Letters to the Editor

Letters: Smart leadership makes crime go down; Lawmakers should act now to end gerrymandering

Editor’s note: The Centre Daily Times welcomes letters endorsing candidates in the Nov. 5 election and will accept letters that are received by Oct. 20. Election letters will be published through Oct. 30. Letters are subject to editing, must be based on facts and should avoid attacks on other candidates. The CDT also invites candidates to submit letters outlining their positions; the same deadlines and parameters exist, though we will run candidates’ letters on the Sunday before the election. Letters of 250 words or fewer can be sent to cdtletters@centredaily.com.

Smart leadership makes crime go down

Crime has gone down in Pennsylvania, and notably in Centre County. This was due not so much to a “get tough” policy but to a softer approach, that targets first offenders to make sure that they become law abiding, taxpaying citizens instead of career criminals.

We can thank the Re-entry Coalition for this. Chaired by Commissioner Michael Pipe, it has secured funding for both the DUI and drug courts, which handle offenders by monitoring and help in remaining sober. They have improved the counseling services in prison. And they help recently released inmates providing them with the tools and skills they need to succeed (some of them need help in filling forms).

All these efforts have been advocated, in a bipartisan way, by judges and law enforcement officers. The results are before us. Former offenders turn they lives around, become law abiding citizens, and we gain, in exchange, a drop in recidivism — which means that they do not commit crimes — which means that there are less crimes — and thus a drop in the prison population.

Since an inmate costs taxpayers’ money to house and feed — and a law-abiding citizen works and pays taxes — we have a win-win situation.

Good job!

Adriana Ines Pena, State College

Lawmakers should act now to end gerrymandering

Last month, the Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission released their report recommending that Pennsylvania’s districts be drawn by an 11-member nonpartisan commission of voters. This commission would: 1) require both a supermajority and multi-partisan approval of all voting district lines, 2) conduct all business in public and provide substantiations for its decisions and 3) reflect the full range of party affiliations in the Commonwealth. Sadly, House Majority Spokesman Mike Straub dismissed the PRRC recommendation, saying, “An 11-member panel will never be as representative of the commonwealth as 253 legislators.” Sorry, Mr. Straub, but the current method of drawing voting district lines is a failure. Specifically, 1) the state legislative districts are currently drawn by just five people — four senior legislators and one court appointee — without any input from rank and file legislators. The General Assembly defines congressional district lines by a simple majority. No. 2, the General Assembly draws maps in secret. And No. 3, the General Assembly has no independent or third-party representation even though that category of voters comprises 13% of Pennsylvania’s electorate. In a 2018 Franklin & Marshall poll, an independent redistricting commission was the preference of 69% of Pennsylvanians and still the General Assembly has yet to pass any redistricting legislation. Straub’s statement sidesteps the very problem the PRRC set out to address: that gerrymandering creates legislatures that do not represent the people. The 253 members of the General Assembly can best represent voters’ interests by passing HB22 and HB23 to end gerrymandering.

Liz Kisenwether, State College

‘Timelessness at our core’

Five months ago now Nadine Kofman died. She is now witness beyond time where we always are with our minds.

As historian she placed the plaque on this building where I am writing this, saying it opened as a road house in 1888.

A century later I began drinking my coffee in The Corner Room here.

Let us join this great time in its march with the timelessness at our core.

At the next table today in brutal ignorance the thoughtless couple ran up a $50 bill and then left without tipping.

Seeing how upset the waitress was I left tips on both tables and this was in courtesy entered time. Then at the center was civilization and there man was present.

This is the reason for the world.

John Harris, State College