Letters To The Editor 9/19/2018

September 19, 2018

Poconos back story

Editor: The front-page Sept. 9 story in The Sunday Times, which included a summary paragraph alluding to the “resurgence” of the Poconos, needs a little historical context.

When I was the sports editor of the Pocono Record from 1972 to 1984, the Poconos were mostly small communities that saw increases in population in the summer due to second-home residents. But the explosion of population in the late 1980s and 1990s brought drastic changes, not all for the good.

Sure, there were more businesses established, and more dining and recreational options created. But more schools had to be built to handle the influx of students and with the new schools came soaring taxes, higher rents, overburdened police forces, a higher crime rate and drug issues. It used to be that a murder or serious crime was the exception; now it’s ho-hum when such issues are reported.

New schools have been closed as the population decreases again and taxpayers, whose children are out of school, have moved on. Teachers have been laid off and, since fewer schools are needed due to fewer students, what’s the sense of too many teachers?

But taxes are still high, crime is more rampant and daily congestion clogs roads built for populations merely a fraction of what they are now, even after some loss.

Now a Poconos tourism agency is again marketing the area heavily as a place to live and work. But ask natives of the Poconos about “resurgence” and they’ll likely tell you it means more than cleaning streams or water supplies or building a few more water parks.




Cleanup’s lasting impact

Editor: Olga R. Rodriguez’s Associated Press, “Garbage pickup on very big scale,” published in the Sept. 9 Sunday Times, is an excellent example of an effort to clean up our oceans from plastic pollutants.

Mankind is one of the largest contributors to this growing problem of plastic pollutants in our oceans, due to a lack of properly recycling plastics. It is causing disastrous complications for marine life, such as illness and death. By removing the plastic pollutants, we would give the entire ecosystem a chance to live in a natural, healthy habitat.

On a personal level, do you enjoy going to the beach and seeing the sparkling sand and clean waters? Do you look forward to taking a walk along the coast, maybe picking up seashells along the way? Would you still enjoy your trip to the beach if there were dirty plastics floating around with you in the waves or washed up on the coastline? Most likely not. That is why this project not only benefits the marine life and the entire oceanic ecosystem, but also our society.

Ocean Cleanup, a project begun by an innovator from the Netherlands, is taking a step in the right direction to clean up our oceans and benefit our environment, as well as our society. Projects like this will certainly impact our environment for many generations to come.




Bishop’s enduring guilt

Editor: The Sept. 5 Times-Tribune article about wayward clergy and the silence of Catholic officials raises the issue of culpability — but does not resolve it.

Some will apply the Nuremberg trials’ dogma about the absolute obligation to refuse to obey any immoral command. However, as related about Bishop Joseph Bambera before he became a bishop, there was never a doubt that “Father Ned” — the Rev. Robert Gibson — was to be removed from pastoral ministry. That was done — the question was what to do with him afterwards.

The policy of former Bishop James Timlin was not to inform police, to send the cleric to a treatment facility and reassign the cleric, once “rehabilitated.” Bambera, as vicar of clergy, had to follow that policy.

Note that not all domestic abuse or use of opioids, for instance, are reported to police today, inasmuch as families often prefer to address things in-house. Back in 1995, wayward priests were considered “sinners” or “sick” more than “criminals” hence Bambera said under oath, “… I could have done more,” which implies that he did something.

Sadly, even resigning would not have changed policy then, although these steps have now been totally rejected by the Dallas Accord of 2002. None of this lessens the heinous crime or repairs the injury done, but there is a human urge to affix blame to those who knew about the evil.

We certainly would not hold the abused children culpable for silence toward parents or authorities, which means we turn to people who learned of abuse after-the-fact, although they are only indirectly involved. Does legal punishment of Bambera’s indirect culpability serve the common good? No doubt, some will say “yes,” and others “no.” But since the bishop is a man of faith, the greatest punishment may be the enduring guilt he already bears on his conscience.




Philistine bravado

Editor: The attitude of “I am the state” refers to Richard Nixon’s megalomaniac conduct during his presidency, conduct that in some quarters was viewed as treasonable.

Such thinking seems eerily appropriate when applied to the present occupant of the White House. President Trump is an utter embarrassment, not just to the United States, but to the concept of America’s role on the world stage, its sense of justice, social fabric and the safety of Americans abroad.

These are not the best of times to travel the world with a U.S. passport, unless travelers have no objection to being the object of ridicule or pity from foreigners.

Our Washington-based spineless version of elected officials stand by while Trump struts his stuff in the manner of historical examples of his ilk who attempted to dismantle the constitutional apparatus that has served civil society so well.

The midterm elections must show Washington that the philistine bravado of Trump, his acolytes and sycophants has run its course. Unless a new generation of fresh voters chooses to act, Trump will prevail and widen the differences between “us” and “them.”

Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and chums, with no viable leader so far in sight, practice the familiar routine of hand-wringing, breast-beating and teeth-gnashing in anticipation of yet another lost opportunity to do this country a service, cunningly disguised as a pretense of opposition.



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