The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 9, 2013

Readers' Forum 12-9 | Limiting terms brings diverse power


Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — If you have a new state or federal legislator it’s probably because the old one died or was gerrymandered out of office. Incumbents rarely quit and are rarely defeated. Once they get in, their goal is to perpetuate themselves in office.

In doing so, they perpetuate a system that is increasingly expensive and decreasingly responsive to the real needs of Pennsylvania. Serving in the General Assembly or Congress was never intended to be a lifetime job. But what we have is an elitist old-boy system in which legislators link with special interests to preserve their grip on power.

Such a system tends to avoid the tough, sometimes unpopular decisions required to improve service and control spending.

Limiting terms would bring a more diverse cross section of the populace to Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. It would weaken the power of lobbyists. And it would give voters a better choice of candidates. A newly-elected legislator would know going in that he or she could not parlay their elected position into a permanent job, but instead they should devote full attention to the state’s needs, with courage and intellectual honesty.

Our legislators have demonstrated over and over that they are ill equipped to run Pennsylvania or the country. But they have become so entrenched that the best hope for getting rid of them is to limit their terms in office.

It’s said that 70 percent of the population favors this idea, but it won’t have a chance if you don’t speak up. Your loudest voice is the ballot box, use it.

Jim Edwards

Johnstown



Concerned by loss of liberty and justice

In some ways this government mandate and eventual takeover of the health care industry parallels the communist philosophy that the state knows what’s best for the people.

A partial definition of communism is the equal distribution of goods and services to be achieved by a dictatorial means.

The liberal and noninformed numbskulls who voted for the incompetent, deceiving and sycophant President Obama, are just now beginning to reluctantly pull their collective heads out of their rear ends and see the outrageous costs, expense and confusion of this massive boondoggle called the Affordable Care Act.

I will not touch this program with a 12-yard pole because of privacy and personal security issues. The IRS has their money grubbing hands in it also.

Concerned yet?

I have still not heard the reason why certain favored groups, as well as the Congress itself should be exempt from this Big Government monstrosity. Does anyone out there know?

When you have a snake-in-the-grass, as the president has demonstrated by circumventing Congress, the Constitution and other entities, making up his own rules as he goes, not to mention corruption and abuse of power, the result is the loss of liberty and justice for all.

This president is now, literally, unbelievable in anything that comes out of his mouth.

Obama nation, no thanks, period.

Mark Fetsko

Ligonier



Position criteria is resident of Johnstown

During the past few days, Readers’ Forum submissions have included at least two submissions in support of Mark Pasquerilla being appointed to the term set to expire on Jan. 1.

There is not, nor should be any question as to Pasquerilla’s support and commitment to the city of Johnstown and the entire Greater Johnstown area.

However, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Urban Development Law of 1945 35: Chapter 18A, urban redevelopment authorities, and more specifically as stated in 35 P.S. § 1705. Appointment and qualifications of members of authority, “the mayor or board of county commissioners thereof, respectively, shall appoint, as members of the Authority, five citizens who, except in the case of cities of the third class, shall be residents of the city or county in which the Authority is to operate. In the case of a city of the third class, a majority of the members of the Authority shall be residents of the city, and the remainder may be nonresidents who own and operate businesses in the city in which the Authority is to operate.”

The current make-up of the JRA board consists of three city residents: Raymond Balta, Brian Vuletic and Thomas Trigona, (a majority), and two noncity residents, John Mavrodis and Karen Varga, in accordance with the aforementioned statute.

Following the appointment of Varga, by Trigona on April 1, 2011, I raised the issue of Varga not being qualified for appointment under the provisions of owning and operating a business in the city of Johns-town, which was ignored by the mayor, the city solicitor and the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority, and she continues to serve as a nonresident board member.

Jack Williams

Johnstown



Art teaches personal behavior

Gerald Zahorchak’s explanation of the physiology of acquiring good manners, and the addition of “behavioral curriculum” to education is informative. However, the success of this effort would be greatly enhanced if an even more significant and impactive improvement was made.

Art, in all of its manifestations, should be the foundation and framework upon which all education is based. This formidable resource is virtually ignored in American schools, relegated to, perhaps, a once-a-week art class or chorus practice, attended by only some students.

Little do we even try to understand how deeply ingrained artistic sensibility is in our collective psyche.

The human personality has been around for about 200,000 years. When it evolved beyond the imperatives of limbic functions, art emerged as the primary means of communication, documentation, decoration and more. Art precedes everything, even language, and it predates math and science by a long shot.

Arts education provides awakening, awareness, curiosity, interest, creativity, productivity, fulfillment and ambition. Within this progression, respect and reverence for nature and humanity are implicit and elevated personal behavior is readily fostered.

In a culture in which such abominations as the “knock-out game” and the massacre at Newtown, Conn., are common occurrences, more is needed than yet another administrative program. Education needs passion. No child left behind? Common core? Best wishes to behavioral curriculum. It is obviously well-intentioned but unfortunately, artificial.

Ever try to tell a 14-year-old how to act? Teach him instead how to see, hear, imagine and flourish.

Michael M. Mosorjak

Johnstown