Letters to the editor May 6 to 12
Robert Doherty, chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, will continue running roughshod over standing rules, so long as he can do so cost-free.
In “Nothing Changes; If Nothing Changes,” he insisted state and county rules block legislators from participating in county government by phone—that’s false—and confuses merely discussing whether to take a legislative action with actually taking it—that’s baffling.
Anyone can read the county’s rules for our legislature. They permit participation and voting by phone, if only because they don’t prohibit them.
Anyone can read the governor’s executive orders, in force throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They permit local and state elected leaders to participate in respective governments by phone.
Whether willful or unintentional, Doherty’s behavior on this matter requires him to step down as chairman, if not resign from elected office. When he denied a duly elected legislator her right to invoke rules of our legislature and vote by phone (April 23), he disrespected the sacrifices of those defending our way of life.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes, but wrecking balls don’t bring the change we need.
Rock Hill, NY
I learned about the uproar at the special meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature held Friday, April 23, but wanted to see for myself, so I watched the video on the county website. The meeting was quite cordial until the resolutions were introduced.
Legislator Nadia Rajsz, who had difficulty attending via Zoom video, had arrived late via phone. Chairman Rob Doherty brought her up to date on the agenda item she had missed and she actively participated in the discussion of requests for discretionary funds. When resolutions were introduced, Rajsz asked for Rule 36, which would postpone voting on the resolutions until the next meeting when she expected more legislators would be present. She was told by the chairman, county attorney and deputy county attorney that she could not ask for Rule 36 or vote because she could not be seen—neither in person nor by video. Despite Rajsz’s protests, the resolutions were reviewed and voted on by the five legislators in quorum (three in person, two via video). At this time, the cordiality of the meeting had ended.
I am wondering why there was no attempt to assist Rajsz with video access to the meeting. She had mentioned from the start that she had tried unsuccessfully to attend via Zoom video. And I am wondering why none of the quorum legislators supported her request for Rule 36 when they knew that she and three other legislators would not be part of the voting. As the saying goes, “There is something wrong with this picture.”
Although it is their job to work together for the public good, these legislators showed no capacity for collaboration. Rajsz’s vote doesn’t matter? The other three legislators’ votes don’t matter? It was full steam ahead.
When Rajsz questioned the decision, the chairman yelled “out of order” over and over. I don’t remember hearing yelling at any legislative meetings in past years. This kind of behavior must stop. Legislators should listen politely and speak politely to each other. It is called decorum and it’s key to a fair and democratic process.
Six very kind and giving people helped Northeast PA Audubon do a litter pick-up on Route 191 just north of Lake Ariel on Sunday, May 2. One was under 40, three were in their 60s, one in her 70s, and one in his 80s. It was hot, hard work picking up things like diapers, recyclable cans and bottles, snack bags, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups and more. They could not help thinking about the people who threw these things out of their car windows. What were these drivers thinking or not thinking? Did they know that some heroic efforts to reverse their brainless acts were to be taken by some people who care about their surroundings—people who got sunburned, sweaty, dehydrated and exhausted? Did they know that Styrofoam breaks down into little pellets that birds mistake for food? Please imagine what that does to a bird’s intestines. Did they know that plastics break down into tiny micro-pieces that go into our air and water? One of the litter pick-up heroes thought about that when she tried to gather up pieces of a plastic container that kept disintegrating into smaller and smaller pieces, making it impossible to pick it all up. When they threw their trash out their car windows, did they know that autopsies show that microplastics are being found in all major human organs?
When they threw their trash out their windows, were their kids in the car, watching and learning?
Katharine Dodge, Adopt-a-Highway coordinator for Northeast PA Audubon Society
Lake Ariel, PA
With the retirement of Shohola Tax Collector Betty Myers, two candidates, Juli Fuhse and Christine Buttaro, are running for tax collector in the May 18 primary.
When faced with unfamiliar candidates, we voters try to ascertain which is the “more experienced.” Neither candidate has experience as a tax collector, so each would be learning the job from scratch.
It’s often the subtle cues a candidate reveals in conducting their campaign that provide insight to their suitability for office. I was unaware of Shohola’s tax collector candidates until yard signs began popping up. Since I’m familiar with PA election law, I immediately recognized that Buttaro’s signs failed to comply with the requirement that political ads clearly denote the name of the person/group who paid for the ad. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor. Fortunately, the board of elections provided Buttaro an opportunity to cure her signs’ deficiency.
In contrast, candidate Fuhse’s signs conformed to law.
I obtained copies of each candidate’s state-required Financial Interest form. The bottom of the simple form explicitly states, “This form is considered deficient if any block above is not completed.” Yet, Buttaro failed to properly complete every section of the form. In contrast, Fuhse appropriately completed the form in its entirety.
As a voter, should I grant Buttaro the benefit of the doubt, assuming these deficiencies were simple “oversights?”
I think not. A tax collector must be wholly focused on details. Every form completed, every tax filing processed, every database entry, every bank deposit slip and every transfer of monies must be timely, accurate and complete.
I met Fuhse for the first time when she rang our doorbell in her house-to-house campaign. She graciously subjected herself to my blunt, rapid-fire questions, which she handled deftly and self-confidently. I discovered that she is well-experienced, having served as office administrator and bookkeeper for two local businesses and has experience with software essential in running a data-heavy, document-based tax collection operation.
I urge Shohola voters to join me in voting for Juli Fuhse on May 18.
It is with much enthusiasm that I endorse Juli Fuhse for Shohola Township’s Tax Collector. As a past employer of a local forest products business, I would seek out young, energetic candidates that had the qualities and positive attitude Fuhse offers. She is honest, responsible, intelligent, extremely hard-working and possesses the necessary skill set for this position. I am certain Fuhse would master the job in a heartbeat and be a long-term asset to our great township.
Voting for Fuhse is a wonderful opportunity to help keep the talents of a capable young person in our community. Let’s not forfeit this opportunity. Please vote for Juli Fuhse on May 18, 2021.