With the April 4 election fast approaching, it’s important for voters to be informed, particularly when six people are running for four seats on the Granite City School Board. The new four, Linda Knogl, Laura Cole, Tanja Cook-Sedabres and Victoria Arguelles have children or grandchildren in the district’s schools. The incumbents, Matt Jones and Kathy Hagnauer, have only their actions on the board.
As a matter of record, both voted to increase our taxes. The school district’s tax rate went from 4.3 in 2013 to 5.0 in 2015. They began by closing a valuable Early Childhood Center and relocating our little ones to a remote area of Granite City. Now parents and grandparents struggle to transport variously aged children to and from centers daily.
Matt and Kathy also voted to close neighborhood schools to save money. In doing so, they increased transportation costs, and for the past nine months, the state has yet to reimburse our district. They also voted to spend $500,000 (probably more) in renovation and relocation costs to move the School Board office and personnel to a recently closed elementary school. And all the while, contractual salary increases were looming. What were they thinking?
Taxpayer dollars have to pay for these mistakes. Is this the way a school district should operate? Let’s not give them another opportunity to hurt our fragile community. I am voting for the new four.
Candidate, Granite City School Board
When President Obama took office in 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion; when he left office in 2017 it was $20 trillion. Debt per U.S. citizen in 2009 was $31,000; now it is $61,340. Labor force participation rate was 68.5 percent; now it is 62.8 percent. Home ownership rate was 67.3 percent; now it is 63.5 percent. Real median household income was $57,744; now it is $54,045. Average health insurance rate-family plan was $12,680; now it is $18,142. Food stamp dependents numbered 32 million; now it is 43.6 million. Persons living in poverty was 38 million; now it is 45 million.
Democrats have lost 1,042 seats at the state and federal level, including congressional and state legislative seats and governorships, and they have lost control of the Senate, House and now the presidency.
During Obama’s time in office, Democratic U.S. Senate seats dropped from 55 to 46, House seats fell from 256 to 194, and Democratic governorships fell from 28 to 16. They also lost 958 state legislative seats in the Tea Party wave of 2010, and they likely lost even more in the movement around Donald Trump.
Despite all of this, Obama remains the biggest narcissist who has ever walked the planet and as delusional as ever, thinking he would have won a third election handily. This “community organizer” from the streets of Chicago has taken the once “party of the working man,” which it was under President Truman and Kennedy, and turned it into the failing progressive, socialist, Democratic party of today.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Report to the People No. 11 by Madison County Board District 3 representative Philip W. Chapman.
The purpose of this letter is to provide a report of my efforts as your County Board District 3 representative. I hope this helps with government transparency. In addition, I think you have a right to know as I receive a salary. You should know what you are getting for your money.
Speeding in Carpenter: A citizen with children in the 6400 block of Quercus Grove complained drivers roared through a speed zone in town. I called Sheriff John Lakin, who had not heard of the problem and apologized if there had been an accidental oversight. I suggested an electronic sign telling drivers how fast they were going or a speed trap to restore safety and protect children living there. Many thanks to Sheriff John Lakin for promising to take immediate action. If you have a problem in your area with an unsafe road or with speeding in your neighborhood, please contact me.
Judiciary Committee: Chairman (Kurt) Prenzler appointed me to the Judiciary Committee and attended my first meeting on March 1. Sheriff Lakin reported the jail population has been higher than normal and the higher population affects costs of groceries and medical care. Given the epidemic of heroin-related deaths, I asked about where the drug comes from. State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons stated the drug comes from Mexico, goes to Chicago, and is transported to St. Louis for distribution in the Metro East.
FEMA flood map issues: On Feb. 28, I attended Highland’s FEMA Flood Map Open House. Many thanks to Mayor (Joseph) Michaelis and the Highland staff for their research and desire to protect citizens from unnecessary insurance premiums. When I studied the November 2016 maps and compared them to the previous maps, several incongruities appeared that make no sense. One wonders if FEMA paid close attention to its job. There are approximately 360 properties on the new list compared to only 135 on the 1988 flood maps. The new system seemingly amounts to little more than a ruse to expand government revenues. (FEMA gets the premiums.) There will be new flood maps for Grantfork, Hamel, Highland, Livingston and Worden. Is your business or home on a newly proposed flood plain? If so, has your home ever flooded? Are there incongruities or mistakes in your town’s newest flood maps?
Flooding in Hamel: Mayor (Larry) Bloemker and I will meet with IDOT staff to discuss flooding in Hamel during heavy rains this week. Illinois seemed able to pump millions into the interchange at the New Hamel Travel Stop, but after being contacted five years ago seems unable to clear state drainage ditches along Interstate 55. One wonders if citizens should get their own equipment out there to clear the ditches and return them to the old gradient to ease the drainage back up. In effect, Hamel now serves as a water impoundment area for the I-55 corridor. Hopefully, the meeting will produce results.
Philip W. Chapman
County Board District Three