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Drill down further on unfair criticism of Erb

This letter is in response to a recent letter from Mike Brown regarding the Blair County commissioners being led by Bruce Erb.

Brown seems to play fast and loose with his facts for several reasons.

The election of the two newest members of the body of commissioners was an exercise of picking the low hanging fruit.

Commissioner Terry Tomassetti was not going to run again, probably because he knew there would be blowback for the reassessment. As for the election of Laura Burke, she has assumed the position of the common-sense Democrat, Ted Beam.

The people didn’t necessarily vote for Burke; they simply did not cast their vote for Beam. Accepting these two facts, the voters need to look deeper as to exactly whom they put into office.

Brown makes two bold assertions in his letter.

First, he states, somewhat emphatically, that Amy Webster’s campaign was devoid of any outside influences. This statement is patently false, and his suggestion is laughable.

Webster’s campaign was financed in large part by an outside organization. The interesting aspect of this financing arm of Webster’s campaign is that the de facto leaders of this organization, who in recent years were clutching their pearls and decrying the influence of money being directed into political campaigns, were hiding their hypocritical nature.

In essence, they have “bought” their own county commissioner.

Secondly, Brown asserts the fact that because Webster is an attorney, she is more qualified to be the chairperson of the commissioners. So does her status as an attorney portend she possesses financial skills?

On the other side of the aisle, the Democratic newcomer is Burke. The Democrats decided to not to re-elect Beam, for whatever reason, and obviously this is their prerogative.

However, what did they get in return? No one truly knows, as Burke’s campaign platform was essentially transparency and accountability. I seem to recall this exact type of platform, several years ago, but it was called hope and change — and most rational people remember that eight-year period of unease.

The past board of commissioners, save for Erb, were tarred and feathered for the simple reason the citizens of the county rose up against these previous members because of the reassessment issue.

Most of us residing in Blair County found this issue to be unpalatable. However, this situation had to be resolved, and the past board of commissioners, including Erb, had to take steps to resolve the problem.

For years upon years, and for whatever reason, previous commissioners failed to look forward even though the industrial base was beginning to evaporate.

In essence, they maintained the status quo and for their lack of vision, the county found itself in a serious situation of undervaluation of property.

The fact Erb was a leader in the past provides him with a substantially larger knowledge base with which to guide the county in the right direction over the next several years.

How will the two new commissioners fare during their terms? This question cannot be answered at this time.

William E. Straesser

Altoona

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