Letters to the editor, May 26, 2011

Drop DROP or im­peach City Coun­cil

As a Philly trans­plant for al­most 14 years, I am hav­ing a prob­lem un­der­stand­ing the city gov­ern­ment.

I, ap­par­ently fool­ishly, as­sumed that the city elec­ted of­fi­cials worked for the people and not the oth­er way around. How is con­tinu­ing DROP even a City Coun­cil vot­ing is­sue? What is the “de­bate”?

From what I hear and see, the people of Phil­adelphia want this cash grab idiocy to end NOW, as we saw in last week’s elec­tion. Our schools are get­ting a massive cut, yet these elec­ted ran­sack­ers grab it up for their own pock­et.

What the people de­mand of THEIR GOV­ERN­MENT is what that gov­ern­ment has no choice to do. It should NOT re­quire de­bate, per­us­ing, dis­cus­sion or a vote by the City Coun­cil. It should have been ter­min­ated as soon as the people made their de­sire known.

If you are 18 or older, write City Hall today and tell them to drop DROP im­me­di­ately. If the ma­jor­ity of voters tell them, they bet­ter do it. If not, im­peach the City Coun­cil mem­bers and call for a new elec­tion. It’s YOUR city; take it back un­der YOUR con­trol.

Heza­ki­ah Lev­in­son


He’s pray­ing for the soul of the athe­ist

The let­ter from a former Cath­ol­ic who is now an athe­ist (May 5 edi­tion) has caused me many mixed emo­tions: an­ger, sad­ness, sor­row and con­sterna­tion. My sor­row is for the pos­sible loss of his soul. I have prayed for him.

My an­ger is dir­ec­ted to his claim that con­ser­vat­ive Cath­ol­ics de­fend and make ex­cuses for the bad priests. I have talked with many of those he de­scribed and have found that all have the same opin­ion — that they, and those who pro­tec­ted them, should be pun­ished to the full ex­tent of the law, in­clud­ing im­pris­on­ment for lengthy stays. My con­cern stems from the writer’s use of the word pe­do­phil­ia twice, but nev­er men­tioned the word ho­mo­sexu­al.

The John Jay Col­lege of Crim­in­al Justice is­sued a re­port in 2004 that in­dic­ated that more than 75 per­cent of the cred­ible ac­cus­a­tions were against post-pu­bes­cent vic­tims, ac­cord­ing to the Bo­ston Globe. In oth­er words, the is­sue is ho­mo­sexu­al­ity, not pe­do­phil­ia.

I won­der if our athe­ist let­ter writer did any­thing to help our post-pu­bes­cent Boy Scouts when Phil­adelphia City Coun­cil can­celed the Boy Scouts headquar­ters in fa­vor of the ho­mo­sexu­al agenda.

In the mean­time, it is very per­plex­ing try­ing to un­der­stand how the sins and crim­in­al acts of oth­ers can make an athe­ist of a per­son that is not in­volved.

Paul D. Corbett


The hot line and oth­er hot is­sues

The bot­tom line with the child ab­use con­tro­versy, Cath­ol­ic or non-Cath­ol­ic, is that any adult who sus­pec­ted ab­use but neg­lected to call in an im­me­di­ate re­port to the child ab­use hot line, which is man­dated by law in Pennsylvania for adults who in­ter­act with chil­dren, failed the ab­used by cir­cum­vent­ing the law and mak­ing their own con­clu­sions.

On an­oth­er is­sue, I think it’s only fair that since Phil­adelphia po­lice re­ceived a con­tract from the cur­rent may­or but their broth­ers and sis­ters at DHS have not, that the po­lice should en­force lit­ter­ing, es­pe­cially smokers, and park­ing in fire lanes, spe­cific­ally at the shop­ping cen­ter at 7350 Ox­ford Ave., just be­low Bleigh. The budget crisis could eas­ily be solved on those tick­ets alone.

Liam Tolen


A mes­sage to Ar­lene in out­er space

Schools Su­per­in­tend­ent Ar­lene Ack­er­man’s ad­min­is­tra­tion wants the uni­ons to open up their con­tracts be­cause of her ex­cess­ive spend­ing. If any­one’s con­tract should be re­opened it is hers. Her base salary is about $7,000 a week. Last year’s bo­nus was $65,000 and this year’s is $100,000, an in­crease of $35,000. Even with her un­paid 20 fur­lough days (four weeks) at $7,000 a week, her net bo­nus still in­creases $7,000 more for this year, to $72,000.

