Where, oh where, is the doggie park? Nowhere
In response to the letter in last week’s edition concerning the dog park at Lawncrest (Our beloved doggie park is not so beloved anymore):
I am the supervisor at Lawncrest Recreation Center. First, let me say there is no doggie park on this site. Over the course of several years with the decline of a baseball program, a number of dog owners and their dogs “squatted” on the fenced little league field and proclaimed it a dog park.
Nothing was ever done officially by the city to dedicate the area to dogs and their owners. With the resurgence of the baseball program under the vibrant Lawncrest Lions, it has necessitated a change. It is a baseball field once again!
More to the point, several months ago I received a call from a woman who identified herself as African-American. She explained to me about a woman who said the doggie park was hers and no one of color could use it. She asked what could be done about the intimidation and discrimination. I suggested she could call the police or the mayor’s office on human relations, and I would see what I could do about the issue as well. Since I heard nothing more about it, I thought the problem had been resolved.
United we stood as the methadone clinic failed
The Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment has decided to overturn Healing Way’s zoning for the property located at 7908 Frankford Ave. In short, we have stopped the methadone clinic!
I know that this has been a long and scary process, but the neighbors, community leaders and fellow elected officials can raise their hands in victory. There is no doubt that the ZBA was influenced by our loud, unified voice.
Whether it involved attending the meetings in the summer, signing petitions, or lobbying the ZBA together, we stood up and demanded to be heard.
So often we hear of people “fighting” for their neighborhood, but we have done just that, and because of our work, the people of Holmesburg and Mayfair can rest a little easier.
It is this fighting mentality that not only separates us from other neighborhoods in the city but also ensures that we do not lose ours. Two years ago I swore to fight for our community and quickly realized that luckily I am not alone. It was truly stunning to see 500+ people gather on a weeknight during the summer to not only voice their concern but to better learn and understand the situation.
Also, the proposal of this clinic served as a shocking reminder of the need to examine the laws surrounding methadone clinics. We found out firsthand that community and even police involvement in determining the placement of a methadone clinic was non-existent. I along with colleagues in the legislature quickly drafted a bill that would increase the community’s role in placement of these clinics.
While we have completed this leg of the race, our work is not done. Together we accomplished something profound, and I know we can continue to do so. Our neighborhood is plagued with a battery of issues such as rampant vandalism and negligent out-of-town property owners.
Our fight is far from over but with the drive that we’ve already displayed I know we will be victorious in that as well. If we stay the course that we have begun, we can preserve our quality of life and our neighborhood.
Kevin J. Boyle
172nd Legislative District
She’s grateful for O’Neill’s staff
I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Councilman Brian O’Neill’s office for diligently tending to a prolonged matter of concern in a very professional, most considerate and helpful manner. Additionally, staff representation promptly took care of another essential request for my family.
Election chief praised for reform
Kudos to City Commissioners Chairwoman Stephanie Singer! I have been a committeeperson for about 40 years in a very large division.
I have fliers put out in my division and my division comes out to vote — on average, 200 to 300 voters in an election. The last presidential election had almost 600 voters.
My board works. They get paid once. It is totally unfair for people to be double-dipping. When their voters do not come out to vote, they do not work nearly as hard, and then they get paid twice? Hardly fair.
I wish to thank Stephanie Singer for her reform. Thank you very much.
Committeewoman and civic activist
Photo ID is fine, but voting must be easier
Voting is a right, not a “duty,” as claimed by the Northeast Times in its editorial last week (Smile for the camera).
The number of non-voters is “staggering and pathetic.” How about an honest and thorough examination to determine why voter turnout is so poor?
Honest and fair elections are fundamental, but is that the real issue facing our community at this time? Let’s figure out a way to increase voter turnout. Easier ballot access for third-party and independent voters? Voting over two days with polls open extended hours? Weekend voting? Perhaps a national holiday once every four years for the presidential election?
