The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 23, 2013

Readers' Forum 4-23 | Rothfus for all, not just wealthy

Submitted by Readers

— I’m responding to Gary Schetrompf’s letter of April 18, “Rothfus quick to take up mantra.” But more broadly, it is in response to the mantra that Schetrompf and others have taken up – namely, taxing the wealthy to help the poor.

Schetrompf points out that Americans are among the least-taxed citizens in

the world, and “that’s why the wealthy stay in America.”

I’m no millionaire, but I will gladly stay in a country where I can keep more of what I earn. Besides, who ever heard of a prosperous nation that counted no wealthy citizens among its ranks?

There is no evidence to support the idea that raising taxes on the wealthy alleviates the poverty rate. In fact, the American poor are considered wealthy when compared to the poor of other nations, and this is while we are among the world’s least- taxed peoples.

Which is better: Raising taxes on business owners and giving that money to the unemployed? Or cutting taxes, allowing businessmen to grow their enterprises and hire those previously unemployed?

I would rather get a raise than have my employer taxed so that I don’t get a raise and, instead, am forced to apply for government assistance. We need the wealthy to stay wealthy because they are the ones who provide jobs.

That’s why Keith Rothfus is for growing businesses. He’s not for wealthy Americans; he’s for Americans.

Stephanie Rose


Scouts must continue to honor God

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Boy Scouts have the right to deny membership to practicing homosexuals. Pressured by gay activists, scout council delegates will vote in May to change policy and accept boys with same-sex sexual orientation. This gives unwarranted legitimacy to homosexuality and eventually homosexual leaders.

The scouts should be able to follow God’s teachings and not misinformed societal views of sexuality. With current policy, the scouts are protected constitutionally.

With new policy, expensive lawsuits could result.

When Canadian scouts allowed homosexuals to become leaders, membership dropped substantially. Many camps and troops closed.

Also, there have been more than 2,000 reported cases of abuse.

Do parents want sons on overnight trips with males who have same-sex attractions?

Do they know that homosexuals comprise 2 percent of the population, but are responsible for 30 percent of reported cases of pedophilia?

Dr. Nicholas Cummings, a former president of the American Psychological Association, said that organization is now run by ultraliberals with political agendas that ignore evidence of successful therapies.

Scientific studies indicate homosexuality is a developed way of thinking and behaving, which can change.

Nobody is born gay, and yet activists push youths to adopt a gay identity. Science shows that 50 percent of adolescent boys are ambiguous about their sexual identity, but by age 25, fewer than 2 percent choose a gay identity.

Please request that the Boy Scouts not change their policy toward homosexuality. Contact them at

Gale Bala


Become involved in local government

Government isn’t a spectator sport. It’s a cliché, but it is true.

I have had the pleasure of serving the people of Geistown and easily the best part of my service has been interacting with people both inside and outside of our meetings. The desire and passion of these people make the effort worthwhile.

It’s important for each of us to take time to understand what our local governments are doing. Their decisions impact our lives, even more than decisions on the state and federal levels. With limited resources and even more limited funding, smart decisions have to be made.

We all must ask what fundamental issues have to be addressed. We all deserve a clean and safe community. Our public- safety agencies deserve the best we can offer because they will be the ones risking their lives when we need them most. We deserve to know that the interests of all our communities are being served.

I encourage anyone who reads this letter to attend your next local municipal meeting. Learn what is going on. Ask questions of your leaders. What is the one-year plan for your community? What is the five-year plan?

Provide your insight. Take one evening to make your voice heard. Making that small effort now will help create the community we all desire to live in. No personal agendas, no decisions made in dark rooms, and nothing except the best we can offer. Don’t be a spectator anymore.

Joseph Sernell


City official questioned, responds                                                                     Rose Howarth, a current member of Johnstown City Council and candidate for re-election, is also an employee of Johnstown Lease Housing Corp., and, I might add, the only full-time employee in an office that is located in the Johnstown Housing Authority building.

In recent articles in The Tribune-Democrat, she criticized legitimate landlords in her version of slumlords of Johnstown.

“They don’t do their due diligence,” Howarth said, but she failed to recognize that the two major problems in Johnstown are homicides and those associated with drugs in Johnstown Housing Authority properties and Section 8 housing.

Howarth was elected by the citizens of Johnstown to represent the people of Johnstown. Now what hat is she going to wear in the next month or so ... the hat as an employee of Johnstown Lease Housing or her city council hat, the one she was elected to wear and wants to continue to wear as a candidate for re-election?

Does she realize this is a critical situation with the Section 8 housing and the Johnstown Housing Authority homes with their drugs, violence and murders?

Steve Thompson


Editor's note: We asked Councilwoman Rose Howarth for response, which follows:

Writer misconstrues housing company work

I take my role as a city council member with the utmost commitment to the taxpayers and the city of Johnstown.

I am firmly committed to doing what needs to be done to eliminate blighted properties and their associated problems.

I served on a committee with Donna Hess to create a landlord/renters ordinance with six other municipalities.

I voted for passage of the same ordinance in the city of Johnstown.

I have been vocal, along with councilpersons Marie Mock and Frank Janakovic to be sure the worst violators of the ordinance are pursued before any others.

I know there are many landlords who show as much pride in their rental properties as their own homes. However, SOME landlords don’t do background checks nor care if renters have a criminal history.

Doing backgrounds and references are tools used to spot problem applicants, i.e., “due diligence.”

NEVER did I criticize “legitimate landlords.”

I voted for, support and attend the Crime and Violence Committee meetings, participated in the Moxham Walk and the West End Crime Watch.

I will say, do and vote for what is necessary to eliminate drugs, violence and murders in Johnstown.

Johnstown Lease Housing has absolutely nothing to do with public housing or Section 8, and to imply, suggest or insinuate Johnstown Lease Housing is linked to these crimes, is ridiculous.

Furthermore, if changing hats would correct any of these problems even one notch better, I would wear a wool hat on a hot August day!

Please feel free to contact me (322-5558) so that you can personally air any of your concerns.

Rose Howarth

Johnstown councilwoman

In case of robbery, know what to do

What would you do if confronted by a robber (gunman) in your business?

Here’s what you should do, according to information provided by the Johnstown Police Department.

* Remain calm.

* Listen to the robber’s instructions carefully.

* Give the robber whatever he or she asks for. Don’t resist.

* Memorize what the robber looks like. Any scars or tattoos?

* The life you save may be your own.

God bless America every day and in every way.

Paul C. Rinker


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