The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 13, 2013

Readers' Forum 5-13 | Union members upheld their end of pacts

Submitted by Readers

— I have followed with interest the articles relating to pension reform. As a state employee, I have a considerable stake in the outcome of the multiple proposals being discussed. However, I would like to point out one thing that seems to have been overlooked: Yes, the unfunded liability for SERS and PSERS currently is approximately $41 billion to $47 billion, but would it be this large of an amount if former Gov. Ed Rendell had not neglected to make any state contributions to the pension plans for his eight years in office?

Eight years of passing the buck has caught up to the current administration.

Current proposed resolutions are to punish workers who did nothing wrong. Our contributions were/are automatically deducted. If state leaders felt their contributions were too high, they should not have signed the contracts in 2000, 2003 and 2007.

They signed the contracts, agreed to the terms, then failed to make the payments. Now that they’re in debt, they want to reduce the workers’ benefit.

I ask you, is this right?

Mark Sauro


St. Paul’s UCC on ‘Mission 4/1 Earth’

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Ohio Street in Johnstown, will be planting trees on May 19. Participation in United Church of Christ’s national “Mission 4/1 Earth” campaign means planting 100,000 trees locally and globally, sending out 100,000 letters of environmental advocacy to our elected officials and local media, and contributing one million hours of earth care, including cleanup, advocacy and education.

St. Paul’s UCC will be planting a pear tree on Ohio Street after morning worship and then traveling to the UCC’s Camp Living Waters in Schellsburg, Bedford County, to plant an Oak tree in the camp meadow.

Members of St. Paul’s have already written many letters to their congressional representatives urging strong legislation to curb climate change; limit fossil fuel subsidies; develop alternative, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal; protect soil and water resources; and encourage energy-efficiency rebates and tax incentives for residential and commercial buildings.

Members of St Paul’s believe, with the rest of the United Church of Christ, that caring for God’s creations is a moral responsibility, and so is participating in actions intended to promote the resurrection of God’s wounded creations by “Greening Up, Powering Down and Shouting Out” for our beautiful earth home.  

Rev. William C. Thwing

Pastor, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ


Gun registration first step to enacting ban

The letter of May 8, “Delusion is gripping gun-rights zealots” by Nat Boscola, was far off. No one took away liquor after Prohibition was lifted.

Governments, including Britain, that have wanted to ban guns have started with registration.

If 90 percent of the population really wanted more background checks, we would have them.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the year 1992 had an overall violent crime rate of 757.7 and a murder rate of 9.3 (all rates per 100,000).

Year 2011 saw an overall violent crime rate of 386.3 and a murder rate of 4.7, a reduction of 50 percent in 20 years – while the number of guns grew.

A comparison to the liberal promised land of Britain is difficult to make as it has a much different definition of “violent crime,” which makes Britain appear to have a rate some five times greater than that of the United States. But even when you make an educated adjustment, the British’s violent crime rate is still double that of the United States.

The fact remains that no matter if you’re in the United States or Britain, you are far more likely to be beaten to death with fists or bludgeoned to death.

Also, Barack Obama won the election by 3.5 percent. Hardly a landslide, and as more facts about voter fraud come to light, that tiny margin will continue to shrink.

The next time fear prompts someone to write, at least check your facts.

Douglas Jeffreys


Cable-TV, gasoline prices are rip-offs

Johnstown people are getting ripped off. Atlantic Broadband says it is too costly to carry KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh.  We cannot watch the “Cochran Sports Showdown” on Sunday nights.

I called the nightly sports call about this and they hung up on me, saying I was not asking a sports question. It sure is. Who do they think they’re fooling? Money and greed rules.

Johnstown and KDKA go back a long way to when “The Gunner,” Bob Prince, called Bucs games. He was fired and it broke his heart. He told it like it was.

I would like to know if the Steelers’ Dan Rooney family knows about this.

What’s next? Root Sports?

On another matter, “Mean Joe” Green was the greatest defensive tackle ever in the National Football League. He was the No. 1 Steeler of all time.

Also, the last thing we need is for Gov. Tom Corbett to do away with the cap on the oil company franchise tax, allowing the price of gasoline at the pumps to rise.

The price is already too high.

I, along with a lot of other people, am fed up with this greed. We deserve better.

John Zawalish


Feds’ house of cards about to collapse                                                                        It seems that every time I go to a supermarket the prices are higher, but are they?

My 99-year-old father talks about what 5 cents bought when he was a lad. Today, the same items cost around $5.

A $20 gold coin could buy a new suit. That same coin today could buy a suit of similar quality. Gold kept its value while the dollar lost ground. Why?

There is a limited supply of gold that keeps it rare enough to be valuable. The supply of dollars, i.e., money supply, is controlled by the government. The more dollars printed, the less rare the paper currency becomes. The result is that a dollar earned today buys less than it did yesterday. Dollars saved yesterday buy less today.

Our government has been printing dollars and reducing the real value at an alarming rate. In fact, the rate of depreciation of our money is greater than the interest earned by saving it.

This is inflation and is why prices are always going higher. When inflation rises quickly, a buying panic sends the dollar into a downward spiral that eventually makes it worthless.

Washington, D.C., has become the richest city in America thanks to the federal government’s policies of printing more cheap dollars, borrowing money from China and spending it to promote political correctness and support the welfare plantation’s permanent ruling class.

Eventually, this house of cards will collapse. People on fixed incomes or on welfare are in for a rude awakening.

Dr. Bill Choby


For illegals, another set of rules exists

Our legislative body in Washington, D.C., is telling us that it is OK to break a law as long as you are in the United States illegally.

Individuals and families come to the United States and use our freedom as an excuse to illegally use medical and recreational facilities, schools and charities. All the while, American citizens support them through taxes and hard work.

Should this be OK?

Since it is OK, then I can go to a Wal-mart and dress myself in their clothing – shirt, trousers, socks, shoes and a jacket. Then go to the grocery department, pick up bread, meat, fruit, prepared food from the deli and even sweet rolls. I then can walk out without paying for any of this, right?

I am sure that as soon as I stepped from the interior of the store, I would be arrested for shoplifting.

Well, from what I understand, since I was only trying to better myself and my family, then stealing should be considered the right thing to do.

This is what I don’t understand. Our elected officials are saying as long as you are here illegally, you are allowed to break the law. All because you are only trying to better yourself.

Will someone please explain this to me?

Arne Magi


Trapped in wreckage till lots of help arrived

I want to deeply thank the men and women who helped me when I wrecked on Dishong Mountain – from the dear elderly lady who kept me calm while I was trapped inside the car, the ambulance crew that came to my rescue, the off-duty paramedics who drove up to help me, to the nurses, doctors, etc., who were so kind and caring at Memorial Medical Center.

Though passing out and apparently hitting a tree was not on that day’s agenda, I thank God above that I am alive.

Karen Morgan



Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.