Letters to the Editor: October 12, 2016

Bipartisan leadership is key

When I sponsor legislation, I identify a problem and devise a solution that will help my constituents as well as achieve bipartisan support to become law. Two major bills I have put forward have accomplished this goal.

One bill, House Bill 1538, which protects our police officers’ rights to due process if they are involved in a use-of-force incident, has successfully passed the House. The other is House Bill 1885, which keeps our citizens safe through upholding federal law by forcing our municipalities to not give sanctuary to illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. It will come to a vote soon.

I expect my latest bill to also receive bipartisan support. For the last several weeks, I have been working on legislation that will give all employees a better opportunity to negotiate the best salary for their experience level. My bill will prohibit employers from asking job interviewees their previous salaries. This will allow women who have been historically underpaid at their jobs to be offered a new competitive salary based on their experience at a more accurate market rate, as opposed to receiving an offer based on a marginal increase from the low salary they are currently receiving.

This legislation will also help men, as they have the same benefit of negotiating on merit versus past salaries. This is a winning situation for all workers. This is a bill Republicans, Democrats and independents can support. This is a bill that will benefit my constituents in Northeast Philadelphia and all across Pennsylvania. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as the governor, to get this bill into law as quickly as possible.

State Rep. Martina White

170th Legislative District

Thank you for Kline articles

I would like to express my special thanks to Joe Mason. His two stories about my brother, Mitch Kline, and his struggles with brain cancer were a great comfort to our family.

Mitch was very brave, and fought as long as he could, but the cancer eventually won. Many of Mitch’s former students and players became aware of his struggles because of Joe’s articles and reached out to him. This gave him great comfort and for this we are very grateful.

Thank you again, Joe Mason and the Northeast Times, for being there for Mitch.

Bruce Kline

Holme Circle

Pay nursing home workers

The recent report by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale about deficiencies in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s oversight of nursing homes statewide provides yet another reason why nursing home workers deserve a living wage.

A report released last year by the Keystone Research Center confirmed that 52 percent of Pennsylvania nursing home workers can’t support their families on the wages they earn, with many relying on public assistance benefits or working more than one job.

The state reimburses nursing facilities that participate in the Medical Assistance program at a level that is sufficient to pay its employees a living wage and not have to rely on public assistance programs.

My legislation — the Nursing Facility Accountability Act — would incentivize nursing home employers to pay $15 an hour to workers through the creation of a statewide Living Wage Certification Program, which would provide information to nursing facility residents and the public on the minimum wage rates paid to employees. Additionally, nursing home employers would have to reimburse the state for the costs incurred by providing public assistance benefits to workers.

To guarantee our growing older population receives the high-quality care and services they require, we need a well-trained and well-compensated workforce.

State Rep. Ed Gainey

24th Legislative District

Take a close look at the PPA

The Parking Authority has crossed the line.

This is what happens when you grant complete control and autonomy. City Council gave them authority when PPA was formed around 1950, which means they can take it away and should do so immediately.

PPA now wants to take Uber and Lyft services away from us, which most people use. The real reason is they are not lining the pockets at PPA. We need a real protest. Start by calling City Council and your state reps and senators. Spread the word on social media to attend a Council meeting. The larger the crowd and the louder we are the better.

Also, you may want to ask why a Council member sits on the board at PPA. You may also want to look at their net bottom line before the meeting. Your next question is where does all the money go and to whom.

Anthony Dello Russo

Fox Chase

Voter intimidation concerns

We are less than a month away until Election Day on Nov. 8 and I have been receiving an increasing number of emails and phone calls from my constituents who are concerned about voter intimidation. This issue has made national news among the presidential candidates, and the people who have contacted me fear they may be victims of intimidation when they cast their ballot.

In case someone isn’t aware or has forgotten, voter intimidation is against the law in Pennsylvania. According to Section 1847 of the Pennsylvania Election Code (Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, №320), anyone engaging in the act of voter intimidation shall be subject to up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Plain and simple, voter intimidation is illegal. It includes, but is not limited to, the following: intimidating or coercing voters, threatening force, violence, injury, restraint, damage, or loss to get a person to vote or not vote for a particular candidate or issue; or using abduction, duress, coercion or other forcible or fraudulent methods to interfere with a person’s right to vote.

If anyone witnesses voter intimidation at their local polling place, they should report the activity to the local county board of elections or the county district attorney’s office. Complaints can also be filed online with the Pennsylvania Department of State at pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/ReportElectionComplaints.

Your right to vote and the power of your vote is the only thing that puts each of us as an equal to the most powerful people in America. Please exercise your power on Nov. 8.

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski

121st Legislative District

Vote for none of the above

I miss the elections of my youth. Care had to be taken in the voting booth. We, the people, had real choices between two stand-up candidates. This one enjoyed a background in foreign policy; that one had a firm grip on economic affairs.

Now one candidate’s scary; the other is laughable. Sadly, both are interchangeable.

