Northeast Times

Letters to the editor May 12, 2011 edition

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Let­ters to the ed­it­or for May 12, 2011 edi­tion

Note: Let­ters must be ac­com­pan­ied by day­time and even­ing phone num­bers for veri­fic­a­tion. An­onym­ous let­ters will not be pub­lished. Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

Pfc. John Kihm was a hero to all of us

I pass strangers on the street and I feel that there is a dif­fer­ence. I see the faces of “could-be her­oes” all around me. They are dif­fer­ent from the ones who be­come her­oes when they don their uni­forms.

The po­lice of­ficer and the fire­fight­er guar­an­tee our safety from crime and fire. Their fu­ture has an un­cer­tainty about someday em­bra­cing danger and do­ing battle against that un­known res­ult that might lead to their de­mise. But they know that, and that is why they place them­selves between danger and the in­no­cent. That is why they run in­to a build­ing on fire and emerge with a child in their arms. That is why they stand up against a per­son with a gun and make a po­ten­tial crisis a safety zone, mak­ing it a peace-filled neigh­bor­hood once again.

There is also the hero who is the school­teach­er, the cross­ing guard, the un­der­stand­ing par­ent, the strict but sup­port­ive coach. These her­oes go about their every­day lives with oth­ers as their primary con­cern, put­ting their own needs in the back­ground.

Their acts of hero­ism aren’t as flag­rant or as no­ticed as the oth­ers, but they are acts of hero­ism on a dif­fer­ent scale. The im­pact of their ac­tions might not be felt un­til the second-grader gradu­ates from med­ic­al school or the teen­age girl has a gold medal placed around her neck at the Olympics. Their acts of hero­ism are subtle but sin­cere and last­ing.

Enter Johnny Kihm. John was a 19-year-old sol­dier who on April 19 gave his life fight­ing in Afgh­anistan so that we could con­tin­ue to ex­per­i­ence free­dom. It was his hands that en­able our hands to grasp the brass ring of peace, and his un­selfish heart that makes us real­ize that there is a new mean­ing when we cast our eyes on the Amer­ic­an flag.

The flag is not just a sym­bol of the U.S. but a cher­ished part of Amer­ica’s land­scape. It no longer pass­ively waves in the breeze but act­ively fights for every mo­tion it takes. The wind is no longer its only en­emy.

Are we ready for this chal­lenge? Can we ac­cept what lies ahead? Are we all will­ing to re­spond to the call of hero­ism? Life is an end­less mat­ter of choices, some of which we choose ourselves, oth­ers are chosen for us. We have been chosen to re­spond to a new way of liv­ing. Now more than ever, we will feel the chal­lenge that oth­ers in this great coun­try em­brace on a daily basis.

We have been af­fected by the ac­tions of Pfc. Johnny Kihm, so young, and yet he pos­sessed a wis­dom and hero­ic strength whose ma­tur­ity was golden. He has raised the bar as he holds his out­stretched hand in front of our memor­ies of him and asks us to al­ways re­mem­ber all sol­diers de­ployed, will­ing to hand over their lives for us.

The bot­tom line is that we all need to be aware that some day we might be called to step up to the plate as Pfc. John Kihm has done. He will al­ways have a spe­cial place of hon­or, strength and cour­age in the hearts and minds of every­one who con­siders them­selves a Phil­adelphi­an.

His bat­tle­field was a place of true hero­ism, a place of self­less present­a­tion of ex­change. He gave his life for the safety of us all. We can­not for­get these acts, be­cause they have been em­blazoned on our hearts. It will only be the will of God the Fath­er who will wipe away our tears with the com­fort of know­ing that Johnny is with God, the ul­ti­mate pro­tect­or, and Johnny is at peace.

Steph­en T. Ferry

Bustleton

What to do … and not do … next Tues­day

Vote for your city, not its politi­cians

As a lifelong Phil­adelphi­an, I have seen more than my share of dis­ap­point­ing votes and lead­er­ship.

Wheth­er it has been sup­port­ing DROP or push­ing through mid­night votes for huge pay in­creases, many of the politi­cians we have elec­ted in the past have let us down.

We have a lot of things that need to be fixed in Phil­adelphia.

As voters, we can take the first step by mak­ing sure we sup­port can­did­ates who are think­ing of what is best for us — not them­selves — when they gov­ern.

