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Address The Right Thing
Once again the Susquehanna Borough Council is off the mark with regards to West Main Street. They claim that safety is the reason for banning parking.
For fifty-plus years, cars have been parked on West Main Street but now, according to the council, it’s a problem. The real problems are speeding, a lack of courtesy and a lack of patience. Speeding is done not only by cars, pickup trucks, SUVs but also by the stone trucks and school buses. As for the lack of patience and courtesy, too many people are thinking only of themselves; the “Me, Myself and I” Syndrome.
If safety is really an issue on West Main Street, as claimed by the council, then they need to have the police address the speeding. Everyone in Susquehanna should be concerned with what the council is trying to do by banning parking on West Main Street. By their own admission, they want to ban parking on all or most of the streets.
One of the reasons was that the newer emergency vehicles only come in large sizes. If you talk to an emergency vehicle salesperson or go on the Internet, you will discover that emergency vehicles are built to the customer’s specifications. It is the customer’s specifications that dictate the overall size of said vehicle.
Something, for everyone, to keep in mind is that if the council gets its way and bans parking, no one will be able to go visit friends or relatives, have friends or relatives come to visit, or have any type of serviceperson come to your residence unless there is appropriate off-street parking.
Another thing to bear in mind is how far away from your house you will have to park, and then walk in the rain, snow or ice trying to carry your groceries, or your little children.
With all of this in mind, have you given any thought to how hard it will be to sell your house, without parking?
The council has said that they are not responsible for parking, but they are supposed to be stewards of the borough; looking out for the common good of the borough and its residents.
When Susquehanna was conceived, our forefathers were only concerned with families having a horse and buggy. They had no idea, that in time, families would have cars, trucks, SUVs and/or motorcycles. In short, Susquehanna Borough wasn't designed for today.
According to the 2000 Census, Susquehanna Depot Borough is only 0.73 square miles; not a whole lot of room. Roughly one-third of the population in Susquehanna Borough is over the age of fifty, and some of them have difficulty getting around. Now the council wants to make it even more difficult.
You need to stand up and voice your concerns to the council, before it is too late.
Richard A. Fabrizi, Sr.
Milk Price Crash Is Here!
As we and a few other people predicted, the price of milk paid to dairy farmers is geared to crash on February’s produced milk.
On Friday, January 23, the price of milk used for bottling nose-dived down to $13.97 per hundredweight (cwt). This is a $5.02 per cwt (43 cents per gal.) decline from January’s price of $18.99.
Is this drop of prices a result of consumers’ cutting way back on using fluid milk? Of course not! In December, 2008, there was more milk used for bottling purposes than there was for November, 2008 in the Northeast. Then why the big decline in milk prices?
The drop in prices is a result of the pricing formula that the USDA uses to price milk to dairy farmers. And do you know what? The United States Congress has plenty of blame to share because of what is happening.
The 1996 Farm Bill (“Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of 1996” or “FAIR” – this Farm Bill is often called “Freedom to Farm” by its supporters, but many farmers call it “Freedom to Fail” because of the damage it has done to rural America) mandated that USDA consolidate the Federal Milk Marketing Orders so that the number of Orders would be between 10 and 13. This was done. However, I believe USDA went far beyond the intent of Congress and invoked a new pricing formula that is tied to the scandalous Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
Butter, American cheese, and powdered milk are the main products traded at the CME. So, as a few traders decide to bid the price of these products up or down, there goes the final price to dairy farmers across the United States. It does not matter that fluid (milk used for bottling) sales are doing well. The milk price still drops. It does not matter that dairy farmers’ costs have soared to all-time highs. The milk price still drops. Why? Again, the milk price drops because fluid prices are tied to the manufacturing price, and when they drop, the price of bottled milk also drops.
I talked to some consumers in Scranton, PA, regarding this price drop, and they asked, “Why? Why? Why?” They said consumers pay nearly $2.00 for a bottle of soda, so they certainly can, and will, pay a fair price for milk. A man asked, “Why are your milk prices tied to the Wisconsin cheese price? Why? Why? Why?” I told him again that it was not the Wisconsin cheese price, but the formula USDA uses.
I also told them that the USDA formula even allows the manufacturers of milk products to recover their costs out of the formula, but the very same USDA will not consider dairy farmers’ costs. Again, they asked, “Why? Why” Why?” I told them that it appears that the majority of milk processors and milk cooperatives have enough influence on both USDA and the US Congress to prevent a pricing formula that covers the dairy farmers’ cost of production.
When I told a dairy farmer, whose farm operation could be described as an average-sized dairy farm, about the huge decline in milk prices, he said, “Before I was very concerned. Now, I am really scared!” I think he speaks for most dairy farmers.
We must beg another question. Do the world trade agreements have enough leverage in them to prevent dairy farmers from receiving a fair price? Should these trade “agreements” share some responsibility for the fact that so many of our dedicated workers across the country have lost their much-needed jobs?