For the past three years all she has done was bash the teach­ers, their uni­on and in­di­vidu­al teach­ers. She has hired a lot of people at salar­ies high­er than those of the may­or and gov­ernor.

If she wants some of the low­est paid teach­ers in the state to take salary and/ or be­ne­fit cuts, all I can say is: Earth to Ar­lene.

Dav­id Krain


Why are the few ex­empt from cuts?

I am a con­cerned tax­pay­er who has nev­er used the pub­lic school sys­tem, nor have my five grown chil­dren for their chil­dren. What I would like to know is how is it that the budget has to cut pro­grams that the chil­dren need, like art, mu­sic, school nurses and classroom aides, but the school across the street from where I live goes to sixth grade, has a prin­cip­al and two vice prin­cipals. That school is Ed­win For­rest. How come?

Ruth Maynes


Red tape has homeown­er down in the dumps

I have been deal­ing with an is­sue from the city of Phil­adelphia re­gard­ing a trash re­fuse fee. In June 2010, I re­ceived a state­ment in the amount of $150. Not know­ing what this fee was, I con­tac­ted Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski’s of­fice.

Bill Cox, who works for the coun­cil­wo­man, re­searched the fee with the Streets De­part­ment and stated that it only ap­plied to rent­al prop­er­ties.

Al­though I do own a du­plex, my moth­er lives in the first floor unit and I live in the second floor unit. He mailed out an ex­emp­tion form for me to fill out stat­ing that in­form­a­tion and stated that the fee would be waived ac­cord­ing to what was stated on the ex­emp­tion form. I sup­plied the city with all the in­form­a­tion needed and mailed it back im­me­di­ately.

In Janu­ary 2011 I re­ceived a State­ment of De­lin­quent Re­fuse Col­lec­tion Fees in the amount of $172.50. Now I ask you, why is it that hon­est, hard-work­ing, tax­pay­ing cit­izens of this city get pun­ished for be­ing HON­EST?

Every year, the city sends me a bill for a li­cense be­cause my prop­erty is a du­plex, and I pay it and have paid it since I’ve owned my prop­erty. So, be­cause I pay this fee the city states that I have to pay the re­fuse fee, when clearly the ex­emp­tion form states that if I provide prop­er in­form­a­tion that a fam­ily mem­ber lives there, I would be ex­emp­ted and the fee would be waived.

I would greatly ap­pre­ci­ate if the North­east Times would pub­lish this to make tax­pay­ers aware that the city is try­ing to ex­tort money from hon­est prop­erty own­ers with this bogus fee.

Do you really think the city is get­ting all the li­cense fees, un­paid taxes and util­ity bills from the ab­sent­ee land­lords that al­low their prop­er­ties to look like filthy war zones with broken-down vehicles in yards and drive­ways, with trash from one end of the prop­erty to the oth­er? The De­part­ment of Li­censes & In­spec­tions has no clue how many un­li­censed prop­er­ties there are in this city.

I have cop­ies of the pa­per­work that I have sent to the Streets De­part­ment, along with the cop­ies to Bill Cox at Coun­cil­wo­man Kra­jew­ski’s of­fice.

By the way, as the weath­er gets nicer I would like to ask every­one to take a good look around the out­side of their house. Cut your lawns, pick up trash, sweep up with a broom, and teach your kids to put trash in the trash can (not in the closest yard they’re walk­ing next to).

It’s really not dif­fi­cult to do, and let me say this ap­plies to every­one — homeown­ers, renters, land­lords, Eng­lish speak­ing, along with non-Eng­lish-speak­ing people. This is every­one’s re­spons­ib­il­ity.

Step up people, it only takes a few minutes to clean up the front of your house. Re­mem­ber, it’s where your chil­dren play, it’s not a war zone or trash dump! If you drop it, pick it up, and if you’re walk­ing your dog, pick up after it!

Donna Mar­ie Taweel


I re­spect cops, but not threats from their uni­on boss

I would like to re­spond to a let­ter in last week’s North­east Times en­titled Po­lice uni­on boss: I’m not for sale.

When I read it I had to ask my­self: Am I be­ing threatened by the pres­id­ent of the FOP? Mr. McNesby stated, “You can either pub­licly apo­lo­gize for your slur, or you can face the con­sequences.”

