Northeast Times

Letters to the Editor: January 11, 2012

Three cheers for the guy from Gif­ford

Since my fam­ily moved in­to our home two years ago, I have had the priv­ilege of get­ting to know the re­cre­ation lead­er at Gif­ford Play­ground, Jeff George.

Jeff has had sig­ni­fic­ant im­pact on not only Gif­ford Play­ground but the Somer­ton com­munity as a whole. The pas­sion for which he un­der­took his du­ties is a test­a­ment to his char­ac­ter and his de­sire to en­hance the at­mo­sphere at Gif­ford Play­ground.

Any time my neigh­bors and I on Bur­gess Street had an is­sue with the play­ground, Jeff di­li­gently worked to ad­dress it. Jeff has helped curb the loiter­ing and drug activ­ity at Gif­ford Play­ground.

Un­der Jeff’s lead­er­ship the play­ground was sig­ni­fic­antly en­hanced. He was cent­ral in the cre­ation of the new play­ground, which has brought new life to Gif­ford. There were times that I would find broken bottles and drug paraphernalia in my yard, but with Jeff’s hard work of or­gan­iz­ing cleanup days, this prob­lem has drastic­ally de­creased.

His col­lab­or­a­tion with state Rep. Brendan Boyle’s of­fice and TD Bank al­lowed Gif­ford Play­ground to host the first out­door movie night in North­east Phil­adelphia. In fact, these three en­tit­ies held a second suc­cess­ful movie night this past sum­mer, cre­at­ing a tra­di­tion for all of us to en­joy for years to come. Start­ing this week, Jeff will be mov­ing on in his ca­reer after re­ceiv­ing a much-earned pro­mo­tion.

On be­half of the com­munity, I ap­pre­ci­ate all he has done to make Somer­ton a bet­ter, safer place for our chil­dren to play. I wish Jeff the best in all fu­ture en­deavors.

Seth Ka­plan

Zon­ing chair­man

Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation

Eagles coach should fly away

What is in­san­ity? Some say it is hered­it­ary, that you get it from your chil­dren; but a more cor­rect defin­i­tion is ex­pect­ing dif­fer­ent res­ults while en­ga­ging in re­pet­it­ive ac­tion.

If this is not a dia­gnos­is of Eagles own­er Jeff Lurie by stay­ing with Pandy Andy all these years, then he’s only con­cerned about the money, in which case he’s not en­dear­ing him­self with the fans — and these are the fans who throw snow­balls at Santa Claus. He should be listen­ing to them, and they are say­ing “Fire Andy!” Wake up, Jeff, it’s not rock­et sci­ence. We are foot­ball lit­er­ate; you are not!

Some sports­casters have said that Re­id is a good coach, but odds are that they’re not from Phil­adelphia. Maybe they think that he should have an­oth­er chance — that would be the 14th; we think that he should have an­oth­er chance in an­oth­er city. We’ve seen too many of his stu­pid blun­ders, mostly at the goal line with the game at stake or en­ch­ing key play­ers like McNabb or De­Sean Jack­son in crit­ic­al situ­ations while they’re strong and able.

A stra­tegic gen­er­al here to win the war, he is not, and he con­tin­ues prov­ing this to us, year after re­lent­less year, and say­ing the same thing each time: “I take full re­spons­ib­il­ity.” But what does that mean? What price is he pay­ing? Is it not in­san­ity to keep this big oaf after 13 years of fail­ure and stu­pid ele­ment­ary mis­takes? Lurie and gen­er­al man­ager Joe Ban­ner bet­ter get with the pro­gram and no­tice what the rest of the NFL is do­ing. Get a new coach!

You have some good tal­ent on this team and they des­per­ately need a lead­er who can in­still some dis­cip­line, dir­ec­tion and mo­tiv­a­tion in them; if Andy Re­id were cap­able of this, his two sons would not be formerly in­car­cer­ated felons right now. Jon Gruden might take a call, but for heav­en’s sake, and ours, call someone cap­able of giv­ing us a win­ner!

James O’Keefe

Castor Gar­dens

The shame was mis­ap­plied

“Rob­bing So­cial Se­cur­ity?” That con­cern was ex­pressed by Richard Iac­on­elli in his North­east Times let­ter last week, It’s not a tax cut when you’re ac­tu­ally rob­bing So­cial Se­cur­ity.

Mr. Iac­on­elli’s la­ments ap­pear of­ten in the Times, yet I can’t re­call a single one that cited or lamen­ted any­thing shame­ful re­gard­ing George W. Bush’s raid on the So­cial Se­cur­ity trust fund in or­der to give tax breaks to mil­lion­aires — ten years of tax breaks!

Mr. Iac­on­elli wrote, “Shame on the me­dia, Con­gress and es­pe­cially shame on the pres­id­ent (Obama), for present­ing this shell game (the ex­ten­sion of the payroll tax cut) as a tax cut.”

Really?

