Those cameras are nothing to smile about
I was very surprised to see an editorial last week praising these red light cameras (Let there be light).
Suggesting that cameras be put on every corner is absurd. Next, someone will suggest putting one outside of every house, to prevent crime, of course. And after that, someone will suggest putting them in every house, because many crimes do happen inside the homes, and we want to be safe, don’t we? I don’t think so.
Our founding fathers said things like, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” That was Ben Franklin.
Patrick Henry got more to the point: “Give me liberty, or give me death.”
A more contemporary quote that would fit here is from Dwight Eisenhower: “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking … is freedom.”
May I add you won’t have to worry about looking before you cross the street, and you won’t have to worry about watching your children either. Is that really what anyone wants?
Turning America into more of a surveillance society than it already is, is not the answer. Placing law enforcement into the hands of private companies that make money off it is a bad idea. Tweaking the yellow lights just a little bit could bring in millions more for the city and the company operating the program to split. Once they figure that out, the traffic lights on the Boulevard will be operating like strobe lights and the accidents will be up again. Do you really think they are concerned about your safety?
You got to be kidding; it is all about money and control. These red-light cameras are a horrendous idea for the people of Philadelphia or anywhere in America. Time will tell.
Voter ID is stirring our readers’ hornet’s nest
And so it appears that Republicans are about to steal another presidential election, at least the second one in the last 12 years, and if that happens it will have been made possible, to one degree or another, by Republicans in high offices and in the American judicial system!
Think not? In the year 2000, Jeb Bush, the then-Republican governor of Florida, was responsible for purging 173,000 voters from the Florida rolls; vote recounts precipitated by the so-called “butterfly” ballots — the ones with the hanging chads — were stopped by Florida’s then-secretary of state, Katherine Harris. As Florida’s secretary of state AND co-chair of George Bush’s Florida election efforts, Republican Harris was ultimately central to Bush’s election to the presidency, certifying that he had defeated Democrat Al Gore in the popular vote.
Harris’ order to halt the recounts was upheld in the state circuit court, and though subsequently overturned on appeal by the Florida Supreme Court, that decision was reversed by the United States Supreme Court. One Republican justice, Clarence Thomas, cast what could arguably be construed as the deciding vote giving George W. Bush the election. And Mrs. Clarence Thomas, it should be noted, was a member of the Bush transition team.
With the assistance of George W. Bush’s brother, a Republican governor, and that of a Republican Florida secretary of state, and Republican justices, Bush beat Al Gore in Florida by a mere 537 votes — and that made Bush our king.
As of Aug. 15, by virtue of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s Voter ID law, upheld by yet another Republican judge, the state of Pennsylvania is poised to steal the upcoming presidential election by disenfranchising possibly a million Pennsylvania voters “coincidentally” comprised of a similar disenfranchised demographic as in Florida in the year 2000. George Santayana told us about this kind of stuff: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
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In her letter last week, The Republicans want to commit voter fraud, Ms. Stephanie Flowers referred to the Republican Party as offering nothing to the poor unemployed and under-educated people.
Don’t you realize this city has been Democratic for many years and the poor and the under-educated in the city have all the advantages that everyone else has? Apparently they don’t want help and are happy with the way things are, or don’t care. All they have to do is call our Council leaders and something can be done. Democrat or Republican, they’re here to help their constituents. All they have to do is ask.
In the meantime, complaints I hear from people like you only happen every four years. Do you mean to tell me since the last election, the “poor people” have not gotten any kind of identification. Give me a break!
Stephanie Burke, proud conservative
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I disagree with your editorial that the Voter ID law recently passed for Pennsylvania is fair (Aug. 1 edition).
It is an obvious, bald-faced attempt by the Republican legislature to disenfranchise Democratic voters. The elderly, low-income people will have difficulty getting to a photo i.d. office to obtain an i.d.
Voter fraud is so negligible as to be almost non-existent. Republicans are always stating that we need less regulation, yet they go out of their way to pass an unnecessary regulatory bill
They must be desperate to win the next election if they pass such a nefarious bill. There are more important issues such as preventing people from purchasing ammunition for rifles on the Internet.
No great grades for charter schools
Of course, the scores at American Paradigm are high (The ‘little school’ that could … grow, Aug. 8 edition)
A charter school gets to select what students they want (and heaven forbid if a child has special needs). Paradigm states that they are “flooded” with teacher resumes.
