More red tape from the city
For months I have called the city sanitation department for taking away the wire basket from the southbound lane as trash is all over the grounds at the bus stop at Ashton Road and Norcross Lane. The city put one on the north side, which was always overflowing.
Once, the people who are supposed to take care of this problem even turned the can upside down so trash could not be put in. I called again and about a week later they put it upright. Then it was not being emptied again. I called the sanitation department yet again, so they came out and took away the one on the north side, too. I am out of options, since every department I call gives me another number to call. It appears no one is assigned to this matter.
The corner of Ashton and Norcross is a bus stop for the Routes 19 and 50, which goes to the casino. There is always trash all over my lawn and I cannot keep up with this eyesore. No wonder we are rated the second dirtiest city in the United States. Can’t someone see to it that this problem gets solved?
Also, cement was never cleaned up from a car that had hit the street sign a year and a half ago, nor was debris from a fireplug that was hit a year ago.
I am 71 years old and cannot clean up cement left on and off the curb. I have tried over a dozen city phone numbers for months, maybe a year. This must be someone’s job.
Councilman entitled to take DROP
Bill Rubin’s letter to the editor last week (Council hopeful calls for independence) was very self-serving since he is running against Councilman Brian O’Neill.
He believes that the only reason you should vote for him is because Brian is eligible to take what he is legally entitled to, a DROP payment.
Since Rubin is pointing fingers, let’s look at the history of DROP. Democratic Mayor Ed Rendell brought this entire financial mess to Philadelphia. Democrats Joan Krajewski, Anna Verna, John Street and Frank DiCicco are taking or have taken advantage of their right, which is the same right that Brian has, to DROP money.
I don’t seem to remember in previous years when Democrat Rubin went against his party and told us to get rid of the DROP program. If it exists, Mr. Rubin, could you please show us that documentation?
Brian is only one of three Republicans (two at-large) of the 17 Council members and his 10th Councilmanic District, in my opinion, is the only one worth living in. Could that be the reason he has been re-elected for three decades?
Editor’s note: Councilman O’Neill told the Northeast Times last week that he is “never going to enroll in DROP.”
Councilwoman, staff praised for service
The board of Oxford Circle Civic Association wants to express our appreciation to 6th district City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski for the many years of service we have received from her and her great staff.
There have been so many issues we required services for over the years. The CLIP and anti-graffiti programs have been lifesaving for our community. With so many rentals and absentee landlords, without this service Oxford Circle would be hard to imagine without the program.
We thank Joan Krajewski and Deputy Managing Director Tom Conway for helping us maintain a quality of life that many of us have had for many years. We thank you and your staff for the years of service. Often times we forget to let the staff know how we appreciate their time.
President, Oxford Circle Civic Association
Tax rate’s going in the wrong direction
I wasn’t happy at all when our City Council voted to raise our property taxes to put more financial burden on us. Since they have raised our taxes so many times I lost count, but I wonder:
When did our City Council ever vote to REDUCE our property taxes? How about putting names of those City Council members who voted yes and when election time comes, VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE. Shame on them.
P.S. I found an old property tax bill from 1975. The bill was $575. Now it’s almost $2,000.
Robert F. Schaffer
A trashy way for the city to make money
Dear Mayor Nutter,
The city has the potential to make a lot of money in the trash business. Private haulers and Dumpsters are available to everyone on a fee-based option. Contractors and homeowners could take advantage of a city initiative that accepts construction debris and yard waste.
Portable vehicle weight scales like those that are used by police truck enforcement could weigh in vehicles that take advantage of a reduced rate to dump.
Instead of renting a Dumpster and having it sit there for days, debris could be loaded and taken to the city dump site on the same day.
Mark A. Evans
Students may still say their prayers
Mr. John F. Rauchut writes in a letter to the editor in the June 23 edition of the Northeast Times that in 1962 Madalyn Murray O’Hair got the Supreme Court to ban prayer in public schools.
[Our neighbor] Abington School District v. Schempp, with which her lawsuit was consolidated, was decided in 1963, and the Supreme Court did no such thing.
Mr. Rauchut continues that “Maybe they should let the public schools have the freedom to let the students say their own prayers.”
Students already have that right and have always had that right, and it has never been prohibited by the Supreme Court. They may now and have always been permitted to pray aloud in school or at school, before school, after school, at recess, at lunch, between classes, and during class “free time.” They may pray silently at any time at all.
The entire text of the decision is easily found on the Internet. Go to the Abington School District v. Schempp Wikipedia article and it’s just a click away — so I’ll just quote a small part of it: “No state law or school board may require that passages from the Bible be read or that the Lord’s Prayer be recited in the public schools.”
Howard J. Wilk
Is college education really worth it?
As i See It
By John Scanlon
I see all these newly minted college grads, hope in their hearts and a wad of loan IOUs in their wallets, and I feel blessed that my parents had me long before 1989.
I wouldn’t want to be a 22-year-old college grad eager to set the world on fire. These days, chances are good I’d be burned.
