Letters to the editor: Dec. 12, 2012 edition

More ci­vil­ity, please?
The last few weeks have seen a lot of let­ters to the ed­it­or from ap­par­ently angry Demo­crats per­son­ally at­tack­ing those who dis­agree with them. Hey, you won the elec­tion, and you are still this miser­able?
Ar­thur Gur­mankin is al­ways after the “haters,” whom I guess are any people who dis­agree with his views.
The hys­ter­ic­al Heza­ki­ah Lev­in­son at­tacked me as a “Re­pub­lic­an” be­cause I no longer chose to vo­lun­teer in a city filled with cor­rup­tion, and he even sug­gests I leave the coun­try. (Talk about haters.) Mr. Lev­in­son, I will give you $100 if you can prove I have not lived in the 56th Ward for the last 32 years — as a re­gistered DEMO­CRAT.
You see, some of us are not ob­sessed about the “D” or “R” be­fore our name. I don’t hate May­or Nut­ter, just his failed policies. Look at our Traffic Court, schools, the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity.
How many in­sider scan­dals do we need as we get pun­ished with more taxes to pay for them? This city des­per­ately needs a re­form Re­pub­lic­an may­or in or­der for the city to come out of its mal­aise. And more Demo­crats should say it.
I don’t hate Pres­id­ent Obama, but I hate the Obama-Bernanke policy of zero in­terest rates and the de­valu­ation of our dol­lar. It is one of the worst fed­er­al policies I have ever seen. It steals from savers to give to debt­ors and raises the price of food and en­ergy, which is caus­ing massive hard­ship. It is a fool­ish policy and it is mak­ing rich spec­u­lat­ors rich­er. Rom­ney’s mon­et­ary policy was bet­ter.
I am in­ter­ested in policies that make my life easi­er, not harder. And I want the gov­ern­ment’s greedy hand out of my pock­ets, that’s all.
I have learned to sep­ar­ate fool­ish ideas from per­son­al motives. So I wish both Mr. Lev­in­son and Mr. Gur­mankin a happy hol­i­day, and for you, Mr. Lev­in­son, I hope someone gives you a very nice gift book — on ci­vil­ity.
Richard Iac­on­elli

Give Christ­mas back to us Chris­ti­ans
It seems that every year more and more stor­ies sur­face about people protest­ing the Nativ­ity scenes and Christ­mas trees in pub­lic spaces. Some have even gone as far as to re­name it a “hol­i­day tree.”
Well, I have an idea. How about if we were to ab­ol­ish Christ­mas as a fed­er­al, state and loc­al hol­i­day and give it back to the Chris­ti­ans who re­spect and hon­or the spir­it and mean­ing be­hind it?
Every­one can go back to work and school and not be of­fen­ded while we Chris­ti­ans take a per­son­al day off or call in sick.
That way we can cel­eb­rate the majesty and beauty of the birth of our Lord without of­fend­ing any­one. Just a thought.
John O’Neill
Ox­ford Circle

Blame Bush
I want to make ex­pli­cit some things in­dir­ectly ad­dressed by Heza­ki­ah Lev­in­son in his let­ter in last week’s North­east Times: (Re­pub­lic­ans are still whin­ing about their elec­tion loss).
The eco­nomy crashed on George W. Bush’s watch, peri­od. Also, George W. Bush in­her­ited a budget sur­plus from Bill Clin­ton; he left Barack Obama with a de­fi­cit.
Howard J. Wilk

The price of sup­port
I was in­trigued by your read­er’s com­ment about black preach­ers sup­port­ing Barack Obama (Those black proph­ets should lose their non-profit status, Nov. 21 let­ter).
I agree that politi­ciz­ing churches should nul­li­fy their tax-free status. The prob­lem is that by that stand­ard, most Cath­ol­ic churches and many white Prot­est­ant churches would also lose their tax-free status for sup­port­ing Rom­ney.
Ro­ger Hol­land
Fox Chase

