Letters to the editor November 9, 2011 edition

We the people are left out by Com­cast

What a dis­grace! I had a prob­lem the oth­er day pay­ing my Com­cast bill on­line ($148+) that they love to ad­vert­ise as Triple Play for $99.99. Yeah, try and get that deal. If you like one con­vert­er box and ba­sic chan­nels, that’s an­oth­er story in it­self.

So I wind up on­line in a chat win­dow with a per­son who is go­ing to help me ac­cess my ac­count. They kept ask­ing me to sign up for auto pay so I wouldn’t have to worry about for­get­ting my pass­word again, etc.

I said I re­fuse be­cause it saves the com­pany on post­age and pa­per and someone’s job and they of­fer no dis­count or lower rate for do­ing it.

Once this was all over, I asked the girl in the Com­cast chat win­dow on the com­pany’s Web site where they are loc­ated. Sure enough, she said the Phil­ip­pines. What a dis­grace.

We are pay­ing $148+ a month for noth­ing fancy, ba­sic­ally HD Triple Play, no premi­um chan­nels, and they’re hir­ing help in the Phil­ip­pines, not right here in the USA! But they are an­oth­er big guy say­ing they cre­ate jobs, and they smear that bil­lion-dol­lar sky­scraper in our faces here in Phil­adelphia! Who is in­side that new build­ing? CEOs and CFOs, be­cause the help is in the Phil­ip­pines.

It’s a dis­grace to rob us with those high costs each month, but not hir­ing US!!!

Ron­ald Opitz

Up­per Holmes­burg

Mourn­ing a lady of the law: Kar­en Auer­weck

Ms. Kar­en Auer­weck, 54, crime scene in­vest­ig­at­or for the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment’s crime scene unit, passed away sud­denly on Oct. 7. Ms. Auer­weck was the first fe­male to be trans­ferred to the elite ranks of the male-dom­in­ated unit in 1982. Ms. Auer­weck was near­ing re­tire­ment at the time of her passing.

Throughout her ca­reer, she pro­cessed thou­sands of crime scenes, and as a res­ult of her di­li­gence and ex­pert­ise, vi­ol­ent crim­in­als were re­moved from the streets and the fam­il­ies of vic­tims ob­tained clos­ure and justice.

In 1985, Ms. Auer­weck was as­signed to as­sist in the pro­cessing of the MOVE crime scene on Os­age Av­en­ue. There, she spent al­most sev­en months sift­ing, re­cov­er­ing and ana­lyz­ing evid­ence that would later prove in­stru­ment­al in es­tab­lish­ing the facts of what happened that fate­ful day.

She was ded­ic­ated to the premise of fair­ness; that sci­entif­ic evid­ence is used not only to ac­cuse and con­vict, but, equally im­port­ant, to ex­on­er­ate those who were not in­volved in the crime.

Ms. Auer­weck was re­spec­ted not only by her peers but by count­less num­bers of at­tor­neys, both in the Phil­adelphia Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice and those in private prac­tice. She trained and ment­ored many present-day crime scene in­vest­ig­at­ors through com­pas­sion, skill and her de­sire to en­sure that the evid­ence al­ways sup­por­ted the facts. She will be truly missed by many.

J. Peter Bush­man

Re­tired mem­ber of the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment’s crime scene unit

Cats are look­ing for love

This week­end, Nov. 11 to 13, For­got­ten Cats is hav­ing their Second Chance For Love, in the ad­op­tion cen­ter of PetS­mart at 901 Old York Road in Abing­ton.

There will be ad­or­able, ad­opt­able cats and many kit­tens. The kit­ties are vet­ted, neutered and ready for a fam­ily of their own to take them home. What bet­ter way to ex­press love than to ad­opt a little one that truly needs you? Please come and vis­it this week­end. Someone is wait­ing for you!

Gina De­N­ofa


Philly’s in a down­fall

I be­long to a group called Fight­forPhilly.org. On Oct. 24 our group ad­dressed City Coun­cil mem­bers on two bills for small busi­ness. The priv­ilege bill was passed and will be im­ple­men­ted in 2012.