A photo ID system is fine, but with one overriding condition. The securing of a photo ID for voting must be as easy as possible. People without driver’s licenses should not automatically have to put a greater effort into exercising their voting rights. Door-to-door voter registration with portable photo ID equipment should seriously be considered.
Photo ID is a great idea especially if it increases voter turnout.
Edward R. Moses
• • •
I agree with your editorial. I, too, don’t understand what all the big stink over producing an ID to vote is all about. You need ID for just about everything else, so why not to vote?
If it is the Republican Party who wants this law established to prevent voter fraud, then my hat’s off to the GOP. This is a law, in my opinion, that should have been on the books a long time ago.
To the Democrats who accuse them of having an ulterior motive for wanting this law, I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t you who has the ulterior motive. Maybe it’s to stuff the ballot box? I’m just saying.
Remember, guys, it is a privilege and a right to vote. It also means one vote per customer.
P.S. To last week’s letter writer Pat Dougherty (Don’t be blinded by Obama’s charisma): You are right to inform people to research Obama and not just vote for him because he is black, charismatic or a Democrat. Personally, I think they are afraid because of what they might find, not like it, and just might have to admit they were wrong to vote for him in the first place. They also have to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.
Here we go again: Gas prices fuel outrage
Just as the seasons change from winter to spring, the oil industry rears its ugly, greedy head and starts a faux gasoline shortage.
We hear many reasons for the shortage, but no one blames the oil industry. Is it just coincidence that we’re at the time of year that the price of oil skyrockets, or is there some collusion amongst the oil industry to bilk the gas-using public out of billions of dollars?
One reason being thrown up against the wall is the “crisis” that Iran may cause if they do this or do that. Well, they haven’t done anything yet to cause the price of oil to jump to record- breaking highs, but the oil industry figures it’s a good excuse to sell to the public.
Another reason is a shortage of refineries. Well, we have three refineries in our area about to close. Is that a coincidence or an oil industry plan to fuel (no pun intended) the gas shortage? If the lack of refineries is part of the cause for higher prices, why are they closing three then? This is another example of the working man getting screwed by big business. Thousands of employees will be laid off with the closing of these refineries.
Big business has taken over the Congress (Dems and GOP alike), so we have no one to turn to for help. The right criticizes Social Security and Medicare as being an entitlement, but what about these elected politicians who receive disproportionate benefits, i.e., sweetheart lifetime pensions, free lifetime health care, free postage, free health club, per diem expenses, etc. Who’s going to put an end to these benefits?
The only people that can end it are the ones receiving it, and I’m sure they aren’t about to give up their pork barrel benefits. They’ll go after teachers’ pensions, Social Security, Medicare and union benefits even though these benefits were negotiated in good faith. Maybe it’s just a smoke screen to take attention off of the politicians’ entitlements.
As for the oil industry, when the “oil spring” is over, the oil companies will have billions of dollars in profit. When demand is down on a product, the price naturally drops, but not gasoline. Consumption of gasoline in this country is down 7 percent. The price of gas keeps going up. Why? Who is driving up the price of oil? Is it speculators? If so, we need some kind of safeguards prohibiting speculation on oil.
Why isn’t anyone in Congress investigating the coincidence of rising oil prices every year at this time? Maybe the oil industry lobbyists won’t let anyone in Congress do an investigation. This country has turned into a country for the lobbyists and by the lobbyists, and it doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon, so get used to it.
Here’s what happened to the Lower Northeast
John Scanlon’s column on the Lower Northeast (Feb. 29 edition) was indeed well written.
Many factors led to the demise of the Lower Northeast. Industries that once provided decent salaries left.
In their place, malls that provide low pay and no benefits became the anchor. Also, people of various cultures who could not speak or write English came into the city. Possibly, they were hoping for opportunities that did not exist.
This dilemma led to Access cards, welfare and crime as a way of life. Certainly, there are no easy answers to solving this crisis.