Hon­or­ing Hur­ricane Sandy’s her­oes in uni­form
I want to send a big thank-you to the Phil­adelphia po­lice and fire de­part­ments for com­ing to the aid of the neigh­bors on Pa­tri­cian Drive on the night of Hur­ricane Sandy.
Even with Brown Outs, they ar­rived promptly and ac­ted bravely, ef­fi­ciently and pro­fes­sion­ally when a fire erup­ted on the middle of our street on the night of the storm. The wind was blow­ing and howl­ing and trees were fall­ing down all around us, yet they risked their lives with a hur­ricane and no light.
Un­for­tu­nately, I am un­sure of their names or the cause of the fire. I know they worked a mir­acle of un­be­liev­able pro­por­tions that night. They all de­serve com­mend­a­tions and awards!
As an aside, I made it to church that even­ing, along with six oth­er people. I be­lieve we got a mir­acle.
As for Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer and Pennsylvania Su­preme Court Justices Seamus Mc­Caf­fery and Ron Castille “fix­ing” Traffic Court, they were not out risk­ing their lives dur­ing Hur­ricane Sandy, nor will any of them be wor­ried about how to work out their sched­ules and spend time with their fam­ily dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.
They, un­like the Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment and Po­lice De­part­ment, auto­mat­ic­ally get their an­nu­al raise (for what?) and are off (paid) dur­ing the hol­i­days.
God bless, Merry Christ­mas and Happy Ha­nukkah to the fire de­part­ment and the po­lice de­part­ment.
Susan Guest
Mod­ena Park

Pray­ers, wor­ries and a re­turned wal­let
On Thursday, Nov. 28, I ex­per­i­enced a won­der­ful act of kind­ness from someone I nev­er met. My daugh­ter and I left Mar­shall’s on the Boulevard and headed to an­oth­er store. When I went to check out, I real­ized that I had lost my wal­let. In a state of pan­ic, I drove back to Mar­shall’s, spoke to the clerks there, and made an ex­haust­ing and un­suc­cess­ful search of the park­ing lot with my daugh­ter.
After pray­ing and wor­ry­ing all the way home, we opened the storm door to find my wal­let on the floor between the front door and the storm door. Filled with re­lief and over­whelm­ing grat­it­ude, I was only sorry that I couldn’t thank my be­ne­fact­or in per­son for tak­ing the time out of their day to do something so good for someone else.
I hope the per­son will read this to learn how truly thank­ful I am.
Eileen Za­leski

Kudos to the men and wo­men who pro­tect us
How cool it is to be a cop in Philly! As I child, I grew up ad­mir­ing the po­lice. It was awe­some how they strolled around look­ing tough, and at every corner, crim­in­als shivered in their pres­ence. Speed­ing cars slowed down, and people drove an­gel­ic when they drove by.
It def­in­itely is a re­spec­ted oc­cu­pa­tion, and what a good feel­ing to know that you are the her­oes of the city keep­ing your neigh­bor­hood safe!
But it doesn’t end there. As a cop in Phil­adelphia you get to drive down the wide streets with mo­tor­cycles crack­ing down on street racers, get some ex­er­cise on bikes while mak­ing sure there are no kids stay­ing out past the curfew times, and best of all, ride through Pennypack Park on gal­lant horses!
I sa­lute the neigh­bor­ing po­lice dis­tricts and give kudos to every of­ficer keep­ing our city safe. Not enough re­cog­ni­tion and ap­pre­ci­ation goes to you gen­tle­men and gen­tle­wo­men, so keep it up!
Nayem Quadir
Ox­ford Circle

