The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 2, 2013

Readers' Forum 11-2 | Trooper shortage risking public's safety

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — Many in Pennsylvania may not be aware, but we face a critical public safety issue. Right now, Pennsylvania has more than 500 unfilled vacancies within the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Unfortunately, this is a crisis made on budgeting decisions, not common sense. There are enough candidates to fill the positions, but some in Harrisburg don’t want to invest in the necessary cadet classes to fill the vacancies.

That should be troubling to all Pennsylvanians who understand that providing for the public’s safety is a principle function of government. This crisis means 500 fewer state troopers are available to investigate crimes and maintain safety for over 12 million residents. As important, this has also made the job of being a Pennsylvania State Trooper far more dangerous.

Recent past history shows this crisis is only getting worse. As of January 2012, there were 347 vacancies. That number continued to climb and topped 500 later that year, which is unprecedented in recent Pennsylvania history.

To address this ongoing issue, Sen. Richard Kasunic, D-Dunbar, has introduced Senate Bills 513 and 514, which would ensure larger cadet classes and a mandatory increase in troopers available to serve Pennsylvania.

Despite the increased risk, troopers will always continue to do their jobs with a strong sense of duty. But public safety is a core function of government, and Pennsylvania can and should do better for its citizens.

On behalf of all troopers, we would like to thank Kasunic for showing the leadership necessary to address a problem that affects every Pennsylvanian.

Joseph R. Kovel

President, Pennsylvania State Troopers Association

Ramifications of fuel-efficient vehicles

I’m all for fuel-efficient vehicles. Not because they’re environmentally friendly, I like getting more mileage out of my wallet.

Here’s something to consider: AAA reports the national average per gallon of gas is $3.28. So, a vehicle that holds 15 gallons and gets 20 mpg would cost 16 cents per mile.

Penn State is developing a vehicle that can get 100 mpg. If we break that down, with the national gas average of $3.28, we could be paying 3 cents per mile and go 1,500 miles on 15 gallons. That’s a difference of 13 cents less per mile and we will be gaining 1,200 miles. Sounds pretty sweet, right?

Pennsylvania state tax is 32 cents per gallon and federal tax is 18 cents per gallon. That’s a combined total of 50 cents per gallon, leaving $2.78 per gallon to be divvied among the oil refineries, gas stations, etc.

The federal government, state government, oil refineries, gas stations and anyone else who is the middleman in there would take a big hit on the money that’s generated from selling gasoline.

Or would they? I’m guessing they wouldn’t grin and bear it. They would  raise the price-per-gallon to roughly $300 to break even.

Remember this when the media report that we could be paying less at the pumps.

It’s scary to think we could be paying around $5,000 for a tank of gas. How would this affect over-the-road truck drivers? Deliveries? Mail service? Public transportation? Taxes to cover school and public buses?

Is it really a good idea?

Earl Lamison


Republicans were behind shutdown

In response to Chuck Cordoro’s Readers’ Forum letter on Oct. 28, “Obama, Reid orchestrated shutdown,” may I suggest that all the “stupid” or “misinformed” people he writes of blame the Republicans for the government shutdown because the Republicans have been patting themselves on the back for orchestrating it (i.e. “... the shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully, I’m so proud of these Republicans.” – Ann Coulter), or because the tea party gathered to cheer on Ted Cruz, or because many Republican have attacked fellow Republicans who voted to end the shutdown, or because they just plain watched the Republicans do it. Clearly, the Republicans were responsible.

I would also be very interested to know exactly when Joseph Stalin claimed that “the best way to control the masses is to take over their health care,” as Cordoro states. Repeated searches have failed to turn up a single such reference anywhere in history.

I think perhaps it’s Cordoro who has been misinformed – in several respects.

Daniel Waltimire


Can’t pay health care? Get yourself arrested

The country had better start building more prisons because one solution to Obamacare is simple: If you can’t afford the large payments per month to the genius’ bill, just get arrested, especially if you are very sick.

Then those who voted for President Obama, and higher medical payments, will pay for your health care.

But what will happen when these other geniuses figure it all out and they’re broke, too? Then these socialists will have to figure out some more ingenious laws to screw us again.

Unless this country gets smart, we’ll all think the Communist rule of China will be great compared to Obama.

Joe Morris