Letters To The Editor 9/9/2018

September 9, 2018

Stormwater crisis

Editor: Municipalities struggle to operate, maintain and improve infrastructure that is severely outdated. Uncertainty about these systems often leads to a costly, reactive approach to maintenance and emergency situations, resulting in huge costs for communities.

Scranton’s recent torrential rainstorms have brought the lack of a comprehensive stormwater management plan to the fore. Residents of the 1700 block of Wyoming Avenue have been hit exceptionally hard. Damage across the city is significant. Much of the devastation could have been mitigated or eliminated if Mayor Bill Courtright and his administration followed the law regarding stormwater management.

The administration ignores Scranton’s ordinance and the dictates of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. As a result, storm drains are neglected, stormwater pipes and culverts are blocked, streets are eroding, curbs are crumbling and residents suffer with flooded basements, sinkholes in their yards and garages shifting off their foundations. In addition, harmful pollutants wash into storm drains and are discharged into rivers and streams.

Implementation of a stormwater program is not only the law, but was promised by Courtright prior to the sale of the Scranton Sewer Authority. He promised that the city or a public entity would take over the duties and responsibilities of the authority. He has failed to honor his commitment and flagrantly violates stormwater management laws. The city’s incompetence as it relates to stormwater may generate additional lawsuits and costly litigation. Because the city has failed to develop and implement a stormwater program many residents have experienced flooding and serious property damage.

Who is going to purchase any property in the 1700 block of Wyoming Avenue? The people of Scranton deserve better than to have their property values continue to decrease as a direct result of the city’s failure to act. They should not have to wait any longer.



Editor’s note: The writer was a candidate for mayor of Scranton in 2017 and 2013.


Bad fit for court

Editor: Brett Kavanaugh last week appeared before a Senate committee to answer questions about his judicial record regarding his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senators had only approximately 7 percent of his documents from his White House work under President George W. Bush. Some 100,000 pages of work from his tenure under Bush have been blocked by the executive branch from review by the Senate, which will vote all too soon on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Coincidentally, opening arguments began in Texas v. Azar, a federal lawsuit filed by Texas and other Republican-led states to replay the politically divided litigation that ended with the Supreme Court upholding the health care overhaul in 2012 . If successful, Texas v. Azar would invalidate the Affordable Care Act, end the Medicaid expansion for 751,000 people in Pennsylvania and end consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act for everyone nationwide.

This case is expected to find its way to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, if confirmed, could cast the deciding vote to end the Affordable Care Act, just as he could be a deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. He was hand-picked by President Trump for these loyalty votes and more ominously, for his public position that the office of the presidency is above the law. So, Trump may not be held accountable, no matter how serious the crime, whether it is obstruction of justice, collusion with Russia, witness tampering, campaign finance violations or other misdeeds.

Rubber-stamping Kavanaugh without properly vetting this ideological loyalist would be a profound mistake.

Americans, regardless of political affiliation or ideology, need to contact Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey to voice opposition to this candidate who threatens to place the president above the law as well as swing the court radically to the right.




Watershed moment

Editor: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines watershed as a dividing ridge between two drainage areas, but metaphorically, I would call the funeral for Sen. John McCain in the National Cathedral in Washington a watershed event.

It was no ordinary or even extraordinary funeral. It had a purpose beyond celebrating the life of an extraordinary hero and patriot. It was strategic. It was a formal rebuke, articulated in different orations, of the Trump administration. It was elegant, eloquent and at the same time radical. It was the legacy of a heroic American maverick to his beloved country.

The funeral, and in particular a eulogy by McCain’s daughter, Meghan, seemed to have given permission to others who recognize President Donald Trump as a danger to our republic to come forward. Many had known from the outset that Trump did not have the qualifications for the job — and his actions reaffirm that virtually every day. Nobody has to go through the list of his misdeeds or the number of times that our nation was saved by members of his administration whose commitment was to national safety and not to the satisfaction of a whimsical-at-best and dangerous-at-worst leader.

Congress might have been the solution to this uniquely dangerous situation had it not been in a state of deliberate paralysis.

It was the author of the anonymous op-ed in The New York Times on Thursday who broke the silence of fellow Republicans who put country over the will of a narcissist who had no understanding of, let alone commitment to, the public good.

It’s not over by a long shot, but I think that we are in the second “drainage area” now.




Mickey soused

Editor: For the first time ever, alcohol will be served to the public next year at Disneyland in its Star Wars section.

I suggest the head bartender be dubbed “Johnnie Skywalker,” with food served by Darth Waiter. Patrons who have too much to drink can be escorted from the premises by C3PO’s big brother — C3 Sheets to the Wind.

You can only enter the cantina after being carded at the door by the cousin of R2D2 — “RU 21 DUDE?”

May the Coors be with you.



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