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Readers React: New buildings overwhelming Bethlehem’s neighborhoods

The First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem is conducting feasibility studies on how the property could be used to address the community's affordable housing needs. (Amy Shortell/첥Ƶ
The First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem is conducting feasibility studies on how the property could be used to address the community’s affordable housing needs. (Amy Shortell/첥Ƶ
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Housing is taking over all areas of Bethlehem

While I have great empathy for the residents opposed to the proposed First Presbyterian project, I ask if they were decrying the shoving in of apartments on most every parcel of land in the East Hills section of Bethlehem.

Stefanos was leveled so a multistory apartment building could be erected between a beer store and condominiums (those residents losing total privacy). Just steps away, a house will be destroyed to make way for apartments, and on Easton Avenue, more apartments will be built.

Elected officials like to grandstand and preach affordable housing, but it is more likely that those apartments will appeal to people from outside of Bethlehem.

The opponents of the project are right in that Bethlehem’s infrastructure can’t support the influx of people who will call these apartments home.  Bethlehem is being sold to the highest bidder and we can blame ourselves for that, as we vote for the same old, same old, and don’t object to things unless personally impacted.

Welcome to Bethlehem, 2024, brought to you by Willie Reynolds, City Council and the planning commission.

Janet Barry

Bethlehem

Senate needs to support Shapiro’s school funding plan

Comparing Pennsylvania’s system for funding K-12 public education against other states reveals striking differences. With 14 cybercharter schools, Pennsylvania is regarded as the “cybercapital” of the country. At the same time, neighboring states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, do not have a single public cybercharter school.

Regarding vouchers, the 2022 Independent Fiscal Office review of Educational Tax Credit programs stated that Pennsylvania has one of the country’s largest investments in private school tax credit vouchers ($2.6 billion invested since 2001, according to the Keystone Research Center) with the least accountability. As a result, the IFO could not determine the impact of these funds or even which students received them.

Finally, over the last 30 years, the Pennsylvania Senate has failed to follow state law and the Pennsylvania Constitution by shifting the cost of public education from the required state-share level of 50% to the current level of 37%. The result? The share of funding paid for by Pennsylvanians’ property taxes is about 7 percentage points more than the national average, according to a report from Pittsburgh National Public Radio station WESA. The solution: Our Senate legislators should support Gov. Shapiro’s proposed budget, which would fund public schools fairly and equitably — per the 2023 Commonwealth Court ruling — and help mitigate future property tax increases.

Tracy Smith

Lower Macungie Township

Keep Donald Trump’s lies, Voltaire’s warning in mind

Donald Trump is a serial liar. He began his presidency saying it didn’t rain on his inauguration day, also lying about the size of the crowd there. He lied when he said windmill noise causes cancer and when he claimed the coronavirus was “totally under control.” He lied when he said that his big health care plan was coming in “two weeks.” Trump lied about how much Southern border wall he built. Trump lied when he blamed Nancy Pelosi for the failure to order National Guard troops to quell the Jan. 6 insurrection and when he claimed massive voter fraud caused him to lose the 2020 election — that the election was stolen. Trump lied when he repeatedly asserted that in 2020 Pennsylvania had 205,000 more votes than voters, and that Vice President Pence agreed with him that Pence had the power to reject Biden’s electoral votes. Trump lied when he not only said he didn’t know about the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels but that he didn’t even know her. Let’s remember Voltaire’s statement, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Edward J. Gallagher

Bethlehem

Trump’s Clinton comments take on new light after his conviction

In 2016, Donald Trump stated that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be allowed to run … if she won, he said, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. In that situation, we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and, ultimately, a criminal trial. It would grind government to a halt. Well, what do we have now? A convicted felon who might still be the front runner, and his appeal process will most likely cost our country millions, not to mention take up valuable time. Appeals plus golf, is there time to run a country? Since May 31, it’s been another “rigged, unfair situation” for this troubled man, who is now comparing himself to Jesus. The insanity needs to end before the republic does. He’s not a hero, he’s not the savior, he’s just a bully who can’t weather the storm. The ranting, the lying sadly has much of America hypnotized. Hopefully people wise up before it is truly too late to stop the madness and the threat of dictatorship and vengeance come November.

Annmarie Ott

Upper Macungie Township

Cunningham took liberties with ‘Ancient Mariner’ poem

In his recent column June 2, Don Cunningham ironically falls prey to the same “alternative facts” he warns against on the internet. While discussing Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” he perpetuates several errors. Coleridge was only 26 when he wrote the poem, not an “old Englishman.” The poem is actually a haunting and powerful tale of guilt and redemption, widely adapted and remembered, not “long-forgotten” or hard to read. The Ancient Mariner’s thirst is a consequence of his actions, not a precursor, and the crew’s thirst is a result of his harsh penance. The Mariner kills the albatross on a whim or out of hubris, not because he thinks it “led his ship astray,” and uses a crossbow, not a gun. In the end, Cunningham’s reading of the poem illustrates the very problem he identifies with the digital world: “Words, words everywhere, nor any one to trust.”

Grant Scott

Allentown

Trump conviction was bogus, won’t affect political hopes

It was a banner day for those with severe Trump Derangement Syndrome: President Trump was found guilty of 34 counts of something many of us find to be bogus at best. Until this verdict is overturned on appeal, and it will be, the Democrats will be referring to President Trump as convicted felon Trump. With some folks, this may hold some sway, but I believe most folks will see right through this.

Tom Bennett

Bethlehem

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