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Letters To The Editor 5/1/2019

May 1, 2019

Prestigious law firm shamed

Editor: Sunday, I sent an email to Mark Ruehlmann, global chairman and CEO of the law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLC. I asked one question: “How on earth would you go about convincing a prospective client to hire your firm as bond counsel when you harbor a senior partner so contemptuous of his personal municipal tax obligations, the likes of which the bondholders he represents would rely upon to secure their investments?”



Editor’s note: Squire Patton Boggs released a statement Monday saying that Kenneth W. Bond, the lawyer the letter refers to, is no longer employed by the firm.


Protect at-risk children

Editor: In 2017, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a special “State of the Child” report, which provided detailed information about Pennsylvania’s child welfare system.

Among its recommendations was to provide children and youth caseworkers with access to all records concerning children who are the subject of investigations, including medical, scholastic and substance abuse treatment records. I have introduced House Bill 835, which would provide this access to help caseworkers get a clear picture of what challenges these children face at home and in school, in order for them to make the best decisions on behalf of children.

Currently, caseworkers have access to medical records in one section of state law and can access other records through requests to the state Department of Human Services secretary. However, there is no clear authority for these agencies and caseworkers to request drug and alcohol treatment and school records directly. That results in significant delays for caseworkers, who need this documentation to properly assess a child’s situation and take steps to protect them.

My legislation would provide access to these documents, but would limit the scope of the records’ access only to the child involved in an investigation, not to other children or adults in the home. These records would be subject to the same confidentiality requirements as other documents and materials compiled in an investigation.

By mandating that the caseworkers review these records, my bill would also help detect false abuse reports and protect those who have been improperly accused of child abuse or neglect.

The bill recently was approved by the state House Children and Youth Committee and is being considered by the full House. As it moves through the General Assembly, I am confident we will — and must — do all we can to protect our children, especially those most at risk.




Trump hostile to military

Editor: President Trump’s graduation from a high school military academy may be of significance.

Despite his immersion in a military school environment, or perhaps because of it, he shows a disdain for the military. To avoid Vietnam he received numerous draft deferments and then a draft exemption, supposedly based on bone spurs on a foot. Retired Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser, did not last long, nor did retired Gen. John F. Kelly, his chief of staff. The same happened to retired Gen. James Mattis, his secretary of defense.

Trump speaks of “my generals” when their oath is not to him, but to the Constitution.

His 2016 election campaign treatment of the Gold Star Kahn family, whose son was killed in Iraq, was shameful. His behavior toward Sen. John McCain, a naval aviator, while both alive and dead, was unseemly. Trump said he knows more than the generals regarding the military situation in Syria and sends active duty troops to our southern border against the advice of their commander.

Does all this hostility come from the environment of a high school military

academy? Perhaps not. Trump recently said his father came from Germany, which is not true. Fred Trump came from the Bronx. But Trump’s gaffe caused reporters to look into Trump’s family and his paternal grandfather came from Bavaria in southern Germany and was expelled from the country for failing to perform mandatory military service.

Maybe the animus toward the military is not only from the environment of the military academy. Perhaps it is in his DNA.





Toomey ducks responsibility

Editor: Sen. Pat Toomey is the only Republican holding statewide political office in Pennsylvania.

As such, he is the most important Republican in the state and should be a moral leader. He often has performed this role by repeatedly reached across the aisle to pass legislation with Democrats.

However, Toomey’s response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report has been cowardly. In his only public comments he argued that “nothing in the report rises to the level of obstruction of justice,” a contention most legal experts, including Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, disagree with.

The Mueller report also nowhere mentions President Trump’s financial dealings with Russia — or anyone else — an indication that any alleged infractions have been referred to other jurisdictions, and could eventually come to light.

For their own good, and for the good of the country, Toomey and other Republican Senators should stop running cover for Trump. He is demonstrably unfit to be president.



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