There are a lot of can­did­ates out there this year. Let’s make sure we sup­port the ones who are think­ing about Phil­adelphia’s fu­ture, not their own paychecks.

Will Pat­ter­son

Mod­ena Park

Get rid of those  Coun­cil in­cum­bents

OK, voters, now is your chance to get rid of the rest of the ones in city gov­ern­ment that are steal­ing our tax dol­lars.

Time to go, Rizzo, Tasco, Tartagli­one, Donatucci. At least the ones re­tir­ing from City Coun­cil won’t be steal­ing from us any­more. I am really dis­ap­poin­ted that people like Bri­an O’Neill and some of the oth­er Coun­cil mem­bers haven’t been more vo­cal in their op­pos­i­tion to the DROP pro­gram. It’s hard to fig­ure out their true feel­ings. Hope­fully the Coun­cil mem­bers that have already stolen our tax dol­lars won’t get to en­joy what they stole.

Maybe we should take a long, hard look at all the in­cum­bents on City Coun­cil. I also was called by Bobby Hen­on’s of­fice to see if I would vote for Hen­on and put a sign on my lawn. I asked what his po­s­i­tion on the DROP pro­gram was and she would not give me an an­swer but said I would get a phone call from him ex­plain­ing his po­s­i­tion.

Need­less to say, I nev­er got the call. And need­less to say, I won’t have his sign on my lawn. He cer­tainly won’t get my vote if he is for the DROP pro­gram. See you at the polls.

Vince Mosin­iak

Tor­res­dale

• • ull;

They say the defin­i­tion of in­san­ity is do­ing the same thing over and over again, and ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent res­ult. For too long, Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats alike have put the same ca­reer politi­cians back in the same jobs, while ex­pect­ing bet­ter res­ults.

It’s time we put some new faces in­to City Coun­cil, not lifelong politi­cians. Every­one knows the prob­lems our great city has right now, and many of these can­did­ates are ac­tu­ally brag­ging about the job they’ve done as elec­ted of­fi­cials.

Well, if you want cred­it for help­ing an­im­al shel­ters or start­ing caucuses, you bet­ter own up and take cred­it for our in­sane budget prob­lems, fail­ing schools which are get­ting worse un­der your watch, and vot­ing your­self pay raises in the middle of the night.

Ca­reer politi­cians can’t pick and choose which parts of their “leg­acy” they want to own. For­tu­nately for voters, we can pick and choose who should lead us mov­ing for­ward.

Shan­non Car­roll

Lawndale

Thumbs down on Rizzo and O’Bri­en

Here’s my opin­ion about the City Coun­cil elec­tions:

There’s an old say­ing, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” That about sums up some of the Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates for City Coun­cil this year. Frank Rizzo voted for — and still de­fends! — the DROP pro­gram that lets him re­tire for a day, col­lect a huge pay­out, then come back on the pub­lic payroll.

Denny O’Bri­en voted him­self a huge pay raise in the middle of the night at your ex­pense, and un­til the pub­lic and news me­dia out­cry, he saw noth­ing wrong with it. Now these two want us to put them in City Coun­cil so they can fix Phil­adelphia’s budget and fin­ances? Thanks, but no thanks. Time for some fresh faces this year.

Jack Crouse

Fox Chase

Demo­crat’s just wild about Denny

Dear Re­pub­lic­an Friends,

I guess I was 16 when I first said, “I’m a lifelong Demo­crat!”

It didn’t mean a whole lot at that age, but 45 years later, I can still say that, but this year I’m call­ing my­self a “Den­nycrat” for our NE Philly Re­pub­lic­an Coun­cil can­did­ate, Denny O’Bri­en.

You can ask your­self ques­tions as to why you vote for one par­tic­u­lar per­son over an­oth­er in any cam­paign, but every an­swer you want to hear fits Denny O’Bri­en.

Do you like a hard work­er? Nobody out­works Denny. Want someone who doesn’t look at party la­bels when de­cid­ing any is­sue? Rep. O’Bri­en has been do­ing just that for all his polit­ic­al life. Chil­dren’s is­sues, sup­port­ing cops and fire­fight­ers, fam­ily con­cerns, anti-crime … well, al­most any good law passed in Pennsylvania in re­cent years has Denny’s im­print on it.

