Fire department captain appreciates our support
Thank you very much for your editorial last week regarding the brownouts in the Philadelphia Fire Department (Respect our firefighters).
As a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department for 35 years, it is extremely rare to see anything in writing from the media here in Philly which depicts us firefighters in a positive light.
As far as I’m concerned, it seems very obvious that the two major papers (The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News) are pretty much controlled by City Hall, which I think is pathetic.
These brownouts are no different than Russian roulette. The city is taking a chance that a fire does not occur in a company’s particular local area on any given day.
Although nobody can say with absolute certainty that some of the fire deaths that have occurred when brownouts were in force would not have resulted with the same outcome, there have been a few where many of us firefighters feel there could have been a chance to save the lives of some of these people.
I believe that the city of Philadelphia treats its firefighters like second-class citizens. I also believe that the public, in general, does not really care about us either. The one time I do know that they care about us is when they need us, whether it’s for a medical emergency, fire in their home, natural gas leak, or whatever the case may be.
Once again, thank you for your support. It is appreciated.
Captain, Engine 58
Bustleton Avenue and Hendrix Street
Award? What award?
Firefighters gave up the right to strike, thus depriving them of a strong recourse which most other workers can use. Instead they depend on an independent arbitrator to give them a fair deal. The city then turned around and threw out the findings of the arbitrator. Can someone explain to this dumb blonde how that is allowed to happen?
Emma M. Lee
Perzel foe is a hatemonger
I had to write and express my feelings about the letter from Mayer Krain that was published in your March 28 edition (What’s your cell number, John?)
Mayer listed his residency area as Modena Park, which is out of John Perzel’s general area. I would like him to know of some things he may not be aware of.
I don’t agree with what John did, but did he do anything that any other politician doesn’t? How do they use our taxes? Do we have any say about that? Some things they do with our tax money are absolutely ridiculous. I’ve heard of them using an exorbitant amount of money to study the sex lives of squirrels, for example. Bizarre!
John used to send people around knocking on doors a couple times a year to see if anyone in the community had any concerns that he could help with. I never knew anyone else to do that. He financed trash cleanups using ride-on vacuums on Frankford Avenue in Mayfair, which improved the aesthetics immensely.
Maybe these facts don’t mean anything to Mayer, but they mean quite a lot to people in that immediate and surrounding communities. And as for him having several buildings named for him, Mayer, I only know of one. Also what was the “etc.” at the end of that sentence supposed to mean exactly?
And I guess the comment about the meals was supposed to be amusing. I don’t revel in the fact that a good man is spending time behind bars.
I think Mayer is a hatemonger and should take a look at the facts before condemning someone. You know that saying about being the first to throw stones. That advice comes from a higher authority.
City’s help line was no help
On Friday, March 23, I received an e-mail from our new 311 system concerning a complaint that I lodged. Now at first, one might think this is a good thing, but I made that complaint on July 2, 2009!
While reading this response I was astonished at this timely response and I followed instructions on the e-mail about questions concerning this decision. So I called the number in the e-mail and the front line representative was saying that there has been a “glitch” in the system and more than 2,500 complaints were affected by this issue.
Her attempts at being polite and professional were admirable, but she seemed to have her answer scripted, so I asked for her supervisor. I might as well have had root canal without any Novocain for this decision. This supervisor was rude and in her inability to handle routine questions she became agitated and began to speak over anything I tried to say.
This supervisor informed me that the problem was addressed and taken of, but I can assure you it wasn’t addressed. The same problems from my complaints still exist, and frankly it’s getting worse.
What do we have to do to have basic city services completed properly and in a timely manner?
Over the years I have tried repeatedly to bring these problems in our neighborhood to proper entities and they have been useless. Perhaps exposing this letter to the editor will get some type of response.
Kevin M. Coughlin
Where is our money going?
Mayor Nutter said there will be no tax increases in 2013. Two days later he states he will re-evaluate your home’s worth, and the projection is the average house will go up 8 percent. I know he said, “This is NOT a back-door tax!” but if I pay more for my home tax (three years in a row), how is that not a tax increase?
Something else for you all to think about: When the city went to a 7 percent sales tax, that was temporary. We are now at 8 percent. Where did “Nutbar” get $50 million for “Nutterpark” (City Hall, but don’t be surprised if that is what it will be called one day) and $20 million for Love Park?
It’s not hard to figure out why we have 1 million less people here than we did 20 years ago.
Voter fraud does not exist, lawmaker says
Your editorial, Smile for the camera, (March 14), talks about how to obtain free identification to vote. It discusses a process that is easy to navigate, painless and costs little money. However, obtaining a voter ID is not always so easy, nor is it free. Different people will face different obstacles and costs to obtaining an identification to address a voter fraud problem that does not exist.
While it’s true that voters who do not have proper ID can receive one for free from PennDOT, individuals across the city have left driver’s license centers frustrated because the staff would not honor their request for a free ID. PennDOT employees need better training on the new law.
In addition, many voters have to take preliminary steps to obtain an ID, including locating their alternative forms of identification like their birth certificate, which requires sending an application to the state, paying a $10 fee and waiting at least four to six weeks for the certificate to arrive.
