Clean up after you clean up
Whatever happened to the dustpan and broom? The leaf/lawn blower, that’s what happened.
It disturbs us that homeowners who hire contractors to cut their front and back lawns allow them to blow the grass clippings back out into the street.
We live on a block where seniors (who no longer can cut their own grass) as well as some who choose to use contractors total almost 50 percent.
Sure, that manicured lawn looks great, but when they leave, the center of the street looks like trash, and small cut pieces of paper, sticks and asphalt end up in the mix, littering the roadway.
These are not 14-year-old kids who do this to make a buck for water ice and pretzels. These guys are so-called professionals, paid accordingly, mind you, to do a quality job.
Didn’t they come up with a bag that catches grass clippings some time ago? I thought a leaf blower could also be a vacuum that picks up debris. Also, it appears that some of these lawns have been chemically treated, and the clippings are being washed down into an inlet that is marked “drains directly to river.”
Pop always told us that the job isn’t complete until the sweeping is done. That still holds true at our place. We sweep our mess and bag it, and, more often than not, someone else’s, also.
Isn’t there a fine for littering? How about polluting our waterways? Come on, homeowners, take a good look and let’s stop these wannabe ghostbusters from littering our streets.
The Dybalski Family
Beware the double whammy on your tax bill
I have a warning for all Philadelphia residents. The 9.9 percent real estate tax increase you paid in 2011 should be eliminated for 2012 and replaced with the new 3.85 percent real estate tax for 2012.
When you receive your next real estate tax, it should be 6.05 percent less. The 9.9 percent was for two years only, not an add-on. The 3.85 percent is for one year only. That’s what the mayor and City Council stated initially to the public.
When you receive your 2012 real estate tax bill, check very carefully. Do not pay 13.75 percent more for 2012.
Slumlords rule with no justice for renters
There are too many slumlords in Philly that take advantage of the working poor while simultaneously lowering the quality of life for homeowners. The slumlord problem has been perpetuated by homeowners and renters not coming together in one united voice to demand that city government provide more inspections and regulations on rented properties in the city.
Homeowners are foolish to think that the overflowing garbage containers are not attracting mice or even rats to venture onto their properties. The bedbug infestations can easily spread from scuzzy apartment building to respectable homeowner quicker than you can say, “Goodnight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”
Voice your specific concerns about the slumlord epidemic in the city with the Department of Licenses and Inspections, before it is too late. Don’t wait until your children or elderly parents become the slumlords’ next victim!
Write to: Fran Burns, L&I Commissioner, 1401 JFK Blvd. 11th Floor, Phila., PA 19102.
Or, contact L&I Northeast supervisor Elizabeth Carrasquillo at the Rising Sun Avenue and Benner Street office, right next to the fire station in Lawndale.
Clean sweep includes Councilman Brian O’Neill
Mayer Krain’s letter to the editor last week (Councilman entitled to take DROP) is an insult to the voters of Northeast Philadelphia. He believes the voters in the 10th Councilmanic District who support Bill Rubin do so because Brian O’Neill is eligible for the DROP. In case you didn’t know, Mayer Krain, we are well aware of his rights. But thanks for the reminder. And don’t render us mindless.
Wake up and smell the coffee. After 30 years, it’s time for a change for the better. Decisions on voting for candidates are not solely based on who qualifies for the DROP. Try thinking outside the box. Imposing your opinion on us is self-serving. Our decisions are based on who will better help lead this community.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty, not doubletalk. Look outside the box, Mayer Krain, and speak for yourself about how we choose our elected officials.
It’s time to do some housekeeping with Council members, starting with the 10th district.
What this community needs is a candidate who actively participates, listens and responds to the needs of citizens in a timely manner. Haven’t seen that happen in a while. What this city needs is Bill Rubin, because it’s time for a change, not because his opponent will be eligible for the DROP.
By the way, perhaps Councilman O’Neill should never say “never.”
