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Letters To The Editor 3/12/2019

March 12, 2019

Hope for recovery

Editor: The new chief recovery officer for the Scranton School District held her first meeting and the district finally has a financial recovery advisory committee.

The people chosen for the committee will try to help the new recovery officer, Candis Finan, Ed.D., make the changes to move the district toward solvency. As far as I am concerned, she has two roadblocks to work around.

One is the Scranton Federation of Teachers president who always complains that teachers do not get enough pay or benefits for what they do for the students. She always mentions the “good of the students” but seems to be the first one to call a strike.

The second challenge is the superintendent of schools. Since she was hired she has let the school directors and the teachers walk all over her. She seems content to just put in her time and get her high salary and put up with the shenanigans.

That is my opinion from reading all about these roadblocks facing the new recovery officer. I hope she gets all the help she needs from the advisory committee members to straighten out the school district’s problems. I have my fingers crossed.




Assure victim rights

Editor: I write to highlight the work being done in the Pennsylvania General Assembly related to Marsy’s Law — a proposal to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to secure justice and due process for victims throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Marsy’s Law would require, among other things, that crime victims be heard in the criminal justice system as to their safety concerns, to be treated with fairness and respect and be provided adequate notice related to the release of a defendant on bail.

Generally speaking, I agree with Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell’s recent statement in The Times-Tribune that bail “should be a measure to ensure” that criminal defendants appear for court. But, there is an important consideration absent in his comments in the news story — the safety or risk of danger to the victim and/or the community.

In such cases, bail is not simply a mechanism to ensure a defendant’s appearance in court. Rather, it is designed to offer a level of protection in sometimes lethal situations.

No doubt, questions of bail, bail reform and victim’s rights are complex issues and require careful consideration. Please take a moment to learn about Marsy’s Law and the need for constitutional protection of a victim’s rights by visiting www.marsyslawforpa.com.




Troubling forecast

Editor: In 2018, 10 out of 12 months in Pennsylvania had above-average rainfall.

Rainfall had averaged about 41 inches a year. Last year, Pittsburgh got 58 inches, Harrisburg had 67 inches, Philadelphia, 67 inches, and Williamsport got 70 inches.

According to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, in 2018, Pennsylvania suffered $163.5 million in public infrastructure damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency only covered $62 million of that, leaving municipalities, counties, state agencies and private landowners to hold the bag for $101.5 million in losses. FEMA paid $10 million into the state’s mitigation fund, although there are 70 mitigation projects exceeding $30 million pending execution.

Climate scientists predict that the northeast will experience heavy rains like we have never seen before. Given the decaying stormwater infrastructure in most cities and given that most municipalities don’t even know what their stormwater capacities are and where and how much damage the overflow will result in, and given that future storms may dump up to 1.5 feet of rain in one event, it is deeply troubling that Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a cut of roughly $58 million in funding to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resource and the Department of Environmental Protection from the general fund.




Gun safety needed

Editor: Well, once again someone who wasn’t licensed to carry a handgun shot himself.

Sure, it was an accident and could have happened to almost anyone. Well, at least almost any male. The thing is, guns are dangerous. Anyone using a gun and especially a handgun needs proper training. Even a holstered handgun can be dangerous, as it was to this gentleman.

Now something new needs to be taught in gun safety. We need to have safe placement of holsters explained. After all, we don’t want more men shooting themselves in the penis as did a 46-year-old Indiana man last week in the incident mentioned here. I suppose he’s learned his lesson, but what about the rest of us?

Was it the holster’s fault, the gun’s fault, was it the placement to blame, or was this the case of a doofus with a gun? Seriously, gun safety is far more important than our government allows. As soon as the word gun is mentioned, out come the big guns from the National Rifle Association and an assortment of self-proclaimed Second Amendment experts.

How can any of these groups actually have a complaint against requiring a person to have firearms safety training before they can purchase the type of weapon they trained on? After all, the safety in using a flintlock is somewhat different than, say, that of a semi-automatic handgun or a semi-automatic assault rifle. The point is, gun safety can affect us all. Let’s require gun safety training if people have thoughts of owning a gun.




Popular tax pitch

Editor: John McGovern (“Leaning way too left,” Feb. 7) asks in relation U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to initiate a 70 percent tax rate on the rich: “Do the Trump and Republican haters really want a 70 percent marginal tax rate for the rich?”

A recent Fox News poll, ironically, found that 70 percent of people in a poll sampling approve of this rate on families earning more than $10 million annually.

So, by extension, does that mean that as much as 70 percent of Americans are Trump and Republican repudiators?