The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 13, 2014

Readers' Forum 1-13 | Commissioners deserve our thanks

JOHNSTOWN — I want to thank Cambria County Commissioners Mark Wissinger and Doug Lengenfelder for passing the third budget that does not raise property taxes.

The county was in very bad fiscal condition when they came into office, but by implementing innovative cost-cutting and savings measures, they have turned Cambria County toward a better financial future.

It would have been easy for them to raise our taxes. Instead, they made tough decisions and prioritized budget items.

They instituted zero-based budgeting, meaning that county offices start with a zero budget and must justify their requests. The federal government uses baseline budgeting, where agencies get an automatic, annual percentage increase in their budgets and if they don’t spend it all, they risk not getting as much the next year.

If Uncle Sam used zero-based budgeting, taxpayers would save billions annually.

Special thanks to Lengenfelder for his tireless efforts to bring jobs to Cambria County. On his own time and at his own expense, he has made many trips to “sell” Cambria County to business and industry leaders and government and military officials. He has many contacts from his career as an Air Force colonel, combat pilot and military diplomat in South America and Europe. The pending Foreign Trade Zone and the Aspen Water Treatment Plant in Johnstown are just two examples of his work that, hopefully, will bring hundreds of jobs to Cambria County.

Please re-elect Wissinger and Lengenfelder.

Martin Yahner

Yahner Bros. Farm, Patton

Can’t understand disrespect of Obama

According to Bob Bonini’s letter of Jan. 7, “Media’s bias toward Obama,” concerning the attack on our embassy in Benghazi, he thinks the people responsible should have been captured and executed by now. It doesn’t work that way.

Before 9/11, President George  W. Bush was told that the CIA had information of a pending attack on the United States. Bush did absolutely nothing to prevent it. What he did do was invade Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Over 4,000 U.S. servicemen and women have been killed and thousands seriously injured. Over 100,000 innocent Iraq civilians were killed. My advice is to calm down and stop watching Republican-controlled Fox News. President Obama will get those responsible for Benghazi, just like he got Osama bin Laden.

Also, I have to disagree with Rev. Tony Joseph’s letter of Jan. 7, “Obama’s legacy is unflattering.” He says, “If our health system isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” When you have 46 million people without health insurance, it’s broken.

When I was born, Herbert Hoover was president. I don’t remember a time when a president was treated with such disrespect. Obama has been portrayed by the tea party as Hitler, a liar, a Marxist, even a clown wearing an Obama mask in a rodeo. A Confederate flag was burned in front of the White House.

This hatred for Obama because he is African-American might appeal to the extreme right of the Republican party. But as the good Lord said, “forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Ralph A. Swank


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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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