In the 2000 res­id­en­tial cam­paign, the me­dia gave ex­tens­ive cov­er­age to Pres­id­ent Bush’s prom­ises “not to raid the So­cial Se­cur­ity trust fund.” I didn’t read any ob­jec­tions from Mr. Iac­on­elli when Bush failed to hon­or his prom­ises. Neither Mr. Iac­on­elli or the me­dia cried ldquo;shame” as Bush raided and spent a total of $1.37 tril­lion of the So­cial Se­cur­ity sur­plus dur­ing his eight years as pres­id­ent. In Bush’s last year, he spent $192.2 bil­lion, which av­er­ages out to more than $526 mil­lion per day.

But Mr. Iac­on­elli and the right-wing me­dia find it shame­ful that Pres­id­ent Obama and the Con­gress, in­clud­ing the Re­pub­lic­ans he shamed in­to sub­mis­sion, voted to as­sure that mil­lions of Amer­ic­an middle class fam­il­ies will not see their taxes raised in the be­gin­ning of 2012!

Since “shame” is the word, Mr. Iac­on­elli, then SHAME on you and the disin­genu­ous con­ser­vat­ives who se­lect­ively cas­tig­ate oth­ers for that which they them­selves are guilty.

Ar­thur Gur­mankin

Bustleton

The hol­i­days are still stir­ring up con­tro­versy

In re­sponse to Judy Brock’s let­ter in the Dec. 21 edi­tion, Merry Christ­mas, Merry Christ­mas, Merry Christ­mas: I doubt very much, Judy, that any­one has told you not to say these words for the rest of your life. We live in Amer­ica, a coun­try steeped in and foun­ded upon re­li­gious tol­er­ance and free­dom of speech.

The real is­sue here, Judy, is what about the mil­lions of folks who aren’t of your faith and don’t cel­eb­rate Christ­mas? Yes, there are mil­lions! Je­sus is not the reas­on for this sea­son for me and many oth­ers. In my fam­ily it is a time to cel­eb­rate the fest­iv­al of Ha­nukkah, to re­call the mir­acle of a ves­sel of sealed oil that was found in the Temple. The oil was enough to last one day, but las­ted for eight days. It was used to com­mem­or­ate the vic­tory of the Mac­ca­bees and reded­ic­a­tion of the Temple.

In my home we gathered around the men­orah as my niece lit the Ha­nukkah candles for the first time. We en­joyed the look in her eyes and her smile as we sang the bless­ing. Many also play the dreidel game. I laced my elec­tric men­orah in my front win­dow for all to see and en­joy.

Why would you want to wish me or any oth­er non-Chris­ti­an a Merry Christ­mas when it is not our hol­i­day? Christ­mas is a hol­i­day that cel­eb­rates the birth of Christ. Again, this is not part of my re­li­gion.

I have no Christ­mas tree (yes Judy, that IS what it is, you are cor­rect!), no Christ­mas dec­or­a­tions, I do not at­tend church, there is no ham on my din­ner table, no lights around my home, no re­li­gious fig­ures on my lawn.

I don’t want to re­ceive Christ­mas cards, re­mem­ber — it’s not my hol­i­day. Would you like to re­ceive cards wish­ing you a Happy Ha­nukkah? Would you en­joy hav­ing me wish you a Happy Ha­nukkah? I think not, not from the tone of your let­ter. 

  I en­joy shar­ing the Christ­mas fest­iv­it­ies with my Chris­ti­an friends. I do wish them a Merry Christ­mas. Un­less you are sure what hol­i­day someone cel­eb­rates, “Happy Hol­i­day” is nev­er wrong. I would much rather hear that than “Merry Christ­mas.” Re­mem­ber, not my hol­i­day! The Amer­ic­an way of life will not be di­min­ished by say­ing the right words to the right people.  Bigotry, in­tol­er­ance, ig­nor­ance, and anti-Semit­ism are noth­ing to be proud of. 

  Judy, I hope that you and your fam­ily had a Merry Christ­mas. A Happy Ha­nukkah to all who cel­eb­rated the joy of the Fest­iv­al of Lights, and a Happy Kwan­zaa to those who took part in that hol­i­day.

To all, I wish a happy, healthy, and peace­ful new year. May un­der­stand­ing and tol­er­ance be a part of your new year’s res­ol­u­tions.

Linda Ein­bind­er

Castor Gar­dens

• • •

I also am a res­id­ent of the area sur­round­ing the Bustleton-Somer­ton Shop­ping Cen­ter like Mr. Howard Hall, and take is­sue with his let­ter in the Dec. 28 edi­tion (Why no Chris­ti­an sym­bols at shop­ping cen­ter?)

First, if you saw these dec­or­a­tions, there were also trees, candles and candy canes along with the Star of Dav­id dis­played. If he knew any­thing about Chris­ti­an sym­bol­ism, the ever­green tree rep­res­ents ever­last­ing life, the candle rep­res­ents the Chris­ti­an idea of Je­sus as the light of the world, and even the candy cane is used to sym­bol­ize Je­sus’ pur­ity (white) and sac­ri­fice (red); even the pep­per­mint fla­vor is sym­bol­ic of the gift of spice giv­en to roy­alty in an­cient times.

