Letters to the editor, June 9, 2011


Be a good cit­izen — come clean

On May 28, The Phil­adelphia In­quirer had a story about a man who at­temp­ted to clean up the lit­ter left be­hind by climbers on the slopes of Mount Everest.

That same day, the Friends of Pennypack Park vo­lun­teers cleaned a sec­tion of Pennypack Park. Like the climbers whose goal was to reach the sum­mit and en­joy nature’s beau­ti­ful view, the cit­izens who wander through the city parks have the same de­sires, to en­joy the park’s nat­ur­al beauty.

However, as we are all aware, like the climbers, there are the few who for some reas­on think it is their right to graf­fiti, des­troy, trash the park and de­prive oth­ers from en­joy­ing its nat­ur­al beauty.

Is the prob­lem the lack of edu­ca­tion or is it just that the par­ents nev­er bothered to teach their chil­dren right from wrong? The an­swer is all of the above and many oth­er reas­ons.

The lack of edu­ca­tion and ig­nor­ance is that people do not real­ize that the wild­life can be caught in the dis­carded fish­ing line, plastic bags, and rings that hold the beer and soda packs. Par­ents must teach by ex­ample, be­cause if they don’t care, the chil­dren will fol­low suit, which will breed an­oth­er group of un­car­ing adults.

To con­clude: if one man is will­ing to climb a moun­tain to clean up the lit­ter, why can’t we be good cit­izens and keep our parks clean or at the very least clean up in front of our homes? Please don’t lit­ter — it hurts every liv­ing thing.

James Stew­art


Our her­oes were for­got­ten on Me­mori­al Day

On Monday morn­ing, May 30, Me­mori­al Day, my Amer­ic­an flag was raised, as it is every day. To my dis­may, of the ap­prox­im­ately 40 homes on the 8700 block of Jack­son St., I was the only one who was fly­ing col­ors in ob­serv­ance of the reas­on be­hind the hol­i­day and in memory of all the past and present ser­vice­men and wo­men whom this day is about.

There are three houses on this block whose own­ers were in the ser­vice in the past, but no flags were dis­played. There are oth­er flags flown by these and the rest of the homeown­ers here for oth­er hol­i­days — East­er, Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas, to name a few.

Un­for­tu­nately, our brave troops who have fought for and giv­en us the free­dom to fly these are not re­membered.

Per­haps the next time our coun­try gets at­tacked, my neigh­bors will call on fig­ures de­pic­ted by their flags and not the United States Mar­ine Corps or any oth­er ser­vice branch.

It is also a dis­grace that the United States post of­fice branch — a fed­er­al in­sti­tu­tion — at Frank­ford and Solly av­en­ues in the North­east has been re­opened now for five months but has nev­er flown a flag on their flag­pole.

I have in­quired about this on many oc­ca­sions and was in­formed that “the pul­ley is broken.” What a sorry ex­cuse. No won­der this gov­ern­ment agency is in trouble.

So, for all the people out there who were too lazy or too busy or too apathet­ic to give cred­it to our vet­er­ans on their spe­cial day, Happy Me­mori­al Day!

Jer­rold W. Czech Sr.



What a dis­ap­point­ment to me in ob­serv­ance of Me­mori­al Day. Come on, people, where were the Amer­ic­an flags? It was a real find to see just one on many blocks in May­fair/Holmes­burg neigh­bor­hoods.

Do you care about be­ing in this great land? Do you show re­spect for all our mil­it­ary people keep­ing us free? The day was once called Dec­or­a­tion Day to hon­or all those in all wars that we will not for­get them. Get on the ball for Ju­ly 4. Go buy a flag for 99 cents at Shop Rite on Frank­ford Av­en­ue that is made in the USA! Let’s fly those flags.

Vir­gin­ia Murphy


Dog li­censes are not her pet pro­ject

I am the own­er of two dogs and I have a com­plaint about the li­cens­ing sys­tem. The idea of the li­cense is to provide the city with rev­en­ue and have a re­cord of dog own­ers. With com­puter tech­no­logy today it is very easy to ac­cess in­form­a­tion about veter­in­ari­ans from out­side the city.

I think it is an un­fair policy to have people pay who choose vets with­in the city, while those pet own­ers who live in the city and go to vets out­side the city do not pay.

If I change my vet I should pick one out­side the city, which there­fore re­lieves me of pay­ing a yearly li­cense. I also know some people who have pets and live in the city who go to vets out­side the city.

