Letters To The Editor 12/28/2018

December 28, 2018

State camera law

legally suspect

Editor: Act 159 of 2018, allowing stop-arm cameras on school buses, may not be legal.

It allows automated cameras to cite a vehicle owner with a criminal violation for illegally passing school buses. The penalty is a fine, points and a potential license suspension.

The bill assumes the vehicle owner was driving, or requires proof that the owner was not driving at the time of the alleged incident. How do you prove you were not driving a few months later, when the ticket arrives in the mail? It also limits allowed defenses. Under the American legal system, for a moving violation, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt who was driving, that a violation occurred and to allow any defense. Defendants are not required to prove innocence in the United States, or provide any information. The prosecution must prove the defendant is guilty. This law fails that basic test.

If you are charged under the law, it would seem you merely need to ask the judge to throw out the ticket and he should. Tell the judge that the law does not seem valid. Even if the law is allowed, the prosecution still cannot prove who was driving, most likely.

The bill does not require a minimum flashing yellow duration or any form of best-practice engineering to ensure that only intentional violators are ticketed. Some roadway configurations are confusing and Pennsylvania has some nonstandard laws, such as for buses stopped on intersecting roads.

Illegal passing of a school bus is a very rare event, per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. A school can install stop-arm extenders to block the next lane and be more visible, if there are any issues with illegal passing.





Shutdown needless

to secure border

Editor: The latest government shutdown over a standoff regarding a border wall couldn’t have come at a worse time or for a worse reason.

President Trump demands immediate border security or else. What he fails to understand is that it would take years and a lot more than $5 billion to build his wall. So much for Mexico paying for it.

Immediate border security requires human surveillance, which the Democratic funding compromise proposal offers. Drones, motion and thermal sensors and boots on the ground are the best and cheapest solutions for our border security.

I hope the government will open soon and thousands of workers left out of a Christmas paycheck will be compensated. In any case, it will be a long wait for Trump’s wall to be built.





Wall no guarantee of assured security

Editor: Of those in the United States illegally, most are granted entry via a passport or visa and simply stay.

On a regular basis, trucks with large quantities of illicit drugs and illegal immigrants evade detection by overwhelmed border agents at the busy U.S.-Mexico border crossings. Transborder tunnels carry marijuana, narcotics and people into the United States. Contraband of all types is smuggled into the country via private and commercial airplanes.

Shipping containers with illegal contents slip right into major U.S. ports. Larger drug cartels now utilize submarines to more easily evade limited Coast Guard resources, transferring cargo to smaller boats for transport to coastal inlets north of the border.

It is quite clear that a border wall readily can be circumnavigated. All a larger, longer surface wall would do is move more illegal immigrants into less-detectable, cross-border pathways and further innovation in that pursuit.

As for the motivations of an allegedly intelligent president to promote such a patently assailable project, follow the money.




Wall in the swamp

Editor: When Donald Trump was campaigning for the presidency, his two main themes were to “drain the swamp” and “build a wall” that he said Mexico would pay for.

Now that Mexico has made it clear it will not pay for the wall, President Trump, after prompting by Fox News personalities and other right-wing commentators, decided to shut down the government in order to try to get the money for it.

Why was he willing to do that? Even if the wall were approved, he would need to divert some of that wall money to build another wall around the swamp that he promised to drain. The swamp seems to be growing.

Consider that after two years of Trump’s presidency, Tom Price, former secretary of Health and Human Services; Scott Pruitt, former director of the of Environmental Protection Agency; and Ryan Zinke, former secretary of the Interior, all resigned because of scandals. Don’t forget news about pre-election plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and the recent firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he wouldn’t shut down the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Throw in the links between Russia and the National Rifle Association and the recent resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis before he might have drowned in the swamp.

We should build the wall around the swamp so no one will see it. Republicans are willing to go along with Trump because they are part of the swamp that he promised to drain. They want us to pay attention to the wall, not the swamp.

You have to ask, why are Republicans saying that the Mueller investigation takes too long? Isn’t it obvious to them that the swamp is so big that after they dig up one thing another piece of garbage will be found? They must be afraid that sooner or later investigators will get to the original swamp.



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