I spoke to Coun­cil mem­bers re­gard­ing the re­fuse col­lec­tion tax that costs $300 per year, and left un­paid it ac­cu­mu­lates pen­al­ties and in­terest charges. My di­lemma is un­changed and I am ex­pect­ing a high­er prop­erty tax next year.

The city has done noth­ing to en­hance a de­cent liv­ing wage for many years. The ex­pendit­ures are in­creas­ing by leaps and bounds. So far, we the people must en­dure prop­erty taxes, wa­ter and sew­er taxes, op­er­a­tion li­censes, the DROP pro­gram, city wage taxes, sales taxes, pos­sible soda taxes — where does it end?

These of­fi­cials are re­spons­ible for the down­fall of Phil­adelphia. If you doubt me, take a look around the city at all the aban­doned build­ings and prop­er­ties.

Anna D. Kauff­man


Who will pay the fines?

City Coun­cil just passed a curfew law that would im­pose a $75 fine on par­ents. Now, how are they go­ing to pay that? They’re cry­ing now they can’t af­ford to pay for their kids’ bus fare.

They really can’t pay for any­thing. They like to have everything giv­en to them. There’s a $500 max­im­um fine. Wow, who is go­ing to pay that? The Ac­cess card might work, or maybe the tax­pay­ers will pay via a new tax. There will be plenty of curfew vi­ol­a­tions, but no money.

P.S. City Coun­cil people are as use­less as pulled teeth.

Jerry Foglia Sr.


Ab­sent­ee land­lords have politi­cians ticked off

In re­sponse to ef­forts to im­prove neg­lected prop­er­ties in the North­east:

Over the years, I have re­ceived nu­mer­ous com­plaints from con­stitu­ents re­gard­ing un­re­solved ten­ant and main­ten­ance is­sues at prop­er­ties with ab­sent­ee land­lords.

I re­cog­nized this as a prob­lem all across the city. That is why I in­tro­duced Bill #090834, which amended the city’s prop­erty main­ten­ance code by re­quir­ing prop­erty own­ers that do not live in the city or a sur­round­ing county, un­der spe­cif­ic terms and con­di­tions, to des­ig­nate a loc­al prop­erty man­ager and provide the full con­tact in­form­a­tion to the prop­er city de­part­ment.

This bill helps to ad­dress the is­sues of safety, health and the wel­fare of ex­ist­ing build­ings by es­tab­lish­ing min­im­um re­quire­ments for safe and san­it­ary main­ten­ance. This in­cludes prop­er light­ing, vent­il­a­tion, heat­ing and pro­tec­tion from the ele­ments and safety from fire and oth­er haz­ards.

This le­gis­la­tion al­lows the prop­er city de­part­ment to then serve the re­spons­ible party with prop­er writ­ten no­tice de­scrib­ing any con­di­tions that are un­safe or un­fit and iden­ti­fies a stip­u­lated amount of time to take cor­rect­ive meas­ures.

En­force­ment is needed now so that the city can prop­erly ad­dress the is­sues that arise with prop­er­ties that fall in­to this cat­egory.

Mari­an B. Tasco 

Ninth Dis­trict coun­cil­wo­man & ma­jor­ity lead­er

• • •

As the state rep­res­ent­at­ive for the 172nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict in North­east Phil­adelphia, I’ve had the op­por­tun­ity to work with vari­ous city de­part­ments on a vari­ety of is­sues. An is­sue of ex­treme im­port­ance in my dis­trict and our city is blighted prop­er­ties and neg­li­gent out-of-town prop­erty own­ers. These dis­reg­arded homes not only den­ig­rate the qual­ity of life but force hard-work­ing fam­il­ies to move.

I am elated that Li­censes and In­spec­tions Com­mis­sion­er Fran Burns has taken bold steps to help com­bat this plague. 

Ac­cord­ing to a Phil­adelphia Daily News art­icle on Oct. 26, Com­mis­sion­er Burns stated she would, “Ex­tra­dite out-of-town own­ers and ush­er them in­to the city’s new blight court.”

It is en­cour­aging to know that the city is will­ing to take the ne­ces­sary ac­tions to ad­dress these can­cers that have af­fected neigh­bor­hoods. While the is­sue of aban­doned prop­er­ties and neg­li­gent out-of-town prop­erty own­ers is city­wide, it is es­pe­cially tox­ic in the North­east.

