next generation.  If he went to the City’s website and did his research he would find that the City does not have looming debt.

In fact, all of our debt will be retired in the next 20 years, with 1/3 being retired in the next ten.

He makes it out that we are running up a credit card for wants not needs.  This is not true – just look at what we have invested in with these funds:

$9 million went to building new water towers in North O’Fallon and sewer plant improvements; $2.2 million went to purchase new fire trucks, police cars and to update the public safety consoles in our current police cars, $7.8 million went to build our new police station and make road improvements, $7.1 million for mine remediation.

The real truth is that as the City has grown, we have had to upgrade our infrastructure.  Instead of raising property taxes to do this, our leadership has issued bonds and then dedicated funding streams like sales tax to pay off the debt.

We have always been on time with our payments and have actually been rewarded for our fiscal management with a AA bond rating from Standard and Poors, which is like having a 750 credit score.

O’Fallon voters beware of Roach’s doomsday predictions. They are simply not true.

Bob Wells

Goodwin’s team has record of approving taxes

Mr. Goodwin’s campaign promise to use reserves to help reduce property taxes is an admission that the residents of O’Fallon have been over-taxed. By whom? By the very folks his campaign is now endorsing as the team who wants to put money back in your wallet.

The Robin Hood headline would read something like this: Elect the officials who took money out of your pocket so they can graciously give it back; trust us. The height of political hypocrisy.

Here is Goodwin’s team and their record:

Phil Goodwin; as city clerk since 2001 validated every tax levy and never spoke out about over-taxing.

David Hursey; appointed treasurer by Mayor Graham in 2003 and never spoke out about over-taxing.

Jerry Mouser, alderman from 1997 to 2016; Jerry Albrecht, alderman since 1999; Ray Holden, alderman since 2013; Matt Gilreath and Chris Hursey, both appointed aldermen by Mayor Graham last year. They all voted in favor of every tax levy put in front of them (except Mr. Albrecht who was absent for the vote in 2000).

The other folks in the line-up, Rosenburg, Harley, and Mitchell, don’t have a voting record, but I am sure they are cut from the same cloth or they wouldn’t be on
Goodwin’s team.

Abraham Lincoln said it best, “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Vote on April 4th to bench this team.

Ron Zelms

Former Alderman panics over noise


Headline by Campaign for Phil Goodwin….

I thought since this campaign has a penchant for writing sensationalistic headlines, I’d help them out.

“Former Alderman panics over noise.  Contacts Police.  Endangers public safety.”

You see, here’s what happened –

Last Tuesday night, I was working late, and I heard something hit one of the windows.  It was the night of the severe storms, so I thought maybe the wind blew something against the building.  I went outside to check, but didn’t see anything.  A few minutes later, it happened again.  This time when I went outside, there was a Police car at one of the parking lot entrances watching traffic on Highway 50.  I looked around again, and still didn’t see anything.  I approached the officer, and asked if he had knocked on the door.  He said No, why?  I explained what happened, and he offered to drive around back and take a look with his spotlight.  I walked alongside his SUV as he shined his light all around.  Neither of us saw anything unusual.  We had a brief conversation about the storm, and then we both went about our business.

Now, in the wrong hands, this story could easily be twisted by those trying to sensationalize something for their own gain.  After all, the headline is somewhat true.  I am a former Alderman.  I was concerned about a noise.  I interacted with a police officer.  He left his post to check on what turned out to be nothing.  Of course, the reality is that the headline is misleading, and any concocted story written by someone that wasn’t there would also be misleading.

That’s exactly what the Campaign for Phil Goodwin did last week when they issued a “Press Release” written to look like a News Story.  A “Press Release” with a sensationalistic headline. A “Press Release” that distorted the truth by claiming his opponent broke the law.  A “Press Release” that provided Alternative Facts for their own personal gain. Politics have truly reached a new low in O’Fallon.

There’s only one trustworthy candidate for Mayor, and that’s Herb Roach.

John Drolet
Former Alderman, O’Fallon

Goodwin a vote for Graham

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

Mr. 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.

Mr. Goodwin gave inaccurate information to a candidate for City Treasurer 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.

Mr. Goodwin is responsible for ensuring that the Council complies with the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA).  Yet the Illinois Attorney General’s office recently concluded that the Council was in violation of the OMA during an important Council meeting dealing with the potential sale or lease of the water and sewer system.

If after 16 years as City Clerk, Mr. Goodwin hasn’t figured out how to do that job, why should the citizens promote him to mayor?

In my opinion, a vote for Mr. Goodwin is really a vote for Mayor Graham.  Even though Mr. Graham is not officially running for reelection, he’s backing Mr. 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 on the April 4 ballot, Herb Roach is the best qualified to lead our city for the next four years.  Herb cares.

Mike Cook

In response to signs at Seven Hills Road roundabout

I want everyone to know that what happened with the removal of the Goodwin signs at the Seven Hills Round about was nothing more than a miscommunication within our family. As a co-trustee and one of the property owners, I had asked the Goodwin signs to be removed, as no one asked permission that I knew of. There was no malicious intent on anyone’s part involved in their removal.

I truly wish the very best to both mayoral candidates.

Evelyn La Pointe

Praise for the Empty Bowl Luncheon

My wife and I were first time attendees at the recent seventh annual Empty Bowl luncheon. The event was held for the first time at the Gateway Classic Cars showroom in O’Fallon. If the almost full parking lot when we pulled up is any indication, the affair was an overwhelming success.

Hindsight being 20-20 I only wish we’d have arrived earlier. As with all good things, soups don’t last forever, especially when there are hungry mouths to feed. From my personal tastings I determined that there are really only two types of soups… good and better!

