The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 14, 2014

Readers' Forum 5/14 | Music festival needs some changes

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — Everyone, stand up if you’ve heard of Boz Scaggs or Leftover Salmon. Oh, wait, there are only three people standing. The organizers of the Flood City Music Festival have built a shrine to themselves, and completely abandoned the two primary functions of the festival: To make revenue and attract tourists. Their jobs should seriously be in jeopardy after this year’s flop. Assembling a D-list festival is not something to be proud of.

As an avid festival goer, I cannot, in good faith, promote this festival anymore. It is more a gathering of locals than it is a flourishing community of music lovers meeting at the crossroads. The most successful festivals in the nation have the eclectic lineup, because it is what works fiscally. Music from every genre attracts people from every population segment. It is a built-in festival draw.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that this festival is in my backyard, and have the utmost respect to the talented musicians at this year’s shindig. But at some point, you have to ask yourselves why this festival isn’t more successful.

Here’s some advice: Employ a panel of young, talented, educated youth of Johnstown to organize the festival. Book A-list headliners with demonstrated draw. Sign up for so you can have people paying you to apply to the festival. Stick to your folky roots, but diversify your lineup.

Be happy and successful, Johnstown.

Kenneth Oldham


‘Special list’ exempt from complying

The Department of Environmental Protection states that “the city of Johnstown has proposed to replace the majority of its aging and leaking sewers.” Why isn’t the city replacing all of its leaking sewers since we’re in a state of sewage overflow?

Homeowners who fail the pressure test are required to install new laterals. This is true unless you happen to be on what I will term “the special list” exempting you from complying with Ordinance 5103, which states that it’s unlawful to transfer property without having a compliance certificate stating passing of pressure test. Properties are being sold in Johnstown without this certificate. Isn’t this preferential treatment?

Pressure test certificates of compliance are valid for one year. Imagine the homeowner who spends upwards of $10,000 for sewage work to pass the test, and then decides to sell their home in 13 months, necessitating the need for another test. It’s quite possible for a small tree root to cause a nick in the lateral, and you will fail the pressure test, necessitating the dig-up process all over again.

It’s obvious that this test and subsequent work will not ensure 100 percent elimination of inflow/infiltration.

Pressure testing is pushed by EADS, the city engineers. Council has previously received gift certificates from EADS. Has this business relationship turned personal, with rumors of certain council members going out for social/bar night with an EADS employee? With EADS being paid $4 million from the city to date, I’d suggest council limit interactions and adhere to a strictly business relationship.

Charlene Stanton


Top-dollar contractors doing shoddy work

I am a retired building contractor California License No. B 388-149. I have built freeways, roadways and bridges and had subs install the metal guard rails along the roadways.

What I see here in Pennsylvania is shoddy workmanship. These railings are installed with lasers to keep the line straight and true. The new roadway construction on Route 219 during the past few years is what I am talking about. The old railings, 10 years old, are true and straight except for areas that had crashes and had been repaired.

The state inspectors are signing off on crooked railings, rough asphalt pavings and paying top dollar to contractors that are supposed to be qualified. The blame for substandard workmanship lies with the PennDOT division who controls the projects.

I am sure as you read this and drive down Route 219 and view the metal railings alongside the roadway you will see crooked railings.

Inspectors have a 12-foot-long straight edge and walk the highway. They are to mark sections with any differences of more than a quarter inch. The contractor is to grind down the paving at the marks and make the ride smooth. I guess we don’t care here in Pennsylvania and let contractors rip us off of our tax dollars. How about we get what we pay for? If the work is substandard then deduct a percentage or have the contractor fix it.

Ed McGarvey


Everyone in church when crisis arises

I agree with Grant Shaffer’s Readers’ Forum letter on April 23, (“Religious values are slipping away”). It’s all too true.

When a crisis accrues, you find everyone in churches, but how soon we forget. Keep it up and God will take his hand. Just because we just no longer except almighty God’s ways, whatever happened to the Ten Commandments? Have we forgotten them?

Nancy Arnone