Janet Nowakowski

West Tor­res­dale 

Danger’s in the air at For­rest School

At­ten­tion, par­ents: Do you know where your kids are? Per­haps they are climb­ing the roof of For­rest Ele­ment­ary! It hasn’t been un­com­mon lately to see a group of them run­ning across the roof. There is not one part of the roof that is flat, which makes it scar­i­er to watch.

It takes one slip to have a child fall to their death. So a word to the wise: If your child plays around that area, it would be a good idea to sneak over to see what they’re do­ing.

Angie Bend­er


We need May­or John Street

Why John Street?

Many people are prob­ably ask­ing that ques­tion. I am not one of them. I be­lieve right now our city needs John Street. I had the priv­ilege to be the pres­id­ent of the Phil­adelphia FOP Lodge 5 from 2002-07. He was the may­or that I worked with. One thing was al­ways cer­tain: When it came to deal­ing with our mem­bers, he nev­er made a mis­take of the heart. Be­lieve me, that says a lot.

If you are look­ing for a guy that’s warm and fuzzy, it’s not John. However, if you want a per­son that is com­pas­sion­ate and dir­ect, then John is your man.

The cur­rent may­or is loved by the me­dia. Mr. Street was not. That can go a long way in our city. The cur­rent may­or can’t get a ba­sic labor con­tract com­pleted with three of the city’s mu­ni­cip­al uni­ons.

In re­gard to the eco­nom­ic is­sues, we heard noth­ing but prom­ises be­fore the cur­rent may­or was elec­ted. Since he took of­fice, we have only heard ex­cuses.

Also, what is the po­lice man­power level over the past four years? Do you be­lieve that our city’s crime prob­lem has im­proved?  What about the brown-outs at fire sta­tions? Are we play­ing Rus­si­an roul­ette?

We really have a chance to make our city great, so look at John Street the per­son, not as he was painted by the press and the cur­rent may­or.

Bobby Ed­dis

Mod­ena Park

A fine way to pun­ish polit­ic­al lit­ter­bugs

Well, the primar­ies have been over for more than three weeks but many of the cam­pain (spelling in­ten­tion­al) signs were still scattered all over our roads for too long. Every politi­cian had their signs out there. It is totally dis­gust­ing how little these politi­cians care about us or our neigh­bor­hoods. If they did care they would have them taken down right away. Street money was used be­fore the primar­ies; how about sav­ing some for cleanup after the primar­ies?

I have a rem­edy for these signs that will gen­er­ate plenty of rev­en­ue. Be­fore the elec­tions, the signs were ad­vert­ise­ments to help someone get elec­ted (which the De­part­ment of Li­censes and In­spec­tions is not paid for). After the elec­tion the signs be­come trash. All the politi­cians should be fined for lit­ter­ing. At $75 a pop that’s plenty of rev­en­ue. We know who they are.

The only flaw in this plan is the people in charge of en­for­cing the law are the same ones break­ing it. SHEEESH!

Ed O’Neill

Castor Gar­dens

DROP is bad law

I am protest­ing your ed­it­or­i­al of May 12 (Think out­side the box), in which you en­dorsed Bob Hen­on for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion in the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict.

Hen­on would have won the May 17 primary even if you had en­dorsed Marty Bed­narek. However, there was both dis­tor­tion and con­tra­dic­tion in your ed­it­or­i­al. It con­cerns DROP, the crit­ic­al is­sue in the primary cam­paign, not just in the 6th dis­trict.

I at­ten­ded the can­did­ates de­bate at Ta­cony lib­rary on April 28. The key ques­tion asked by the mod­er­at­or was: “DROP, Yes or No?”

Bed­narek answered “No,” Hen­on waffled: “Yes” for city em­ploy­ees, “No” for elec­ted politi­cians. Bed­narek was clear: “We can­not af­ford DROP” for either elec­ted politi­cians or for city em­ploy­ees.

In your ed­it­or­i­al, you dis­tor­ted the can­did­ates’ DROP stand. You fo­cused on the ques­tion of sup­port­ing Mari­an Tasco for Coun­cil pres­id­ent. That sec­ond­ary ques­tion dis­trac­ted from the DROP is­sue it­self. Hen­on said he would not vote for Tasco. You called him “cour­ageous” and en­dorsed him. Your con­tra­dic­tion is glar­ing: You can­not be anti-DROP and pro-Hen­on. Hen­on will vote to con­tin­ue DROP.

