The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 13, 2012

Readers' Forum 10-13 | Be tolerant of others’ points of view

Submitted by Readers

— I am commenting on the column by Robin Quillon (“Religious bigots aggravate grueling campaign season”) in the Oct. 7 edition.

He lamented about those who would not vote for a candidate solely on that candidate’s religious beliefs.

I assume he is referring to those who object to Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs.

I hope that Quillon also objected to those who attacked President Obama four years ago for having attended Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago.

Both opinions attacked an individual for belonging to a church that holds beliefs that others would disagree with.

Even more to the point, I hope Quillon finds the letters of many writers to the Readers’ Forum to be objectionable and indicative of intolerance. These letters incessantly attack public figures and political candidates for their religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs.

Like it or not, many people hold beliefs that others find to be morally objectionable and support public policies others abhor. Unfortunately, on a daily basis, Tribune-Democrat readers are subjected to the same vitriol that Quillon objects to – character assassination of those who interpret God’s teachings differently than others.

Let us become more tolerant of diverging points of view. Regardless of who wins any given political election, there will still be opposite points of view.

When you demonize those persons in your own mind and in your expressions of opinion, it makes it very difficult to find common ground, for the common good of America.

Richard J. Holsinger


Spend less on gov’t, more on citizens

American politicians think they are entitled. They are always looking for a handout and freebies.

The cost of government is why the tea was thrown from the ship – too much money spent on government people. There was no objection to what should be done for the people.

We the people are tired of the stupid rhetoric. It is not the food stamps for people so they can survive that’s breaking America. It is the enormous salaries, pensions and freebies that politicians receive.

Politicians get free meals, hair cuts, vehicles, rent, and on and on. They do not need free stuff because, unlike food stamp recipients, they won’t starve to death. They receive enormous, undeserved salaries.

Politicians work only for a few years and are eligible for enormous, undeserved pensions.

They complain about Obamacare for the people, yet they receive free health care.

Before Medicare and Social Security are dismantled, their freebies and their pensions should be discontinued. America’s senior citizens have paid their dues. No one told the Bush administration to take the money that people invested and spend it on wars. It was not supposed to be touched.

Companies defraud people out of their pensions, and the stock market cost many seniors their savings.

Republicans want to privatize Social Security. They should privatize their pensions or eliminate them. The billions spent on campaigning would be better spent on saving a family’s home or feeding a starving child.

Cindy Kay Constable


Voting a privilege; approach it sincerely

Election Day is almost here. We have some critical choices to make both locally and nationally.

With mammoth challenges before us as a nation (i.e., record unemployment and debt, national security), we must intentionally research the candidates, their platforms and, if applicable, their voting records. (After all, actions speak louder than words.)

Some of our representatives are now what we call career politicians who seem to represent us in name only. While they’ve promised to help make changes with the best of intentions, they’ve become part of the problem of an immobile system.

Since voting is our right and a privilege, let’s make sure we approach it with sincerity and pause. We, too, must bear some responsibility for the mess we’re in. We’ve made excuses for our representatives and have repeatedly re-elected them. Why?

Perhaps we, the voters, have become stagnant, too. Perhaps we’ve allowed ourselves to expect less or more of the same, in some cases. Shame on us. We deserve a better life here in western Pennsylvania.

We need to pass the baton, sometimes, for change to have an opportunity to bloom. The spirit of the people is strong here, but we desperately need forward thinkers to help this area stay current and competitive.

We have new candidates on the local ballot, and they come to us with fresh perspectives; they are not politicians.

While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly help to direct it.

Vote carefully.

Dawn Rager


Move forward united or backward divided

Our Founding Fathers were educated in history, philosophy and law. They understood power and corruption and planned a government with checks and balances.

The other issue of balance was that of the individual versus community. Could they fashion a governing document to ensure freedom of the individual yet provide unity of purpose to the colonies together?

Today, there is still competition between these two interests. The preamble of the Constitution is a mission statement that sets forth a vision for the country as “community.” These men spent years on this document, so they must have believed that a federal government was of sufficient importance. Constant maligning of government as an oppressive boogeyman dishonors their legacy and sacrifices.

The Bill of Rights ensures our valuable, individual freedoms. We dislike government intrusion where none is needed yet expect certain services, safety and fairness of opportunity.

During the tough times surrounding this election, Republicans are focused on the related issues of business, money, military-industrial complex and individual pioneer spirit. Small government means limited funding for domestic issues. Sounds like “survival of the fittest.”

The Democrats’ focus leans toward investment into the health and education of children and workers, honoring our seniors and veterans, research into new industries, peace through diplomacy, rebuilding our country’s structures and preserving our environment while respecting the common humanity of our diverse people.

How do we move forward collectively as a community of citizens? I call this united we stand or divided we fall.

You decide.

Anita Altman


Contingency fund something to build upon                                            Though President Obama has been demonized for his handling of the economy, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund (ECF), part of the stimulus, operated in more than 30 states for 18 months, placing more than 260,000 low-income parents and youth in paid jobs, for only $1.3 billion in federal money.

ECF subsidized these workers by paying part of their wages, helping small businesses, nonprofits and local governments survive the recession. People who needed jobs got them and local economies grew, showing how government can help when the market cannot meet human needs.

ECF was most successful in Illinois: $200 million in federal funds supported the employment of 27,000 people in 5,000 businesses, at $10 an hour for up to 40 hours of work per week. A survey reported 92 percent satisfaction: 78 percent acquired new skills and had more disposable income; and 72 percent had new contacts for future job searches.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor worked to abolish ECF, claiming it sustained dependency because it also offered emergency housing assistance and money for school supplies. Consequently, ECF was allowed to expire on Sept. 30, 2010, depriving 100,000 families of their livelihoods as the recovery stalled and unemployment rose again.

With 15 million unemployed, the ECF could not solve the national emergency. But the program’s success should have been seen as something to build upon, an opportunity for potential welfare recipients to escape poverty through real jobs.

Barbara Bruce


City council whining about new technology

At the Johnstown City Council meeting on Sept. 26, it was mentioned that new advertising technology of business owners is blinding to council members.

“It’s blinding every time I pass,” said Councilman Bill Gentile regarding an electronic billboard in front of Subway on Broad Street.

New computerized ads are excellent for the Johnstown business area. I pass that sign daily, and I think it’s a fantastic idea.

Best Window on Broad Street has similar signage, as does JWF. Also, coming into the city off the Bedford Street exit of the bypass is a similar luminated billboard sign, and there is one on the bypass westbound near Point Stadium.

This advertising technology is seen all over Pittsburgh, Altoona, Indiana, Somerset, etc., and is new-age.

If Gentile and other council members are blinded by signage, I suggest they wear sunglasses or take a different route.

B.J. Mroczka


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