Thousands more dairy farmers will be forced out of business unless immediate corrections are made to set fair raw milk prices for farmers. I will say it again. USDA will never correct the problem.
So, it is up to the US Congress to take the bull by the horns and take the corrective actions necessary to fix the milk pricing formula that continues to wreck financial havoc on our dairy farms.
Don’t tell me how hard-working farmers are, or that they are the salt of the earth! We know this!
We also know that the US Congress has failed the dairy farmers since 1981, and failed them miserably.
I am calling on Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Senator Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Congressman Chris Carney (D-PA), and Congressman Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) to immediately introduce needed measures to allow dairy farmers an opportunity to cover their average cost of production and introduce a milk supply management program (if needed) to assure a fair price to dairy farmers.
It is horrible and unacceptable that so many workers are out of jobs. Unfortunately, because of bad federal farm policies, thousands of workers are losing their jobs in rural America, which is ruining critical rural infrastructure.
Remember, it is not just the small and average-sized farms that are in trouble because of these low milk prices. It is also impacting many of the large farms and super-large farms.
So, clearly, it is up to you, members of Congress. If you want to maintain local supplies of food (and even US-produced food), then distance yourselves from past dairy policies and act now. Remember, prices paid to dairy farmers on February-produced milk will be down close to $12.00 per cwt or lower. This will be nearly an $8.00 per cwt drop since July, 2008.
Congress gave USDA the instrument to do all of this, and now Congress must make changes.
PRO AG can be reached at 570-833-5776 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pro Ag Manager
With regard to recent Letters to the Editor, I would like to say that it is fine to have a personal opinion about an issue, and it is fine to express that opinion in a letter to the editor. However, it is not fine to try and push that opinion over onto others. When you express your opinion, and others read your opinion, it is up to them to make up their own minds as to whether they think your opinion has value for them, or whether they will want to take action on it.
We live in a democracy, not a theocracy, and if we are going to make this democracy work, we must allow room for varying opinions. It seems to me that we have too many “thou shalt not” type laws being sought. We need less of them. It doesn't require a law for you not to do a particular thing, if you don’t believe in doing it. My “morality,” or yours, is not everyone’s morality, and your truth, or mine, is not everyone’s truth. So long as one's actions do not steal from someone else or damage someone else or their property, doors should be left open, not shut by law, after law, after law.
Another thought – you may be proud to belong to a lobbying group who shares and promulgates your opinion, but you should be aware that, if that group takes a turn toward something you do not believe in, or if some members of the group start acting in ways that you know are not worthy of you, you are stuck with your name being allied with that group. Isn't it better to speak for yourself?
Enact The Draft
The only way that I can see that Americans can start our economy up again is to enact a draft. I have mulled this over, after all week of watching and reading the news.
Put America to work, enact the draft. That, for sure would put the money in the true Americans’ pockets, who will spend it gladly. Buy a new jet for your son and send it to work with him, buy a jet, stimulate the economy. Do the math, how many soldiers can you dress up for the cost of that jet?
Some of our great elected hear the word “draft” today, they’d probably say shut the door. Draft what?!
To watch congress vote is a joke, I bet as many Republicans are getting laid off as are Democrats. I also bet not one of any of our elected read the 600-plus pages of the bill, what a joke. Why did they get a pay raise, when millions of Americans are losing their pay?
I have the utmost respect for our new president; here is an idea, try the draft.
Peter A. Seman
Spoken Like A True Politician
Let me start this letter by saying I was at that council meeting David Scales referred to in his previous letter to the Transcript. At that meeting, I was the one who questioned who it was that brought up all of the alleged complaints about the parking on West Main St. First, Councilman David Scales told me that they had numerous complaints about the parking on West Main St., but when I went to the boro office to find out how many there were, there was no record of complaints having been submitted. Now Mr. Scales wants everyone who wants to complain now, to be heard.
It seems like that is like a true politician; if you don’t have the facts before the meeting, let’s get them after and say we had them. Then you went on to say that the residents of West Main passionately objected to any parking ban. Many West Hill residents have been on different committees and worked with councils now and in the past, and have offered solutions to the council’s complaints. That evening, most of us present agreed that snow emergency parking was a problem on West Main, so it seems like we are willing to work with the council, so you might have been at a different meeting. You also talked about all the many accidents on the street caused by parked cars, which none of us recall, but you did fail to mention the two high speed chases in the past that the police were involved in that ended in accidents. There have been several accidents over the years, and they have all been caused by speeding and/or driving under the influence. Not parked cars. Once parking was banned, the speed of drivers on this street will certainly increase.
I’m sure you don’t realize or care that there are about eleven people with disabilities on our street, and 29 people over the age of 65. I am sorry about your present health condition, but what if you were one who had to walk a block or two to park your car on one of our very steep side avenues, would you be able to manage? How would that affect your quality of life in this town?