Marty Bed­narek told the truth: Philly tax­pay­ers can­not af­ford DROP. My fath­er worked 30 years for the city and re­tired in the 1980s. He did not get DROP. Why should these re­tir­ees get it? The DROP le­gis­la­tion is bad law. There is no job that takes four years to teach your suc­cessor. Why should a DROP re­tir­ee get a guar­an­teed rate of re­turn for four years? The city pen­sion fund can­not get one!

Who will pay the price for DROP? City tax­pay­ers, in­clud­ing those in the 6th dis­trict. One journ­al­ist told the truth about DROP: Ral­ph Cipri­ano in the City Pa­per. DROP’s total cost through 2009: $1 bil­lion.

Jim Will­gruber

Castor Gar­dens

For Coun­cil, O’Bri­en is on the Money

On be­half of my fam­ily and my­self, I would like to per­son­ally thank my neigh­bors in North­east Phil­adelphia. Over the past sev­er­al months, I en­gaged in a cam­paign for an at-large spot on City Coun­cil. While I was not suc­cess­ful, you gave me the op­por­tun­ity to meet and learn of the con­cerns af­fect­ing the people of the North­east. I would not trade these re­la­tion­ships and ex­per­i­ences for the world.

We dis­cussed everything from qual­ity-of-life is­sues to taxes to health care. I re­main com­mit­ted to solv­ing the ma­ter­nity care crisis that ex­ists in our city. It seems as if whenev­er I turn on the news or open the news­pa­per, I learn of a new ma­ter­nity ward clos­ing. We need lead­ers in City Hall who will ad­dress this in a very ser­i­ous way.

Be­cause it may be an is­sue that is not on the radar screens of most voters — yet — we need someone with the ex­per­i­ence to take the ball and run with it, someone who has a re­cord of get­ting res­ults with new and in­nov­at­ive ideas. We need state Rep. Denny O’Bri­en to serve us on City Coun­cil.

Dur­ing his ten­ure as chair­man of the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in the Pennsylvania House, Rep. O’Bri­en wrote the to­bacco set­tle­ment that uses fund­ing for re­search and re­cog­nizes that in­vest­ing in people is the in­fra­struc­ture on which to build a suc­cess­ful health care fu­ture. Fur­ther, he wrote the Breast Can­cer Pro­tec­tion law, the Aut­ism In­sur­ance law and the bill cat­egor­iz­ing hep­at­it­is C as an oc­cu­pa­tion­al dis­ease for fire­fight­ers.

Denny is a fight­er for an af­ford­able and ac­cess­ible health care for every­one. I am con­fid­ent that, giv­en his past res­ults, Denny O’Bri­en is the best man to fight for health care in City Coun­cil.

I’m proud to call Denny my state rep­res­ent­at­ive but I’m even more proud to call him my friend. I whole­heartedly en­dorse Denny O’Bri­en for City Coun­cil at-large be­cause the city needs his lead­er­ship.

Elmer Money

Mor­rell Park

Ques­tions about our movers and shakers

I have a few ques­tions in re­sponse to a re­cent art­icle in The Phil­adelphia In­quirer re­gard­ing polit­ic­al al­lies in City Coun­cil. Sev­er­al defined al­le­gi­ances in­cluded South Philly, the North­w­est, and North Philly. OK…who is spe­cific­ally rep­res­ent­ing Cen­ter City and North­east Phil­adelphia, those two en­tit­ies that rep­res­ent voters pay­ing the highest tax bills in the city?

Some­body? Nobody?

Why is Mari­an Tasco still a part of the Philly polit­ic­al scene? She is a DROP re­cip­i­ent. Fel­low DROP par­ti­cipants Frank Rizzo and Marge Tartagli­one didn’t get passes. Why Tasco?

How did elec­tri­cians uni­on lead­er John Dougherty get to be such a power broker be­hind the scenes? Is he the re­in­carn­a­tion of Ron White, John Street’s bud-on-the-side?

How many of the fresh faces run­ning for City Coun­cil will ac­tu­ally be elec­ted, giv­en the 20 per­cent turnout rate in the primar­ies and Phil­adelphia’s his­tor­ic ac­cept­ance of me­diocrity in gov­ern­ment? Will May­or Nut­ter be faced with the same-old, same-old AGAIN?

Will ANY­body step for­ward to take on Ar­lene Ack­er­man and her propensity to turn over pub­lic schools to for-profit en­tit­ies?