There’s a lot to be said for the old days. Before iPads and networking and posting resumes on Monster.com. You had your notion of a dream career and you hit the sidewalk to go after it, and if you showed an employer any promise at all, the dream was yours.
I didn’t stick around long enough to get my college degree. But I’ve been enjoying my dream career for 37 years, ever since that fortuitous day in February 1974 when I made a cold call to a South Jersey newspaper, toting a leather binder with a few published stories I’d written as a night news clerk at the Inquirer, and shockingly was offered an immediate interview with the editor and, about an hour later, a full-time reporting job.
Not because I was Hemingway, mind you. There’s a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time. Two hours earlier a reporter had been canned. Then I showed up with my little leather binder. I didn’t feel bad that the guy lost his job. I felt ecstatic that it became mine. Roughly four seconds, that’s what it took me to ponder the offer, and best of all was that I could drop out of college halfway through it all, freed of boredom, freed of worries about being weighed down for years by tuition loan repayments, convinced that I’d just finish those classes if I ever needed that degree.
I was damn lucky. So were many others in those days. Job searches haven’t worked that way in a long time, and it’s downright out of the question for the Class of 2011, whose members have just tossed those commencement caps into the winds of an ugly economy and job market that have been getting uglier for five, six years now, with no signs of turning pretty.
I tend to reflect on this as I routinely open envelopes that hold the resumes of young grads with career dreams, many of them young grads with promise. And, sadly, there’s not a thing I can do for them.
There’s not even a right place at the right time that much anymore.
I hope all those commencement speakers in May and June didn’t resurrect that tripe about “the sky’s the limit” and “be whatever you want to be.” It’s not that easy. The sky is falling.
A few weeks back, I was idly listening to a certified public accountant from Downingtown who was offering her two cents on a KYW radio story giving advice to college grads facing a real-world shocker: Their school loans. And no real job prospects. More precisely, how to start paying off those school loans with no real job prospects.
I expected a more magical solution from an accountant, especially one that’s certified. But she didn’t have one. Get a job, she urged the grads, get ANY job at this point. The goal is to start repaying the piper and avoid defaults that’ll kill your credit.
It’s easy to understand a grad’s bewilderment that the degree — and all that dough — were supposed to land them more than minimum-wage work in a burger joint. It was supposed to deliver a life of relative comfort and a sense of self-worth, not a stressful existence of longtime debt and uninspiring jobs, an existence compounded by a dead economy that elicits statistical comparisons to the Great Depression eight decades ago.
So it has become fashionable to ask a basic question: Is college worth it?
As far as I’m concerned, at this very moment, no, I don’t think it is. And it’s not simply because of a job market that offers very little optimism or hope. It’s also because of the message sent by politicians — the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are good examples — who are willing to sacrifice education to neutralize a budget crisis, which, in turn, is the perfect excuse for schools to impose another tuition hike, as we saw last week with the announcement of a 7.5 percent tuition increase at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities for the upcoming academic year.
As a parent, and like so many other parents these days, I think about that question a lot — whether college is worth it.
Ten years ago my wife and I helped put our daughter through college. She emerged with a manageable $10,000 loan debt, and she’s doing just fine in her dream job, teaching.
My 21-year-old son, I’m not so sure about. He’s college age at a lousy time in history. Tuition has doubled over the past decade. It doesn’t help that he’s already had a couple of false starts in college, each one siphoning good money just tossed out the window, because he’d decided his dream careers weren’t dream careers after all, and he’s still unsure what is, so for now he’s selling stuff at Best Buy.
I can’t quibble when he asks why he should return to school right now, come out of it thousands and thousands in debt, and possibly end up delivering pizzas to start paying it off. The truth is, I have the same fear.
This fear was particularly fortified by a New York Times story in May that assessed labor and education data, as well as related studies, to bring focus to the national employment picture for college grads.
It’s not encouraging. Employment rates for new college graduates have fallen sharply in the last two years, according to a national study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, and so have starting salaries for new grads who have found jobs. Just as disturbing, only half of the jobs landed by the grads even required a college degree.
The study, which analyzed the Class of 2010, concluded that just 56 percent of the college grads had a job as of this spring — a resumption of the decline from the 90 percent of employed grads in the Class of 2006.
As it stands today, roughly two-thirds of grads are leaving college with some debt — the national average is close to $23,000. The U.S. Department of Education also just released a statistical overview of rising loan-default rates.
The issue in all this isn’t the personal value of the degree, or the necessity of one in this ever-changing world. The issue, as a Pew Research Center study found this spring, is that 57 percent of Americans think our higher-education system fails to provide students with good value for the money that families must spend. The issue is that 75 percent of the respondents to the Pew survey say that college has become too expensive for most Americans to afford.
In this challenging climate, they have every reason to wonder if college will deliver a good return on their investment.
John Scanlon is editor of the Northeast Times. He can be reached at email@example.com
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