Finally, this new law will cost taxpayers at least $4 million to implement. Some estimates put that cost at $11 million.
This commonwealth is operating at a deficit, and the governor has proposed another year of painful cuts to our public schools and programs that help the elderly and individuals with intellectual disabilities, just to name a few.
It’s incredulous that the governor could not find money to lower property tax increases or limit tuition increases at colleges, but he can muster up millions to alleviate so-called voter fraud, an issue that is nearly non-existent in Pennsylvania.
The voter ID law will come at a cost to many voters and every taxpaying citizen. Worst of all, it could deter or disenfranchise individuals who don’t have the proper identification from exercising their right to vote.
State Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.)
John Street is a bigot, not a racist
John Street, when mayor of our city, informed all of the citizens that his “brothers and sisters were running our city.”
Now look at it. They are ruining our city. Killings, home invasions, rapes and robberies are all done by his brothers and sisters, at least 95 percent.
If a person other than a black had made that statement, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the racist black clergy would condemn us as racists. Of course, John Street is not a racist. Let’s just say a bigot.
How Tweet it is for Jim Kenney to waste 29 grand
As I see it
Jm Kenney admits it. The city councilman will tell you he wouldn’t know a “tweet” from a “poke,” an OMG! from an LMAO!, an app from an instant message. He’s a fossil who doesn’t have a clue about all this high-tech stuff.
“I, at fifty-three years old, do not have that facility,” he told the Daily News last week. “So I need consultant advice to communicate with a group of folks who are not necessarily in my age group.”
Give Kenney props for recognizing this. It is indeed important for him to establish a communications pipeline to that “group of folks” — those tech-savvy hipsters who have shunned the English language in favor of short-burst sentences like “U R right,” check their e-mail just 15 seconds after checking their e-mail, and have a habit of nearly being run over at intersections while immersed in scrolling from screen to screen on their little smartphones as they cross the street, oblivious to everything around them.
Kenney’s only problem is he’s doing it all wrong. And, rightly so, he’s taking some heat thanks to a Daily News story that noted how he’s spending almost $29,000 a year — in taxpayer money — to have a Center City tech company called ChatterBlast handle his social-media program and help type and post messages from his Twitter account.
I have empathy for Kenney and his insecurity in this brave new world. I know this feeling, often muttering to myself, “Where’s Steve Jobs when I need him?” But paying all that dough to ChatterBlast … it’s sort of like Kenney’s a frontier guy who spent years sending smoke signals and suddenly he’s befuddled by Alexander Graham Bell’s new-fangled telephone, so he hires a company to make calls for him.
Jim … you can do this!!
Even if the 16 other City Council members handle social media on their own or with the help of staffers, I’m not ready to scoff that Kenney’s “just a typical politician” for squandering your hard-earned tax dollars on this ChatterBlast contract. A typical politician would have hired a 15-year-old kid from Swenson Arts & Technology to oversee this social-media stuff and spent the 29 grand on a vacation to Ireland, ostensibly as a fact-finding business trip to determine how Philly’s community gardeners could grow more robust potatoes.
It’s fine that ChatterBlast — as the company puts it — oversees an “ever-evolving digital strategy” for Kenney that includes Facebook and Twitter management, audience identification and analysis, monitoring key issues — even video production and editing for his “digital online footprint.”
Does Jim Kenney need all that glitz? Not really. His job is to fret over city budgets and unhappy neighborhoods; he’s not mounting a campaign to win a spot on American Idol.
So it’s too bad that Kenney feels the need to spend a lot of money to have ChatterBlast give him advice on his Twitter tweets. That’s how a ChatterBlast honcho put it: “We discuss what we should talk about.”
Well, good luck getting a politician to stay within the 140-character maximum of a Twitter message, but if Kenney feels the need for a consultant to coach him on the sidelines, this could get messy as he’s cruising the city in his Councilmobile, heading to appointments and stuff.
Councilman K: Maybe I should let constituents know we lost our legislation. So I guess I’d tweet something like, “Not a good Council session for us today, LOL!!” Is that right?
ChatterBlast coach: Ummm … not really, councilman. LOL means “laugh out loud.” There didn’t seem to be a lot of laughs when your legislation got shot down.
Councilman K: This tweeting is trickier than I thought. Well how about rubber sidewalks? … it has been a few years since I pushed for rubber sidewalks. They have many environmental benefits, you know, plus they last longer than concrete.
ChatterBlast coach: With all due respect, councilman, your constituents are facing the prospect of tax increases right now. I don’t think anyone gives a rat’s butt about rubber sidewalks at the moment.
Jim Kenney can figure this out on his own, I know he can. There’s no need to spend nearly $29,000 to unlock the secret of messaging on Twitter or Facebook. There is no secret. The councilman just needs to show he’s as boring as the rest of us.
Aw, #$&* … heading to give a big speech and I just dripped taco sauce on my pants. Wonder how to clean. Any suggestions out there? Anyone?
Perfect, councilman. Just perfect.
John Scanlon is editor of the Northeast Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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