The prin­ciple of thirds re­flects her ef­forts. One third of the for-profit schools are bet­ter than their pub­lic coun­ter­parts; one third, the same; one third worse. A fair re­turn on our tax dol­lars? And the sys­tem is bank­rupt, to boot.

And isn’t it time to elim­in­ate the tax abate­ment bill that has pro­moted the build­ing of so many Mc­Man­sions in North­east Philly and con­dos in Cen­ter City, for­cing long­time res­id­ents to en­dure more con­ges­tion, noise, and traffic while new­bies pay lower taxes?

There. We’ve come full circle. Is ANY­body happy?

George Swales


Have a Coke and fix the budget

Dear May­or Nut­ter,

The soda tax does not af­fect every­one. As you well know, every­one does not drink soda or sug­ar-based drinks. Phil­adelphia su­per­mar­kets share weekly sale in­cent­ives on soda and it is one of their profit­ing sales. Tax­ing soda will only drive the buy­er over the bridges to shop. You are set­ting up the op­por­tun­ity for this scen­ario.

Think about it. You have a gradu­ation or some oth­er af­fair. You need cheap gas, cheap li­quor, tax-free soda, Jer­sey to­ma­toes, save 1 per­cent on your sales tax — where are you go­ing to go? Costco, Canal’s and your fa­vor­ite gas sta­tion in New Jer­sey, com­pli­ments of gas­buddy.com. What will be next, soda po­lice at the bor­ders and bridges? When po­lice stop a driver while on a cell phone and no­tice an open can of Coke, will that can of soda be a vi­ol­a­tion someday?

Start listen­ing to the people and get City Coun­cil and at-large mem­bers out in­to their com­munit­ies to hear these com­plaints be­fore they go on va­ca­tion for the sum­mer down at the Jer­sey Shore!!!

My quick fix to sup­ple­ment the budget would be to in­crease the gun per­mit fee. Why does it cost more to re­gister a vehicle than a gun per­mit? Why does my vehicle have to be in­spec­ted every year, but the straw pur­chaser of a gun flies un­der the radar? No au­thor­ity ever wants to in­spect the gun and the pur­chaser. Do you think an an­nu­al gun in­spec­tion for city res­id­ents and guns re­gistered in the city would gen­er­ate cash for the fail­ing budget?

Think of all the il­leg­al guns on the street that could be sur­rendered un­der an am­nesty pro­gram. What does the city pay in sup­plies and ser­vices? What do we pay for fuel in city vehicles? Is it high­er than today’s price? What do the vari­ous de­part­ments pay for sup­plies? Is the city get­ting ripped off and are we as con­sumers thrifty enough to shop for bar­gains while the vendors hold the city at bay with high prices? Who are the vendors and what do they charge? We have a right to know.

Change the bid­ding pro­cess to be more ac­count­able. Charge every pos­ted ad­vert­ise­ment and polit­ic­al sign that is nailed to city trees, PECO pole and placed on city prop­erty an ad­vert­ise­ment tax. No need to count the signs, just come up with a fig­ure.

As for tax abate­ments, why should real es­tate taxes be ex­cused for 10 years for buy­ers of new con­struc­tion homes when those who have been pay­ing faith­fully are not giv­en any abate­ment?

Why do we not have the op­tion for our real es­tate tax to be paid on a monthly basis?

Mark A. Evans


Help the home­less with Di­Cicco’s DROP booty

City Coun­cil­man Frank Di­Cicco has in­tro­duced le­gis­la­tion that would crim­in­al­ize ag­gress­ive be­ha­vi­or by the street home­less.

Not only is this a slap in the face of the home­less, but it is un­ne­ces­sary (Phil­adelphia has a re­l­at­ively low street-home­less pop­u­la­tion and re­l­at­ively good re­sources) and would put a strain on law en­force­ment and our crim­in­al justice sys­tem.

Al­though people may ar­gue the mer­its of the law, think about the nearly half-mil­lion dol­lars in DROP money that Frank Di­Cicco will be tak­ing from tax­pay­ers.

Maybe some of that money could be used to take us one step closer to elim­in­at­ing home­less­ness rather than en­rich­ing some politi­cian.

Jordan Gwen­dolyn Dav­is

South Phil­adelphia

Join in the for­um — write to us

Let­ters to the ed­it­or should be 300 words or less. Short let­ters have a bet­ter chance of get­ting pub­lished. All let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing and MUST in­clude the writer’s full name along with day­time and even­ing phone num­bers for veri­fic­a­tion pur­poses. An­onym­ous let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053. Fax: 215-355-4857. E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com 

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