Thank you, Madam Officer
On a sultry Memorial Day evening, a shortness of patience, a broken Chevy and the desire to just wish this day were over magically transformed into the best occurrence of all day.
The arrival of Officer Rodriguez to my rescue was both fortunate and rewarding. Say what you will about Philadelphia’s finest.
In her case, professional courtesy, patience and a degree of comforting completely turned this day around, for the better.
Our family will forever appreciate her aid in getting us through this problem. We cannot begin to express fully our heartfelt thanks for all she did. As with all your fellow officers, we commit our respect and appreciation for all that you do for us. Officer Rodriguez, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Stay safe and well. We need your presence.
Harold and Helen Miller
Ramp it up
Construction of I-95 ramps at Princeton and Cottman avenues has been going on what seems forever. The Empire State Building was built in a shade over 13 months. I rest my case!
How dare you question FOP leader!
Mr. Steve Schmidt, as a supporter of the Philadelphia police, I must ask you what makes you think you have the right to question the president of the FOP. By accusing Officer John McNesby of selling his badge is like saying cops do not care about our community.
You stated in your May 26 letter that your son says, “Thank you for protecting and serving us,” but if Officer McNesby was selling his badge just to offer courtesy cards, then they would not be servicing us, would they? But no, they put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.
What would be the point of having a government with a law-enforcement team if they just give out courtesy cards? That would mean anybody could buy one, and cops wouldn’t have much of a job since anytime they catch somebody breaking the law, they could use their “Get out of Jail” card.
I don’t know about you Mr. Schmidt, but from what I’ve been reading, you have little faith in our police to be questioning them in little things such as being supporters for fund-raisers. I completely trust our law enforcement 100 percent, and unless you are risking your life every day in that blue uniform out on the streets protecting me, my family and the wonderful city of Philadelphia, I don’t know why you think you have the right to question the men and women who are.
Lastly, by saying Mr. McNesby is being childish by using a name such as “Stevie” is such a double standard. In your opening statement you clearly said you have known him for more than 25 years.
If you know a man and respect him as a person for that long, there should be some sort of friendship, wouldn’t you agree? But it seems to me and the rest of the people reading this that you are only concerned with yourself and being heard, instead of realizing your own childish faults by challenging the president of the FOP disrespectfully by inviting him to come visit you anytime. Is the pot calling the kettle black?
Thomas McNamee III
Schwartz finally got the message
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz vigorously supported the new national health care law. In fact, I believe she co-sponsored it. Now she seems to be in full assault against part of it.
I was surprised to see that Schwartz placed a full-page ad in a recent Sunday Inquirer stating she is fighting against one of the main pillars of the new law, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which will dictate payments and cuts to Medicare providers.
Pay attention, seniors. Schwartz notes that the faceless, bureaucratic board will limit Medicare health services and treatments. The IPAB decisions are unreviewable by the courts. This is scary. The IPAB may be making irrevocable denial-of-care decisions.
Sounds to me that Sarah Palin’s charge that the new law would provide “death panels” was not so far off the mark, after all. Gee. Remember how everybody laughed at the little lady? I guess she actually read the law.
I’m glad Allyson Schwartz finally got the message. (And Sarah the last laugh.) The health care law was ill-advised —sneakily rushed into law without public debate and review.
Allyson Schwartz is now listening to her constituents. Who knows what’s next? Co-hosting with Rush Limbaugh? Maybe she’ll even volunteer to drive Sarah Palin’s bus. She’s very adept at U-turns.
Don’t drop DROP for our heroes on the street
Philadelphians are being led like sheep by the media and Mayor Nutter. Otherwise, I think there would have been at least one favorable letter about DROP and an honest assessment and discussion of what DROP’s cost is or could be; perhaps the “neutral cost” originally projected. It looks like I’ll have to do that myself.
My wife was a crossing guard for 34 years and was a recipient of DROP, the program that allowed her an opportunity to “retire” and be credited with her pension. This wasn’t paid to her but kept by the city until her official retirement date four years later. Then she received the accumulated pension plus interest in a lump sum, similar to a 401k.
Now what does all this mean? It meant she could work at her present job for four more years. Maybe that was a benefit because she didn’t have to go out and get a new job, although she may have done better collecting the city pension and getting a better paying job.
How did that affect the city? Double dipping? Well, they paid my wife for working but the job didn’t disappear, so they would have had to pay someone, wouldn’t they? True, her pay scale was a little higher because of her years of service, but they no longer had to pay into her pension because she was “retired.” She also honored the spirit of sick leave and was paid one hour for every three at her retirement, a significant saving for the city.
I believe my wife’s use of the DROP program was an example of “neutral cost” regarding the city’s cost. It is your elected and appointed officials who created the cost problem.
DROP can be and should be fixed for your city workers and especially the firemen, police and yes, the crossing guards, for whom I can speak after watching my wife drag her body to her post in the heat, the rain and the inclement weather to safeguard your kids and sometimes their kids, your grandchildren. C’mon! Fix it! Don’t end it!
Money doesn’t grow on trees
As CEO of the city of Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter must focus on ideas that will bring more people to our city in an effort to generate more income; instead, he proposed a soda tax — which City Council rejected — that had the potential to push people outside of the city limits to do their food shopping.