What would I apo­lo­gize for? I agree that Mr. McNesby has the right, as do the mem­bers of the FOP, to en­dorse or back any can­did­ate they want. My ques­tion was is Mr. McNesby selling his badge? If you read his threat to me, you will no­tice he nev­er denied that the FOP had a fund-raiser in which, for a dona­tion of $1,000, you would re­ceive 15 FOP cour­tesy cards signed by Mr. McNesby.

Mr. McNesby must not have read that I re­spect all po­lice of­ficers for their ser­vice. I am sure that if you ask some of the po­lice in the 15th dis­trict if they ever had a 7-year-old boy come up to them and say, “Thank you for pro­tect­ing and serving us,” their re­sponse would be yes. That little boy is my son, and I have in­stilled that in him ever since he could speak.

I also will stop a po­lice of­ficer and thank him for his ser­vice. I have noth­ing but re­spect for our men and wo­men in blue. Be­cause of that, I can say that I NEV­ER sold any T-shirts when a fallen of­ficer is tra­gic­ally taken from us to “make a few bucks selling me­mori­al T-shirts if an of­ficer goes down.”

I don’t know where Mr. McNesby re­ceived his in­form­a­tion, but I would ap­pre­ci­ate it if he did not slander my name by at­tack­ing me for something I nev­er did. This is false in­form­a­tion he is ac­cus­ing me of.

If you read my let­ter, you would have no­ticed that my con­cern was with the sale of FOP cour­tesy cards to donate money to Bobby Hen­on’s mil­lion-dol­lar cam­paign to run for City Coun­cil.

Mr. McNesby, I would also like to in­form you that your child­ish com­ments by call­ing me “Stevie” was taken with a grain of salt.

Rather than at­tack me, please feel free to con­tact me on Face­book as you have be­fore or you can vis­it me at 7246 Charles St. any time.

Steve Schmidt


Yo, com­mis­sion­er, what have you done for the fire­fight­ers?

I am the wife of a re­tired fire­fight­er, An­thony Per­petua, and I was ab­so­lutely ap­palled after I read about what has happened to Fire­fight­er Jack Sliv­in­ski.

This young man tried to help our fire­fight­ers wid­ows fund. So, he had his photo taken for a cal­en­dar. So what, com­mis­sion­er? May I ask what you have done for our wid­ows??

I can tell you that I have put thou­sands of hours in mak­ing and selling my ros­ar­ies at vari­ous craft shows, all for the sur­viv­ors fund. I have raised thou­sands of dol­lars for them. This year, I am do­ing it for only the fire­fight­ers wid­ows fund. My hus­band and I stand for long hours selling them. Again, what have you done??

Re­in­state this young man to his res­cue unit. Thank God we have this brave young man to do this job. To rep­rim­and him is just ter­rible. Is it be­cause he is white? If a black fire­fight­er did this, what would you have done? I am sorry to sound ra­cial, but what are you about?

I read the stor­ies about an ac­ci­dent in­volving two fire trucks and the fire­man in charge be­ing de­moted yet they had the green light? Isn’t the de­mo­tion ra­cial? You are dis­crim­in­at­ing against them, and you should be held ac­count­able. Also, the of­ficer who was de­moted after the ac­ci­dent should be re­in­stated to his pre­vi­ous du­ties. I IN­SIST on it.

You should be com­mend­ing our fire­fight­ers on their jobs about when they are severely in­jured with their fin­gers melted to­geth­er. I am speak­ing about a high-rise fire, when they tried to save a re­tired po­lice of­ficer, saw him burn­ing in his wheel­chair, and they des­per­ately tried to save him. All three burned so badly. We don’t hear about that.

What do you say to them? Are they up for an award? Or maybe you were too busy try­ing to stop people from help­ing our wid­ows. I don’t know how you sleep at night. Doesn’t your con­science both­er you?

You are only in your job be­cause of May­or Nut­ter. The mor­ale of the Fire De­part­ment is at an all-time low.

I will keep let­ters go­ing un­til I hear from you per­son­ally. At my next craft show I in­tend to have pe­ti­tions to have these brave fire­fight­ers back on their jobs.

It is a time for a change in the fire de­part­ment, and the change will be a new com­mis­sion­er.