Thanks to Trehab and the Housing Authority the town is starting to look good again, but what incentives will we have to fix up our property if have no place to park, or better yet, a place for contractors to park to work on our properties? What property value will any of those homes have?
Dave, instead of trying to brown nose with PennDOT about the parking on West Hill, why don’t you find out why they turned over all storm lines back to the boro at our expense to repair them. Or better yet, the bridge on Main St., that is so unsafe that they had to close one lane, but we let the school buses with our children go over it every day; now that actually seems to be a real safety issue.
I, too, have served on the council, and I know the frustration there is trying to do what’s best for the boro. But I did not try to inconvenience our residents, or decrease their property values like some council members seem to have an agenda for. The people should not be burdened with complaining about the parking on West Hill, which is a state road, instead we should be complaining about the boro streets and properties, something the council has control over and neglects. If Dave wants us to get involved, please write or call the boro about all the unregistered cars, the neglected property, and anything that might not be up to code in the boro.
Dave, times are tough and money and grants are scarce, why can’t we work together for the whole community and make Susquehanna and the rest of the boros a great place to live and bring up our families?
The Real Safety Issue
In response to Mr. Scales’ letter in trying to establish whether there is a safety issue with traffic on West Main St., perhaps you are right. The safety issue is speed, not parked cars. Certainly, parked cars can be an inconvenience, but residents here know what we would be facing without them. People driving into town need to remember that, once they get to West Main St. they are in a town and they should have reduced their speed to 25 mph from the 40 mph that they should have been driving before they got there. Many drivers do not reduce their speed until they do reach a parked car. I would suggest having the speed reduced to 20 mph.
This is not a main highway, even though it has a state road designation. You might traverse this street for 23 hours a day without encountering another car. We have traffic when people are going to work, coming home from work, or going to sports events at Prospect Park. But the rest of the time, this is actually a pretty quiet street. Stone trucks, however often do drive over the speed limit.
We don’t park our cars on the street to inconvenience travelers. Mr. Scales was correct in saying that we passionately objected to a parking ban. We live here. We pay taxes here. We enjoy being able to have company come to visit. Some of our residents and visitors are people who also happen to be handicapped or elderly or have health issues. People who could never live here or visit here if there were no parking. We have people who come to fix our furnaces, remodel our homes, tune our pianos, repair the washing machines, bring meals on wheels or provide home health to the elderly. Can you imagine how a parking ban would effect those of us who happen to live on West Main St.? Quality of life would certainly make one never think about buying a home on this street. Property values would certainly be reduced to nothing for the homeowners who have invested so much in their properties but who have no way to put in driveways.
The Susquehanna Boro Council continually brings this parking ban up. Usually when confronted, it almost always boils down to snow storms and snow plows. If that is the real issue, we at the council meeting, agreed, we could live with that inconvenience temporarily when there is a need. But West Main St. residents need to be able to have parking near their homes, there are no alternatives which would make this a resident-friendly neighborhood because of the geography of our town.
Mr. Scales was concerned over accidents being caused by parked cars. In the past, there have been a few accidents here. The ones that I can remember, are when a young man sheared off the telephone pole in front of our home at 10 p.m., moments after my family had just exited our car. Our car is parked off street and there are no cars parked near our intersection, since it is the no parking zone The person was speeding and may have been under the influence. Several months ago several cars were sideswiped by a person speeding, who was surely under the influence. Parked cars did not cause that accident. Those parked cars that were hit, were actually in areas where two cars can pass one another. Recently, there was a three-car accident at the beginning of West Main St. There were no parked cars involved. The driver was speeding and ran into the other two cars that were being driven at the time. Speed, careless driving. Another incident that I recall was several years ago when a Susquehanna Boro police car sideswiped a car during a chase. I don’t think parked cars were the issue then, either.
If people obeyed the speed limits primarily, and secondly had enough consideration for another person, they could perhaps live with having to pull over for the 15 to 20 seconds it would ordinarily take, then there might not be any issues at all.
One councilman stated that he had to wait “literally four minutes” to pass by. (I have never seen that happen, although he actually may have been waiting for children to get on a bus.) Wonder how that same person would like to face the lifetime of inconvenience he would have if he lived on West Hill like we do and had to face the fact with a parking ban, then it probably would take him more that four minutes to walk to his vehicle, if he could find a place to park it, every single time he needed to use his car and every time he came home. Of course, he could put also put as much money in his house as he wanted to, but never have any value in it afterwards because it would be worthless.
I think Susquehanna boro residents need to remember that this same council wanted to totally ban parking on every single Susquehanna Street not too long ago. Think about that. Does anyone in your neighborhood have to park on the street because they do not have driveways? You have to remember that our town was built on a hillside, long before the automobile. Let’s be reasonable, and please, be a good neighbor, whether you live here or just need to drive by. Consideration goes a long way.
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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