Earli­er this year, my of­fice began to track down these out-of-town prop­erty own­ers and quickly real­ized how pan­dem­ic the is­sue is. A firm com­mit­ment at the mu­ni­cip­al level was para­mount and today, un­der Com­mis­sion­er Burns’ lead­er­ship, it was de­livered.

I hope that Com­mis­sion­er Burns takes the ne­ces­sary steps to also track down and haul in these neg­li­gent out-of-town prop­erty own­ers that rent these blighted prop­er­ties, col­lect an in­come and re­fuse to ad­dress the blight of their prop­er­ties or pay city fines.

I will con­tin­ue to fight against these prop­er­ties, track down their own­ers and hold them ac­count­able for their blighted prop­er­ties. It is im­per­at­ive that we keep our neigh­bor­hoods strong and not al­low blighted prop­er­ties to di­min­ish our neigh­bor­hoods.

By bridging the state and city gov­ern­ments, we will be able to hold prop­erty own­ers ac­count­able and pre­vent neg­lected prop­er­ties from for­cing our neigh­bors to move.

State Rep. Kev­in J. Boyle

172nd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Rep. Boyle’s dis­trict in­cludes por­tions of May­fair, Fox Chase, and Holmes­burg. Rep. Boyle holds a mas­ter’s de­gree from Har­vard Uni­versity in edu­ca­tion policy.

Loc­al sports ra­dio is a turn-off

As I see it

By John Scan­lon

I figured this would hap­pen. It sad­dens me that cor­por­ate suits are yank­ing the plug on more and more FM rock sta­tions these days, lured by the latest trendy format, and when CBS Ra­dio yanked the plug on ven­er­able WYSP-94 and im­me­di­ately plugged in sports talk, I knew the re­gion’s IQ was about to dip 20 points.

It has been two months since this switch from clas­sic rock to sports jock. Pink Floyd has been re­placed by Joe from Mount Airy and his whim­per­ing tale of in­som­nia and how the tra­gic Phil­lies have ba­sic­ally ended his life.

It’s sad that so many sports fans are will­ing to be pub­licly pathet­ic on a ra­dio call-in show. Or, even worse, pathet­ic­ally shal­low. As I sat in my car dur­ing an in­ter­min­able red light at the Boulevard and Southamp­ton Road, listen­ing to Joe ramble in his de­pressed mono­tone, I just couldn’t cope.

So I turned off the ra­dio. And I wondered. Do we really need a second FM sports-talk sta­tion in town? Do we really need to double the bore­dom of listen­ing to al­tern­ately whiny and get-a-life people who, caller after caller after caller, can beat the same theme to death, 24/7, for one sol­id week, maybe even two?

Host: Next up we have Phil on his cell. Phil, what’s up?

Phil: Ry­an Howard … man, I don’t know, I’m just so dis­gus­ted right now … he just strikes out way too much for someone hit­ting in the four hole. Do you agree?

Host: Ab­so­lutely right!! The man has got to put the ball in play!!

This is sor­ted out for 10 minutes. Then it’s on to the next caller.

Host: James from Cherry Hill, how are you on this fine night?

James: Hey, love your show. I wanted to talk about Ry­an Howard. Is this guy ever go­ing to get a hit when it counts?

This is ba­sic­ally sor­ted out for 10 more minutes the way it was sor­ted out 10 minutes earli­er. Then it’s on to the next call. God, don’t let it be about Ry­an Howard. Or that Phils man­ager Charlie Manuel sud­denly can’t man­age. Or that the Eagles need to dump coach Andy Re­id. Or that Andy Re­id’s wife needs to dump Andy Re­id.

OK, maybe not that one. It just seems that way.

Let me say at this point that I am as de­vout a Philly sports fan as any­one, and I can re­late to feel­ing this des­pair and ex­as­per­a­tion, but it was years and years ago that I let it wreck my life. I don’t think I even had un­der­arm hair yet.

Kids spoiled by today’s era of cham­pi­on­ship Phil­lies teams don’t know the dis­tress of be­ing 8 years old and dy­ing with crappy Phil­lies teams. They don’t know the dis­tress of dy­ing with a worse-than-crappy Phil­lies team in 1961. The Phils lost 23 straight games that Ju­ly and Au­gust, at the time es­tab­lish­ing the his­tor­ic bench­mark for in­eptitude in ma­jor-league base­ball. It’s a bench­mark that has re­mained un­par­alleled in the 50 years since.