We won’t have true democracy until the bottom of every ballot contains: none of the above.

If enough of us check that box, a new election has to be initiated using a different set of candidates; hopefully more worthy, fewer clowns running the circus. “Vote for me, my father was a SEPTA janitor! No, vote for me. I want the British out of Northern Ireland!”

We, the people, might also ditch that pesky Electoral College as non-reflective of our will. The newly-launched Republican Party didn’t even bother campaigning in the South. They knew they’d win the northern-tier states. Lincoln garnered a slim 40 percent of the popular vote.

I also remember the elections of my youth when the Fourth Estate weighed in. If a candidate committed murder, filed for bankruptcy, boasted having a university-degree, took bribes, lied to Congress, kissed an unpaid intern in our very Oval Office, fail to release income tax returns or college grades, the press pounced.

Now, the media junket about on Air Force One, are feted to Washington cocktail parties with all the grandeur of a Hollywood opening. They fail to ask meaty questions and demand honest answers for fear of being banned from all those dandy perks and privileges. Imagine selling your soul for a few crab puffs.

Mexican strongman Profirio Diaz — seven terms as president — called it as far back as 1910. “A watchdog with a bone in its mouth neither barks nor bites.”

Jerry Briggs

Mayfair

Keep Bill out of White House

A more appropriate heading than “Angry whites support Trump” in Carl Williams’ Oct. 6 letter would have been “Disgusted with the system whites.”

Apparently, you are a staunch Democrat and have taken as gospel all the political rhetoric from both Obama and now Hillary. A problem with being a staunch supporter of any party is you sometimes can get blinded to the truth. You may want to do a little research of your own about the economic problems we encountered in 2008.

The economic turmoil you blame on the Republicans really started long before George W. Bush’s presidency. In fact, much of it has to do with Bill Clinton’s policies while in office, especially with real estate.

Most American banks were hit hard in 2008, with one of the main problems being real estate. The CEO of TD Bank, which is a Canadian bank, when interviewed said they did not experience the same issues. When asked for the reason he said, “We only lent money to people who could pay it back.” What a novel approach.

Many of our problems in the real estate market were due to ultra-liberal lending policies forced on banks by Bill Clinton and his administration. He is also the same president who passed legislation taxing Social Security for the first time and NAFTA.

I guess we have different standards. The thought of Bill Clinton back in the White House after he embarrassed the Oval Office and the entire country is just appalling to me.

The international community will play it on Comedy Central.

Anthony Dello Russo

Fox Chase

Boot John Taylor out of office

What does the Philadelphia Parking Authority have in common with Baylor University? Both institutions propagated a culture of sexual harassment and worse, it had gone under the radar until recently.

Vince Fenerty, PPA’s executive director, resigned before being fired, and Art Briles, Baylor’s football coach, was fired. According to news accounts, for years Fenerty sexually harrassed female underlings, and Briles ignored sexual misconduct on the part of his players. At the end of the day, both men retained their generous pensions.

Which brings us to John Taylor, Republican of the 177th Legislative District, who is up for re-election against Democrat Joe Hohenstein. Taylor has resided for 32 years in Harrisburg, where he has been sleeping at the wheel. He backed former Gov. Corbett’s budget slashes, and is supporting Donald Trump for president. He had oversight of the PPA. He handled the harassment claims of Susan Cornell, one of Fenerty’s alleged victims, in-house, instead of releasing it to the press. The abuse continued until Cornell courageously went public.

Taylor needs to be booted and towed out of office. If voters are looking for transparency and disclosure, they need to look no further than Joe Hohenstein. After 32 years, it’s time for a change.

Val Hanssens

Northwood

End the progressive era now

An exhortation to all my fellow citizens who are of sound mind and who still possess that wonderful and nation-building commodity — common sense. We are at this juncture of history poised to complete a remarkable political “three-fer” unprecedented in our nation’s history.

We completed Part One during the primary process by very handily ending the Bush era in American politics.

We can complete Parts Two and Three come November when, by giving the GOP a stunning (and I predict it) landslide victory, we end both the Clinton and the progressive eras at the same time.

I think most of us and I daresay numerous Democrats (though they may not say this publicly) cannot wait to say goodbye to the Clinton years, with their platoon of scandals and bedroom antics.

As for the progressive era, that hundred or so years from about 1900 to the present, all we witnessed was administration after administration recycling the same failed ideas time after time, perhaps inspired by the naïve belief of the leftist that if only we try again, this time our ideas will work out.

Well, they did not.

And this has left us with an out-of-control national debt, a sluggish and stagnant economy, declining national prestige and international influence, and widespread cultural deterioration palmed off with buzzwords such as inclusiveness, progress and equality.

Nothing, but nothing, could speak more eloquently as to the utter bankruptcy, intellectually, morally and any other measure, of progressivism than to look at its latest crusade, so-called “bathroom equity.” How sad, how ironic. A movement begun long ago with the highest-minded ideals has ended up in an ideological gutter.

George Tomezsko

Fox Chase