Letters to the editor October 6, 2011 edition

Phil­lies strike out on play­offs for all to see

Well, it’s time for post-sea­son base­ball again. But a lot of Phil­lies fans are denied the nail-bit­ing and heart pal­pit­a­tions this year. 

At a time of deep re­ces­sion, and with seni­ors and fam­il­ies stretch­ing their dol­lars, many have had to turn off cable. If so, you are out of luck. Ma­jor League Base­ball has de­term­ined again that the Na­tion­al League play­offs are to be on pay TV only. Hope­fully some seni­or and com­munity cen­ters with cable will open to the many neg­lected fans.

I re­mem­ber when the Phil­lies got their new ball­park. They got a spe­cial par­cel of land, and all the tax­pay­ers shared in the cost of build­ing Cit­izens Bank Park. We were full part­ners in this en­deavor. Yet, in re­cent years, do you no­tice how few­er and few­er games are broad­cast on Chan­nel 17? How quickly we are for­got­ten.

So when our mil­lion­aires are play­ing their mil­lion­aires, amid a thou­sand TV com­mer­cials, re­mem­ber grandpa, the na­tion­al pas­time has be­come more about the bot­tom line than the fi­nal score.  

So a lot of us will “watch” the Phils on the ra­dio. Yet each year it gets a little harder to cheer.

Richard Iac­on­elli


Fire com­mis­sion­er uses a double stand­ard

Lloyd Ay­ers, the com­mis­sion­er of the Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment, is noth­ing but a hy­po­crite. He dis­cip­lines Fire­fight­er Jack Sliv­in­ski Jr. for pos­ing for a cal­en­dar that helps out the wid­ows of fallen fire­fight­ers, then shows up on a video in uni­form, on duty, pro­mot­ing the Black and No­bel book­store.

He states he goes there for all his edu­ca­tion­al needs. Yeah, right! How much did he pock­et for this pro­mo­tion of an Afric­an-Amer­ic­an book­store? He couldn’t spell edu­ca­tion­al. 

A few years ago, Com­mis­sion­er Ay­ers sus­pen­ded me for be­ing out of uni­form while at­tend­ing a fu­ner­al for a fire­fight­er. My top but­ton un­der­neath my tie was un­buttoned, I was sus­pen­ded for 20 hours and trans­ferred to what is known as a shang-hi sta­tion. At the time, I had al­most 30 years on the fire de­part­ment.

A few years passed and my griev­ance hear­ing for this in­cid­ent was fi­nally held and guess who showed up com­pletely out of uni­form? Yep, good old Lloyd. When he was in­formed by my law­yer that he was out of uni­form, he crouched up, bul­ging eyes and neck, and said, “I’m the com­mis­sion­er.”

This com­mis­sion­er and his sidekick, Deputy Com­mis­sion­er Ern­est Har­gett, have done noth­ing but ru­in this once-proud Fire De­part­ment. They should be re­moved from their po­s­i­tions im­me­di­ately. They couldn’t man­age a fruit stand, let alone a ma­jor fire de­part­ment.  

Lt. Thomas G. Le­onard

Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment

• • •

With all the sexu­ally ex­pli­cit pic­tures on the mar­ket, what was the big deal about Jack Sliv­in­ski pos­ing shirt­less for a cal­en­dar? It was even done to raise money for wid­ows of fire­fight­ers killed in the line of duty. Would it have brought so much at­ten­tion if the pic­ture was in­side the cal­en­dar? Was the dis­cip­lin­ary ac­tion done to bring at­ten­tion to Fire Com­mis­sion­er Ay­ers?

It is sad to real­ize the out­come for Jack Sliv­in­ski, his fam­ily and friends. Maybe there has been a les­son learned.

Mar­ie Pat­ton

Fox Chase

There’s no free am­bu­lance ride

A few weeks ago, I read about a Korean wo­man who got a bill for over $1,000 for am­bu­lance ser­vice. Why is it so high?

My sis­ter got one too, since she got sick and was taken to the hos­pit­al, and she got a bill for $1,050 (her in­sur­ance only covered part of it). For what? For trav­el­ing one mile? The oth­er am­bu­lance ser­vice took my sis­ter to an­oth­er hos­pit­al and they only charged my sis­ter $400, yet they went more than eight miles. The dif­fer­ence is $650. Why do they charge so much money, and who gets the cut out of it? P.S. It used to be free but not any­more.

Robert F. Schaf­fer


No flags at school on week­ends

This is in re­sponse to Anna Gav­in’s let­ter to the ed­it­or in the Sept. 22 edi­tion, Where were the flags on the 9/11 an­niversary?

