Give me two slices, hold the flies!
Time and again, I pass by pizza shops throughout Philly with their front doors wide open without a screen on the door. You might not see any flies when you walk in your neighborhood pizza shop, but that doesn’t mean a fly did not come by earlier and drop something off on your slice of pizza or in the sauce pan or maybe the mozzarella cheese container. Perhaps that little dark speck on your pizza is not an original ingredient of that homemade Italian recipe.
During the spring and summer months, would you feel comfortable eating dinner at someone’s house at dusk if they had their front door and windows wide open without any screens to prevent the flies or mosquitoes from buzzing on in? Why give pizza establishments the free pass? Why is it that the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections does not require or strictly enforce businesses that serve food to the public to place screens on the doors?
I understand pizza restaurants are private establishments and if I don’t want to be a patron of their business, I don’t have to visit the store. And I am not suggesting every pizza shop close their doors and blast the air conditioning; just put a screen on the door. It is not fresh air if you invite the bugs to fly in!
Parents should be able to care for kids
As any parent, teacher, school nurse or day-care provider knows, children frequently get sick. And when they do, sitting in school doesn’t help them get better. They need to be home with a parent. Also, when children with communicable diseases stay home, it can break the chain of contagion. No parent wants his child to be in a classroom where there is a child with pink eye, a fever or nausea and vomiting.
Having been a school nurse for 29 years in the Philadelphia public school system, I have witnessed, time and time again, children who came to school sick because their parents had to work and couldn’t afford to take the day off to spend time helping their children get better.
Asthmatic children who came to school wheezing sometimes had to be sent to the emergency room by ambulance. Children with red, watery eyes frequently turned out to have pink eye. A student who just “looked tired” at home turned out to have a high fever with a strep throat. And a child who had a stomachache and vomited the night before turned out to have pneumonia.
All of these children should have been taken to the doctor, but their working parents would have lost a day’s pay.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have 17 well-child visits between ages 2 and 21. However, fewer than half of U.S. children are receiving adequate care (Chung P., et al.). (2006, April; Preventive Care for Children in the United States: Quality and Barriers. Annual Review of Public Health).
Preventive care visits are tough enough to make happen. The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy’s Amy Traub estimates that more than two in five Philadelphia workers are not able to earn paid sick time to care for their own illness, and many more can’t take sick time to care for a child.
Furthermore, children with chronic conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, need follow-up appointments to adjust medications and evaluate treatments, especially when first diagnosed. Once the adjustments to their medications, blood tests, etc., are made, their care can become routine. They miss less time from school, and their parents miss less time from work.
Children whose parents don’t have paid time often have to obtain care for their children on a catch-as-catch-can basis. This can result in frequent exacerbations of a chronic condition and risks to life and health.
Making the decision to stay home with a sick child when it means losing a day’s pay or possibly losing one’s job is an impossible choice.
This can change in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia City Council can pass Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces (Bill No 080474) before they leave for the summer. Introduced by Councilmen William Greenlee and Darrell Clarke, this bill guarantees workers the ability to earn paid sick days. Depending on the size of the business, workers will be allowed to earn four to nine sick days one-hour-at-a-time for every 30 hours worked.
An hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked will help keep our children healthy, and keep our workers focused on work when they are working, and caring for their children when they need to be with their children.
Earned sick days for Philadelphia workers is common sense.
Diane Mohney, RN
Certified School Nurse
Working class takes another hit with cuts
The various government levels have all kinds of programs for the working poor and the non-working individuals.
Besides the basic welfare cards or stamps, they provide free breakfasts, lunches, medical care, rent (Section 8), reduced or subsidized natural gas, and many tax credits that provide additional funds through a negative income tax.
However, when those governments want to cut their deficits, they look to the people that have worked hard and paid taxes for the others for 20, 30, 40 or more years, and want to reduce our retirement income (pensions and Social Security).
Says writer: ‘Tax me, so others can be free!’
Folks around the Middle East are rising to create governments of the people for the people. Some are looking at the United States for support and as an example.
But what kind of example are we giving them? A society where Republican governors are slashing services to the poor, the jobless, the homeless and the vulnerable; where the rich are accumulating wealth — because they deserve it, for goodness sake! And they are hiding behind the fear of socialism.
We, the upper-middle class who have kept our jobs, our medical insurance and our safety nets, have to step forward.
I am saying to the slashing governors and to Congress: TAX ME! TAX ME!
And save these services. This is not redistribution of wealth. This is justice.
So tax me 1 or 2 percent more. This may not even change my lifestyle, but it will allow others to live.
But when you tax me, you will also have to tax those above me — those whose household income is greater than $250,000 per year.
Then, maybe we can show a better example.
Why pay twice the cost for half the results?
We can debate the educational process from nearly any perspective — political, racial, economical, union/non-union, big city and small — but the fact remains that our schools are failing.
For 50 years, we pumped money into smaller class sizes, teachers’ salaries, new equipment, and all we get in return is lower scores.
It’s time to throw out the unions, tenure and any administrator who cannot improve results with lower dollars. Open more charter schools. Fund the Catholic and religious schools, but block religious teaching.
Catholic schools teach the same math, use the same alphabet, and teach the same world and American history, etc.
The real problem is that we have taxed parents who send their children to private and religious schools into unaffordability, and scores have suffered.
Instead of educating students at $7,500 per year in a Catholic school, we spend $15,000 in public schools and produce an inferior education. We call this good government? Smart budgeting?
We, every taxpayer, would save hundreds if we used vouchers.
Why shouldn’t Catholic or other religious schools be allowed to buy oil to keep students warm in the winter, or keep the lights on, if they are educating the students and doing a better job?
It makes no sense to pay $15,000 per year per student when a student can receive a better education for half the cost.
Joseph J. Murray
Sometimes witnesses don’t think clearly
Many years ago I was in my patrol car when an officer in pursuit came out over police radio. I was three blocks away on a different street.
I got within a block when I heard two gunshots. As I approached the scene, I saw the auto come to rest against a pole. There was nobody nor any other cars in the vicinity.
When detectives showed up, a man in the corner house told a detective that there was (somebody) standing there, and he said the police had him surrounded and they didn’t have to shoot him.
I walked up the stairs and asked the gentleman if he actually saw this, and I told him that I was the first police officer on the scene.
He then said that he was really in his kitchen and when he got to his door, he saw me pulling up.
I thanked the man for his honesty and went on my way.
I’m not trying to say that people purposely lie, but they may say things that they think just happened.
To anyone who decides to make themselves witnesses, be aware that somewhere down the road you may have to go to court and swear to this with your hand on a Bible.
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