The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 15, 2013

Readers' Forum 6-15 | Tell government to stop snooping

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Recently, a courageous whistleblower revealed that our government has been blatantly ignoring this article of the Constitution that our leaders have sworn to protect.

The power to spy on anyone’s communications is an inherent threat to liberty. When the government can know everything that everyone is doing, it has the power to destroy any meaningful threat to its way of doing things.

As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

If we the people do not speak up right now and force our government to end this Orwellian program, then our great democracy will be sacrificing this essential liberty.

Call your representatives. Stand up for our freedom, let our voices be heard. Call U.S. Sen. Bob Casey at 357-0314; Sen. Pat Toomey, 266-5970; and Rep. Keith Rothfus, 619-3659.

Kieran Spencer


Boswell’s excessive stop-sign placement

Boswell Borough is now officially the stop-sign capital of Pennsylvania – with 116 stops signs. Borough council continues to place stop signs at every intersection in the borough. The council advised me that the reason that these signs were installed was to “slow traffic down.” Really?

According to PennDOT and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, stop signs shall not be used for speed control.

There are four criteria that must be met by an engineering traffic study:

-- The main traveled road must have more than 300 vehicles in an eight-hour period. You are lucky if the any of the streets in Boswell get 300 cars in a 24-hour period.

-- The volume of traffic is equal at the intersecting roadways.

-- There must have been more than five reportable accidents in a 12-month period. There hasn’t been five reportable accidents in the entire borough for a 12-month period. Where the new stop signs were recently posted, there hasn’t been an accident at that intersection since the mid-1970s.

-- Eighty-five percent of the traffic’s approach speed exceeds 40 mph per hour.

Oops, I forgot. An engineering traffic study needs to be done, too. Boswell Borough has not completed any of these requirements.

PennDOT’s tech bulletins 137 and 140 address stop signs. PennDOT advises that, “Stop signs should not be used for speed control and should only be used where warranted because they can cause substantial inconvenience to motorists.”

Are the borough’s stop signs legally posted?

Tony DeLuca


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