The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 9, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-9 | USPS not broke, crisis is manufactured

Submitted by Readers

— The U.S. Postal Service is not broke. The postmaster general’s plan to stop Saturday delivery of letters and, theoretically, save the USPS $2 billion a year, is a cut in service playing into the hands of those who want you to believe the post office is broke.

Assorted corporate front groups and some congressmen and women, all want- ing to privatize the postal service, along with their supporters in the media, have been pounding out a steadily rising drumbeat to warn that your postal service faces impending doom.

It’s true that emails and tweets are faster than mail, but there remains a vast demand for postal services, especially where broadband does not exist.

FedEx has its place, but its self-serving priority is always to go after maximum profit. It has no interest in or ability to deliver universal service at an affordable price to the whole nation.

The pre-funding of retiree health care costs of $5.5 billion should be going to services.

While the postal service hasn’t taken any tax money since 1971, it is delivering         40 percent of the world’s mail. Six days a week, letter carriers traverse 4 million miles toting an average of 563 million pieces of mail, reaching individual homes and workplaces in America – and the cost starts at 46 cents. If a recipient has moved, his or her mail is forwarded.

This is a manufactured crisis to reduce delivery from six to five days a week, and eventually to none.

As each day of delivery is eliminated, the sanctity of the mails erodes, and your mailbox becomes just a receptacle, inviting anyone to invade your privacy.

Joseph G. Antal

Ebensburg                                                                                                                   President, Pennsylvania State Association of Letter Carriers

City council lacking motivated leaders

Mayor and council president are among five city of Johnstown council positions up for election in the May primary.

Residents deserve to have motivated leaders. The mayor of any city is a key administrator.

Promises made by our mayor and council members before they were elected have not been kept, including addressing blighted properties and making street repairs. Turmoil continues within the council.

It’s time for change to bring a better future for our children and grandchildren.

Think before you vote. Will we move forward or remain in stagnation mode?

B.J. Mroczka


NRA supports checks, opposes database

On March 3, The Tribune-Democrat published a column by Clarence Page in which he accuses the National Rifle Association of being against gun purchase background checks. This is utterly false.

The NRA supports background checks. What it opposes is the government retaining the data in a permanent database.

Right now, by law, this data must be destroyed within 24 hours. To retain this data is the same as registering the gun and owner. No government entity has the right to know what guns a law-abiding citizen owns. This data would be public record.

If the government decided it wanted to confiscate guns, the data would make this very easy. Law-abiding citizens would be disarmed and helpless when it comes to self-defense.

In New York, you must have a license to possess a gun, and all of your guns are registered. A newspaper, The Journal News, used public records to obtain the names and addresses of every handgun owner in the county it serves and then it published this information. Criminals now know the home addresses of police and corrections officers and anyone else (neighbors know you have a gun. What about your anti-gun boss?).

Registration has led to confiscation. Lists fell into the hands of the Nazis in Germany and the leaders of other conquered countries. Guns were confiscated.

In the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe (after World War II), registration led to confiscation.

Is President Obama more trustworthy than leaders of some of those countries?

I think not. What executive order might he issue next?

Bill Gallus

Richland Township

Taking away son’s benefits family tragedy

I have a special-needs son who lives with me. His mother passed away eight years ago. Since then, he and I have been on our own.

My son has Downs syndrome and cerebral palsy and is completely dependent on me and his caregivers. He doesn’t walk or talk. He doesn’t feed or dress himself, or use the bathroom without assistance.

Until recently, he had been receiving in-home care services paid for by his HMO. These services allow me to go to work during the day.

Now, his HMO is refusing to pay for these services, saying he doesn’t need them, which makes no sense because he can’t do anything for himself.

Without these services, I will be forced to stop working – which I cannot afford to do – and stay home and care for him 24/7.

My son needs these caregivers, and I need them, too.

What’s wrong with this country and state? They take benefits away from the truly helpless and give more benefits to people of sound mind and able body who refuse to work for a living.

Someone needs to explain that to me.

Daniel Thomas



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