Letters to the editor: Dec. 5, 2012 edition

Fire­fight­ers get shame­ful treat­ment from city
My hus­band has been a Phil­adelphia fire­fight­er for 16 years. My fath­er was a Phil­adelphia fire­fight­er for 33 years. Since I was a young child I have lived with the mix­ture of pride and fear that every loved one of a fire­fight­er faces, but it hasn’t been un­til the last few years that the fear has taken over.
A mix­ture of dan­ger­ous pub­lic safety cuts by May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter and his staff and the in­com­pet­ence of Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers and cer­tain mem­bers of his staff have cre­ated a dan­ger­ous and hos­tile work en­vir­on­ment for every fire­fight­er in this city.
When my hus­band leaves for work, I say a pray­er that he will re­turn to me and our four chil­dren alive and un­harmed at the end of his shift.
After the Kens­ing­ton fire that took the lives of two fire­fight­ers in April, I sat down and wrote a eu­logy for my hus­band just in case that night­mare shows up on my door­step. I wasn’t al­ways this fear­ful. It has only been in the past few years that these fears have be­come more and more a part of my life and the lives of count­less PFD fam­il­ies across the city.
The men and wo­men that serve this city as fire­fight­ers and para­med­ics would die to pro­tect any one of you. That is their job and they do it with pride and vig­or every day of the year. Is it ask­ing the city too much to treat them with re­spect? Is it ask­ing the city too much to in­vest in cre­at­ing the safest work­ing en­vir­on­ment pos­sible for them? In­stead, the city has de­cided to re­tali­ate against them for speak­ing up about the dan­ger­ous work­ing con­di­tions forced upon them and the dan­ger­ous pub­lic safety cuts that put every cit­izen in this city in danger.
Shame on May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter and Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers!
Lisa Hogan
Sandy­ford Park

This cus­tom­er is all steamed up about PGW
Do you have a PGW parts and labor plan? If you have a prob­lem with a cir­cu­lat­or pump, they’ll tell you it’s not covered. If you have a prob­lem with an over­flow valve, they’ll tell you that’s not part of the heat­ing sys­tem, which is a flat-out lie. A hot wa­ter heat­ing sys­tem is a closed sys­tem and it’s un­der pres­sure, so there must be a high-pres­sure over­flow valve, which is part of the heat­ing sys­tem.
The fool who came to my house from the ser­vice de­part­ment on a re­cent Sat­urday just looked and said the over­flow is not covered in the con­tract be­cause it’s not part of the heat­ing sys­tem, which is un­doubtedly what he was told to say. He also said that the en­tire sys­tem would have to be drained by a team of men, re­filled and all the ra­di­at­ors bled, and that’s about a four-hour job.
He nev­er no­ticed that there are cutoff valves that isol­ate the boil­er in case of a prob­lem like this, so the sys­tem need not be drained and it takes five minutes to bleed the ra­di­at­ors. I had to call my own plumb­er, who single-handedly changed the over­flow valve and re­star­ted my heat­er in less than one hour.
We had to en­dure three un­ne­ces­sary days without heat be­cause of this fraud­u­lent prac­tice of the gas com­pany.  They’re ly­ing and they all know they’re ly­ing; any­thing un­der pres­sure must have a pres­sure re­lief valve. They know this!
Jim O’Keefe

He’ll be mind­ing his own busi­ness
TD Bank said it was just fol­low­ing its nor­mal course of busi­ness when it fore­closed on the North­east Com­munity Cen­ter at 2840 Holme Ave. It said it was just fol­low­ing its nor­mal course of busi­ness when it would not sub­mit a prop­erty ap­prais­al re­port that the com­munity cen­ter’s new lender re­ques­ted, there­fore caus­ing the com­munity cen­ter to miss its Nov. 1 dead­line for sub­mit­ting a re­or­gan­iz­a­tion plan un­der Chapter 11 bank­ruptcy law.
The bank said it was just fol­low­ing its nor­mal course of busi­ness when it bought the prop­erty at a sher­iff’s sale auc­tion on Nov. 13 for $600,000, which was $200,000 less than the $800,000 that the cen­ter and its new lender offered TD Bank to keep the prop­erty open for the com­munity.
TD Bank said it was just fol­low­ing its nor­mal course of busi­ness when it rushed to fore­close on the prop­erty shortly after Nov. 1, dis­pla­cing the many chil­dren, fam­il­ies, seni­ors and spe­cial pop­u­la­tions that de­pended on the cen­ter for ser­vices.
So I’m sure TD Bank will un­der­stand when I fol­low the nor­mal course of busi­ness by mov­ing my ac­counts to an­oth­er fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tion be­cause it showed such little re­gard for the people in this North­east Phil­adelphia com­munity.
Peter Di­Gi­useppe

