Letter to the Editor, Oct. 21, 2012
Second guess judgement
EDITOR: There has been much consternation in Canton Borough over the events of the past two council meetings, and as council president, and the one who appears to be the main target of certain residents' ire, I would like to clarify a few points. When first approached by the residents of Lycoming Street we, the council, along with the mayor, listened attentively to their valid concerns. Some of us even took a guided tour so as to show us the specific problems. At that time the residents expressed concern about unruly teens intimidating them and causing a ruckus all night long, certain health-related code violations and unsupervised small children playing in the street. They called attention to unforeseen consequences derived from the recent paving of their street, expressing concerns that it might now become a "race track," and requested that we install speed bumps. The folks at the lower end of the street cited that the new paving job was now causing heavy rainfall to circumvent the catch basin drains and shunt the runoff water into their yards and potentially their basements. The council members all took these issues seriously and set about to correct them. The drainage problem was alleviated by our new street foreman, Kurt Bastion, before the next rain and according to at least one resident who had been flooded in the past, he was now satisfied. The sanitation issues and code violations were addressed and the necessary corrections were made. After personally meeting with neighbors living adjacent to the problem properties I was told that things were much better and was thanked for the council's efforts. The proper authorities were notified regarding the unsupervised small children and, to the best of our knowledge, the matter was resolved. As for the rambunctious teens, they, too, have toned it down. Are they still in the neighborhood? Of course they are. But according to the residents who live adjacent to the houses where they hang out they have toned down their act and are no longer as free in using profanity or making explicit sexual gestures in front of youngsters playing nearby. As for the requested speed bumps, after due examination we found that it would raise liability issues on a public thoroughfare. It also would jeopardize our much needed state liquid fuel funding, so the speed bumps may not materialize. The police do, however, run a speed trap on the street but they can't be there 24/7.
As you can see, we have addressed the concerns of the Lycoming street residents to the best of our abilities. However, the crux of the most recent tirade from Lycoming Street has to do with whom certain residents perceive as being the police officer who will better serve them. The hiring of police officers is a matter that is under the jurisdiction of the police chief and the mayor. It is not a popularity contest. As the article in Oct. 10's Review stated, the council opted not to retain Officer Vanderpool at the conclusion of his probationary period for undisclosed reasons of a personnel nature, which by law we are required to keep confidential. If anyone wishes to know what those reasons are, ask the officer to give us written permission to open his file to the public and we will gladly do so. Otherwise, it is our duty to him to keep this trust inviolate. The option to not retain an officer at the end of his probationary period is nothing out of the ordinary. End of story.
As for the Lycoming Street resident who stated that things "are not OK," and proclaimed that we were not looking out for the citizens, and that "nothing has changed" on the street, I would direct him to read the first part of this letter. He is the resident whose property used to be flooded before Street Supervisor Bastion fixed the drain, and he's the one who commended Mr. Bastion for a job well done.
In fact, he is a former councilman himself, and knows full well that things don't happen over night. I take umbrage at the innuendo that we who serve on council must have some other reasons for being on council other than looking out for the citizens. What those reasons could be escapes me. Heaven knows, there are no perks, monetary or otherwise. We serve because somebody must, and few people want to. In fact, several of the most outspoken residents have told me repeatedly, "You couldn't pay me to do your job." The fact is, that for all of their rhetoric not one of them applied to fill the unexpired term of the councilman who resigned in September. And yet they continue to second guess our judgment.
