The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

February 27, 2014

Readers' Forum 2-27 | Nothing changes from election to election

JOHNSTOWN — When we had the last elections, I was hopeful. A friend sent me a photo of the outgoing City Council, and I was surprised to see now that it was just a switching of seats, but with the same attitudes and baggage. Council members couldn’t agree before and still can’t. They want their friends in vacant seats, those they feel will vote their views.

WJAC-TV told it right, the sides can’t agree. When council steps into its chamber, all pettiness and agendas should be put aside. Council members are representing the people who voted them to that position, not themselves or their agendas.

The people spoke: We want change. But, it appears our votes mean nothing. We have the sewer crisis to focus on and how it affects us. Council imposed a fine on residents for noncompliance, and anyone selling property they own must make repairs when they sell.

Blight and public safety is a real concern. The little guys pay their taxes and do the right thing, but not the owners of abandoned properties who owe thousands. Where is fair taxation?

We have a lot more pressing issues, not who is going to sit on a council seat and act like a second-grader. I’m disappointed and ashamed.

Lindy Yutzy

Johnstown

Shining examples tarnished by fiasco

On Feb. 18, city council held a workshop session, which, for viewers at home and anyone present in council chambers, appeared to be a sewage huddle.

Members of council, along with representatives from EADS, gathered around the tables, most with their backs to the public and the camera, with no consideration in making their conversations able to be heard. Manners and decorum were clearly lacking to those residents most affected by the ongoing city sewer fiasco.

When the regular meeting was called to order, among other issues, Mayor Frank Janakovic made comments regarding possible loans for sewer repairs for property owners ranging from $1,500 to $15,000 at interest rates of 2 percent.

What these members of council fail to realize is that the many retirees who have worked many years and maintained their homes, paid taxes and other city-imposed fees religiously are not interested in assuming new and additional debt resulting from council’s misguided pressure testing.

Whether such repair costs range between $1,500 and $15,000, none of these costs will increase the value of the homes should a person seek to sell such property. It remains to be seen how many property owners will say “enough is enough” and walk away rather than be saddled with a debt that might run beyond the remaining years of some residents’ life expectancy.

Some have pointed out remarks made by John Poister, of the Department of Environmental Protection, of Johnstown’s sewer project being a shining example for the rest of the state. Poister should be reminded that any shining example, if it ever existed, has quickly been tarnished by the same city sewer

fiasco.

Jack Williams

Johnstown

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