Letters to the editor, June 2, 2011


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!

Jason Kaye


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).

May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

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.

Chris­ti­ane Geisler

Old City

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

Mor­rell Park

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.

Rus Slaw­ter


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