Morn­ing after morn­ing I’d walk in­to the kit­chen and ask my moth­er, “Did they win last night?” She’d say no, they didn’t, and then I’d hys­ter­ic­ally flop on the floor and scream, “I can’t be­lieve how much they stink!!” This be­came a sick and un­bear­able ritu­al dur­ing that streak, day after day, un­til my moth­er fi­nally wised up and made it a point not to be in the house when I woke up.

I re­late this child­hood melt­down be­cause a thought comes to mind. Thank God there wasn’t sports-talk ra­dio in 1961. Or, for that mat­ter, three years later in ’64, when the Phils blew first place with an epic col­lapse the last week of the sea­son, a re­mark­able choke job that, 47 years later, is just an an­cient and tired mo­ment kept alive by old-timers who still talk about that aw­ful week like it was the base­ball ver­sion of the Bay of Pigs in­va­sion.

It was OK when there was just one sports-talk sta­tion in town, 610 WIP. Hard to be­lieve that well over two dec­ades have passed since the AM sta­tion went sports — the first such format in the na­tion — and it prospered un­til two years ago, when the cor­por­ate own­er of WPEN-FM, at 97.5 on the dial, ditched the mu­sic and switched to sports talk as a com­pan­ion to its own AM sports sta­tion, 950 ES­PN Phil­adelphia, which had been the ven­er­able WPEN.

Per­son­ally, I think 97.5 The Fan­at­ic has blos­somed as the bet­ter sports-talk sta­tion in this town, even if it’s still bat­tling for the Ar­bit­ron rat­ings to pro­claim it. The callers seem more in touch with life — even smarter — and The Fan­at­ic’s morn­ing drive-time hosts are know­ledge­able and en­ter­tain­ing and keep the em­phas­is on the show, a wel­come res­pite from the stale vaudeville act that An­gelo Cataldi and his yuck-it-up sidekicks have be­come at WIP over the years.

Rest as­sured that WIP is feel­ing The Fan­at­ic’s heat. And rest as­sured that WIP honchos, well aware that the dif­fer­ence between AM and FM sig­nals is like the dif­fer­ence between Ty Cobb’s wool knick­ers and Chase Ut­ley’s poly­es­ter pants, knew they had to go FM to level the field.

Which is why rock sta­tion WYSP-94 is now, quite sadly, just a memory. WIP’s par­ent com­pany, CBS Ra­dio, dis­mantled the FM sta­tion and on Sept. 2 de­b­uted Sports­Ra­dio 94WIP. Now it sim­ul­casts the sports chat­ter on both of its sta­tions, banging heads with 97.5 The Fan­at­ic and 950 ES­PN Phil­adelphia to de­liv­er sports talk all over the ra­dio dial.

It’s too much. It’s so un­ne­ces­sary.

I get it that people need a break from the somber stuff in the world these days. War rages on. Our stand­ard of liv­ing is shot. And for the life of me, I still can’t fig­ure out wheth­er Demi and Ashton are still an item. But that’s pre­cisely the point. If the cor­por­ate suits are big on talk ra­dio, let’s talk about is­sues more mean­ing­ful than wheth­er Juan Castillo should be stock­ing shelves at Tar­get in­stead of run­ning the Eagles’ woe­ful de­fense.

I sup­pose that sports ra­dio is a ju­bil­ant won­der­land when your teams are bask­ing in glory. Not so when your base­ball team has bombed and your foot­ball team is hand­somely paid but un­pre­dict­able, and thus your sports-ra­dio sta­tion be­comes a vap­id waste­land of re­pe­ti­tious bore­dom and banal chat­ter of little so­cially re­deem­ing value.

For­give me if I nev­er felt moved to call WIP and weigh in on out­field­er Hunter Pence’s her­nia. I had a more press­ing mat­ter. I had to know wheth­er Demi Moore’s a free babe again. ••

John Scan­lon is ed­it­or of the North­east Times. He can be reached at js­can­lon@bsmphilly.com

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Let­ters 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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