The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

May 17, 2014

Readers' Forum 5/17 | Some day state will end death penalty

JOHNSTOWN — It was recently reported that one of the four Democratic candidates for governor has called for the abolition of the death penalty.

The other three candidates have stated that they favor a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. This has created a strong possibility that the prospect of any future executions in Pennsylvania is remote.

With Pennsylvania having the third largest death-row population in the nation, this is big news indeed. It is obvious that this issue will play a large part in the November gubernatorial election.

While any Democratic candidate elected would not have the ability to pass any abolitionist legislation, he or she would certainly be able to continue the debate on the issue that began with the fall election cycle.

This Democratic governor could issue a stay of any execution that was pending and could even make the dramatic action of granting clemency to all of the several hundred death-row inmates, as the governors of Illinois and New Mexico have done.

New Mexico, New York, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia have all enacted abolition since 1981. These efforts all began when an anti-death-penalty governor was elected.

If you ask, “Can we live without a death penalty?” I remind the readers that the state of Michigan has been death-penalty-free since 1846 and that abortion is a part of their Constitution.

Some day, the death penalty will be abolished in Pennsylvania.

Richard J. Holsinger

Johnstown

The region has plenty of food sources

We live in a land of plenty as far as food is concerned. Pennsylvania is the best food-producing state in the New England area and arguably on the East Coast.

However, many people in Cambria County don’t have enough healthy food to eat.

Canada is our closest trading partner. Lancaster ships some of its agriculture produce to Canada, justifiably so.

I have a friend who volunteers at a food bank in Somerset County and he says food banks can trade food to different food banks.

Also, Johnstown distributes the Meals on Wheels to eight senior centers. Why not have trucks pick up the leftover food and take it to the Salvation Army.

Cresson has an excellent food pantry at St. Vincent de Paul Society. Cresson also has excellent seniors and staff at its senior  center. Kudos!

The key is distribution, distribution, distribution.

Curtis Kalmbach

Cresson

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