The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

July 10, 2013

Readers' Forum 7-10 | Keep Route 219 in present location

Submitted by Readers

— Two very important meetings regarding the Route 219 corridor plan will be held today at the Northern Cambria Municipal Building – from 2 to 4 and 5 to 7 p.m.

These meetings are very important to Carrolltown, St. Benedict, Northern Cambria, Garmantown, Emeigh Run, Cherry Tree, Burnside, McGee’s Mills and Mahaffey.

Please attend one of them and express your desire to keep Route 219 in its present location, along the Susquehanna River. Our towns need Route 219.

Northern Cambria has lost Miners Hospital, coal mines, a shirt factory and the railroad. We will not lose Route 219.

Let’s overflow these meetings and insist that Route 219 stays in its present location.

John Wojcik

Northern Cambria

Trust hard to earn, easy to lose

We have all heard the sayings: “What you sow, you will reap”; “Do to others as you would have them do to you”; “Give and it will be given to you”; “Live by the sword and you will die by the sword”; and “Love each other as you love yourself.”

These have been universally recognized throughout history as being true by all peace-loving religions. It’s called the law of reciprocity. What goes down comes around.

Faith in the certainty of the law of reciprocity has prevented human conflict between individuals, nations and have constrained the self-destructive tendencies of many powerful people. Yet, some people refuse to accept that it is true.

Never before have we had a president who is a sneak, a snoop and schemer of government power to destroy his opposition. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party leadership runs interference in the lawful investigation of this national malfeasance.

President Obama and the Democrats are waging war against our rights to free speech, religion, assembly, gun ownership, home privacy, property and state sovereignty while they hope to fundamentally change the most successful form of government the world has ever seen. The dirty little secret is that they lust for permanent control of our lives and fortunes.

Hubris has blinded many. Trust is hard to earn, easy to lose and never fully regained.

It’s hard to imagine that Obama and the Democrats really believe that they can outrun the consequences of their devious conduct. I dare say not.

Dr. Bill Choby


Impossible to justify death penalty

I am writing concerning the Readers’ Forum letter July 4 by Joseph Mandichak, “Court trial in lawyer assault meaningless,” commenting on the futility of taking Andre Staton to trial for the courtroom assault on his defense attorney.

Court administrators will tell you that there will be several million dollars spent on any death penalty case, covering the costs of appeals. There is also the $100,000 plus spent annually, above the cost of keeping a convict in general population. Death row is very expensive to maintain.

I agree that any trial would be a waste of taxpayer money and of the court’s time, but it is the proverbial “drop in the bucket” compared to the cost of attempting to carry out a death sentence. It should be noted that our state has the third-largest death row in the nation, yet has executed only three people since 1962.

In short, had Staton been sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, something required for first-degree murder, he would have never been in court, would not have assaulted anyone, and the taxpayers would be spared the cost of pursuing an execution that will never occur anyway.

It seems likely that Staton now will be held in “super max” conditions. This means he will have no human contact without being securely shackled, hands and feet. The bottom line is that he will not be a threat to anyone, not even prison staff and inmates.

In simple taxpayer costs, it is impossible to justify the death penalty.

Richard J. Holsinger


City needs to embrace new ideas and change

I have been following the proposals of the city crime commission, Rep. Bryan Barbin and new member of council Joseph Taranto. I am urging all citizens of Johnstown to attend these meetings, especially city council, to see the council at work and to learn each’s views and how they work together for our common good.

Or are they divided?

These are council people. We all are the city, not just a few. We need to pull together, not apart, to save our town.

I was surprised at Councilwoman Marie Mock’s reaction to a proposal for a board of volunteers to assist and be, in my opinion, the eyes and ears for those leaders who are already overburdened.

Members of council sometimes serve on other boards and have families and jobs. I assumed help would be welcomed. Just like with the West End Improvement Group, which started meeting, came on strong with community spirit and primarily consists of four members – Mock, John Slezak, Rose Horwath and Connie Martin. They were welcomed for their ideas and enthusiasm; no one called them vigilantes. They are all volunteers.

Living in Johnstown, we take the good with the bad and work with it. We survive.

Hopefully, with some new plans in place, we will stop the crime wave, make this a safer place to live again, clean up the blight, make our city sparkle, bring people back into our town and promote home-buying. New ideas and change aren’t to be feared but embraced and worked out together as a town.

Lindy Yutzy


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