So, now, I’m a Den­nycrat, and I urge my very many Re­pub­lic­an friends and neigh­bors to cast ONE vote…JUST one, for Re­pub­lic­an for City Coun­cil at-large. Please PUSH But­ton 26 and bring Den­nis home to work for all of Phil­adelphia.

Don’t for­get to vote on Tues­day May 17!

Terry Devlin

Fox Chase

It’s time for Bri­an O’Neill to go

Last week there were two let­ters on the up­com­ing elec­tion. I agree with most of what Mr. Swales and Mr. Tomez­sko had to say. Al Tauben­ber­ger is a can­did­ate who truly rep­res­ents the North­east way of life and is com­mit­ted to our fu­ture.

Where I must dis­agree with Mr. Swales is on Bri­an O’Neill.

The premise of Mr. Swales’ com­ments was all DROP can­did­ates should not be con­sidered worthy of your vote on May 17.

Mr. O’Neill and his co­horts have had four op­por­tun­it­ies to end DROP for elec­ted of­fi­cials over the last eight years and have not done so. Most re­cently, in the Phil­adelphia Daily News on Sept. 29, 2010, Mr. O’Neill was the only coun­cilp­er­son to say he would not ab­ol­ish the DROP pro­gram.

I be­lieve Bill Ru­bin is a much bet­ter choice in the race to rep­res­ent the 10th Dis­trict. Over the sum­mer of 2009 Bill Ru­bin wrote parts of HB 1828, and then he worked with lead­ers in the  state House to get it passed in Septem­ber of that year.

HB 1828 elim­in­ated DROP for all fu­ture elec­ted of­fi­cials. We are now pro­tec­ted from any fu­ture raids on our pen­sion fund, but they were not al­lowed to make it ret­ro­act­ive.

DROP is meant for po­lice, fire, and mu­ni­cip­al em­ploy­ees only — not for greedy politi­cians!!!!

One oth­er is­sue is Mr. O’Neill and the rest of City Coun­cil will get a 2 per­cent raise on Ju­ly 1, while our prop­erty taxes went up al­most 10 per­cent this year (pro­jec­ted to be 20 per­cent next year in the may­or’s five-year plan.)

It’s time to send a mes­sage to City Hall: “Let’s change the Face of City Coun­cil.” I hope every­one joins me and votes “Yes” on Ru­bin, “Yes” on Tauben­ber­ger, and NO on O’Neill!!!!!

Joe Stew­ard

Somer­ton

Coun­cil hope­ful is a Dougherty clone

In a re­cent edi­tion of the North­east Times, FOP Lodge 5 pres­id­ent John McNesby asked us to sup­port Bobby Hen­on for City Coun­cil. I have known John for over 25 years and I re­spect him as a per­son and a po­lice of­ficer. However, I have to say he is wrong on this mat­ter.

Bobby Hen­on is a Johnny Dougherty clone and will not serve all con­stitu­ents in the North­east. On March 16, the FOP sent out in­vit­a­tions for a be­ne­fit to sup­port Bobby Hen­on. For $1,000 you get 15 tick­ets for the event and 15 cour­tesy cards signed by John McNesby. If you only want to spend $750 you get 10 of each.

On their Web site it states: “Bob Hen­on sup­ports re­tire­ment plans for Po­lice, Fire and Mu­ni­cip­al work­ers in Phil­adelphia. Bob Hen­on does not sup­port the loop­holes in these re­tire­ment plans, es­pe­cially those used by elec­ted of­fi­cials. He will work to close these loop­holes so that those en­titled to the plan, be­cause of their years of ser­vice, can do so.”

On March 30, the FOP stated that they sup­port Mari­on Tasco. Is she not one of the two elec­ted of­fi­cials on the DROP plan try­ing to re­tire and get re-elec­ted?

John, I can­not un­der­stand this? Why would you sell your badge to sup­port an elec­ted of­fi­cial? That’s ex­actly what you are do­ing in this case.

I ask all voters to vote for the per­son YOU  feel is best qual­i­fied and not to vote just be­cause a group or or­gan­iz­a­tion en­dorses them. If we fol­low most of the uni­ons, Milton Street will be our may­or. Is that what you really want? I doubt it!

