The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 28, 2012

Readers' Forum 10-28 | Supervisors, ordinances need to be updated

Submitted by Readers

— I was always told there are two things in life that are certain: Taxes and death. However, now there is something else.

If you are a resident of Lower Yoder Township and you own a home in which no one lives, utilities are not hooked up, the home is winterized and you have fire insurance on the vacant property, you have two choices:

* They can condemn your home and have a code adviser recommend that it be torn down.

* You must pay a yearly garbage fee of $132.

What an abuse of executive power. Lower Yoder has a ordinance which states that, legally, garbage fees have to be paid. The supervisors will not consider changing this ordinance. I have asked and was shut down.

My house has been empty since 2009, after my son became disabled and had to move in with me. The house has new siding, roof and windows. It’s clean and well-kept, so I have paid a garbage fee for this property for four years now, instead of paying for food, clothing and gas for my car.

We are in a recession. Money is tight, especially being a senior and on a fixed income. Lower Yoder supervisors are living in the past and are seniors themselves, but receive income from our taxes.

We need new, young supervisors, and our laws and bylaws need to be updated for the current century and to help seniors and all other citizens.

Nancy Horner


President has earned a second term

President Obama deserves to be re-elected because he:

* Saved America from recession. We went from 800,000 jobs lost per month to more than 5 million new jobs.

* Passed Obamacare, which eliminated pre-existing health conditions and got rid of the doughnut hole for seniors ($600 savings/year).

* Ended the Iraq War.

* Killed Osama bin Laden.

* Saved the automobile industry.

* Gave the middle class an income tax break.

* Passed the Lilly Ledbetter law – equal pay for equal work for women.

* Unemployment is 7.8 percent, lower than when he took office.

* Saved $716 billion from Medicare, hospitals and drug companies without cutting benefits for people and extended Medicare until 2020.

Mitt Romney is a bad choice because he:

* Wants a $5 trillion tax cut and will not say what deductions will pay for it.

* Favors funding cuts for Planned Parenthood.

* Will privatize Social Security – end Social Security as we know it.

* Favors overturning Roe v. Wade, the law that gives women a choice.

* Wants a voucher premium plan for Medicare, which would cost seniors $6,000 per year.

* Said his job is not to worry about the 47 percent in America who do not pay federal income taxes – that includes the military, senior citizens and single mothers.

* Said “Let Detroit go bankrupt.”

You decide and vote.

Robert Kormanik


New rules will keep miners healthier

Throughout western Pennsylvania, you can find more “Stop the War on Coal” signs than leaves on the ground. I come from coal-mining towns and respect the backbreaking work or miners. Sadly, too many of these miners believe President Obama is the reason for their despair.

Mitt Romney is on record saying that coal is dirty, yet Obama is the one waging war. Yes, Obama has set strict environmental regulations that will impact coal, but they don’t take effect until 2015.

Meanwhile, western Pennsylvania is in the middle of a natural-gas boom. The Marcellus Shale industry is hiring more workers and producing a gas that is not only cleaner, but cheaper. Utility companies are making the switch to this cheaper energy source. Free market competition, something Republicans crave, is pushing out coal.

We also have a very old coal fleet in this country. Many are ready to be buried and rather than keeping them open, companies are looking toward natural gas or renewables. They would have closed even without the new Environmental Protection Agency rules.

The president’s budget on alternative energy includes clean-coal technology. Union mines have all but evaporated, allowing the coal industry and Republicans to fight against new health protections for miners.

 Since 1995, more than 10,000 coal miners have died from black lung. House Republicans drafted language in a recent bill that would prevent funding for any new coal dust to limit miners’ exposure.

Clean coal protects coal miners’ health and keeps our local waters from turning orange, again.

Chris Miller


Keep vets’ health care in government hands

The October issue of the American Legion Magazine features interviews of the presidential candidates. They were asked their opinions on a variety of problems facing our country.

Mitt Romney and President Obama both made interesting points.

However, when the interviewer asked them to respond to the backlog of medical treatment for today’s returning veterans, their answers were quite different.

Obama’s answer: “We’re doing a better job of touching our vets immediately after they’ve left service, so that we don’t have a situation where the backlog builds up in part because people don’t know what their rights are right away, they lose track of paperwork, time passes and it becomes that much harder to process their claims.”

Romney’s answer: “I would look to bring people from the private sector, who know the importance of responding to the needs of the customer.”

Now we all know that Romney wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, but does he also want to privatize the Veterans Administration?

As a Korean War vet, I certainly don’t want to take my VA health care into the private sector.

Paul E. Danel Sr.

Richland Township

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.