Letters To The Editor 11/22/2017

November 22, 2017

Conflict exposed

Editor: At the Oct. 18 Lackawanna County Prison Board meeting, Progressive Women of NEPA presented a letter of concerns relating to the request for proposals for inmate medical services at the prison.

To ensure that the selection process for bids is fair and open as the request claims it will be, we asked that anyone who has received campaign contributions from any principal in the bidding organizations be prohibited from participating in the contract selection process.

At the same meeting, Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings acknowledged that she has received contributions from the current medical provider, who has submitted a bid in response to the current request. Cummings also acknowledged that she has met with the current provider and believes complaints about him are “unfounded” and she “would back him up 100 percent.”

Cummings further stated that it is her “opinion that he is doing everything appropriately.”

On Nov. 1 we learned that Cummings is on the committee charged with reviewing bids. In view of her acknowledgement that she has received contributions from the current provider and “would back him up 100 percent,” the steering committee of Progressive Women of NEPA requests that Cummings be removed from the review committee and the entire inmate medical contract selection process.



JFK’s guidance

Editor: What might President John F. Kennedy counsel if he lived in our time with all its division and diversity? Consider excerpts from remarks he never had the chance to deliver to the Dallas Citizens Council on Nov. 22, 1963.

“In today’s world,” his prepared statement said, “freedom can be lost without a shot being fired, by ballots as well as bullets. The success of our leadership is dependent upon respect for our mission in the world as well as our missiles — on a clearer recognition of the virtues of freedom as well as the evils of tyranny.”

He warned that “ignorance and misinformation in foreign policy can handicap this country’s security in a world of complex and continuing problems . . . only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future.”

He counseled, “The United States is a powerful nation and when our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.”

Though deceased on that fateful day in Texas, his parting expression is relevant still:

“We in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth and good will toward men.’”



Dark days recalled

Editor: It was 54 years ago that I watched my mom wipe away a seemingly endless stream of tears as she stared at the images on our black and white TV screen. I had no idea then what was so sad about horses pulling an oblong box covered in stars and stripes.

It was, of course, the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, who had been cut down by gunfire in his motorcade just days before in Dallas.

As I got older I learned more about those four days that shook America to its very core.

Leaders from home and abroad came to pay their respects to our fallen young president. The lines of tribute were long, both in size and hours, and the tears, as with my mom, were unrelenting.

Thankfully, none of our children have had to witness the tragic and untimely loss of a popular American leader since those dark days in November of 1963.



Urges state takeover

Editor: Scranton voters again voted for the same, same old. Evidently, they don’t understand what it means to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results.

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Faced with a possible $40 million deficit, Scranton School Superintendent Alex Kirijan, Ed.D., put on her thinking cap and came up with big savings. By restructuring the human resources department, she can save $37,000. This would cut the debt to $39,963,000. Just think what she could do if she actually tried to help the taxpayers and save the district from a state takeover.

She could increase class sizes, which would reduce the number of teachers.

Test scores prove that reducing class size hasn’t led to better education outcomes. The taxpayers can no longer afford to pay salary and benefits to 900 teachers, 324 full- and part-time support personnel and 44 administrators. This represents a fraction of Scranton’s population and they have been holding the rest of us hostage long enough.

With another former school district employee added to the incoming board, the employees probably are looking for a sympathetic board once more to give the workers carte blanche and taxpayers be damned.

Let’s hope that the state will take over soon, and put a stop to this fleecing of the taxpayers. Only if the Legislature eliminates property taxes as the way to fund education will Scranton taxpayers be able to get out from under the thumbs of the teachers union.