Letter to the Editor
EDITOR: More than any vote since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, this election will define the future of the American worker. The very mechanisms of the social contract of Social Security and of Medicare and Medicaid are under the threat of extinction. These programs allow the Middle-class worker to be secure in their retirement and help insure the least fortunate of us have access to healthcare. If we are to have a secure middle class, this must not be allowed to occur. It is these programs and fair progressive income tax, that allowed middle class America to flourish. In a strangely ironic juxtaposition of history, we are celebrating our Civil War's Sesquicentennial, a war that when viewed objectively, was not caused by either the Abolition of Slavery or of the issue of States Rights. It was the expansion of the continent, the quest for freedom, of land and of social equality. It was the clash of labor, free or chattel, a need for social justice, that fueled that conflict. Lincoln understood this and eloquently stated it in his First Inaugural Address. The immigrants from poverty stricken Europe, from an aristocratic ruled Great Britain and Ireland knew this intrinsically. We now live in a time that underscores that great irony. We have a President of African descent where the concept of a free labor force, with social justice and fair taxation, is under assault, not by a slavery driven Aristocracy, but by the forces of a new Aristocracy that would undo almost 80 years of social progress and justice and lead us down a path to a greed fueled Plutocracy. Economic tyranny, even in a democracy, is still tyranny. The massive inequality in wealth in this country, the largest since the Great Depression, reflects that tyranny. I accept Governor Romney's love of wealth as the beau ideal and his disdain for the working class. I accept the fact that he will repeal Obamacare and allow the insurance companies to again do as they please, because in essence, Obamacare is not an government takeover of the healthcare system, it is an insurance reform bill. I accept that he feels that 47 percent of Americans are victims and free loaders, that our elderly are undeserving of security and healthcare after a life time of work. I accept Governors Romney's statement that Social Security needs to be privatized and Medicare, instead of being a defined benefit, will become a voucher. I accept that he has pledged to Grover Norquist never to raise taxes, which makes a compromise, that is so badly needed, impossible. I accept the fact that a Romney presidency would deny a women's right to choose, to have control of her own body. I accept the fact that any environmental safeguards that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink are, in his eyes, cumbersome regulations. I accept that he feels it is equitable for someone with a multi-million dollar income pay less than 15 percent in Federal taxes, while many workers pay well more than that amount. I accept that the Tax Policy Center's analysis, a group that Romney has called "objective", stated that Governor's Romney's new tax plan would again benefit the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class. I accept, at face value, Representative Paul Ryan's love affair with Ayn Rand, his immature fascination with a toxic Laissez Faire economic model. I accept these views because they are the stated facts. What I won't accept is more of George Bush's failed economic policies and another Republican administration. I won't accept that a woman should be paid less than a man for the same work. What I won't accept is another massive military build up, even more threats of foreign military involvement, when we have so much need at home. I will not accept a policy of zero compromise just to protect the wealthiest 2 percent of our population. We must assure that Barack Obama retains the Presidency. Democrats must regain the House of Representatives and keep a Democratic majority in the Senate. If not, the American worker will be crushed in a fantasy world of Capitalism run amok. Plutocracy does not deserve the White House. Neither does Governor Willard Romney. Obama, Scollo, Casey, 2012.
Letter to the Editor
EDITOR: I have followed politics for many years- both on CNN and C-Span on television and on radio as well as what I read in magazines and the newspapers. I have watched countless hours of proceedings of the House of Representatives on C-Span and countless hours of U.S. Senate proceedings on C-Span2. So when it comes to presidential politics, I really "ramp up" my attention. I try to be as well informed as possible before I go into the voting booth in November.
Let's look at a few facts. First, one of the first words out of the mouth of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was that the Republicans were going to make sure that President Barack Obama was a one-term president. If you look at the voting records of this congress, the votes on the vast majority of their bills have been strictly along party lines. Obviously, this congress is not concerned at all about the welfare of the American people, but is instead focused on this nation becoming a one-party system where only the rich are allowed to exist.
Second, we have a GOP candidate and his running mate who are strictly anti-union. While it is true that unions have pretty done themselves in, they do have their place in our society, and we need them in places where we have a " Mitt Romney" type who enjoys firing people. Not my words, but Mitt Romney's.
Thirdly, Romney and Ryan accuse our president of not passing a budget. Congress is to blame for this one as they have voted purely along party lines.
Fourth, Romney and Ryan say Obama is soft on foreign policy and trade. Yet Obama has gone after China for not allowing a level playing field.
Fifth, Romney-Ryan say Obama is weak on defense. Yet the president can rightfully claim the downfall of Osama Bin Laden on his watch -- something George W. Bush could not do in nearly eight years, even though he engaged us in not on but two terrible wars without paying for them. By the way, it is mainly because of these two wars that our national debt skyrocketed. That, along with George W. Bush's tax cuts which made it impossible to pay for these wars. We have a president now who has ended one of these wars, and is drawing down on the other. Romney wants to put us back in Iraq and continue the one in Afghanistan.
Sixth, Romney-Ryan have downed Obama for not going after Libya for assassinating our ambassador and three others. But, although I'm sorry that these four people were killed, what makes them any better than Oliver Brown or any of the other approximately 6000 young men and women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Seventh, and not least, is that Romney and Ryan want to do away with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid-- and according to Romney, the 47 percent of the country who collect any of these funds, including myself, are leeches and moochers on government handouts. Never mind the fact that we have paid into these programs all of our working lives. These programs could be solvent for the next one hundred years or more if all politicians would leave their hands off these trust funds instead of using them for everything except what they were intended for. Both parties are guilty of this.
Eighth, and finally, what is Romney hiding? He says he is paying his share of taxes, but refuses to make public more than two years of returns while at the same time demanding that his running mate release ten years worth.
So I ask you, how can anyone, especially one who works for a living and has an ounce of common sense, vote for this Republican ticket for president?
Howard L. Sinsabaugh