letters to the editor
letters to the editor
Insight on Mt. Lebanon Home Rule Charter

Thank you for providing the Primary Voter’s Guide in your May 6-12, 2015, edition. I would like to provide some background and clarification to the remarks of Steve McLean regarding the Mt. Lebanon Home Rule Charter.

In 1975, Mt. Lebanon was one of the first communities in Pennsylvania to adopt a Home Rule Charter. Since then, there have been a number of reviews made to recommend changes. I was a member of the non-partisan Ad Hoc Home Rule Charter Study Committee working over the period 2012-2013. Our committee made a number of recommendations aimed at improving governmental efficiency, increasing transparency and to bring the Charter in step with current technology and conditions. Each recommendation made by the Committee had unanimous support of the membership.

Of the recommendations made, there was none that related to changing the number of votes by Commissioners required to raise taxes. We did make a recommendation to reduce the limit on the amount that the Commission could raise property taxes without voter approval back to the levels established when the Home Rule Charter was adopted.

The work of the committee is complete and a full report is available on the Mt. Lebanon municipal website. The Commission may place the recommendations as referendums for consideration during local elections. It is important to understand that none of the recommended changes to the Home Rule Charter will come into force without the majority support of the voters of Mt. Lebanon. So far, two of the recommendations have been considered by the voters and both have passed with overwhelming support.

Geoffrey R. Hurd

Mt. Lebanon

Remembering why we celebrate Memorial Day

The celebration of Memorial Day in the United States dates back to the Civil War. In 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

It was originally known as Decoration Day, and the date of May 30 was selected because it was not the anniversary of any particular Civil War battle.

In 1873, New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday.

It has changed over the years, in name and in date. Following World War I, the holiday expanded to honor fallen soldiers of any war, not just the Civil War. The National Holiday Act of 1971, passed by Congress, made it the last Monday in May and ensures a three-day weekend for federal holidays.

It has become a day of gatherings with family and friends and is viewed as the “official” start of summer. Picnics take place and pools open. We would bet that there are many people today who forget – or don’t actually know – what the day truly stands for.

So, we remind you that you wouldn’t be having picnics or a three-day weekend were it not for the sacrifices that were made for you so long ago, and especially recently.

Our servicemen and women are brave, they are heroes. Those who fell in combat gave their lives so that we can live in a free nation. Those who lived to see the end of the war – be it the Civil War, the Vietnam War, or more recently, Operation Iraqi Freedom – do not come home unscathed. Their wounds could be physical or mental, but they are battle wounds.

So as you slather on sunscreen, fire up the grill or crack open a beer this Memorial Day, take time to remember why you are afforded these opportunities.

And to everyone who has fought, to those whose family members have served – we say, thank you.