These tra­di­tions were foun­ded through the ages as people sought to cel­eb­rate the hol­i­day with sym­bols that were fa­mil­i­ar to them. Our church gives out candy canes every year on Christ­mas. Per­haps Mr. Hall should do some re­search on Chris­ti­an sym­bol­ism.

I am so very tired of hear­ing so-called Chris­ti­ans be­moan that no one wishes “Merry Christ­mas” any­more and that this sea­son is too com­mer­cial­ized. Small busi­nesses in neigh­bor­hood shop­ping cen­ters bring work­ers and rev­en­ues to these loc­al areas.

Ad­di­tion­ally, we live in a plur­al­ist­ic so­ci­ety, foun­ded on prin­ciples of free­dom of re­li­gious ex­pres­sion for all, not just for one par­tic­u­lar group.

I, for one, ap­pre­ci­ate the way the Bustleton-Somer­ton Shop­ping Cen­ter was dec­or­ated. When I see their dec­or­a­tions go up every year I know the hol­i­day sea­son is be­gin­ning, and I will con­tin­ue to shop there as I al­ways have.

Mary Buchat­sky

Somer­ton

• • •

Mr. Howard Hall, what have we here? Yet an­oth­er ex­ample of Chris­ti­ans at­tempt­ing to shove their re­li­gion down oth­ers’ throats? Per­haps the own­er/s of the shop­ping cen­ter is/are Jew­ish. One might jump to that lo­gic­al con­clu­sion giv­en the dis­plays and the pre­dom­in­ance of Jew­ish wor­ship in that par­tic­u­lar neigh­bor­hood. I’m cer­tain he’s not dis­play­ing a pentacle (Wicca), pen­ta­gram (Satan­ism), star and cres­cent (Is­lam), torii (Shinto), yin and yang (Tao­ism), or the ad­op­ted scar­let ‘A’ for we athe­ists.

Nope. It’s once again the Chris­ti­ans get­ting up in arms be­cause not every­one shares their/your be­liefs. If I came to your house dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son (or any time, for that mat­ter), should I feel dis­crim­in­ated against be­cause you have a cross on your wall? Nev­er mind that your dec­or­a­tions most likely con­sist of snow­men, Santa, reindeer, an ever­green (or sim­u­lated ever­green) tree, wreath and string lights which have noth­ing to do with your re­li­gion, but ad­op­ted from vari­ous “pa­gan” re­li­gions or chil­dren’s car­toons.

Stop for­cing your fairy tales on oth­ers. You’re a Chris­ti­an, and good for you. You’re free to wor­ship as you please, as long as it doesn’t in­fringe upon the rights, hap­pi­ness and/or safety of oth­ers. Get over it. Do as you say in your let­ter and shop some­where else. But to call for some Chris­ti­an boy­cott of a busi­ness be­cause they don’t share your view is ab­surd.

Crawl away from the Dark Ages and come over to the Age of En­light­en­ment. We have cook­ies. Peace and a happy and safe new year.

Mi­chael Al­ex­an­der

Holmes­burg

New li­quor law is good for busi­ness

Pennsylvania is in good spir­its. Craft brew­er­ies are be­com­ing pop­u­lar des­tin­a­tions for beer drink­ers to vis­it, sample and pur­chase products, and Pennsylvania is home to some very well-re­cog­nized, award-win­ning and grow­ing mi­cro­brew­er­ies.

 Pennsylvania’s two mi­crod­istil­ler­ies — one of which is loc­ated right here in North­east Phil­adelphia — will now be giv­en the same op­por­tun­it­ies to suc­ceed. Phil­adelphia Dis­tilling LLC, loc­ated on McN­ulty Road, is the first craft dis­til­lery in Pennsylvania since Pro­hib­i­tion and the first mi­crod­istil­lery in the state. It is the proud maker of award-win­ning products such as Blue Coat Gin and Penn 1681 Vodka, both of which have won nu­mer­ous ac­col­ades world­wide. 

Act 113 of 2010, which was just signed in­to law, will give the Pennsylvania Li­quor Con­trol Board (PLCB) au­thor­iz­a­tion to is­sue lim­ited dis­til­lery li­censes to small dis­til­ler­ies like Phil­adelphia Dis­tilling LLC. The li­censes would give these dis­til­ler­ies per­mis­sion to al­low for tast­ings and sales by the glass and by the bottle at their fa­cil­it­ies and to sell their products at two satel­lite fa­cil­it­ies with the PLCB’s ap­prov­al.

 Ex­pand­ing the li­quor reg­u­la­tions to al­low tast­ings and out­side sales of its products will help gen­er­ate busi­ness, in­crease vis­its, main­tain jobs and help this loc­al com­pany grow its brand and cre­ate more jobs.

 Dur­ing these dif­fi­cult eco­nom­ic times, we need to do all we can to sup­port the small loc­al com­pan­ies that are try­ing to grow their busi­ness in our com­mon­wealth. This new law will help a small in­dustry grow and thrive.

State Sen. Mike Stack (D-5th dist.)

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 let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053. Fax: 215-355-4857. E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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