Letters to the Editor: January 25, 2012

Bad jobs are re­war­ded

The murder rate and our real es­tate taxes went up. So what is the ef­fect on May­or Nut­ter and Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Ram­sey? The may­or is re-elec­ted and the com­mis­sion­er gets a huge raise.

I rarely see po­lice­men on the street. They are usu­ally at the Crim­in­al Justice Cen­ter (CJC) as ar­rest­ing of­ficers/wit­nesses or de­fend­ants.

As long as Nut­ter and Ram­sey are in charge of this city, I will con­tin­ue to in­vest my money in com­pan­ies that make candles and teddy bears.

May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

Clean up your patios

Dear friends and neigh­bors:

Re­mem­ber the days when patios and porches were used for sit­ting? Now it seems the pur­pose of the patio is for stor­ing trash and re­cyc­ling buck­ets. This is a ter­rible neigh­bor­hood eye­sore.

Please keep your trash be­hind your house un­til trash day.

Donna Pas­cav­itch


Post 754 wants vets

Rhawn­hurst-Castor Post 754 is open to any vet­er­an who would like to join the Amer­ic­an Le­gion. Our mem­ber­ship is open to any­one who served in the mil­it­ary.

Our post is the largest Le­gion post in Phil­adelphia. We have 750 mem­bers. Men or wo­men who would like to join can call me any­time at 215-632-7781. Dues are $25 for the year 2012.

Wil­li­am Cole

Com­mand­er, Post 754

Shop­ping cen­ter is sens­it­ive to all faiths

As leas­ing and prop­erty man­agers of the Bustleton- Somer­ton Shop­ping Cen­ter since it was built al­most 50 years ago, we seem to be the last ones to know about the let­ter-to- the-ed­it­or de­bate go­ing on re­gard­ing our hol­i­day dec­or­a­tions.We be­lieve that our dec­or­a­tions are sens­it­ive to many faiths and re­solve to be sens­it­ive in the fu­ture. In fact, the own­ers of the cen­ter are of dif­fer­ent re­li­gious back­grounds.Since our of­fice was nev­er con­tac­ted dir­ectly, we nev­er had an op­por­tun­ity to re­spond to any con­cerns. Our phone num­ber is clearly pos­ted for a mem­ber of the pub­lic to call us any time.As a pro­fes­sion­al prop­erty man­age­ment com­pany that holds the pres­ti­gi­ous AMO (Ac­cred­ited Man­age­ment Or­gan­iz­a­tion) des­ig­na­tion from the In­sti­tute of Real Es­tate Man­age­ment, we wel­come con­struct­ive cri­ti­cism and pub­lic in­put.On be­half of the 29 own­er-op­er­ated small busi­nesses in the Bustleton-Somer­ton Shop­ping Cen­ter, we would like to wish every­one a safe and suc­cess­ful 2012!

Dan Leider

Jeff Gold­stone

Prop­erty man­agers

Her­bert Yentis & Co. Re­altors

In praise of the Jews

Now that the hol­i­day sea­son is over, I would like to take this op­por­tun­ity to say to our Jew­ish broth­ers and sis­ters how etern­ally grate­ful we Chris­ti­ans are that they gave us one of their own sons to guide and dir­ect us. Thank you.

Un­til now, we have got­ten so much and giv­en so little to our Jew­ish broth­ers and sis­ters, that we must now show our solid­ar­ity with them in these try­ing times. So, may God bless and keep the Jews.

Howard Hall


Politi­cians care only about their own power and wealth

Re­cent edi­tions of the North­east Times had let­ters writ­ten in by Richard Iac­on­elli and Ar­thur Gur­mankin re­gard­ing So­cial Se­cur­ity. Both make very val­id points but ap­pear to have a party af­fil­i­ation cloud­ing their views. For­tu­nately, I do not have a party af­fil­i­ation.

Mr. Gur­mankin, I can as­sure you I share your opin­ion of the Bush/Cheney White House. In fact, I doubt if you can dis­like them as much as I do. However, since the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion had the in­form­a­tion avail­able that you al­luded to, why would he opt to re­duce con­tri­bu­tions to a trust fund that was already ser­i­ously un­der­fun­ded? My opin­ion is it was a polit­ic­al ploy try­ing to cre­ate a win/win situ­ation.