What about Scouts’ hon­or to col­lect?
Where were the Boy Scouts on Nov. 17? Two weeks pri­or, we re­ceived plastic bags to be used for a food col­lec­tion for the needy and were in­struc­ted to place them in front of our build­ings for col­lec­tion on that date.
Nov. 17 came and went and they just sat there with not a Boy Scout in sight. Call­ing the headquar­ters on the Park­way was an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity — re­cor­ded mes­sages, no an­swer, etc.
I was told by my post­man that people on neigh­bor­ing streets, not know­ing what to do when the bags wer­en’t picked up, piled them around a corner mail­box. The post of­fice did not know what to do with them. Many of the con­trib­ut­ors are seni­or cit­izens who had to dip in­to their lim­ited budgets to pur­chase these gro­cer­ies. How sad! Shame on the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica.
Ray­mond D. Knapp Jr.
Bell’s Corner

Who caused Philly’s prob­lems? Look in the mir­ror
Phil­adelphia, what have you al­lowed to hap­pen to your once proud city?
You have al­lowed your­self to be vi­ol­ated by may­or after may­or on empty prom­ises and mis­guided vis­ion. You have al­lowed a city coun­cil to use you as their own private valet. You have al­lowed de­part­ment heads to sow their own seeds of polit­ic­al agenda and nepot­ism. You have al­lowed your chil­dren to be­come un­educated, goal­less and stun­ted.
Phil­adelphia you have al­lowed this, and stood by just watch­ing, ex­pect­ing your cit­izens to rally be­hind you and end the non­sense tak­ing place in this city — a city of de­cay, crime and non com­munity-con­scious de­velopers who have trampled over you without re­gard or con­straint. A city that has al­lowed its politi­cians to be dir­ec­ted by vari­ous re­li­gious groups.
Phil­adelphia was once a hard-work­ing town, with hard- work­ing as­sert­ive people. Where have they gone? The only way for Phil­adelphia to even be­gin to re­turn to a city of edu­ca­tion, prosper­ity, safety and a sense of well-be­ing is for the sons and daugh­ters of this once proud city to do it.
We need to re­move the politi­cians that have made this THEIR city for amuse­ment and mon­et­ary gain. We need to be­come in­volved in restor­ing peace to our neigh­bor­hoods, while the may­or and the po­lice and fire com­mis­sion­ers con­tin­ue to put all of us at risk, and our court sys­tems over­run with cor­rup­tion and ar­rog­ance.
We sit by while util­it­ies con­tinu­ally use the cit­izens as their own private banks as they go un­checked and are not held ac­count­able for their ri­dicu­lous charges.
This city’s is­sues are every­one’s con­cern, so while we point fin­ger after fin­ger at every­one in city gov­ern­ment, dif­fer­ent races, dif­fer­ent genders and dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups, our city spir­als more and more out of con­trol. Look at yourselves — we have al­lowed this to hap­pen. We have voted the politi­cians in year after year. Why?  We have al­lowed our streets to be­come the battle­grounds they now are.
We have al­lowed our chil­dren to be­come lost and un­educated, and giv­en them a very un­cer­tain fu­ture. We have done this to ourselves. Lay­ing blame on every­one else is cow­ardly and shows a flaw in our char­ac­ter. We have al­lowed our seni­or cit­izens to be­come sheep for the wolves, and in do­ing all these things we have be­come a city of os­triches with our heads in the sand.
We need to make a stand, look around your own neigh­bor­hood, your own place of em­ploy­ment — if you are for­tu­nate enough to have a job — and see what’s go­ing on and un­der­stand it will not change un­less we do it ourselves.
The prob­lems that plague this city are not as dif­fi­cult as the may­or, City Coun­cil or the news me­dia por­tray them; however, for them to keep con­trol and their jobs, they seem to com­plic­ate the is­sues, and should any city of­fi­cial wish to dis­pute this, I in­vite you to my house for din­ner and dis­cus­sion, should you dare come out from be­hind the desks and aides you hide be­hind year after year, and an­swer for and be held ac­count­able for our cur­rent state of af­fairs.
Politi­cians work for us, not the oth­er way around, but they seem to think that we are their em­ploy­ees. Who keeps them re­spons­ible for their poor per­form­ance? Shouldn’t that be the cit­izens? Phil­adelphia will nev­er be what it could be, or should be, un­less Phil­adelphia’s cit­izens do it.
This was a city built by dif­fer­ent neigh­bor­hoods, eth­ni­cit­ies and cul­tures. It could be a good place to live again if only people would step up and do the right thing — and that is to be as­sert­ive and hold the people in charge ac­count­able, which means re­move them from their po­s­i­tions in the next elec­tion and re­place them with real people who are as­sert­ive, goal-ori­ent­ated, re­spons­ible and hard-work­ing, be­cause what we have done for years has only brought on our cur­rent situ­ation.
Luigi Ros­mini
East Tor­res­dale