Think about it. People who live in the city but work in the suburbs, or those who live near the city borders, can easily do their food shopping outside of Philadelphia to avoid paying the soda tax. This would place a huge financial deficit on local merchants. Philadelphia businesses would not only lose the soda sales but would possibly lose the sales for the entire food order; when businesses lose money, the city loses revenue. A soda tax would have been counterproductive.
Exorbitant taxes are not the answer to the city’s revenue shortfall for the school district. Better management, less waste and perhaps a less generous annual salary of $348,000 and a less generous bonus of $65,000 to Arlene C. Ackerman, the superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, should be considered.
The hard-working taxpayers of Philadelphia must live within their budget. What a novel concept it would be for the mayor to live within his current budget instead of raising taxes over and over again to meet his budget shortfalls.
In April, Mayor Nutter gave Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey an increase from $195,000 to $255,000 annually. We still have the DROP program, which is bleeding money. Amazingly, there always seems to be plenty of money in the kitty for bonuses, increases to the highest paid, upper-echelon of city employees and for DROP, which does absolutely nothing for the average citizen of Philadelphia.
As the old saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees; we, the taxpayers of Philadelphia, are not the mayor’s personal money tree from which he can pick dollars to reward cronies only to complain later of shortfalls.
Residents of Philadelphia currently pay a steep city wage tax, a high sales tax, and in January we received a hefty real estate tax increase, with another hike on the way.
Step up to the plate, Mr. Mayor; try earning your keep by finding creative ways to draw people and businesses to our city, thereby generating additional income. Placing yet another burden on residents who are already excessively taxed would be unconscionable.
A taxing problem with the nasty city
The city came after me with a vengeance when they made a mistake on my real estate taxes. I had to make an agreement to pay the amount that they left out of my amnesty. This agreement had to be notarized and signed and returned with the first installment.
So how come when it’s time to send my payment, I get no bill? I call real estate and the nasty woman tells me I am not on the computer and no bill will be generated, but I will be late if I don’t pay before May 15. If I am late they will call in the entire balance because I am in default. She then tells me to send a check with a piece of paper with my account on it.
I do not trust this city. No way will I send a check with a piece of paper in the mail to this messed-up tax department. I go to the mini-City Hall. Seems you can’t pay a bill without the bill! A very nice man who works for the city prints a bill so I can pay my forgotten year of taxes that the amnesty people forgot and now the computer forgot!
Hopefully, they cash it so I avert a default on my second payment ($50).
Reduce the length of the school day
Mayor Nutter is seeking millions of dollars to educate public school children. Property owners will have to foot most of the money. The mayor has an option: School will open for only five hours a day. Our kids only need to learn math, English or Spanish, and computer skills.
Subjects like science, foreign language, history, chemistry will be taught as elective college subjects. A small head tax should be paid by parents of public school students. Mayor Nutter should only seek a five-hour day.
John M. Horner
Brother can you spare a $100 million?
Mayor Nutter and Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman have stated that $100 million is needed “for the kids.” Oh, so now it’s about the kids? These two remind me of those “Sponsor a Child” infomercials. I can see them now: “Hi, I’m Mayor Nutter and I’m Dr. Ackerman. Do you know that for $100 million you can sponsor a child?”
Anthony P. Johnson
Public students need a prayer
I agree with Joseph Murray’s letter in the June 2 edition about the cost of public schools and religious schools (Why pay twice the cost for half the results?) except for the part where he said the government should fund the Catholic and religious schools but block the religious teaching.
Most of the people who send their children to religious school do so for the training and because they’re allowed to pray.
In 1962, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist, got the Supreme Court to ban prayer in public schools, but back then the public schools were running fine. Maybe they should let public schools allow the students to say their own prayers. Therefore, keep government out of the religious schools.
John F. Rauchut
Ackerman should be expelled from the schools
City Council is poised to pass a 3.9 percent property-tax increase to help cover the $100 million demand of Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. While it appears Council believes it chose the best of the worst proposed options, this latest property-tax increase must signal the end of the current School District administration and become the impetus for a fundamental change in how the city educates our youth.
Under Ackerman’s lack of leadership, the district faces a $629 million deficit. I, and the rest of Philadelphia, knew since the beginning of the year that the district would face budget issues with Gov. Corbett cutting education funding and the end of federal stimulus money. And yet, Ackerman waited until the 11th hour to demand $100 million from the city. She allowed what could have been, at best, difficult budget negotiations to become an unmanageable budget crisis.
The school district, under Ackerman, decided the best way to make cuts was to lay off 1,500 teachers. The district’s sole function, and Superintendent Ackerman’s job, is the education of Philadelphia’s youth. Any person who believes the best way to educate Philadelphia’s youth is to lay off educators clearly does not care about actually educating students.
The most egregious aspect of Ackerman’s demand and the property-tax increase is the fact that there is no accountability or oversight of district spending. A $629 million deficit is clear evidence of both the district’s and Ackerman’s inability to manage a budget. Now the dragon of mismanagement is being fed an additional $53 million, and I can guarantee it will be misspent. Remember, too, Ackerman thought it wise to invest federal stimulus money into salaries rather than infrastructure improvements.
It looks like Superintendent Ackerman will have her demands met and the district will receive more money. I fear that will be the end of the story with continued lack of accountability, continued no-bid contracts, and continued lack of answers to the city controller’s request for explanations.
How can the current school district administration educate our children in subjects like mathematics when they can’t manage their own budget? It’s time for a change at the school district. Recess is over. Philadelphians can’t afford any more taxes.
Republican candidate, City Council at-large
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