The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 14, 2014

Readers' Forum 3-14 | Have all solutions been exhausted?

JOHNSTOWN — I read with great satisfaction The Tribune-Democrat’s plea for our elected officials to listen to their constituents and rescind the pressure testing program. While I agree that the goal of eliminating outfalls is both prudent and necessary, the testing method employed is flawed.

Pressure testing does not predict inflow/infiltration; it detects a discontinuity in piping. Contractors have reported that, frequently, piping that has failed the pressure test is excavated but shows no evidence of damage, inflow or infiltration.

I find it troubling that engineering professionals who are employed by municipalities to develop plans are the same ones who benefit monetarily from the testing regime.

This seems to be an obvious conflict of interest. I do not find satisfaction in being critical of my colleagues; however, they seem unable to hear those who they serve, and adamantly protect a flawed system. They appear to serve local government without realizing that their actual clients are the citizens of Johnstown.

How can professionals, who traditionally earn well above the local average income of $24,000, justify causing $4,000 in expenses to their citizenry, and often without a definitive cause?

Engineers are tasked in society to provide solutions. We have not done our due diligence in this case, and there has to be a better way. Why aren’t we looking for it?

Brian L. Houston



Will Republicans ever concede?

I had a good laugh from Peter M. Fedash’s letter on March 3, “Her ‘knucklehead’ got us into this mess.” Fedash still hasn’t gotten over the 2012 presidential election. Mitt Romney lost.

I wonder if the tea party and the Republican Party threw a hissy fit when Romney implemented a similar health care plan in his home state. Guess that makes him and his followers knuckleheads, too.

And let’s not forget the $24 billion that the tea party fiasco cost the federal government and American taxpayers by shutting down the government over the budget meltdown. Guess that qualifies for the knucklehead of the year award.

Economy screwed up? Wall Street is setting records. Gasoline is still less than $4 a gallon, six years after it hit $4 under President George W. Bush – no thanks to Gov. Tom Corbett’s tax increases (up to 28 cents a gallon) or it would be even less.

Regarding President Obama’s family health care coverage. I’m sure he and all government workers have the health plan that comes with the job title; party affiliation is of no consequence.

And while Republicans continue to point fingers over the Benghazi tragedy, the diplomat and workers involved actually turned down security help. So why keep blaming former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? Politics. The Republicans are afraid that if she runs for president, she might win.

Lastly, the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline gridlock has a simple solution – build the refinery in upstate New York then truck the gasoline around the country. Save 1,100 miles worth of pipeline. Brilliant.

Bob Cotchen


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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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