Pres­id­ent Obama’s ap­prov­al rat­ing was at an all-time low and he was des­per­ate. He could not lower taxes, which would add to our out-of-con­trol de­fi­cit. He did not want to re­duce spend­ing, which was the fisc­ally re­spons­ible move, since this might lower his ap­prov­al rat­ing even more. His ploy was to lower So­cial Se­cur­ity with­hold­ing. If he put more money in our pock­ets he would be a hero, and if the GOP re­jec­ted it he would make them the goat.

Please keep in mind neither Bush nor Obama really care about So­cial Se­cur­ity since they are not covered by it. In­stead, they are un­der one of the most luc­rat­ive pen­sion plans on the plan­et, cov­er­ing only fed­er­al em­ploy­ees.

I am sure you both have no­ticed in all the talks re­gard­ing lower­ing the de­fi­cit the sub­ject of their be­ne­fits has nev­er been men­tioned. The sad truth is neither party rep­res­ents the people or what is right. Their only fo­cus is stay­ing in of­fice and ac­cu­mu­lat­ing wealth and power.

An­thony Dello Russo Jr.

Fox Chase

Blame oth­er factors for clos­ing Cath­ol­ic schools

The Jan. 11 ed­it­or­i­al It’s a sin cor­rectly iden­ti­fies a num­ber of factors that have con­trib­uted to the clos­ings of so many Cath­ol­ic schools. But the most im­port­ant factor was not men­tioned. In fact, it is hardly dis­cussed any­where. It is how Cath­ol­ics aren’t prac­ti­cing their faith as well as they should be.

This prob­lem star­ted back in the 1960s with the “sexu­al re­volu­tion.” Vat­ic­an II changed the way Cath­ol­ics think about mor­al­ity and obed­i­ence to church teach­ing. More and more Cath­ol­ics de­cided it was OK to use birth con­trol and have abor­tions. In the past 20 or so years, people have been more fo­cused on start­ing a ca­reer and mak­ing money, so they wait to get mar­ried or do not get mar­ried at all.

As a res­ult, Cath­ol­ics are not get­ting mar­ried and not hav­ing chil­dren as much as God wants. In many cases, Cath­ol­ics choose not to send their chil­dren to Cath­ol­ic school. They don’t go to church every week like they’re sup­posed to, so they’re not put­ting money in the col­lec­tion bas­kets. It’s not a sur­prise that there aren’t enough chil­dren and funds to keep the same num­ber of schools.

This de­cline in faith has also caused few­er men and wo­men to think about be­com­ing priests or nuns. When my par­ents went to Cath­ol­ic school there were hardly any non-re­li­gious teach­ers. Today, Cath­ol­ic schools have to spend a lot more money on teach­er salar­ies.

The long-term solu­tion to this crisis starts with the faith­ful. They need to fol­low church teach­ing, get mar­ried and be com­pletely open to hav­ing chil­dren. Then, they need to send the chil­dren to Cath­ol­ic school, take them to church each week and teach them to fol­low Cath­ol­ic mor­als.

Mi­chael L. Bane


• • •

I was dis­mayed by your re­sponse to the clos­ing of Arch­dioces­an Cath­ol­ic schools. While the priest scan­dal is brought in­to al­most any top­ic, it is not a ma­jor factor in the school clos­ings. Many factors go­ing back dec­ades led up to this war­ran­ted change.

The Cath­ol­ic schools be­came de­pend­ent upon lay fac­ulty as the num­ber of re­li­gious teach­ing in Cath­ol­ic schools de­clined dra­mat­ic­ally over the years.

When I went to ele­ment­ary school in the 1960s al­most all of the fac­ulty were re­li­gious. Over the last 50 years the op­pos­ite has oc­curred. There are mul­tiple reas­ons for this de­cline, the most ob­vi­ous of which is the de­crease in the num­ber of men and wo­men en­ter­ing re­li­gious life.

While due to many factors, it can­not be denied that there has been an in­creas­ing lack of in­terest by fam­il­ies to have at least one of their chil­dren enter re­li­gious life. Then there is the de­cision by sev­er­al re­li­gious or­ders to move out of the classroom and find their “true” de­vo­tion out in the “real” world, usu­ally in the area of so­cial work.