A tip of the hat to the event’s sponsor, the O’Fallon Women’s, and all the various restaurants, clubs, and groups that participated to make this important event possible. With the proceeds, the O’Fallon/Shiloh Food Pantry will be better and more effective for it.

Bill Malec

Zelms comparing apples and oranges

I appreciate and share Mr. Zelms’ enduring commitment to use financial facts to evaluate City financial alternatives. But we are indeed stuck in an apples/oranges dialogue and I still cannot reach his conclusions. Mr. Zelms’ original letter stated “Goodwin claims the city’s water FUND [my emphasis] has $10M in reserves.” Unfortunately, Mr. Zelms apparently misread Mr. Goodwin’s webpage which states “City Water DEPARTMENT [my emphasis] has approximately $10 million in reserves…” Since the Water Department manages both the Water and Sewer Funds, my analysis combined them. Mr. Goodwin also verified he intended to use both funds’ surplus.

My letter’s primary intent was to highlight that because Mr. Zelms’ $6.93M figure (apples) is only for the water fund, his insinuation that Mr. Goodwin’s $10M figure (oranges) is factually incorrect is unfounded.

Mr. Zelms’ further stated “draining the surplus from either…fund does not make sound business sense”. Given this reasonable concern, it’s interesting to note that Mr. Roach promises to “…roll back the most recent property tax increase [using] cash reserves…” Mr. Roach is apparently proposing to use the same “unsound” practice.

Finally, water and sewer extensions for proposed developments are typically financed by each developer, not using reserve funds. The City has also reimbursed developers for portions of extensions through annexation agreements which are approved by City Council.

My apologies to Mr. Zelms for my “bankrupt” comment – that accidentally snuck in from a response to his BND letter. It’s accurate but not relevant to this letter. See you soon, Ron.

Charlie Pitts

In response to the OTHS “Financial Crisis”

Local news outlets have dutifully covered ad nauseam the O’Fallon Township High School “financial crisis.” Superintendent Darcy Benway chooses to place the blame for this annual lamentation solely on the state’s lack of payments and unfunded mandates.

We are often told the reason school districts cannot pay their bills is because the state isn’t providing the districts with the promised funding. Fair enough. But why can’t the state pay its bills?  It’s our state’s unsustainable pension system that administrators and teachers have overloaded with six figure salaries that is bankrupting our state and endangering our schools.

An April 22, 2016 article in Forbes by Adam Andrzejewski highlighted that “highly compensated, six figure school administrator/teacher retirees cost IL taxpayers nearly $1 billion per year.”  With over 100,000 teacher pensions in Illinois, $1 out of every $3 collected by our state income tax goes to pensions.

Instead of addressing the pension issue, we are delivered scare tactics employed to pass a new county wide 1% school facilities sales tax that will raise over $20 million a year in perpetuity.  This regressive tax will squeeze pennies from the poor and elderly by forcing them to pay more for gas and clothing while the highly paid in our school districts enjoy taxpayer funded pensions.

Our school districts should share the blame for our underfunded schools with the state.  If we don’t address the pension issue, the python of the pension system will continue to squeeze us until we are all broke.

Mary Gray

Support for Phil Goodwin

I am writing in support of Phil Goodwin for Mayor.  He is an honest man who has served the City of O’Fallon as the City Clerk honorably.  There has never been a question as to the integrity of Phil.

I was appalled to hear Mr. Roach’s response to the police report that stated his campaign sent an email to the O’Fallon Union Local 670 to remove Goodwin signs. Instead of owning up to it, he called it Fake News.  These days everyone yells Fake News to try to skip over the facts.  It is unacceptable.

I have known Phil Goodwin for years and you could not ask for a better person to guide O’Fallon into the next four years.  He has served our Country and leads a Christian life.

The attacks that have been mounted against Phil Goodwin by the Roach campaign are simply and utterly false.

I encourage everyone to vote for Phil Goodwin for Mayor.

Mary Thurman

Vern is invested in O’Fallon

Vern Malare has a vested interest and concern about what happens in and to O’Fallon. His lineage goes back 9 generations here in O’Fallon.

He has attended 99% of the City Council and Community Development meetings for the past 6 years, whereas his opponent, Matt Gilreath, had never attended ANY meetings until appointed by the mayor.

Caroline Malare

Beating a Dead Initiative

Mr. Roach and his supporters continue to beat a very dead horse: the City’s inquiry into leasing our water and sewer infrastructure. I was part of the electorate which voiced unambiguous and overwhelming opposition to considering such a lease. Bowing to the will of the people, the Mayor terminated the leasing initiative without ever placing it on the Council agenda. Because a resolution was never presented for a Council vote, there are no lingering measures before the Council.

Yet Mr. Roach and his supporters contend this “was never formally put to rest.” So during the two years that have elapsed, why hasn’t Alderman Roach introduced whatever resolution he believes is needed? Introducing a resolution begins with composing one and then requesting it be added to Committee and Council agendas.

I have attended all but 4 of these meetings since 2014 but do not recall Mr. Roach introducing such a resolution, nor have I found records of one in the minutes. It appears that Mr. Roach and his supporters opted to resurrect this very dead issue only after Mr. Roach decided to focus on it for his Mayoral candidacy.

Charlie Pitts

Rebuttal to Michael Wright

My criticism was not toward the O’Fallon Police Department. I have taken many classes with them, been involved in the Ride-A-Long program, and I have the greatest respect for them.

The point I was trying to make is in the way contracts are awarded.

With prior contracting experience, I have found that getting at least three proposals helps keep the cost down and makes a fair bidding process.

Vern Malare
Alderman Candidate for Ward #3