Re­pub­lic­ans are still whin­ing about their elec­tion loss
The elec­tion is over, the people have spoken and the Elect­or­al Col­lege has placed their votes; yet the in­cess­ant whin­ing of the GOP sup­port­ers just keeps go­ing.
Moan­ing over the “good old days” of a mostly Re­pub­lic­an North­east (Party of a few, Nov. 14 ed­it­or­i­al). Amer­ica 101: We can live where we want and vote how we want. Not every­one liv­ing here is a doc­tor, law­yer, politi­cian, cop or fire­fight­er; lots of us work as cashiers, waiters, laborers, con­struc­tion work­ers, among dozens of oth­er non-pro­fes­sion­al jobs.
Re­gard­ing let­ters to the ed­it­or in the Nov. 14 edi­tion: Your spir­its are dashed be­cause your can­did­ate lost, Mr. Iac­on­elli? Take it out by “no more” sup­port for char­it­ies, com­munity groups and pub­lic ser­vices? Good choices. Take it out on the eld­erly, chil­dren from low-in­come homes and the hungry that de­pend on non-profit help like food banks. Be­ing Re­pub­lic­an, you can look up what non-profit means on­line. Let’s hope you nev­er need help from any of those.
You’ve lost all hope, Mr. Breen? The fail­ure was what was handed over to Pres­id­ent Obama after an eight-year hey­day on Wall Street that handed out cred­it cards and APR mort­gages where the only pre­requis­ite was the per­son be breath­ing, then jack­ing up the rates.
The en­su­ing mael­strom of fore­clos­ures put us in a ma­jor re­ces­sion that, even with a Re­pub­lic­an Con­gress that fought his every move, Obama man­aged to get us out of in­side of his first four years. It’s not a total fix, but it is mov­ing ahead.
Even the stock of the auto in­dustry has gone up after be­ing ready to col­lapse four years ago, and fore­clos­ures con­tin­ued their des­cent, fall­ing 31 per­cent from a year ago, ac­cord­ing to data from Co­reLo­gic.com, which said the fol­low­ing: “In­creas­ingly im­prov­ing mar­ket con­di­tions and in­dustry and gov­ern­ment policy are al­low­ing dis­tressed homeown­ers to pur­sue re­fin­an­cing, loan modi­fic­a­tions or short sales rather than fore­clos­ures.”
The point is that pat­ri­ot­ism is to the coun­try, not a man run­ning it. Suck it up, cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it. If you ab­so­lutely just can’t handle four more years, you can find a bor­der — north, south, east or west. Amer­ica needs people will­ing to work to­geth­er to build her, not take their ball and go home like a 5-year-old whose game isn’t go­ing their way.
Heza­ki­ah Lev­in­son

What’s in a num­ber? The big banks have a ves­ted in­terest
Al­though I un­der­stand the frus­tra­tion ex­pressed by Myles Gor­don in his let­ter last week (In­terest rates stink! Fire the Fed head), I think he is go­ing after the wrong tar­get. The in­terest rates stink? Not for the 1 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion who like it this way.
Myles Gor­don is look­ing at the sys­tem from the wrong view if he really wants to un­der­stand what is go­ing on. Ben Bernanke does not con­trol the sys­tem, he works for it.
The goal of the 1 per­cent (the in­vestors) is to make money at the ex­pense of the oth­er 99 per­cent. The bank­ing sys­tem is part of the lar­ger “fin­an­cial sys­tem.” There are at least two sets of in­terest rates. Ben Bernanke only sets rates to help the bank­ing sys­tem. Con­gress has con­trol over the second set.
The de­pos­it­ors are just giv­ing the banks a loan of their money, which the bank uses to make a profit for its in­vestors, its stock­hold­ers. Banks pay the de­pos­it­ors as little as pos­sible for the loan of their money (rates con­trolled in part by Ben Bernanke ). The fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tions in turn charge as much as pos­sible for per­son­al loans and cred­it card loans to people who bor­row the money un­til they cry bank­ruptcy!
These usury rates can be con­trolled by Con­gress, but Con­gress elim­in­ated these laws years ago, so these fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tions can charge you any­thing they want. The law only says they must tell us what they are do­ing. If we do not com­plain about the cred­it card rates to our con­gress­men, we suf­fer.
So if a fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tion charges you 26 per­cent on your cred­it cards and the bank gives you 1 per­cent or less on your de­pos­it, they make a tre­mend­ous profit, don’t they? Don’t you wish you were in their po­s­i­tion to make 25 per­cent re­turn on your money in­stead of 1 per­cent?
Mervyn Kline
Bustleton res­id­ent and re­tired Frank­ford High School teach­er

Speak your mind  …
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