Sounding off: Keep the Pittsburgh airport world class
I have traveled into and out of Pittsburgh International Airport at least 240 times since the new terminal opened in 1992. My first trip was on the terminal’s first day. My wife and I arrived eight hours before our flight’s scheduled departure because we expected the newness of the airport would create havoc. Wrong! On its first day, and to this day, the airport is incredibly efficient. Here’s why:
Our highly efficient runway system often provides the flexibility needed to keep traffic moving when other airports might need to either slow operations or shut down due to weather. Our terminal is efficient, clean and user-friendly so that even when weather causes delays, time spent at our airport is not nearly as stressful as it is at other northeastern airports.
This is why I and many other travelers and taxpayers are concerned over the announced major reconstruction and reconfiguration of the terminal.
No one can dispute that the betrayal of our region by US Airways/American Airlines has dramatically changed the situation at our airport.
Perhaps, though, rather than a monstrous overhaul we should instead focus on measured and ongoing modifications that will maintain our world-class status while enabling the airport authority to reduce fees to encourage existing airlines to expand service while also attracting new airlines flying to new destinations.
Vaughn Gilbert, Elizabeth
Schools shouldn’t be funded by homeowners
David Poskin’s letter “Highlands budget woes” hit the nail on the head regarding school funding in Pennsylvania.
Too many schools are experiencing declining enrollments but skyrocketing costs. Hardly a year goes by that there isn’t a sizeable increase in our real estate taxes. In districts where enrollment is declining, it is due to fewer children per family and/or fewer families of child-bearing age. This leaves the less mobile, fixed-income seniors paying the escalating bills.
We have got to find a way to get the burden of school funding off of our homes. Schools should be funded by the income producers and consumers.
Governors since Milton Shapp have campaigned on reducing or eliminating school real estate taxes, but as soon as they are elected, the promises go away. The state income tax, the lottery and casino gambling are examples.
Programs like Stop Taxing Our Properties and House Bill 1776 have tried to remedy the problem, but the powerful lobbies who are content with the status quo have prevailed.
Robert Hawk, Donegal Township
Boycott Sunoco for ethics breach
As a child, I was taught the “sticks and stones” slogan. As I grew, I was taught about freedom of speech. Now that I’m old, I realize that it seems either rule applies only sometimes.
If Sunoco did not own the billboard on which gas station owner John Placek displayed his messages, it had no right to influence his livelihood by cutting off supplies for his business (“Sunoco cuts ties with Armstrong County gas station over ‘offensive’ billboard,”). I don’t know what racial slur he displayed, but it doesn’t matter. His freedom of speech should have allowed him to do it. If it was objectionable, the business community or some official should have insisted it be removed. Even complaints from his customers would, no doubt, have encouraged him to remove it.
I am not saying racial slurs are OK or should be tolerated.
I hope others will join me in boycotting Sunoco in response to this outrageous breach of business ethics. Our freedoms are slipping away at an alarming rate. We need to make an effort to stop this before it is too late. Let freedom ring and continue and let this man continue to run his business and his billboard as he sees fit. I hope it will be inspirational messages in the future.
On another subject: Kudos to the jury in the Michael Rosfeld case who fulfilled their duty as they saw fit, knowing people would be outraged no matter which way they decided. Isn’t it a shame that they may be targeted for doing what they deemed right?
Eileen Condie, Hempfield
Why I don’t love Trump
This is in response to the letter “Why I love Trump”. Let’s call it “Why I don’t love Trump.”
Will not release his taxes — Yes.
Admiration for dictators — Yes.
Constant tweets — Yes.
Continued bashing of a real American hero, John McCain — Yes. By the way, in what branch of the armed forces did Trump serve? Oh wait, he got five deferments, including a medical one for bone spurs. Just because he hugs the American flag doesn’t mean he’s a patriot.
Cut regulations relating to clear air and water — Yes.
Permanent tax cuts for the wealthy, temporary ones for the middle class — Yes.
Constant running to his resort in Florida to play golf — Yes. He criticized Obama for playing golf but I would bet he’s already played golf more times in two years than Obama did in eight.
Failure to acknowledge that white supremacist/hate groups are on the rise — Yes.
Nancy Cochran, Springdale
Minimum wage will hurt young, poor
Yet again Democrats seek to increase the minimum wage. But that is a bad idea because it will hurt those it is supposed to help.
If the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour, those already making $15, $20 and up would need raises also. These raises would drastically increase the cost of living for all. By the time the raises work their way through the economy, the poor will be right back where they started.
Moreover, raising the minimum wage would likely force employers to eliminate additional entry-level positions by automating. There will be more self-serve checkout lines in supermarkets, and fast-food restaurants are already experimenting with self-serve ordering to eliminate order-takers. Do we really want to take away jobs from those who desperately need them?
Liberals want us to believe that those working minimum-wage jobs are supporting families, but that is not true. Minimum-wage jobs are overwhelmingly filled by young people who need to acquire jobs skills to move up to better positions. Most work at minimum wage for less than a year. Removing more entry-level jobs only reduces opportunities for young and poor people.
Raising the minimum wage is another scheme concocted by liberals to win votes while hurting us all in the long run.
Dave Majernik, Plum
I did not vote for candidate Trump in 2016, but I will vote for President Trump in 2020. I will do it because America needs a strong two-party system.
The Democratic Party has been hijacked by wackos and radicals. The moderate members and “leadership” — Pelosi and Schumer — have lost control. I believe the only chance to restore sanity in the Democratic Party is to send a message in the 2020 election that is so strong it will enable the moderates to regain control.
I will vote for Trump because a president from a party that has veered so far from the center scares me. For three years, many Democrats have called the president and his family members everything but human, continuously made uncorroborated accusations and claimed they had definitive proof of criminal wrongdoing, and stated that Trump would be indicted and sent to prison. Then, when the Mueller report failed to support their claims, they irrationally began to attack the integrity of Attorney General William Barr.
I will vote for Trump because I believe the media is the biggest culprit in this travesty. They have rarely challenged those who make accusations or claim to have evidence of wrongdoing. Rather, they have degenerated into a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.
Perhaps a strong message in 2020 will wake them up and remind them of the responsibility that comes with the protection defined in the First Amendment: Keep Americans informed with facts, not with lies, hearsay and biased opinions.
Michael Bitterice, Buffalo Township
I have been waiting for nearly a half-century for the minimum-wage apocalypse, wherein smaller businesses (and some large chain restaurants) “seize up,” fail to function and fail in business terms. Such are the highly predictable diatribes by “economists” every time raising the minimum wage is broached. I refer to Lloyd Corder’s op-ed “Where do economists stand on Wolf’s $15 proposal?”. By the way, the apocalypse never happened!
Frankly, in my personal finances, it’s the well- to extremely well-compensated bankers, lawyers, accountants, analysts and yes, economists, that have caused me woe (not minimum-wagers). The most recent egregious example, of course, was the 2008-09 financial crisis fomented largely by these very well-compensated folk.
As for the 40% of economists who support a $7.25/hour minimum wage, they must believe that such a rate is “fair compensation” for “wage slaves,” some of whom undoubtedly make their lives smoother (cappuccinos, etc.).
Good luck recruiting and retaining staff at $7.25/hour. A short drive on Route 30 should disabuse anyone who can read that the current minimum-wage rate is adequate with help-wanted signs everywhere except certain large lamented box stores.
James Kvitkovich, Hempfield