The spir­it of giv­ing is alive and well
As a kid from Ol­ney grow­ing up in the1970s, I al­ways felt that be­ing from the “lower North­east” meant I was less. As a man in his mid-40s. I real­ized that we are all equal. For the past 20 years, I have al­ways vo­lun­teered in one way or an­oth­er in help­ing oth­ers. This year took the cake.
Along with my sis­ter, Maryl­ou Schmidt, we reached out to friends old and new to help pur­chase a single gift in the $20 range for a child.
To my lik­ing, we were able to col­lect more than 250 toys to be de­livered to loc­al chil­dren for Christ­mas. People from Ol­ney, Lawndale, Cres­centville, Fox Chase, May­fair, Dougherty and North guys, Ry­an and Judge guys, Hubert’s and Little Flower folks, even a guy from The Prep that writes for this pa­per, who I met along my jour­ney stepped up and pitched in.
On Sat­urday, we were at Cur­ley’s Pub to col­lect the gifts. It was with amazement, we watched people walk in, hand us a gift and have a beer, just like it was sup­posed to be. No fan­fare, No “look at me, I am help­ing the poor.” Just or­din­ary people do­ing what we were taught to do.
I want to thank all of those folks for do­ing what is right in this world. I would also like to thank Joe Brooks, a Lawn­crest- Dougherty guy, for open­ing his “corner bar” to us so that many could share this event.
Steve Schmidt
Ol­ney guy who now calls Fox Chase home

Fire­fight­ers get the shaft from the city
Al­though we ap­pre­ci­ated the news me­dia’s cov­er­age of City Coun­cil’s hear­ing on the city’s plan to trans­fer 300 of the de­part­ment’s most vet­er­an fire­fight­ers, we were dis­mayed that they chose to em­phas­ize the an­ger our mem­bers dir­ec­ted at Fire Com­mis­sion­er Ay­ers rather than the Coun­cil mem­bers’ out­right re­pu­di­ation of this il­lo­gic­al and dan­ger­ous mass-trans­fer plan.
If en­acted in Janu­ary, the trans­fers will rob com­pan­ies of valu­able in­sti­tu­tion­al know­ledge, des­troy vet­er­an teams, lead to con­fu­sion and longer fire re­sponse times, and en­danger the safety of ci­vil­ians and fire­fight­ers alike. It has nev­er been at­temp­ted else­where. The fire com­mis­sion­er and deputy may­or for pub­lic safety could not of­fer a shred of data to sup­port it. City Coun­cil was right to de­cry the non­sensic­al plan, and we thank them for their lead­er­ship.
As far as our an­ger to­ward May­or Nut­ter, it’s more than jus­ti­fied. Three times now — twice by a neut­ral ar­bit­rat­or and once by a Com­mon Pleas Court judge — our ar­bit­ra­tion award was up­held and deemed to be fair and af­ford­able. Yet, we re­main without a con­tract.
The city has screwed with our hours, dis­rupt­ing our fam­ily life. They’ve browned-out or closed fire sta­tions, de­mand­ing that we do more with less, while with­hold­ing our nom­in­al raises for four years. They’ve pun­ished us for get­ting in­jured in the line of duty. Yet, des­pite all of these in­dig­nit­ies, we just keep do­ing our job — sav­ing people’s lives.
This ad­min­is­tra­tion treats fire­fight­ers with con­tempt. It’s a dis­grace and it has to stop.
Bill Gault
Pres­id­ent, IAFF Loc­al 22 Phil­adelphia Fire­fight­ers/Med­ics Uni­on

PGW saves a bundle thanks to fine print
I re­cently called PGW be­cause of a prob­lem I was hav­ing with my heat­er. After giv­ing the ser­vice rep my in­form­a­tion, I was sur­prised when she said I would have to call a con­tract­or. I have been pay­ing for their “Parts & Labor Plan” for years and she told me it ex­pired. But when I told her I paid it last Dec. 19, she said that is right but it ex­pired on Oct. 31 and I have not paid it so I was not covered.
On the bill that gets sent with the pay­ment, it has prin­ted, “Sign up on our web­site www.pg­works.com be­fore Decem­ber 31, 2012.” In­side one of the bro­chures in lar­ger bold print it says, “The dead­line for en­roll­ment in­to the 2012-2013 Plan is Decem­ber 31, 2012.” Four lines down in smal­ler and light­er colored print it says all plans ex­pire Oct. 31. In the oth­er bro­chure that comes, it says in bold large print, “The DEAD­LINE to pur­chase the Parts & Labor Plan is Decem­ber 31st.” That bro­chure does not give the ex­pir­a­tion date.
When I first star­ted get­ting the plan, prob­ably 10 years ago or more, I prob­ably read all the in­form­a­tion that came with it, but not any­more. I take a quick look at it to see if the plan still cov­ers what I want, and every­where I look it tells me to pay by Dec 31, so I have been pay­ing it near the end of Decem­ber for years.
I be­lieve this is pur­posely done so they can deny ser­vice to people like me, who mis­takenly pay the bill late. I have gone nine to 10 weeks every winter without cov­er­age from the plan for years even though I have been buy­ing the plan. I’m sure PGW saves a bundle by do­ing this.
Charles Nuyi­anes
Mor­rell Park

