The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 9, 2013

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


JOHNSTOWN — 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


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


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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