Letters To The Editor - July 15, 2018

July 15, 2018

Boost accessibility

Editor: Northeast Pennsylvania has become more accessible for people with disabilities, particularly since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

As we approach the anniversary of its enactment on July 26, some businesses still are not in compliance.

The ADA requires that places of public accommodation remove barriers when doing so is readily achievable without much difficulty or expense. Shopping malls, most restaurants and other venues have been built or renovated with zero-step entrances or ramps, accessible parking spaces and restrooms and tactile signage for people with visual impairments. Yet many businesses are inaccessible to wheelchair users or have difficult entrances to maneuver through. They are often located in downtown districts and may have one step. An owner may believe in the “it’s only one step” concept. Power wheelchairs are heavy, so that step may as well be a flight to some people.

Then there are businesses and facilities with resources to remove barriers but fail to do so. The ADA encourages places of public accommodation to install power doors but does not require them. It’s still frustrating to see new construction or renovations to some businesses’ entrances, including physicians’ offices, which result in some users being unable to enter and leave independently.

The Center for Independent Living encourages the regional business community to increase and improve accessibility to people with disabilities. It will increase their customer base and more important, it’s the right thing to do.






Tourist turned off

Editor: I was visiting your area in June to attend a graduation and decided to add some tourism to my trip.

I spent my tourist dollars at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, several local food places and several regional tourist sites. All in all, it was a very pleasant trip and I was excited about making a return trip with grandchildren in tow.

After a wonderful morning of sightseeing, we drove around Scranton looking for a place to have a late lunch.

Upon seeing your unusual county building, we parked in an empty spot nearby to get a closer look and explore the area for lunch.

I estimated four quarters in the meter would be sufficient for lunch, but I put five quarters in just to be safe. After a delightful lunch around the corner at the Vine, I was very disappointed to return to a $25 parking fine on my windshield.

As tourists unfamiliar with the layout of the town, perhaps we took longer than we normally would have for lunch, so our meter expired about 3 minutes prior to our return.

I suddenly lost interest in returning to Scranton with the grandkids. My tourist dollars will likely be spent closer to home.

If you really want to encourage local tourism, then I recommend you consider the impact that overly eager meter enforcement people have on the industry.




Shameful history

Editor: The long history of the north of the world plundering, pillaging, profiting and exterminating the south is horrifying, sad and real.

A new book by William R. Polk, “Crusade and Jihad,” exposes this story in excruciating and disturbing detail. Some of it seeps into what now plays out on the world stage with immigration, whether it is the massive crisis taking place in Europe or one occurring at the U.S. border. Both have the same internal dynamic, that of poverty, exploitation and violence. Both didn’t originate in a vacuum or just magically appear.

Powerful forces instituted the regimes and policies that eventually caused most of this mess. It is irrefutable, whether it was economic shock therapy or the propping up of dictators, the strip mining of natural resources or the elimination of democratically elected regimes. The story is the same in Africa or the northern triangle of Central America, for example.

Let’s be honest. The long, sordid history of the exploitation of brown people of the south must be told.

In just one example, look into the history of the Congo and what the Belgians did there under King Leopold. It’s not pretty.

Yet, sometimes, when trying to explain complex realities today you feel like you are digging a well and dying of thirst. All you hear in response seems to be one word — amnesty.

Writer George Orwell once said authoritarians don’t use words to illuminate the complexities of reality, they use words to eradicate the complexity of reality.

Yes, reality is complex. It demands more than one word. And the addition of a second term, fake news, would not suffice.




Unholy policy

Editor: The Department of Homeland Security reported that nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a recent six-week period.

This is the result of a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration instituted by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

He referred to the Bible in an attempt to defend the policy by citing Romans 13, which instructs people “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

This is exactly the same defense that was used by Nazi Germans during their Nuremberg trials after World War II in attempting to absolve themselves of blame for the atrocities they had committed. The Nazis averred they were just following Hitler’s orders, which was the law. This defense was rejected and many Nazis were punished; some were hanged.

Perhaps we should tend to the words of the late Rev. William Sloan Coffin, an eminent theologian and former chaplain at Yale University, who wrote that if you ask someone to interpret the Bible you will learn more about the interpreter than the Bible. The Rev. Coffin also wrote, “The Bible is something of a mirror, if an ass (donkey) peers in you can’t expect an apostle to peer out.”

Without a doubt Christians — and I exclude many evangelicals — would

overwhelmingly agree there is nothing in the sacred Scriptures anywhere that would support removing a child from his mother.




Update hourly