All pub­lic schools on week­ends are not sup­posed to fly their flags, as that is not ap­pro­pri­ate. 

In ad­di­tion, Ms. Gav­in, what you do not know is that on Monday, Sept. 12, at about 8:30, the prin­cip­al, Mrs. Velazquez, and I led a small ce­re­mony out­side where a few words were said. I played Taps and a flag was presen­ted to our school po­lice of­ficer (a former Philly cop).

The next day, a man came up to Mrs. Velazquez and said how touched he was by our simple ce­re­mony. The man was and al­ways will be a Mar­ine.

Greg Kauriga 

Bustleton res­id­ent and mu­sic teach­er at Wil­li­am Loes­che Ele­ment­ary School

Youth can bring real change with their vote

There are more than 27 mil­lion Amer­ic­an men and wo­men ages 18 to 24 with a Face­book ac­count. That’s 27 mil­lion voices that share their in­sights and opin­ions on the Web.

If our youth are will­ing to dis­play their opin­ion on a so­cial net­work­ing site, ima­gine the im­pact if they brought their voice to the vot­ing booth. Un­for­tu­nately, we can­not simply “like” a can­did­ate. We have to cast a vote. 

Only 22 per­cent — or 10.8 mil­lion — of Amer­ic­an voters ages 18 to 24 went to the polls dur­ing the 2006 con­gres­sion­al elec­tion. The 2008 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion saw a heart­en­ing in­crease: 48 per­cent of voters in that same age brack­et voted. Just two years later, in 2010, that num­ber dipped back down again. 

This year may not be an elec­tion year for pres­id­ent, Con­gress or the state le­gis­lature, but it’s an im­port­ant elec­tion cycle for our city. Phil­adelphi­ans will cast their votes for may­or, City Coun­cil, city com­mis­sion­ers, sher­iff, re­gister of wills and Su­per­i­or Court, Com­mon­wealth Court, Com­mon Pleas Court, Mu­ni­cip­al Court and Traffic Court judges.

Un­for­tu­nately, a ma­jor voter turnout doesn’t look very likely. Only 29 per­cent of all eli­gible voters cast their bal­lots in Phil­adelphia dur­ing the 2007 mu­ni­cip­al elec­tion. Our city can and should do bet­ter.

Some of our bright­est, strong-willed and most en­thu­si­ast­ic cit­izens are our young adults. They bring vi­brancy to our city. They fre­quent our res­taur­ants and mu­seums. They open busi­nesses and work hard in our uni­versit­ies. They also pay their share of taxes. Their voice in choos­ing our elec­ted lead­ers is im­port­ant. 

Cit­izens must re­gister by Tues­day, Oct. 11 to be eli­gible to vote in the Nov. 8 gen­er­al elec­tion. I in­vite every­one to re­gister. The abil­ity to vote is a power­ful Amer­ic­an right. After all, a Face­book status is fleet­ing; a vote can have a last­ing im­pact.

State Sen. Shir­ley Kit­chen

D-3rd dis­trict

Clean City Coun­cil’s clock in Novem­ber

Phil­adelphia’s chief in­teg­rity of­ficer, Joan Mark­man, just re­leased a scath­ing re­port re­gard­ing the be­hind-the-scenes politick­ing en­gaged in over the fate of Mar­tin Luth­er King High School.

State Rep. Dwight Evans, School Re­form Com­mis­sion chair­man Robert Arch­ie and Schools Su­per­in­tend­ent Ar­lene Ack­er­man all locked horns in private over the fu­ture of MLK, and all had ves­ted in­terests in the out­come. 

Well, Arch­ie and Ack­er­man are gone and the school is now a Prom­ise Academy. However, the school dis­trict is $630 mil­lion in the red and mem­bers of City Coun­cil are re­spond­ing neg­at­ively to the Mark­man re­port.

Most are of­fen­ded by the re­lease of the re­port, and most are shrug­ging off the MLK battle in the mud as Philly polit­ics as usu­al.

Coun­cil­wo­men Jan­nie Black­well and Mari­an Tasco — a DROP par­ti­cipant — of­fer praise to Evans while Coun­cil­man James Ken­ney chooses to at­tack May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter over the re­port’s re­lease. Coun­cil­man Frank Rizzo — an­oth­er DROP par­ti­cipant — wants all of the re­port’s in­ter­viewees iden­ti­fied.

