Ramblings from Reggie: Mr. Chairman, our local hero, Chief, and governments behaving badly

I enjoyed my “Report to the Taxpayer” from the County Board Chairman, Scott Christiansen. Very nice, great public relations tool, and nicely put together.

Kudos on building the jail on budget; that doesn’t happen too often.

Also, kudos for saving the community $60 million by collecting our money too early and buying down the bond offering.

Kudos for taking credit for managing OUR money properly. I do like the fact that a budget was laid out for us until 2008—but there are some obvious flaws in that budget.

How does that budget integrate with the overall county budget? For example, criminal justice personnel $5.5 million? What are the numbers behind the numbers?

I would challenge Mr. Christiansen to hire Ted Biondo to evaluate the county budget (I’m sure he already has) and make a solid recommendation about how we can reduce the jail tax by half a percentage point.

God bless Ted, this community owes a debt of gratitude to him for being the budget watchdog. I agreed with the premise of his position regarding the road referendum, but at some point we can’t keep stacking increases on top of increases. At what point do we stop the increases and the government growth? I often have said there ought to be a parade in town honoring Ted Biondo.

Governments behaving badly No. 1—let’s see if I can grasp this. They subsidize tobacco, live off the taxes from it, sue tobacco manufacturers, and live off that money, allow the manufacturers to raise prices to cover the lawsuits (thus raising taxes) and now are working hard to ban smoking everywhere. WOW!

Governments behaving badly No. 2—I never said I was too bright, but I was listening to some jibberish about the road referendum, and I heard again that there is $50 MILLION left to pay on bonds issued in the past for the yearly road referendums. The light finally went off. I thought this was a pay-as-you-go program.

Once again, we were too complacent to know this—and “we” includes me. Shame on past administrations/aldermen/administrators for not telling us this. I know it’s our fault for not doing the research, but no one even running for office brought this up to the people? No wonder the same people keep winning elections. Malcomb Forbes said whether you vote Democratic or Republican, government still wins. This is a prize example. Shame on us.

The Chief Illiniwek “controversy” was a tragedy. Anybody who saw a tribute by the Chief knew the University of Illinois was honoring Native Americans. The NCAA should be abolished because of their hypocrisy and the fact they have lost any credibility they have had. Forcing the University of Illinois to drop the mascot was a sham.

There are plenty of colleges and universities using Native American mascots. I know U of I alumni, and this broke their hearts. The NCAA picks and chooses where they want to make statements. They are inconsistent and unfair.

Under Mike White’s tenure, there was a recruit who alleged an impropriety, and Illinois was put on probation. A former Notre Dame football player writes a book and names names and violations under Lou Holtz, and it is completely dismissed. Was every program Lou ran put on probation except Notre Dame? I think so. A certain Nebraska head coach takes guns from football players and is made to be a hero and now is in Congress. Nolan Richardson spent years at Arkansas and won a NCAA Championship, but never graduated a basketball player.

Please, let’s stop with Anna, Britney and Paris and keep our eyes on what’s important. Focus on our famillies, our God(s), our jobs, and what our government is doing to us with our permission.

Reggie Roberson is owner of Swilligan’s “The Pub,” 200 N. Church St.

From the Feb. 28-March 6, 2007, issue

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