Letters to the editor

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A small number of people cause big problems

With regard to the letter from Dan Cinowalt ("Trash Control," July 20), I felt he was not in full understanding of the problem facing the Sheraden community.

Many of our residents take a very active role in our community and "redd up" their homes and those areas surrounding them. The majority of our residents maintain their homes, clean up their trash, mow their lawns and are responsible for their pets and children. Our property owners are proud of their homes and their investments in the community. We have an active community council, which organizes a number of projects, including community clean-ups and a public garden.

As is frequently the case, a small number of people create a large problem for the rest of us. This is the case in the Sheraden community. For Sheraden the problem came as we saw an increasing number of absentee landlords who neglect their properties. It is these properties that pose the real challenge to our community and it is in these areas where we have requested and received help from the city.

We work closely with Councilwoman Theresa Smith. Our most recent effort was in response to the series of arsons, and with the assistance of city services, we were able to respond in a proactive manner to a crisis situation.

I agree that people need to accept responsibility and teach their children how to be good residents of whichever community they reside in. As my granddaughter, Rachael says, "It is God's world. We are just supposed to take care of it."

President, Sheraden Community Council

Let's see both sides

I was disturbed by your front-page article "Athletes Susceptible to Sexual Allegations" (July 22), which appeared in the aftermath of the sexual-assault allegation against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

I just moved from Washington, D.C., where even-handed and nuanced reporting of complex, fractious issues is requisite. Yet in this article the focus was on how athletes are often falsely accused of sexual misconduct and how difficult it is to defend against such allegations.

The implication of the article is that female gold diggers routinely cozy up to high-profile athletes, planning to file false charges later and extort money. Although this may occur occasionally, the article failed to address the other side, which is the emotional toll on women who have actually been sexually assaulted by athletes. These women also face difficulties in the legal system. Athletes may feel immune to the rules by which the rest of us abide and they may be supported by systems that protect athletes.

My understanding of even-handed reporting and of gender equality requires addressing each position fairly and of interviewing spokespersons on both sides.

The writer is a lawyer and forensic consultant.

Reform health care

Our nation last week celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing. It was a triumph over fear and risk. It cost significant sums of money, but the value of the spinoff economic benefits in the form of new discovery and invention has far surpassed that cost.

The principal domestic issue of the day is health-care reform. It, too, is characterized by fear and risk. It, too, however, offers the promise of economic and social benefits far surpassing its cost. This nation needs to apply the same commitment to health-care reform as it did to space exploration. The time to do so is now.

In a twist of a time-honored maxim, "health-care reform delayed is health-care reform denied."


Health care is fine

I had a heart transplant at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on Dec. 5, 1994, and since then I have had few serious medical problems and have lived a wonderful, healthy life. I was on the heart transplant waiting list only one week and had the surgery by world-class surgeons. My post-transplant life could not have been better. I am covered by SecurityBlue and Medicare at a cost to me of about $2,000 per year. This also covers huge medicine expenses.

Patients come from all over the world because their socialized medicine plans won't cover them. I am certain that I would not receive this treatment under socialized medicine.

I am now 80 years old and received the heart at age 65. I was born in Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, in 1929 and have lived in Pittsburgh all of my life.

We have the best health system in the history of the world! Why change now? We need only to make some minor adjustments. European socialized medicine is not the answer.


Justice in Honduras

Regarding the opinion column "Injustice in Honduras" by labor lawyer Dan Kovalik (Midweek Perspectives, July 22): On July 4, I returned from Honduras proud of my former host country. I lived there for a little over three years; first serving as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and then working in the private sector. During this time, I witnessed ousted President Manuel Zelaya evolve from a centrist to a radical leftist who wanted to amend the constitution illegally in order to stay in power. What occurred in Honduras wasn't an illegal coup, but a perpetuation of democracy.

When an elected official breaks the law and goes against the Supreme Court, Congress (including his own party) and the people, he deserves to be removed from power. While it was a bit messier than expected, Mr. Zelaya's extradition fell in line with Honduras' constitution. Unfortunately, some officials in Washington have forgotten what it takes to protect a constitution.

Mr. Zelaya had aligned himself with Hugo Chavez and the other socialist/quasi-dictators of Latin America. Every other week you can read about Hugo Chavez and friends crushing political demonstrations, shutting down media outlets, nationalizing businesses and/or removing elected officials who don't hold the same political ideology. Mr. Zelaya was planning to emulate what Mr. Chavez has done in Venezuela -- that is, amend the constitution to allow himself re-election and strip away the powers of the judicial and legislative branches.

After refusing to listen to his own government and the people of Honduras, Mr. Zelaya received exactly what was coming to him. Let's hope one day the rest of Latin America will follow suit and stand up for democracy.


Democratic 'Blue Dogs' have denied rights to women in Pa.

This letter is in response to a recent article that featured the "Blue Dog" Democrats of the Pennsylvania Legislature ("Conservative Democrats' Voices Heard," July 13). As a member of the House for one term (2006-2008), one of the reasons I found myself leaving the Legislature was because of the treatment of rape victims in Pennsylvania.

Under House Bill 288, which I co-sponsored and vocally supported, all hospitals in Pennsylvania would have been required to inform rape victims about emergency contraception. The July 13 article indicates that Rep. Nick Kotik, D-Robinson, helped form the Blue Dog "club" directly in opposition to this bill and proudly says it rattled enough chains to defeat the bill. I highly doubt that it was Rep. Kotik, et al. who had the power to single-handedly defeat the bill, as I know the Catholic Conference lobbied members every day.

That being said, I would like voters to ask their representatives if they ascribe to the Blue Dog philosophy in next year's election when considering the further victimization of rape victims in Pennsylvania at the hands of their legislators who wouldn't let HB 288 even come to the floor for a vote. It is indeed a sorry state of affairs when the only "victory" that certain representatives can point to is one that refuses recognized medical treatment to victims of horrific crimes.

The writer was a Democratic member of the House representing the 21st Legislative District.


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