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Letters: ‘Grim’ Future with Casino; Mastriano Changed Stripes but Not Views; SCOTUS Damaged Own Reputation

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I am a resident of The Village at Penn State in Patton Township, and I am writing this letter because I am the parent of a 43-year-old gambling addict. His addiction has broken up his marriage, affected his health and ruined his financial life — which means that my financial stability has been in jeopardy as well. And I know many stories regarding gambling addicts that are much worse than his, leading to early death and even suicide.

I am shocked that a Penn State alumnus and former trustee is willing to expose the students to the dangers of gambling, evidently for his own personal financial gain. His decision is his decision, but it does not have to be ours. Maybe he is willing to live with the responsibility for the number of students that begin a life of gambling at his casino and ruin their lives — but are we? And are we willing to bear the responsibility for the local businesses, such as movie theaters, restaurants and bars, that will close because the students choose to go out to the casino instead of patronizing their establishments? And for the crime and prostitution, and children (and pets) left in locked cars while their parents gambled, and for the impoverishment of senior citizens that inevitably follows the opening of a casino? For 20 years I lived near Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and I know what I’m talking about, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

We need to think carefully about what we can do to prevent this. The futures of a whole generation of PSU students may be jeopardized. An addict is born with a propensity for addiction, but it lies dormant until first exposure. By then the bug has bitten, and it’s too late to stop without help. The downward spiral has begun.

If we want to avoid this grim picture of our future, we all must take a stand on this issue and state our opposition to siting a casino here. If we do, it will be much more likely that College Township will decide to ask the PGCB not to approve this application. Many residents in the area think that the family atmosphere of our community would be permanently harmed if it is approved. And in the long run, the financial health of the university would be harmed as well. Parents will send their students elsewhere. According to the latest U.S. News rankings, Penn State is now the worst value among the Big Ten schools. Does it want to be known as the Gambling Capital of the Big Ten as well? 

Write letters to the editor or to the PGCB yourself, speak out at the next College Township Board meeting on Oct. 6, or get in touch with any Penn State Board of Trustees member that you may know, with this message: JUST SAY NO TO THE CASINO!

Joan Bouchard,
Patton Township

Mastriano Has Changed His Stripes, but Not His Views

Since winning Pennsylvania’s Republican primary, Doug Mastriano has changed his stripes. His video, “The Right to Life: Doug Mastriano for Governor,” disappeared from his campaign website.

In it, Mastriano says, “’My body, my choice’ is ridiculous nonsense.” The vast majority of Pennsylvanians disagree with him. An August 2022 Franklin and Marshall poll found 89% of Pennsylvanians want abortion legal in some or all circumstances.

Mastriano used to claim abortion as his “No. 1 issue,” and vowed to move “with alacrity and speed” to outlaw, with no exceptions, abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. “I will do everything in my power to protect babies so everyone can live their life as they see fit,” Mastriano declares in his scrapped video.

Obviously, Mastriano’s “everyone” doesn’t include women seeking reproductive health care.

Mastriano realizes that he’s wildly out of step with many Republicans, especially suburban women, who say they’ll have a hard time voting for their party’s nominee because they don’t trust his sudden about-face—or his newfound silence on the abortion issue.

Mastriano’s handlers are reading the polls and muzzling their candidate, but a politician who changes his stripes overnight can’t be trusted—and voters won’t be deceived. His campaign may have deemphasized abortion, but Mastriano has not changed his views.

Keep government mandates out of your private health care decisions. Register to vote by Oct. 24, and then vote on Nov. 8 for Josh Shapiro, the only candidate who has pledged to protect a woman’s right to choose.

Sue Morris,
Mill Hall

SCOTUS Damaged Its Own Reputation

Chief Justice Roberts has claimed public criticism of the Supreme Court’s reputation is unfair. I think his lament is myopic. I started my legal career clerking for a conservative trial judge, and a conservative appellate court judge. While my political views didn’t mirror theirs, we shared a common belief in the rule of law and the importance of judicial precedent.

The law can and should evolve, as in the case of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision overruling the reprehensible “separate but equal” doctrine; still the Supreme Court must give great weight to precedent, especially precedent involving fundamental rights. Failure to do so gives rise to real concerns about political influence and erodes confidence in the rule of law. Circumstances surrounding McConnell’s refusal to allow a hearing on the Garland nomination, recent appointments of Federalist Society partisans, and their misleading answers to questions about Roe v. Wade during their confirmation hearings tend to further erode confidence in the Court.

The Court’s zealous overruling of 75 years of precedent, upending the well-established balance between privacy rights of women and the interests of the state, and suggesting that other privacy rights are now in peril, delegitimizes the Court. The Court has damaged its own reputation.

Chief Justice Roberts has claimed his Court just calls balls and strikes, but in the here and now the umpires are doing much more than that; they are changing the fundamental rules of the game.

Dean Phillips,