Only Coun­cil­man Wil­li­am Green­lee serves up a faint-hearted con­dem­na­tion of the school dis­trict’s brawl in the mud while Za­ck Stal­berg of the Com­mit­tee of 70 is alone in ex­press­ing out­rage over the re­sponse of City Coun­cil — which brings us to the point of this let­ter. 

City Hall is broke. Prop­erty taxes have ris­en al­most 15 per­cent over the last two years, al­though over 110,000 prop­erty own­ers haven’t paid taxes in years and new as­sess­ments are com­ing. Only the North­w­est, the North­east, and Cen­ter City are foot­ing the city’s bills, with areas like Fairhill rep­res­ent­ing an al­most 40 per­cent de­lin­quent prop­erty tax rate. And City Coun­cil does nada.

May­or Nut­ter and Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey have clamped down on the flash mobs, but on Sept. 11, 2011, six in­di­vidu­als were shot to death in our city.  

The schools are a mess and in dire need of more Glen Mills-type en­tit­ies than Prom­ise Academies. And the cur­rent Phil­adelphia Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers con­tract con­cludes on June 30. Any hope for those teach­ing in this city? Oh, Ack­er­man is rich­er by $905,000, and Arch­ie just did a bail on the SRC. Any won­der that sale signs are go­ing up all over?  

As evid­enced by City Coun­cil’s re­sponse to the MLK re­port,  what we have be­fore us is simply busi­ness as usu­al in this city.

My re­sponse: Let’s clean house down­town, start­ing with Tasco and her DROP mon­ies. Is Green­lee a keep­er or a gon­er? Like­wise Coun­cil­man Bill Green with his may­or­al am­bi­tions? What about Coun­cil mem­bers Wilson Goode, an­oth­er son of a failed may­or, and Maria Quinones-Sanc­hez and Bri­an O’Neill? And those vy­ing for pub­lic of­fice? Dav­id Oh and Al Tauben­ber­ger? 

We need fresh faces and fresh think­ing in City Hall, more mem­bers of the polit­ic­al op­pos­i­tion and few­er polit­ic­al lifers. Nut­ter needs in­di­vidu­als who will serve the city, not their polit­ic­al back­ers. We need folks who will go after our prop­erty-tax dead­beats and our crim­in­al un­der­class.  

We need more makers and few­er takers and fakers!

Philly is headed in the dir­ec­tion of an­oth­er De­troit — a non-vi­able, pa­ro­chi­al en­tity of lost souls, crim­in­als, dead­beats and polit­ic­al op­por­tun­ists.

But we go to the polls in just over a month. It could be a last chance for Philly.

George Swales


Pres­id­ent Obama is a fraud

Re­gard­ing your Sept. 22 ed­it­or­i­al, Sour grapes, about the Elect­or­al Col­lege: No, it is not sour grapes re­gard­ing John Mc­Cain’s loss to Barack Obama. It is a sour taste in the mouth with dis­gust. This man was not vet­ted as any oth­er can­did­ate was. His ment­ors, Jeremi­ah Wright and Frank Mar­shall Dav­is, alone should have been a danger sign. He him­self said he hung out with Marx­ists and rad­ic­als. He is a dan­ger­ous man, more than you can ima­gine.

He is a stu­dent of Saul Al­in­sky and Cloward and Piven. Their agenda is his agenda. Where are his school re­cords? Why are mil­lions of dol­lars be­ing spent to keep them hid­den? Where is any­one that re­mem­bers him from his school days? His wed­ding? Any part of his life be­fore he was thrust on the scene by Bill Ay­ers and oth­er rad­ic­als?

You can­not an­swer these ques­tions be­cause you don’t want to face the truth. The man is a fraud. A sham. An in­com­pet­ent left­ist that wants to trans­form Amer­ica. What, in­to Europe? That is his agenda.

The Tea Party will not al­low Amer­ica to be des­troyed. In­sult us and de­mon­ize us all you want. It only proves how ter­ri­fied of us you truly are.

Pat Dougherty


• • •

You say the Re­pub­lic­ans hope the eco­nomy stays in the tank un­til Elec­tion Day 2012.

I dis­agree com­pletely. Let’s just re­verse it. The Re­pub­lic­ans are in and beat the Demo­crats. Two and a half years go by and the eco­nomy is still in the tank. It’s nuts to think the Demo­crats wouldn’t think the same thing. The Elect­or­al Col­lege that state Sen. Domin­ic Pi­leggi wants to change will be a good thing.