Kath­leen Per­petua

Holme Circle

The fact is, there’s no place like home care

This month, the Pennsylvania Home­care As­so­ci­ation has ar­ranged for those of us who provide care to meet with our le­gis­lat­ors in Har­ris­burg. The pur­pose of these meet­ings is to ex­plain the fin­an­cial, phys­ic­al and men­tal be­ne­fits of home care.

Pennsylvani­ans are en­titled to nurs­ing home care, at a cost of about $58,000 per per­son to Medi­caid. Pennsylvani­ans are not en­titled to in-home care, which has a price tag of about $22,000 per per­son. Nearly 75 per­cent of Pennsylvania’s Medi­caid ex­penses go to in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized care. As a res­id­ent of Pennsylvania, a seni­or cit­izen and a home care pro­vider, this con­cerns me.

Re­cently, Com­munity Care of the North­east took care of an eld­erly couple in their two-story home in May­fair. Mom is 86 and dad is 88. The wife was ori­gin­ally hos­pit­al­ized for a ur­in­ary tract in­fec­tion that led to an in­fec­tion that en­cased her whole body, caus­ing her to have a stroke. Also, she de­veloped a con­di­tion called “c.diff,” which is an in­fect­ive colit­is of­ten oc­cur­ring after the use of wide-spec­trum an­ti­bi­ot­ics. Even­tu­ally she was placed in a re­hab­il­it­a­tion fa­cil­ity.

The son came home to as­sist with mom’s care and was con­cerned by her in­creased con­fu­sion and weak­ness. Mom might have to be placed in a long-term nurs­ing fa­cil­ity. I was called in to eval­u­ate the situ­ation and asked to re­com­mend oth­er op­tions of care, in­clud­ing home care.

My first con­cern was her sud­den in­tel­lec­tu­al de­cline in re­gard to her speech and de­creased phys­ic­al mo­bil­ity. The re­hab cen­ter provided her with phys­ic­al ther­apy, speech ther­apy and oc­cu­pa­tion­al ther­apy — but the light in her eyes had gone out. She showed no in­terest in im­prov­ing her health.

The fam­ily was con­cerned and needed to know if bring­ing her home would help. Mom seemed de­feated by the idea of a nurs­ing home. I ex­plained that by bring­ing her home to fa­mil­i­ar sur­round­ings she might be stim­u­lated and be­gin im­prov­ing. Mom seemed ex­cited when her fam­ily spoke to her about the plan, and she agreed to co­oper­ate.

The dis­charge was planned. We brought in our trained dir­ect care work­ers who as­sisted with meals, toi­letry, bathing and ex­er­cise. The Medi­care ser­vices fol­lowed and the skilled nurse, phys­ic­al ther­ap­ist and oc­cu­pa­tion­al ther­ap­ist worked with us to provide the total care needed.

When Mom ar­rived home we met her at the front door. Her home was set up to provide care on the first floor. Ini­tially, the dir­ect care work­ers stayed around the clock, with as­sist­ance hours de­creas­ing as Mom be­came stronger. Dur­ing our stay the dir­ect care work­ers ob­served that Dad was be­com­ing weak. The fam­ily was aler­ted and he was hos­pit­al­ized with stom­ach ul­cers.

Mom and Dad are now at home, and both are func­tion­ing in­de­pend­ently. Our nurs­ing staff con­tin­ues to vis­it as needed. When a phys­ic­al prob­lem arises we eval­u­ate and make re­com­mend­a­tions.

Mom is back to quilt­ing and us­ing her com­puter. Mom and Dad are func­tion­ing as a team once again with min­im­al as­sist from the fam­ily and com­munity care. They have more time to­geth­er, liv­ing safely and in­de­pend­ently at home.

This story and many more are be­ing told to our le­gis­lat­ors in Har­ris­burg to alert them to the changes re­quired to keep fam­il­ies to­geth­er. Please en­cour­age your state rep­res­ent­at­ives and sen­at­ors to sup­port House Bill HB210 and Sen­ate Bill SB639.

Com­munity Care Cen­ter of the North­east was es­tab­lished in 1985 and is a non-profit, state-li­censed home care agency ded­ic­ated to lifelong in­de­pend­ence.

 For more in­form­a­tion, call me at 215-335-4416.

Jean E. Lan­gen­bach


You can reach at fgusoff@bsmphilly.com.

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