The res­ult­ing de­pend­ence on lay fac­ulty mem­bers led to in­creas­ing costs as wages and be­ne­fits rose. This in turn led to in­creases in the cost of tu­ition. Also, with only 25 per­cent or so of Cath­ol­ics mak­ing their Sunday ob­lig­a­tion, the col­lec­tion that the par­ish church takes in to sup­port their school has rad­ic­ally dropped.

Lastly, the demo­graph­ics of hav­ing one or no chil­dren has drastic­ally cut the num­bers who at­tend a school that is now un­der­fun­ded and has in­creased costs. This was a known out­come and its in­ev­it­ab­il­ity was an­ti­cip­ated years ago.  Thank­fully we have a shep­herd who is will­ing to make the hard de­cisions be­fore it gets any worse.

Stan­ley Si­en­kiewicz


• • •

While you ac­know­ledge the demo­graph­ic changes — white Cath­ol­ics mov­ing to the sub­urbs and black Baptists mov­ing in­to Phil­adelphia to re­place them, the de­clin­ing birth rate, loss of re­li­gious teach­ers, who ac­cep­ted whatever pay giv­en them, and schools built to teach two to five times their cur­rent en­roll­ment — you choose to take a cheap shot at the sup­posed ac­tions of a few de­ranged priests.

Un­der most civil laws, and many crim­in­al laws, there is a two-year stat­ute of lim­it­a­tions, for very good reas­ons. Memor­ies be­come blurred, doc­u­ments get lost and some­times hon­est testi­mony just isn’t hon­est.

So we fire a revered head coach and pres­id­ent of a lead­ing uni­versity for something they may have “heard” 10 years ago and who did the right thing of re­port­ing it. Re­cently we sent the D.A. out to a re­tired 88-year-old car­din­al who suf­fers from Alzheimer’s to take an af­fi­davit of what he re­mem­bers of events 25 years ago.

Maybe all the ac­cused priests are guilty, and maybe Jerry San­dusky is, along with Mi­chael Jack­son, but maybe they aren’t.

The Cath­ol­ic Church edu­cated a great num­ber of people, sav­ing the tax­pay­ers bil­lions of dol­lars over the last cen­tury.

Per­haps those priests were guilty, and maybe the “vic­tims” are just angry people at something their par­ents did. Broke, al­co­hol­ic they sur­face to cap­it­al­ize on a gen­er­ous or­gan­iz­a­tion — “Let’s fix them or pay them to avoid a Joe Pa­ter­no scan­dal.”

We know that many fraud­u­lent in­sur­ance claims and bogus civil cases are “settled” all the time rather than fought in court ecause some­times it just makes eco­nom­ic sense to avoid the pub­li­city and law­yers fees.  

All these sex cases in­volve in­form­a­tion that is five to 15 years old. Much of it is simply un­re­li­able.

Joseph J. Mur­ray

Mor­rell Park

• • •

This let­ter is not in­ten­ded to talk bad about any­body, just to show real­ity. Car­din­al Justin Rigali picked a blue-rib­bon com­mis­sion that had nine well-off busi­ness­men who in most of their work was to hire and lay off work­ers. Now, with this de­cision they are go­ing to put 1,700 jobs in pos­sible lay­offs. These Cath­ol­ic school teach­ers are won­der­ful people who work for low wages. They should be blessed for what they do — they should not lose their jobs.

As for the people who are strug­gling to send their chil­dren to Cath­ol­ic schools, many moved close to a par­ish school so their chil­dren could walk to school. Now they are go­ing to be burdened with try­ing to get their chil­dren to school farther away and hav­ing to buy new uni­forms for them. Now I hear they are go­ing to change the name of schools that are do­ing well and tak­ing the au­thor­ity away from pas­tors. I live in a par­ish that is do­ing well and have a won­der­ful pas­tor and great priests, and chan­ging this would be a dis­aster.

Arch­bish­op Chaput, I pray to God that this bomb­shell that has been thrown in your lap can be re­solved and that people do not give up their faith as some have.

John F. Rauchut


Vi­ol­ence brings out the worst

From the ed­it­or’s desk

By John Scan­lon

May­or Nut­ter had it right to be fed up with, as he called them, the “idi­ots and as­sholes.”

He took some heat from the PC crowd for his choice of words a couple weeks ago when he testily re­acted to a couple of high-pro­file crimes in the city. Hard to fig­ure out why some people were in such a lath­er over the a-word. These are times when I’ll take the street-talk Nut­ter over the cock­tail-party Nut­ter.