The Pennsylvania change would be a small start, be­cause any time you take the vote out of the hands of the people is very bad. Win­ner-takes-all is a stu­pid sys­tem, in my view. The oth­er states in the uni­on will start to change later, per­haps. The politi­cians will al­ways fight this change, be­cause it’s good for “we the people” and it “makes sense.”

Joseph F. Peters Sr.

Mor­rell Park

Too many reas­ons not to vote for Hen­on

City Coun­cil can­did­ate Bobby Hen­on says he is against a meth­adone clin­ic on Frank­ford Av­en­ue. He’s in front of every cam­era and re­port­er that will listen. If you check the fin­ance re­port for Mr. Hen­on, you will see that he has taken con­tri­bu­tions from Carl Primavera, the law­yer who rep­res­ents Heal­ing Way.

If you look at the video of Mr. Hen­on’s primary de­bate he states that a second casino should be in Phil­adelphia since Phil­adelphia won the bid for two casi­nos. Is this his way to thank all the uni­ons who have emp­tied their pock­ets in­to his cam­paign? Will he build it in North­east Phil­adelphia? Let’s hope not.

Mr. Hen­on also states that he will not elect a pres­id­ent for City Coun­cil that is tak­ing DROP money. The only one that is left is Mari­an Tasco. However, the FOP has en­dorsed her for re-elec­tion to City Coun­cil. This is the same FOP, with John McNesby as their pres­id­ent, that sold “Get out of jail free cour­tesy cards” for $1,000 in sup­port of Bobby Hen­on’s cam­paign. Bobby took the money. I fully sup­port the FOP but not their pres­id­ent.

So, Hen­on wants an­oth­er casino, he takes money from sup­port­ers of a meth­adone clin­ic but is sup­posedly against it, and he finds it mor­ally right to take dona­tions from the sale of po­lice cour­tesy cards.

Bobby Hen­on is not what we need in City Coun­cil if we are go­ing to turn things around. This is his first run for a polit­ic­al of­fice; he is already a typ­ic­al politi­cian. Think about it.

Steve Schmidt


O’Neill’s com­ment was of­fens­ive

What a shame for the good cit­izens liv­ing in the 56th Ward. The remap­ping of City Coun­cil dis­tricts would put the 56th Ward with­in Bri­an O’Neill’s 10th dis­trict. And his re­sponse was “It’s not what I would have wanted, but I can cer­tainly live with it.” What an in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ment. It’s of­fens­ive!

And that is the dif­fer­ence between him and Bill Ru­bin. It takes a little more than be­ing an at­tor­ney to deal with people, and I’m not talk­ing about a small circle of ac­quaint­ances. It takes the abil­ity to re­late to the folks in the com­munity. There’s a dif­fer­ence between be­ing in the com­munity and be­ing “part” of the com­munity. Bill Ru­bin is an in­teg­ral part of our com­munity who can re­late to all people, not just a few he chooses.

He takes the time to listen and re­spond. I don’t think we’d hear Bill Ru­bin mak­ing com­ments such as, “It was done to me, not for me” with re­gards to re­dis­trict­ing. Quite the con­trary, Bill Ru­bin would wel­come the op­por­tun­ity without feel­ing he was wronged. That kind of thought wouldn’t even be on his radar.

Be­sides, be­ing a coun­cil­man is what you can do for the com­munity rather than what you were not giv­en, or should I say giv­en and don’t really want.

With these kinds of re­sponses and as a com­munity, we are in real need for a change. And the change be­gins with Bill Ru­bin.

Debbie Bon­ner

Pine Val­ley

Tim­ing of de­bate in­sens­it­ive to Jews

It is sad that there will be only one may­or­al de­bate this fall, a measly 30 minutes. But, to make mat­ters worse, it is sched­uled for this Fri­day even­ing, Oct. 7, which co­in­cides with the Jew­ish hol­i­day of Yom Kip­pur.

Ob­ser­v­ant Jews will be fast­ing and pray­ing for for­give­ness on this High Holy Day and will be un­able to view this im­port­ant event.

It is sad that can­did­ates Mi­chael Nut­ter and Kar­en Brown are either ob­li­vi­ous or in­sens­it­ive to this hol­i­day ob­serv­ance. I hope they will re­con­sider and res­ched­ule.

If not, I will un­for­tu­nately have to fore­go vot­ing for either can­did­ate, but will vote in City Coun­cil, com­mis­sion­er and oth­er con­tests in Novem­ber.

While Amer­ic­an sol­diers fight for free­dom, demo­cracy and open de­bate over­seas, we some­times ig­nore these very prin­ciples in Phil­adelphia.

Myles Gor­don


Speak your mind  …

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