Letters To The Editor 9/21/2018

September 21, 2018

Sansky dilemma

Editor: The arrest of Daniel Sansky comes as no surprise to me. To the extent Mr. Sansky failed to report his true income, shame on him.

The Scranton school administration and the school board members at the time the payments occurred are equally culpable.

If Sansky was the fleet director for the Scranton School District, it would seem that he was not an independent contractor but rather an employee. The distinction is significant. Should the Internal Revenue Service or the state of Pennsylvania determine he was an employee, the district could be liable for the taxes due.

My question to the administration is, “Where were the Form W-9 and the Form 1099- Miscellaneous?” Certainly, the administration should have known the importance of both.

Should the school district be found liable for failure to withhold taxes or file Form 1099-Miscellaneous, I assume the administration and board will solve the issue by borrowing.




New McCarthyism

Editor: I watch the Republicans in power and have come to the conclusion that Trumpism is the 21st century version of McCarthyism in the 1950s.

While both are characterized by heightened political repression and fearmongering, there are distinct differences.

McCarthyism was the persecution of suspected communists in America. President Trump has completed the first steps in Russia’s plan to undermine the United States and return Russia to the role of world leader. The plan, written by a Russian general and taught at the Russian military academy, was published in 1997. Trump accomplished the first three steps the first year in office.

Under the tutelage of a former communist KGB officer, Trump has insulted and hence alienated many of our allies. The first step in the plan is to isolate the United States from our allies in Europe. Step two is to decimate our State Department. Career diplomatic professionals at the highest ranks resigned when unable to act with integrity under this administration. Many ambassadorships around the world remain vacant.

The plan’s third segment is to undermine investigative agencies such as the FBI. I find step three the most egregious. Republican members of Congress are releasing classified documents from ongoing FBI cases. We have remained safe since 9/11 because foreign countries trusted the FBI and CIA to protect their informants. This act of betrayal on the part of Republicans will cause our friends overseas to never again trust us with vital information necessary to our national security.

The special counsel for the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, unleashed a verbal assault against McCarthy that brought an end to a ugly pox on our country in the 1950s. U.S. citizens can place a check on those elected Republican members who insist on aiding this administration’s attack on our democracy by ensuring you are registered and voting on Nov. 6.



‘Anonymous’ praised

Editor: Unelected, unnamed and unsung, myriad government employees over many decades have served as White House counselors, aides, transcribers, advisers, research assistants, staff and speechwriters.

When, prior to The New York Times op-ed by “Anonymous,” have we ever accused these civil servants of treason or of sabotaging a president’s agenda or of acting as an unelected cabal? Perhaps the person writing the so-called resistance piece should be congratulated and thanked by Republicans and President Donald Trump for getting so many campaign promises over the finish line.

Perhaps their staff loyalty, organizational skills and writing styles are what brought some of Donald Trump’s notable policies to fruition. Does anyone believe that this president has the attention to detail or a deep well of civic knowledge to formulate great legislative policies on his own? With him, we have Twitter and an inability to stay on script.

While other presidents have had academic skills, policy vision and a concise use of language, they also relied on speechwriters and aides to convey their messages.

Thankfully, staff intervention may have toned down or eliminated some of Trump’s crazier proposals and helped him look a little more presidential. We should acknowledge the successful work of the unnamed and unelected who likely provided so many documents to be signed obliviously with the great flourish of a Sharpie and publicly displayed. It’s time for the media to thank them, stop the endless op-ed analysis and to move on to cover the next diversion.

For surely it’s possible that this trumped-up search for Anonymous, the scary reference to national security, the threats of lie detectors and involvement by the Department of Justice are just more ways to distract us from the incompetence of the current White House.




Teachers defended

Editor: I write in reply to a letter (“Dump school union chief,” Sept. 7) and want to remind the writer that teachers also are taxpayers.

Those who live in Scranton pay for their raises and those who live elsewhere pay school taxes where they live. The writer’s taxes are not rising totally because of teachers’ salaries but because the state and federal government do not pay their fair share of money to school districts. If the state paid 50 percent of the local budget, as it should, and the federal government paid 25 percent, then property taxes would not be as high as the writer asserts they are.

If the school district was run properly teachers would not have to strike. This is something every teacher loathes. I taught for more than 45. I was on many strikes because the district made us fight for every little thing and it was not always money. I began when there wasn’t any union and we collectively begged.

Yet there is no education without teachers. The writer I reply to could not have written his letter if there had not been a teacher in his life.

As for the lucrative pension, every teacher pays 7.5 percent and up to 10.3 percent from every pay toward retirement. We do not go into teaching to become wealthy but neither do we take a vow of poverty.

It was not the teachers or the union that caused the debacle in Scranton. It was the school boards who were elected by the taxpayers. They are the people who appoint the administration that runs the district. Honor your teachers. Democracy depends on them.



Editor’s note: The writer is a retired Scranton teacher and a former president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

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