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Letters to the Editor Policy

To Our Community

On July 23, 2005 a benefit was held at the Starrucca House for Alicia Norris. We would like to thank everyone involved, in any way for their help in making this event such a success! Chris Davis for her expertise in planning, the business people for their donations for the silent auction, the people for the food donations, the businesses that donated food and beverages, the volunteers for their miles of footwork, the people who helped with publicity, the Stinky Boys for their help with security, the volunteers for their help in setting up and cleaning up, the staff at Starrucca House, the staff at PNB and those who made donations through the bank and the hundreds of people from the communities who supported our efforts to help Alicia in her fight for life.

We were very fortunate to be able to show our “hometown unity of dedication and hospitality” to many people from outside our area.

Words of thanks seem so inadequate for so many caring people with such big hearts!

God bless you all with good health and love.


The Benefit Committee

And Debbie Norris

A Reality Check

It appears that the direction of Susquehanna County has drastically shifted from what I believe is the best interest of most citizens. Recently it appears that the commissioner campaign for the next four year term has already started and to think there is still two more years of this term. Issues have been created and candidate teaming up has been reported in various newspapers. But, can you believe it that no one is on the bandwagon for the many working people and retired citizens? Wouldn't it be refreshing to have someone come out with ideas and say that the cost of county government must be reduced so that we can afford to live in the county. Instead we change commissioners and increase the number of lifetime health recipients without making any changes to reduce the cost of county government. Words like win-win have taken on an entirely different meaning. The best incentive for economic development is low taxes.

It would be nice to practice the fundamentals that are used in industry: cut spending or else we will elect someone to replace you who will. Instead we hear the blame game and finger pointing to justify what they do. When will we taxpayers say enough is enough? Instead we keep voting for individuals that make empty promises and are never held accountable. The latest rumor is that certain previous commissioners are interested in again having the approximately $ 60K (w/healthcare) part time job. It’s time we elect civic minded people who have demonstrated their worth in a prior career and are now retired. Then and only then will we see a significant county tax decrease. Otherwise, look for large tax increases at the beginning of the term and holding the line at election time. The huge tax increase you had on your county tax bill recently could have been eliminated if there was timely refinancing of the county long term debt.


Tom Jurista

Silver Lake Township

Jury Nullification

In reading the weekly column of our esteemed District Attorney, Jason Legg, I often find myself taking issue with his presentation of the topics he discusses. However, being a long-time supporter of the Fully Informed Jury Association (www.fija.org) I could not keep silent on the misleading information in D.A. Legg’s column of August 3, 2005 .

The right of the jury to judge the validity and morality of the law as well as the facts under which a defendant is being tried is one of the great pillars upon which American liberty was founded. As America's second President, John Adams, said in 1771: "It is not only [the juror's] right, but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court."

And John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, said: "The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy." Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794.

I couldn’t help but notice the beginning of D.A. Legg’s second paragraph, “Even in America, this concept of jury nullification took root”, which gives the impression that this concept is some silly, bizarre notion that grips societies sometimes. I do believe it is, in fact, one of the major reasons the founder of Pennsylvania and his associates came to America.

Let’s take a look at the third paragraph of that writing: “Interestingly, the question becomes whether defense attorneys should be permitted to inform and educate jurors on the concept of jury nullification....” Are you telling us, Mr. Legg, that defense attorneys are somehow gagged from telling jurors the truth about this great American institution? If such is the case, then could it be that they are also possibly gagged from telling their clients the truth about their rights?

The sad fact is, educating the public on the power of the jury should not have to fall to attorneys, but the failings of the public school system is another matter entirely.

In denigrating jury nullification, the example of a cocaine transaction was given. Laws are supposed to be made according to the will of the people. That is how it’s done in a “free” country. However, if you are attentive, you will see laws rammed through the legislature, against what most people want, because special interest groups have spread enough money around, or because politicians in powerful positions want it so. In such cases, it is through juries that the will of the people is ultimately expressed. How do you think the Alcohol Prohibition Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (XIIIth) was repealed? Juries refused to convict the operators of the “speak-easies” that were serving alcohol!

Legislating restrictions on behavior that is not a threat to others, such as transactions between consenting adults, is very easily found to be unconstitutional (see Bill of Rights, Article X). In American legal tradition, an unconstitutional law is viewed as invalid, and is no law at all. Until a law passes the test of community acceptance, and is enforced by juries, it cannot be viewed as a done deal. Juries NEED TO KNOW THIS. If a jury refuses to convict a defendant, maybe they think it’s time to change the law, recognizing its unconstitutionality. Drugs were not a social problem in this country until a black market was created by all the legislation that’s been passed.

It’s been said that Americans have been given three boxes to protect their freedoms: the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box. Many people are disappointed with the results of the ballot box. That leaves us with only two other boxes.


Claudia Montelione

Susquehanna, PA

Assumption Of Authority

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." – Daniel Webster, U. S. Senator 1782-1852

Until P. J. Amadio decided to roast me in the Transcript, I was content to focus my sole attentions relating to the Soldier’s Monument on the state of the monument. However, he has asked for information pertaining to the “Restoration Committee” and his query begs to be addressed.

