Rob Doherty singing for his supper, and more

Letters to the editor December 23 to 29

Posted 12/21/21

Singing for his supper

County legislators are prohibited from voting on matters bearing directly on their financial interest—County Code, sections A8A-1(A) and A8A-2(B)(6)—but that …

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Rob Doherty singing for his supper, and more

Letters to the editor December 23 to 29


Singing for his supper

County legislators are prohibited from voting on matters bearing directly on their financial interest—County Code, sections A8A-1(A) and A8A-2(B)(6)—but that didn’t stop chairman Robert Doherty.

If we’d known then that he was delinquent on his property taxes, we would have seen his vote in favor of resolution 471-20 last year for what it really was. More than authorizing county borrowing to cover unpaid property taxes, it authorized covering his.

The chairman’s failure to recuse is another example of the “catch me if you can” he’s notorious for—obligations sitting well with him, fine; otherwise, explore evading them.

When borrowing to repair county roads was discussed earlier this year, it’s worth remembering he not only balked but argued for redirecting the entire $7.3 million we received in federal COVID-19 relief funds toward non-pandemic-related expenses. County borrowing for his debts, fine; assisting county residents through the pandemic? Let’s not get carried away.  

It’s not for nothing that he’s recently embarked on a weekly public relations campaign—exposing an elected official’s tax delinquency can have that effect. But reasons are many why residents should consider carefully whether what he tells them is truthful, and his latest attempts at papering over his shortcomings as county leader should be seen for what they are—an attempt to avoid a pay cut should he fail to secure his chairmanship in January.  Between now and then, expect he’ll be singing loudly for his supper.  

Dave Colavito

Rock Hill, NY

Grange applauds legislative broadband action

The Pennsylvania State Grange issued the following statement after a vote by the General Assembly to pass House Bill 2071, to establish the PA Broadband Development Authority.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Martin Causer (R-67). It establishes a funded, central authority to coordinate actions for gaining access to high-speed broadband for rural Pennsylvanians. It consolidates efforts to one coordinating entity. This broadband authority was a key recommendation of the Joint State Government Commission in their landmark 2019 study of broadband policy options.  

The Pennsylvania State Grange was chosen as the only rural membership organization to help define those options.

“With the promise of new federal dollars for broadband from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, as passed by Congress, and funds from the USDA and the FCC, Pennsylvania needs to use these resources efficiently and equitably to areas without broadband now,” said Wayne Campbell, president of the Pennsylvania State Grange. “The action by the General Assembly indicates legislators recognize this urgency too, as well as the importance of control and oversight being in one location.”

The Grange has been stating for several years that broadband access is to this century what rural electrification was to the 1900s. The need to act quickly is critical to the needs of many Pennsylvanians.

The Pennsylvania State Grange testified before the House Consumer Affairs Committee on November 10th to urge quick action.  House Bill 2071 now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Pennsylvania State Grange

Mifflintown, PA

Sounds confusing: homophones and English

 The November column by Curtis Honeycutt, the Grammar Guy, was quite interesting about the correct spelling of “grateful.” Our English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn, with much confusion caused by homonyms. In the early ‘50s, when I attended private school and my neighbors attended public school, we played Scrabble  frequently and had to have good old “Webster’s” nearby.

Homophones, where “homo,” means “the same” and “phone,” means sound, were taught to us as “homonyms,” with the former making far more sense. Our primary language has plenty of homophones.

There was once in The New York Daily News a fill-in puzzle with tricky clues for selecting the correct spelling of the homophone, and I watched my father play it all the time. Of course, in classroom spelling bees we never asked to have the word used in a sentence, as kids can today, because the challenge was based upon whatever we had to study from our spelling books and little beyond. As my class champ, I found spelling to be second nature.

Look at “bear” and its possible meanings—an animal, to hold a burden, to give birth—a word with the same sound and different meanings. Then look at “bare,” not to mention “beer” and “bier.”

Back in my Brockport dorm in ‘67 I asked my neighbor, from Rochester, to pronounce the words “marry,” “Mary” and “merry.” Her regional dialect had all three sounding identical despite their distinctly different sounds and spellings. With the similar and different sounds of the letters c, q and k, plus all the diacritical markings, it’s no wonder foreigners can easily get confused learning our language. So do many of our native born!

Spelling is rarely, if ever, taught as a subject anymore. If anyone still has the ‘70 World Book Encyclopedia, look at the lists of 100 words per grade that kids grade three through college level were expected to know. They can pronounce them but can’t spell them!

Afi Phoebe—retired English professor

Jamaica /Narrowsburg

Sullivan County Legislature, Rob Doherty, tax delinquency, Pennsylvania State Grange, PA Broadband Development Authority, Joint State Government Commission, homophones, spelling


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