Letters to the Editor

Letters: Rule changes needed in Pa. legislature; carelessness shown over ad at Penn State

Rule changes needed in state legislature

Pennsylvanians pay the most for the members of the nation’s largest full-time state legislature to do very little. With 253 representatives and senators, all of the power is concentrated in a handful of party leaders and committee chairs, making our state capitol a place where good ideas die.

In 2017-18 a constitutional amendment to eliminate gerrymandering had overwhelming public support and strong bipartisan support within the legislative rank-and-file, and likely would have passed in the House. But Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, chair of the State Government Committee, made sure it died. Currently, a group of reform-minded lawmakers have proposals to allow rank-and-file legislators to put the public will on the table. Rep. Steve Samuelson proposes that any bill co-sponsored by a majority of the House members would automatically be entitled, without amendment, to a vote on the House floor. Samuelson says this would have come into play three times during the 2017-18 legislative session, including the gerrymandering bill. Rep. Pam Delissio proposes to require bills with 20 bipartisan co-sponsors be brought to a committee vote within three legislative session days. These and other rule changes will make representative democracy more meaningful by empowering more elected representatives, will help end ideologically rooted paralysis enforced by party leaders, and will create greater accountability by forcing lawmakers to debate and vote on more legislation. Of course, power-hungry legislative leaders and committee chairs will likely reject the proposals and favor poor governance over better representation. Let your representatives know you deserve better governance!

Debra Trudeau, State College

Carelessness shown over ad

This is in response to a recent CDT article, “Penn State, State College nonprofit respond to social media backlash over ‘sexist’ ad.” In the past, women have been subjected to sexual violence around the world. This indeed still happens today to a certain extent.

For a nonprofit resource clinic that claims to “treat clients with kindness, compassion, and in a caring manner,” this is just astounding. With all of the women’s rights issues still in debate today, how could this organization be so ignorant as to shift blame onto women as if they are the only gender to transmit sexual diseases.

And for Penn State to allow this content to be posted around campus for all to see is not a good look. I should be proud to attend a prestigious university with good values and morals. This carelessness makes me think otherwise.

This university should promote equality for all genders, and by the looks of this public advertisement, it promotes one.

I hope Penn State reevaluates their guidelines and processes about the types of advertisements that are allowed to be posted all over campus.

Alyssa Guarneschelli, Harrisburg

A broken system

If you wonder why the approval rating of our Congress is so low, think about this. Our president is elected by people in all 50 states. A representative is elected in a district within a state and is one of 435 districts nationally. Each state has two senators. Currently we have one representative that feels that she has more power than the President of the U S. The only reason she does is that the other representatives of her party can not vote for anything she is against and she is the sole decision maker as to what bills even come up for a vote. Today we have a Republican President and a Democratic Speaker of the House. Over the years we have had the reverse and both parties are guilty of this practice. The other representatives are captive to her because if they cross the Speaker you will not get good committee appointments and you will end up in a less that desirable office. I didn’t vote for the Speaker or the Leader of the Senate, but the people you elected are not able to vote for the views of the people who elected them. The other thing that all of them do is get rich and pass laws for the the country to follow except for them. If we get Medicare for all (which would be a disaster), it would be for everyone but them, their families and staff. Why do you think they haven’t fixed Social Security?

Charles Doland, Bellefonte

US role in Venezuela has been devastating

Pompeo says of the Maduro’s Venezuelan government “His regime is morally bankrupt, it’s economically incompetent and it’s profoundly corrupt.” It is astounding how often the Trump government reflects its own problems onto others. But like all of our previous administrations, we spare no effort to undermine any trend toward social equity in South American countries, as it is not favorable to our corporate elite, or their elite. Their elite opposition formed a black market following Chavez’s death, creating inflation, which was exacerbated into hyperinflation by the drop in oil prices. Then came the Trump administration directly and indirectly crippling Venezuela’s economy, choking off credit and causing food and medicine shortages and undermining peace and democracy, all the while blaming it on Maduro and socialism.

Maduro isn’t blameless, neither is the opposition, but USA’s contribution has been devastating, so Maduro is right to blame us. The United States isn’t looking for a peaceful transition or a dialogue, Maduro is, but we want a coup. Perhaps we should call for the violent overthrow of Trump, with Pelosi leading the charge. It’s about as sensible. This is a democratically elected administration we are trying to remove by coup, like the “good old days.” Socialist leaning governments oppose corporate abuse while favoring labor. The corporate controlled media understandably has a blind spot when it comes to American international corporate abuse facilitated by our government. The US elite, and elite of other nations denigrates and destroys what they fear, again.

Doug Keith, State College

Invoking emergency powers act would be dangerous maneuver

Mr. Trump is threatening to invoke the emergency powers act, and while he may technically have the authority to do so, it is clearly a violation of the spirit of that law. The emergency powers act was created to allow executive action when a threat is so dire and so immediate that there is no time for normal governmental procedures to address it. An event like 9/11 for example. It was never intended to enable a president to simply bypass the will of congress. It is an immensely dangerous maneuver since it negates the separation of powers, the linchpin of our democratic society. It creates a legal precedent with massive implications and opens the door to extraordinary abuse of power. Previous executives have all recognized that fact and exercised appropriate restraint. Every president in history has been stymied by a congress unwilling to adopt his point of view on some issue — that is NOT an emergency. It is, in fact, the very epitome of our form of government. A president is required to persuade his opponents, not circumvent their authority. I am hopeful that Mr. Trump will respect the foundations of the nation he leads.

Rodney Smith, Bellefonte