Steve Schmidt

May­fair

Tauben­ber­ger should give up

Well, an elec­tion must be com­ing up, be­cause I see per­en­ni­al can­did­ate Al Tauben­ber­ger is run­ning for of­fice yet again. I thought he might have fi­nally got­ten the mes­sage after that em­bar­rass­ing run for may­or a few years ago, when he set a re­cord for the worst per­form­ance by a Re­pub­lic­an may­or­al can­did­ate in Phil­adelphia his­tory, los­ing 83 per­cent to 17 per­cent. Even worse than his pi­ti­ful vote total was the way he con­duc­ted him­self dur­ing the race, slob­ber­ing all over Mi­chael Nut­ter, act­ing like a teen­age girl with a crush.

Tauben­ber­ger has spent the last dec­ade run­ning one los­ing cam­paign after an­oth­er. So will this time ac­tu­ally be dif­fer­ent? Of course not!

Tauben­ber­ger has little chance of ac­tu­ally win­ning. Most ana­lysts see a three-way race between Frank Rizzo, Dav­id Oh and Denny O’Bri­en for the two Re­pub­lic­an at-large Coun­cil seats.

If the GOP wants to fi­nally get real and start win­ning again, it needs to find real can­did­ates, not party hacks.

The Demo­crats have been un­im­press­ive in gov­ern­ing City Hall, so the GOP has an op­por­tun­ity over the next few years. But to seize that op­por­tun­ity, it needs to run can­did­ates of sub­stance, not re­treads who make a ca­reer out of run­ning for of­fice.

Here’s some ad­vice, Al: Go find an­oth­er hobby, as clearly polit­ics is not for you. The voters have spoken. Re­peatedly.

Cate McGuigan

Holmes­burg

Can­did­ate: Work more or earn less

In his let­ter, Le­gis­lat­ors should cut their own pay, in the April 21 edi­tion, John T. Fritz writes, “Wouldn’t it be an in­spir­a­tion to all of us if a state rep stepped up to the plate and in­tro­duced pay-cut le­gis­la­tion?” and sug­gests such a move “might even help the can­did­ates who are run­ning for an­oth­er elect­ive of­fice” get elec­ted. Well, John, pre­pare to be in­spired!

That rarest of would-be pub­lic ser­vants does in­deed ex­ist. Demo­crat Andy Toy, back for an­oth­er run at an at-large City Coun­cil seat, hav­ing racked up sig­ni­fic­ant en­dorse­ments and done well last time, says he wants to “re­duce our pay by a third or le­gis­late the whole year” in his own April 26 let­ter to the Phil­adelphia Daily News.

Else­where he has urged all who want to hold the of­fice to join him and pledge to do the same. Any takers?

Toy also would like to see Coun­cil “give up tax­pay­er cars and cell phones” and hold pub­lic hear­ings on their own budget and ef­fect­ive­ness just as it does for oth­er city de­part­ments. He wants to elim­in­ate moon­light­ing for Coun­cil mem­bers, en­sure term lim­its and have both mem­bers and meet­ings more ac­cess­ible to the pub­lic.

But re­mem­ber, if Andy Toy sounds like someone you’d like to see on City Coun­cil for a change, you’ve got to get to the polls on May 17.

Turnout last time around four years ago was very low, less than one-third of all eli­gible voters in both the primary and the gen­er­al elec­tions. You get to vote for at-large can­did­ates like Toy in ad­di­tion to the dis­trict can­did­ate of your choice. Still, ask the oth­er can­did­ates, if you get the chance, if they too have stepped up to the plate and agreed to elim­in­ate part of their re­cess (three months in the sum­mer and one month in the winter) or part of their pay (cur­rently ap­prox­im­ately $120,000 per year). And find out if Andy Toy has man­aged to be “an in­spir­a­tion” to any of them.

Rosa Michnya

Lex­ing­ton Park

Com­mis­sion­er hope­ful: Speak up!

Every elec­tion is im­port­ant, but this com­ing primary is crit­ic­ally im­port­ant to our loc­al Re­pub­lic­an Party. It’s been 20 years since we’ve had a con­tested mu­ni­cip­al primary in Phil­adelphia, so many re­gistered Re­pub­lic­ans sit out these elec­tions. But this is an ex­cit­ing time for our loc­al party, and this elec­tion will help de­cide its fu­ture, so it’s vi­tal that every­one’s voice is heard.

Al Schmidt

Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for city com­mis­sion­er

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at star@bsmphilly.com.

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