The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 8, 2014

Readers' Forum 3-8 | Homeowner stymied by red tape

JOHNSTOWN — I recently became a new homeowner in the city of Johnstown. My family lived in this same house for 26 years. We rented from the same landlords for 251⁄2 years.

These landlords did no work to the house – no updates, no repairs.

When I bought the house six months ago, I knew what all was needed to rehab it. I applied for the rehabilitation loan assistance program through the city. I was turned down because my house is located within a flood zone.

And according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s guidelines, the city is not permitted to rehab a property within a flood zone unless the city keeps the property’s assessment within 50 percent of its fair market value.

Well, that is why I applied for the loan –  to rehab this house to fair market value.

I will be looking for other ways to rehab my home without help from the city before this house becomes one of the hundreds  of abandoned homes in the city.

Fred George Sr.


GOP determined to undermine Obama

The Republican Party finally committed political suicide by refusing to work with President Obama.

The president sent a jobs bill to Congress. The Senate refused to bring it up for a vote.

Obama sent a gun bill to Congress, prompted by the rash of mass shootings, including Newtown, Conn. The Senate refused to bring it up for a vote, citing the Second Amendment.

If any of these shooters would have used a weapon available when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791, the time it took to reload a muzzleloading rifle would have been enough time to overpower the shooter and save lives.

Obama sent a bill to Congress to increase minimum wage to $10.10. The president said anyone working 40 hours per week should not live in poverty. Congress not only refused to bring it up for a vote, some Republicans wanted to eliminate the minimum wage altogether.

A bill to extend unemployment benefits was also refused.

Tea party favorite and washed-up rock star Ted Nugent said that if the government comes after his guns, he’s going to start killing people. He also called Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”

During the 2012 election, Nugent said that if Obama won a second term, he (Nugent) would end up in jail. That statement earned him a call from the FBI.

The people in the Republican Party worship their version of the golden rule – those with the gold make the rules. The rest of us can go to Hades.

Ralph A. Swank


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