Most of these resumes are from recent grads with no experience who cannot find a job because the state Republicans are underfunding public education.
The teacher turnover at charter schools is extremely high as they gain experience and realize they are paid only half the salary earned in the public school systems.
If I were Paradigm, I would not brag that the founder was the former executive director of financial services for the School District of Philadelphia (where they could not balance the books during his tenure).
Boyle bill aims for landlord accountability
By Kevin Boyle
Since taking office, I have been committed to finding solutions for absentee landlords, nuisance properties and blight in our communities.
In Northeast Philadelphia, especially in Mayfair, Tacony and Holmesburg, our quality of life has taken a real hit due to negligent property owners.
Some of the steps I have taken to address these issues include touring neighborhoods affected by negligent landlords, where I saw boarded-up buildings and overgrown lawns, and speaking to concerned residents.
Additionally, I have worked with the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections to compile a database of negligent, out-of-town property owners within my district and throughout the city.
I have made it my mission to equip law enforcement with the ability to crack down on people who allow their tenants to degrade our neighborhoods.
As part of that goal, I recently introduced legislation (H.B. 2555) that would ensure accountability on the part of landlords in Pennsylvania.
Despite efforts to reduce blight, some non-resident landlords often disregard fines or fail to respond to correspondence from municipal officials requesting a remedy. In addition, municipal officials have issues establishing contact with non-resident or absentee landlords in order to address both code violations and fines.
Allowing these neglectful property owners to undermine the system is unfair to reputable landlords and to the neighbors who have to live with problems created by nuisance properties.
My bill would call on municipalities to enact landlord registration requirements and establish a registration fee.
My proposal would cap the fee at $125 per property and oblige the municipality to retain 80 percent of the fees collected for code enforcement and to remit 20 percent of the fees to the state to be deposited in the Landlord Enforcement and Accountability Database Fund within the Pennsylvania Treasury Department for development and maintenance.
Finally, my legislation would create a code enforcement grant program under the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, specify eligibility requirements for the program and allow an annual appropriation of funds as deemed necessary in the first three years of the grant program.
House Bill 2555, which has bipartisan support, currently awaits consideration by the House Urban Affairs Committee.
Kevin Boyle represents the 172nd Legislative District, which includes portions of Mayfair, Fox Chase, and Holmesburg. He holds a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University.
Methadone clinic is a boneheaded idea
By Al Taubenberger
You would think by now, the folks pushing for the opening of a methadone clinic in Holmesburg would have gotten the message.
It is crystal clear that area residents, businesspersons, civic and religious leaders, and elected officials do not want The Healing Way to open in the nearly 5,000-square-foot property at Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street.
On July 19, I joined hundreds of protesters at a rally against the proposed clinic. As a candidate for state representative in the district, my campaign has pledged $500 for the legal defense fund to continue the battle in court.
The fight against the clinic has been waged for more than a year now. Last July, about 800 people voiced their opposition at a rally inside Abraham Lincoln High School. In March, the Zoning Board of Adjustment revoked the permits.
Still, The Healing Way persisted by appealing to Common Pleas Court. The zoning board has presented its findings of fact to the city Office of the Prothonotary, essentially the clerk who keeps the records. The clinic has until Sept. 4 to file its brief, and the attorneys representing the neighbors have until Oct. 1 to file theirs.
If The Healing Way opts to continue the battle in court, oral arguments are scheduled for Nov. 5. Obviously, this is costly, and since the Mattioni law firm has been working pro bono, community leaders are asking for financial support. This is the right thing to do, and I was more than willing to help.
As president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce —which is largely made up of small businesses — I know firsthand how challenging it is to open and operate a storefront business. The volume and margins are often small, and business owners seek any advantage they can find to increase traffic.
A methadone clinic located right smack in the middle of a retail shopping corridor simply does not help anyone.
It is a boneheaded idea, and the people insisting on opening the clinic in the face of fierce opposition from people who live, work and invested here, should wake up and smell the coffee.
It isn’t going to happen, and I will stand with my neighbors to make sure it doesn’t.
Al Taubenberger, the Republican candidate for the 172nd Legislative District seat, will face Rep. Boyle in the Nov. 6 general election.
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