Life over money

Editor: In response to Eugene Ogozalek’s letter of Dec. 1 (Your Opinion, “New Culm Dump”), I think his analogy to the culm and coal baron’s debauchery of our lands to today’s landfill quandary is accurate.

I am not from Dunmore, yet, when I drive by Keystone Sanitary Landfill, I am bewildered by the thought of how high it could go and wonder about the long-term impact on those living near it.

In my opinion, it is unconscionable for a generation living now to make decisions so critical to the health and welfare of children and families in coming generations without really examining the long-term effects of this decision.

For those making the decisions: Do so with the weight of life quality, not just the current economic gain.




Dickson hijinks

Editor: Dickson City Borough Council canceled a regularly scheduled monthly meeting for Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. and held it at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.

What happened at that meeting was important to the people of the town. One of the borough’s Department of Public Works employees was fired.

A reason was read and the meeting was concluded. The council members retreated to a back room and did not exit until after a large crowd had left.

I was surprised that a reporter from The Times-Tribune was not present. The people of Dickson City are very happy with their borough workers and would like to know the real story behind the firing.

Council members admitted that there would be a lawsuit over the firing, but it did not seem to bother them. I and many others were disappointed that there was no news coverage at the time.




Job-loss evolution

Editor: Millions of jobs lost can be traced to the actions of our elite leaders. The basic issue today is the same as it was years ago when I started voicing concerns about our economy and U.S jobs.

Two dire problems have befallen us recently. But out of darkness, light is born. So, let us hope that these disasters awaken us to a new dawn.

The horror of Sept. 11, 2001, and the present economic chaos — if not worse — are basically the result of the same derelictions. They represent failure to monitor our country’s policies and affect our country through presidential administrations going back decades. They are no less the failure in oversight on the same counts by our Congress.

Job losses were ordained when the Reagan administration in the 1980s decreed that this country was to become a high-tech society, a service economy that would enter the post-industrial era. Such policies drove out relatively high-paying manufacturing jobs. They were replaced by low-paying service, retail, clerical, fast-food and other nonmanufacturing jobs, many of which have been lost.

Manufacturing made sense and created real jobs. Making comparatively nothing makes no sense and perishable service sector jobs. Certainly, neither is without risk.

However, the risk is far lower if we have jobs making things for our own use and consumption than for sale to the export market.

As it stands, it seems we cannot make even some of the products that are needed to prosecute the war against terrorism. Being unable to supply our military totally from our own shores is dangerous for our defense and damaging to the availability of real jobs.




Bill for Benghazi

Editor: Among the political oddities in our current society is the House Republican majority’s obsession with repetition.

More than 50 times, they have passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Eight times, they have passed a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

Now comes the latest report from the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee, which found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The report asserts no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House select committee.

Once all the reports have been completed, there will have been almost three times as many reports about Benghazi, where four Americans died, as there were about Pearl Harbor or the Sept. 11 attacks. More than 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks.

So far, the cost of the Benghazi reports has totaled millions, including at least $1.5 million this year for the special House committee.

I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s quote about fanatics: “A fanatic is one who won’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

It is about time that we change the subject and try to solve some of the real problems facing our nation.




Mayor inflexible

Editor: When the city’s budget included a 19 percent tax increase for 2015, Mayor Bill Courtright said, “I know it’s difficult to enact a tax increase on people that are already stressed out, but we don’t have many options. So, we did the best we could. I hope the people understand that.”

In July, city financial consultant Henry Amoroso recommended a plan to resolve the city’s financial distress.

Also in July, officials from the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce recommended the city administration take measures to rein in the costs of city union contracts.

In August, a Times-Tribune editorial argued that the mayor and city council had forfeited leverage to negotiate with unions in favor of a proposed commuter tax, which was dismissed in court.

It seems as though Mr. Courtright doesn’t like Mr. Amoroso, the chamber or the newspaper trying to tell him what to do. He has said that he had discussions with the unions, but won’t divulge what was discussed.

My dictionary defines stooge as “one who slavishly follows or serves another.” Draw your own conclusions about the mayor.