In fact, I thought he should have put the f-word in front of the a-word — far more em­phat­ic, and cer­tainly a far more soul-shak­ing re­flec­tion of his dis­tress that this city is get­ting so nuts that a guy would dash out of his Ju­ni­ata house and fire about 10 shots in­to a car oc­cu­pied by sev­en teens feud­ing with his stepsons, killing three of them.

That was Jan. 10. If that epis­ode de­fied com­pre­hen­sion, and it does, the may­or cer­tainly didn’t an­ti­cip­ate the parade of idi­ots and as­sholes who have made head­lines since, their crimes every bit as vile and sav­age as the Ju­ni­ata in­cid­ent that put Nut­ter in such a foul mood.

Kev­in Kless’ young life ended on Jan. 14, snuffed by three goons who dashed from a car at Fourth and Chest­nut and beat him sense­less. Ed­ward Schae­fer’s life al­most ended on Jan. 17, a sim­il­arly wicked beat­ing near his Ol­ney home, this one in­flic­ted by some teen thugs. And last Fri­day night, two rob­bers shot and killed Ta­cony res­taur­ant own­er Xi­ang Huang — the mer­chant’s hor­ri­fied wife and child just feet away — and fled with noth­ing.

Kless’ head rammed against a con­crete wall. Schae­fer’s face so battered and scabbed and swollen that you winced at the Daily News photo of the 64-year-old guy in his hos­pit­al bed. An im­mig­rant Chinese fam­ily who’d hoped they’d find the Amer­ic­an Dream in a small takeout res­taur­ant at Long­shore and Tulip.

All this heart­break isn’t fate. And it’s not simply that bad things hap­pen. It’s a heightened aware­ness that, more and more these days, any of us can cross paths with idi­ots and as­sholes, at any time, much like Neal Aur­ic­chio did when the Rangers hockey fan came to town for the Winter Clas­sic game on Jan. 2 and had his face broken af­ter­ward by some clod from South Jer­sey with a crim­in­al his­tory of an­ger is­sues.

The cops and the TV news an­chors and the head­line writers like to call these crimes “sense­less.” We are be­wildered that life has lost its sanc­tity in the eyes of these thugs, but the more ac­cur­ate real­ity comes down to one thing.

The crim­in­al mind doesn’t pause to think about con­sequences. Which makes laws and pun­ish­ment rather hol­low de­terrents.

So you and two bud­dies jump out of a car and punch and kick Kev­in Kless to the edge of death, for no reas­on what­so­ever, ig­nor­ing the pleas of his two dis­traught fe­male friends, and then you get back in your car, a vi­ol­ent flash in the night. That fast, that care­less. That in­con­sequen­tial.

If you saw Ed­ward Schae­fer’s battered face dur­ing his news in­ter­views, it was in­cred­u­lous to hear him say that he holds no an­im­os­ity against the two teens who’ve been ac­cused of bru­tal­iz­ing him. His char­ity is re­mark­able. He’d have every reas­on to won­der why they’re such an­im­als.

Or idi­ots and as­sholes.

Most grat­i­fy­ing dur­ing the past week­end was word that po­lice had roun­ded up the three sus­pects sought in Kless’ slay­ing, in­clud­ing Steven Fer­guson, a 20-year-old park­ing at­tend­ant from Fox Chase.

Po­lice had spent the week ap­peal­ing for help from any­one who may have seen the early-morn­ing con­front­a­tion as Kless, 23, tried to hail a cab. However, be­cause a lot of people won’t step up and do the right thing these days, it took a $20,000 re­ward to per­suade a tip­ster to sell what he knew. In­form­a­tion con­firmed what the in­vest­ig­a­tion had come to put to­geth­er. The cops also learned that Fer­guson and his buds sup­posedly had been over­heard brag­ging and jok­ing about how they did a num­ber on a guy in Old City.

Oooo, that’s not smart. Only idi­ots make that mis­take.

The per­fect script change to Kev­in Kless’ tra­gic story would have had him pulling a hand­gun as these three tough guys charged him and blow­ing their butts clear to the steps of In­de­pend­ence Hall. Be like the at­tack­ers. Don’t worry about con­sequences.

If any­thing, the city would have few­er idi­ots and as­sholes. ••

John Scan­lon is ed­it­or of the North­east Times. He can be reached at js­can­lon@bsmphilly.com

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