Corbett’s punishing the public school system
Who cares about our children, anyway? Tom Corbett obviously does not, even though he professed that he did while campaigning for the job of governor.
Education and welfare have taken a back shelf with the governor now that he has moved into the governor’s mansion and taking care of the gas-drillers in the Marcellus Shale region has become the priority for him. Apparently, he has a feeling of obligation to these giants of industry for the big bucks contributed to his campaign.
Too bad that he has no compassion for the citizens who elected him, or their children, who are going to suffer from vast cutbacks in the Philadelphia School District, particularly. So will the teachers and staff who are losing their jobs.
The governor needs to reset his priorities and realize that the people of this state must take precedence over wealthy gas drillers, who Tom says are creating jobs. I say, “hogwash.” Wal-Mart creates jobs — why don’t we not tax them?
If we had a governor who was truly concerned and willing to tax the wealthy fat cats who are coming here to this state to make a fortune, and who, ironically, are perfectly willing to pay their fair share of taxes, there most probably would not be a budget crisis, and certainly no reason to punish the school districts and universities of Pennsylvania. Is there some way that we can bring back Ed Rendell? We deserve better than this!
George E. Norcross III, the esteemed chairman of the Cooper Health System at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, does indeed care about quality education for the children. He’s an advocate of charter schools and supports the Opportunity Scholarship Act, which aids in the selection of the most deserving students for that system, among other noteworthy remedies.
He has cited Pennsylvania as a model for the success of the charter school system, so I suppose it’s fortunate that he’s unaware that our budget obsessed governor just cut off the entire $57 million needed to fund our charter schools here.
The governor’s stance on teachers is nonsense
Despite the effects of poverty, lack of family involvement, the high absentee rate and violence in low performing schools, Gov. Corbett wants to tie teacher ratings to student performance in standardized tests.
If this were law and you switched the faculty from high performing suburban schools with those in low performing city schools the former would soon be looking for work outside the education field. It makes as much sense as blaming the police who are assigned to high crime areas.
Looking for quality? Check out the charter schools
This is in regard to the article in the June 30 edition of the Northeast Times (That’s the charter spirit). I am the parent of three (almost four students) who attend this American Paradigm.
The schools’ “Caring Community” philosophy and high academic standards have enabled my children to receive an education they could never have in the city’s public school system. My children enjoy attending school and are reading on much higher reading levels than their peers attending other schools. I have nothing but high regard for these two phenomenal schools and plan on sending all six of my children to them.
I hope the politicians who are stalling the construction of a new school building for Tacony Academy will look closely at the education the children attending this paradigm are receiving and come to the realization that if the Philadelphia School District was run half as well as these schools, the success rate of our future adults would be much higher than they presently are.
I would like to acknowledge both Mr. Santilli and Ms. Cruise for creating an educational model that ALL children in the city of Philadelphia should be receiving. I finally feel as though the tax dollars that I pay are going to some quality education.
For all parents seeking a quality education for their children, I would highly recommend both First Philadelphia and Tacony Academy.
The school district created its fiscal woes
Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman continues to overspend what the school district is due from the state and city. She is now requiring the city to kick in another $100 million. The city unions under Mayor Nutter have not had a pay raise in years because the mayor claims the city is broke.
Basically Ackerman and her supposed bosses, the School Reform Commission, have financially “shot themselves in the foot” and are now claiming they are bleeding to death. They unilaterally want money back from union contracts that they all personally agreed to and signed.
Why are Philadelphians putting up with Ackerman, the SRC and Nutter?
Stop playing the race card with school statistics
Ms. Ackerman recently left for a two-month vacation. Hopefully, she purchased a one-way ticket.
Ms. Ackerman was recently quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer as saying, “Teachers, parents and administrators celebrate the success of our students and the acknowledgment that as a city we are heading in the right direction. Nine straight years of academic gains is something we all should be proud of, but the task is far from complete.”
