Letters To The Editor 12/24/2018
Editor: One of our nation’s most successful conservation programs has expired after 54 years — a tragic mistake that must be corrected immediately.
Established by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund provides much-needed funding to increase outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands, improve local parks, restore watersheds, promote healthy forests and protect critical wildlife habitat. What’s truly amazing about the fund is that none of these projects costs the American taxpayer a single dime, since funding comes from federal offshore oil and gas royalties
Many people may not know it, but in Lackawanna County the fund has provided more than $2.8 million for critical improvements at Lackawanna State Park, Russell Park in Carbondale and McDade Park in Scranton and Taylor.
Thankfully, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has been a strong advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but sadly U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has not. Please urge Toomey to support this proven and effective conservation program by providing the full $900 million annual funding that Congress originally intended.
Editor: Our Scranton School district budget deficit has to be targeted and reduced or eliminated to avoid what I consider to be terribly drastic measures considered by our school board.
Reduction in the number of school buildings, teaching staff and subject offerings do not give us a reasonable return on the investment we make in our students via payment of taxes. We are paying first-class rates for budget seating, to use a transportation metaphor.
The hard and fast truth is that we must pay for the deficit and begin to plan for a more enriching educational experience for the next generation of citizens. Starting this month, I will send a check for $10 on a quarterly basis to the district’s administration building with a memo stating, “Direct to budget deficit.” Obviously, I hope I am not alone in this venture. It is my wish that a quarterly influx of cash will help to reduce the amount of the deficit more quickly.
This, of course, will not quickly eliminate our financial worries. However, in return for this effort, I would like a quarterly report of the amount of relief funds received by the district and the percentage of deficit reduction achieved. Turning a spotlight on this financial problem at more regular intervals can only reveal more potential solutions and enhance transparency regarding how our funds are spent.
In addition, I would like a report each quarter with ideas for a more enriched education curriculum for our students. My initial suggestions include a short, instructed period of daily physical exercise for elementary and middle school children and a two-week summer offering of creative writing and/or foreign language study for this same age range. The point is, we need a clear vision for our district and how best to invest our tax dollars.
Editor: Did anyone notice the latest underhanded maneuver in the art of lying and deception carried out by the Republicans? They have become so brazen, callous and despicable it defies all logic.
Last year, as part of their “wonderful” tax reform package — which heaps millions of dollars in tax breaks on the filthy rich while awarding the rest of us next to nothing — they removed the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act. It was a key component to make the program work. They called it unconstitutional. Recently, a group of 20 Republican governors and attorneys general took their case to a federal judge in Texas who has a history of ruling in favor of Republicans in any case brought before him. Of course, he then declared that since the law no longer contained that individual mandate, the entire law was now unconstitutional. If upheld, it would end the program and leave 20 million Americans without health care coverage.
The most crucial aspect of the law was the guaranteed protection for people with pre-existing conditions, which President Obama and Democrats fought so hard for in the first place. If your short-term memory fails you, during the latest election cycle many Republicans ran on false promises that they would protect the pre-existing condition clause, all the while knowing they were blatantly lying to voters and well aware of their lawsuit and where it was headed.
How low will Republicans go? They have no integrity, morals, nor a shred of intestinal fortitude. It is not surprising, given their top role model, President Donald Trump, who has none of these qualities and is himself possibly the biggest liar of all time in politics. It will soon be revealed to the world starting on Jan. 3. Let the truth be told.
Editor: Once again, I am disappointed by our local animal shelter.
I recently found a kitten on our road — one of many trashed cats — that was left to survive on its own and had nearly starved to death. I stopped at the shelter to ask if the staff could take him, clean him up and get him adopted as he seemed to be very friendly.
Without hesitation a young woman behind the desk nearly jumped down my throat, stating that the facility had no money to care for him, but if I took him for blood work, flea treatment, shots and neutering they would take him. There was no thought to whether or not I could afford this or if I could give a donation. There was not one ounce of compassion for this poor animal.
Another worker, who seemed to have some compassion, told me about the Eastern Pennsylvania Animal Alliance in Wilkes-Barre. The problem was that this kitten was in such bad shape that he needed some care and food to get strong first before surgery and shots.
What’s their new mission: “We’ll care for abandoned, neglected and abused animals if we feel like it”? I have donated money and items of need to the shelter over the years and at one time volunteered there. I am appalled. It’s no wonder people abandon animals. They know what they will face if they go to the shelter. It’s just shameful.