As near as I can ascertain, the previous elected Commissioners appointed the Restoration Committee. One member was a former Commissioner who, when asked why he was not on the committee any longer, responded that he was not appointed by the new Commissioners. It would appear neither of the present two supposed members, who have assumed the authority, was appointed either. “We never reappointed anyone on that committee because we didn't know we had to.” - Commissioner Jeff Loomis July 28, 2005. Knowing this, and as there are only two, I find it difficult to recognize them as a viable committee. Tulsa Exposition and Fair Corp. v. Board of County Commissioners, 468 P.2d 501, 507 (Ok. 1970)("Public officers possess only such authority as is conferred upon them by law and such authority must be exercised in the manner provided by law"). Without proper appointment, it would appear that they lack legal authority. The present Commissioners appear to recognize them as a committee, or project coordinators, by implication, but still no actual authorization. In re Benny, 29 B.R. 754, 762 (N.D. Cal. 1983) ("an unlawful or unauthorized exercise of power does not become legitimated or authorized by reason of habitude"). If they were intentionally operating illegally, then any correspondence through the mail by either of them in that illegal capacity would, by logic, constitute mail fraud. I have received a correspondence from one of them in the capacity of project coordinator. Ramirez de Arellano v. Weinberger, 745 F.2d 1500, 1523 (D.C. Cir. 1984) ("when an officer acts wholly outside the scope of the powers granted to him by statute or constitutional provision, the official's actions have been considered to be unauthorized"). I have made no allegations as Mr. Amadio suggests. I stated, “Until the present investigation reveals graft, fraud or corruption.” I am sure Mr. Amadio knows, that according to Webster’s Dictionary, an allegation is assumption without proof. Furthermore, I see no intent for illegal activity.

Personally, I believe the lack of appointment might possibly be an oversight by the three Commissioners, the remaining two committee members/project coordinators and possibly the county’s solicitor. I am willing to give them the benefit of doubt. However, it might be thought by some that if others on the committee had expected an appointment for validation, it would seem that at least one of the aforementioned six would have thought of it too. Should the committee members/project coordinators continue to operate, as in the past, questions will certainly arise. One thing is certain; I don’t think things are as they should be!


Fred B. Baker, II

Meshoppen, PA

Sic ‘em, Mr. Baker

In response to Mr. Hoffman’s letter and Mr. Amadio’s article of July 27, 2005. First of all, this letter is unsolicited and purely my point of view. I am not a wannabe politician. In fact, I served as a Justice of the Peace in Auburn Township over 35 years ago. I am presently and happily retired to mowing my grass and hoeing my vegetable garden. However, that does not mean that I don’t keep in touch with the political happenings in the county.

Mr. Hoffman speaks of half-truths not limited to Washington, D.C., Mr. Amadio of hullabaloo, Charleston and Paul Revere. Well, my friends, this is not Washington, D.C., or Charleston and the British certainly are not coming! It seems Mr. Baker touched on a sore spot or two. Mr. Hoffman states that Commissioner Warren was in fact at a golf tournament and not at the Commissioners’ meeting, an oversight by Commissioner Warren. The day of the Commissioners’ meeting has been written in stone for quite some time. Furthermore, I feel the Commissioners’ primary duty is to the residents of the county. In Mr. Amadio’s article about the monument on the green; he admits the county did not get its money’s worth to date, that Ms. O’Malley states there are a couple of issues that need attention. I don’t see where Mr. Baker was factually wrong about either issue. I believe the formers of the committee for the restoration of the monument should have invited the various veterans’ organizations of the county for a representative to be a member of the committee. I feel that if there is any need for anyone to explain their actions, I would much rather hear the words directly from that person, not the, “he said, she said.”

Yes, it is true; Mr. Baker’s name was on the ballot in the last commissioners’ election and personally, I hope his name appears in the next election. Perhaps Mr. Amadio’s question of, “Where were these veterans?” might just get answered. For whatever underlying reason (some may speculate), Mr. Baker may appear to be the county watchdog. I would want a dog that barks at everyone rather than blindly roll over and play dead at the command of one or two. Sic ‘em, Mr. Baker, sic ‘em!


David L. Walters

Hop Bottom, PA

Alternatives To Changes

Having used 911 in the past, I can appreciate the need for coordinating the location of all Susquehanna County residents. The current address system is no help in quickly determining the exact location in an emergency situation. In many cases, residents are dependent on first responders who are familiar with the people and the area in order to get an exact location of emergency calls.

As a business owner, I can anticipate the cost of having to change my address. Letterheads, business cards, advertisements, and web-sites are just a few examples of how the change could cost large sums of money and time. The area code change was a perfect example of the disruption in normal procedures and the cost to many area businesses.

I do not believe changing every address in Susquehanna County would solve the emergency call situation unless specific data on location were referenced to that address. Rural route numbers are just as confusing, in most cases, with township, county and state designations. In order for quick locations to be determined, the address must be cross-referenced to some form of direction.

Susquehanna County should seriously consider investing time and money into database development that references GPS coordinates of every resident with specifics about that location. Our addresses may be confusing, but they are unique to every one of us. This is true for our name and phone number. If a database system were developed that would simply cross-reference either or all three of these variables to our GPS coordinates, our location could be determined in seconds. And, if phone numbers were used, the location of each land-line caller would be known at the instant of each call.

Obtaining the GPS coordinates of each resident is not a big deal. Hand held units are cheap and simple to use. With further integration with our emergency services, navigational systems can be used to take fire trucks right to the door of who-ever calls 911. I know these navigational systems work in our county because the unit in my pickup truck can guide me from New York City to the end of my driveway, on dirt roads!

Again, I appreciate the need for location coordination and the concern of our administrators. But please consider alternate approaches that may be more accurate and less of a burden to everyone.


Mike Panasevich

Susquehanna, PA


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