Do you believe that? She believes that test scores of 52 percent and 59 percent for Latino and black students are an accomplishment? In addition, the improved scores come after nine years of effort! Finally, these scores are the result of programs instituted by former school district CEO Paul Vallas, not herself! She is taking credit for someone else’s work.
When/if we look to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and attendance graduation rates, it’s rather clear what the problem is.
On average, Asian children attend Philadelphia schools 94 percent of the time and score highest in both math and reading levels. White children attend school 93 percent of the time and score just below Asian children.
Black children attend school only 80 percent of the time, and score well below both Asian and white children. Latino children attend Philadelphia schools 76 percent. Both black and Latinos, on average, fail to meet “proficient” state guidelines for math and reading.
The problem appears to be related directly to attendance — or children won’t learn if they don’t attend school.
Thus the acts of not going to school and dropping out are both voluntary. Say it any other way you want, Ms. Ackerman, your job is to educate the children, and you can’t do it unless you figure out a way to make the kids come to school. Forget all the other programs (smokescreens such as violence, hiring teachers of color, etc.).
If Asian and white students can learn/achieve today, so can blacks and Latinos, if they want to.
Joseph J. Murray
What’s in a word? ‘Entitlement’ means plenty
Why do all in Washington — the news media, elected officials, pundits and politicos — misuse the word entitlement?
The original meaning was a king’s gift of title and lands to a peer in exchange for money and serfs to fight his wars. The modern meaning is king corporation gifts of campaign money to politicos to keep their elected titles in exchange for laws granting special corporate allowances, subsidies, tax deductions, etc.
In 1937 Congress passed the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and set up a trust fund of pre-payments for Social Security pensions, unemployment pay for layoffs, and workmen’s compensation for work-related injury. The insurance premiums are paid by employee payroll deductions plus employer matching funds.
In January 1983, President Reagan had economic adviser Alan Greenspan compute new rates and caps for a 100-year fund life. Income tax cuts from 1981 on produced huge deficits. In April 1983 they covered the deficits by raiding and transferring all the monies into general revenue. Government notes were and are being issued for this money, reported to be $2.6 trillion to $4 trillion. The fund is still solvent!
Government health plans — Medicare, Medicaid — are not funded by FICA but some portions are funded. Medicare A only pays 80 percent of some but not all items; recipients pay the balance. On Medicare B, a portion is funded by monthly deductions from Social Security payments. Medicare C is paid by monthly premiums plus co-pays plus 100 percent over the basic limit. On Medicaid disability payments, FICA payments may have been made in previous years’ employment.
Misusing the word entitlement shows deliberate contempt for citizens.
Irene A. White
College education is a great investment
Regarding John Scanlon’s As I see it column last week (Is college education really worth it?):
Job prospects may look grim these days, but research shows that those with some level of post-secondary education have more opportunities available to them.
The fact is, most jobs that pay a living wage require some form of higher education or post-secondary school training. Gone are the days when a high school graduate could walk into a factory or an office and earn a salary that could support a family.
According to the Pew Research Center Report cited in last week’s column, the lifetime earnings of a typical four-year college graduate are $1.4 million.
A typical two-year college degree recipient earns $1 million over a lifetime, while a typical high school graduate earns just $770,000 over a lifetime (www.pewsocialtrends.org).
That’s thousands of unearned dollars missing from the American economy for each consumer who doesn’t earn a post-secondary degree.
College education is so vital to the nation’s future that the White House has made it a goal for the nation to produce 50 percent more college graduates (roughly 8 million more) by the year 2020 (www.ed.gov).
This spring, Vice President Joe Biden announced new initiatives, such as College Completion Incentive Grants, that reward states and institutions that increase their number of college graduates.
A multitude of financial programs are available to help almost anyone pay for a college degree. At Holy Family University, 95 percent of students receive some form of financial aid.
It’s important to choose a college that fits your needs. And when you do, it will be one of the most worthwhile investments you’ll ever make.
Director of media relations
Holy Family University
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