There’s a bet­ter way to do se­ces­sion
If I were in a state con­sid­er­ing se­ces­sion, I would not agree to Mr. Gur­mankin’s terms (You want out? Here’s the path to se­ces­sion, Nov. 28 let­ters). A bet­ter deal could be ne­go­ti­ated for the state. Terms would re­quire the U.S. gov­ern­ment to re­lin­quish all prop­erty with­in the bor­ders of the new sov­er­eign, either through sale, lease or treaty agree­ments. At its own dis­cre­tion, the new state could uni­lat­er­ally re­quire the U.S. to re­move its mil­it­ary bases with­in a reas­on­able amount of time and the U.S. would agree not to hinder or in­ter­rupt the new state’s ef­forts to ac­quire its own mil­it­ary hard­ware of any type it deems ap­pro­pri­ate and ne­ces­sary to de­fend it­self.
Cata­lonia is con­sid­er­ing se­ces­sion from Spain. Scot­land may se­cede from the U.K. What’s hap­pen­ing in Palestine? These are ac­tu­al stor­ies that have been in the news in 2012.
Con­sider the pos­sib­il­ity, act­ing in its own best in­terest, that a state may someday have a le­git­im­ate case for se­ces­sion. Look at Alaska on the map. It is not really con­nec­ted to the United States. It’s above the Arc­tic Circle. It’s like a for­eign land to the lower 48. It was formed be­fore oil pipelines, Chinese tankers and North Pa­cific ports be­came pop­u­lar, so today it could be an eco­nom­ic­ally vi­able in­de­pend­ent state.
Here’s a hy­po­thet­ic­al: If Cali­for­nia were to tumble in­to the abyss, either phys­ic­ally or fisc­ally, Alaskans might want to de­cide wheth­er be­ing part of the uni­on is a bur­den or a be­ne­fit. Hold­ing only three votes in Con­gress and the Elect­or­al Col­lege, they may already feel un­der­rep­res­en­ted in the U.S. gov­ern­ment.
I hope no state would choose to se­cede simply be­cause they don’t like the pres­id­ent or polit­ic­al party in power. But would you deny the right of a free people to gov­ern the land in which they live?
Mark Tan­guay
Fox Chase

Clear­ing the air about your lungs
The re­cent train de­rail­ment ac­ci­dent in Pauls­boro, N.J., re­leased vinyl chlor­ide gas in­to the air. More than 17 people had to go to the hos­pit­al with res­pir­at­ory prob­lems.
The Amer­ic­an Lung As­so­ci­ation in New Jer­sey stresses the im­port­ance of be­ing aware of your air. In­hal­ing harm­ful chem­ic­als, like the vinyl chlor­ide spilled from the ac­ci­dent, can cause chem­ic­al pneu­mon­it­is, an in­flam­ma­tion of the lungs. If you are in the Pauls­boro area and are ex­per­i­en­cing the fol­low­ing symp­toms please seek med­ic­al at­ten­tion im­me­di­ately:
• The feel­ing that you can­not get enough air
• Dif­fi­culty breath­ing
• Ab­nor­mal lung sounds
• A burn­ing feel­ing in your lungs
For more in­form­a­tion on lung health and keep­ing the air clean please vis­it www.lunginfo.org
Deb Brown
Pres­id­ent and CEO Amer­ic­an Lung As­so­ci­ation of the Mid-At­lantic

Speak your mind  …
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 or il­legible let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053. E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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