Letters To The Editor 9/30/2018
Editor: Monday, I received notice from Scranton’s Department of Licensing and Inspection warning that my grass was too high and that there were weeds on the property.
Ironically, that very same night a young gentleman, who previously had been hired, arrived to cut my grass.
Months prior, I received a letter from the department mandating that I register my family home as a rental property and threatened me with consequences. I have owned this home for 23 years and it always has been a single-family dwelling. The Lackawanna County assessor’s office would provide clear evidence in support of that.
The letter solved a mystery, though. Previously, a neighbor advised me that he saw two women walking around my property, standing on my side porch and looking in my windows. This really bothered me and after much thought, I decided I would wait and if it happened again, I would file a police report. I now understand that it was licensing inspectors but the fact that they looked in my windows is invasive and alarming, especially as a mother.
I like to support the city. However, is it a licensing bureau priority to find long grass and temporary weeds and send threatening letters? As I drive through neighborhoods, and even downtown where I work, I notice many more important and demanding issues.
Where was this inspector for years when, within one house of me, on either side, there were decrepit and run-down properties and no assistance was provided to the neighbors. One house I speak of remains dilapidated. Unfortunately, it appears that long grass and weeds are a more important issue than a property falling down one door away that is unsightly and a safety issue. I find this lack of priorities very disappointing and disturbing.
MARY WALSH DEMPSEY
Editor: Ben Franklin, like the other Founding Fathers, was a son of the Enlightenment.
This movement, which signaled the beginning of the modern age, established the importance of reason in human affairs. Following the example of empirical philosophers like John Locke and scientists such as Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson found the inspiration to write the Declaration of Independence and Franklin pursued the methodology that led to his groundbreaking experiments with electricity.
All of the Founders had a profound respect for empirical facts. They believed this was essential to the conduct of life and proper governance. Civil discourse would not be possible without it. The Constitution they fashioned was founded on reason and the understanding that facts are facts and truth is truth.
The Founders would see as patently absurd the idea that there are “alternative facts,” or that “truth is not truth.” They were also idealists. They understood, as Franklin put it in his famous autobiography, that “truth, sincerity, and integrity in dealings between man and man, are of the utmost importance to the felicity of life.” Without these, corruption would ensue in both society and government while the republic they founded would collapse into chaos and its tattered remnants swept into the dust bin of history.
We see this nightmare playing out. Standards of common sense and common decency have been shattered. The Republican Party has embraced this chaos because when institutions fail brute power fills the void. They do the bidding of their moneyed masters while the needs of the majority, of the working class, are ignored. Soon we will decide whether to continue on this self-destructive path or, instead, to restore our democracy.
We are at a critical tipping point. In November, to quote Abraham Lincoln, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”
Editor: There has been quite a bit lately appearing on this page and in proclamations from politicians condemning liberal views as socialism.
They make it sound as if those ideas are an evil, almost satanic and a grave peril to our nation. Never mind that they are actually better-called progressive ideas. The fact is, they face strong resistance.
Take the idea of a single-payer medical insurance program. I’m not really sure why something that works in many other developed countries draws such widespread opposition in the United States. Can’t we create a program at least as good, if not better, than those programs in other nations? Does anyone, outside of the insurance companies, actually think that our current disaster of medical coverage is universally good and worth fighting to preserve?
There is more than a little irony that members of Congress who rail against the single-payer idea have excellent medical coverage for themselves and their families, partly provided at taxpayer expense. It would almost lead you to wonder whether they receive large campaign donations from health insurers. But that couldn’t be true.