One thing is for sure — the rich got richer and the poor got poorer
Head games: Abe Lincoln’s killer is worthy of bobbling
As I See It
OK, true, John Wilkes Booth never would have been recalled fondly as Abe Lincoln’s relatives flipped through photo albums during family picnics, but you have to acknowledge one thing about the presidential assassin. The guy had a lot of chutzpah.
He also was the subject of some fuss last week. Seems there’s some dismay that J.W. has his very own bobblehead doll for sale.
My recollection of high-school history is that learning about the Civil War era was by far the most fascinating part. The tragic overtones of that staggering, nation-destroying conflict defy comprehension generations later, but I’ll admit to still being mesmerized by that scenario of Southern sympathizer and respected actor Booth ambushing Abe with a gunshot to the head as the president sat in a balcony box at Washington’s stately Ford Theater, enjoying a comic farce called Our American Cousin, and then leaping to the stage below and fleeing as all hell broke loose.
Booth was like the 1865 version of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. In 2012, I don’t feel any rage toward J.W. I don’t think back to what could have been if only Abe had decided to skip the tuxedo and theater and head instead to a D.C. karaoke bar that night. It’s not even worth fretting about how J.W.’s fanaticism caused us to be stuck with President Andrew Johnson, a Southern career lawmaker and racist with anger issues who almost got his butt removed from office after impeachment by the House.
In fact, who does dwell on all this stuff? None of it matters. Abe got whacked 147 years ago. Personally, when I think of Booth, I just shake my head and think, “Man, that J.W. was one brassy S.O.B.”
They call it history. Which brings us to the John Wilkes Booth bobblehead doll. No, really. Maybe you heard or read of the little brouhaha last week when the Gettysburg National Park gift shop cleared the shelves of Booth bobbleheads, suddenly deciding it wasn’t politically correct after a local reporter, obviously bored by a slow news day, wrote a story about whether it was prudent to be peddling J.W. dolls at the hallowed site where Abe somberly stood in the glow of his most shining moment on Nov. 19, 1863, the day of his truly remarkable Gettysburg Address.
It’s unfortunate that they surrendered this time at Gettysburg. Come on, these are ceramic dolls! Maybe 6 or 7 inches tall. J.W.’s big head is exaggerated on his small body, and yes, he’s holding his little pistol, which makes sense because, as far as we know, he didn’t zap Abe with a Taser.
Even a spokeswoman for the Gettysburg Foundation noted there’d been no complaints during the week the Booth bobblehead was for sale, at which point the decision was made that Abe’s bobblehead could stay but that J.W.’s probably should go.
Booth got a raw deal here. Like it or not, J.W. — just like Abe — was a key player who symbolized a defining moment in our nation’s history. And history also tells us that J.W. got his comeuppance in the end, ultimately tracked to a Virginia farm by Union soldiers and shot to death in the barn about two weeks after Lincoln’s slaying.
Depending whether you’re from the North or the South, the Civil War has long been politicized and even censored, depending how you want to change the course of history. There are elements of that here.
Does putting J.W. back in his box and toting him to the storage room make things right? Not really. If you want J.W.’s bobblehead as an offbeat collectible, buy it. And if you want to buy J.W.’s bobblehead simply to smash it to smithereens, perhaps a bit of cathartic retribution for an evil deed he committed nearly 150 years ago, then do that too.
Let the public decide what’s tasteful.
It probably says a lot that BobbleHead LLC, the Kansas City firm that produces the novelties, has sold more than 150 of an original run of 250 Booth dolls, at roughly $20 each, with plans to make more.
Of course, when it comes to bobbleheads, I’ll concede there are folks who are off-limits and would have zero marketing appeal. You don’t do terror leaders. You especially don’t do the Kardashian sisters. Lee Harvey Oswald? I think he’s bobble-worthy. When it comes to John F. Kennedy, I’d likely refrain from producing the deluxe bobblehead edition of him and Marilyn in their bathrobes, but Oswald, much like John Wilkes Booth a century before him, shares a historic footnote in the assassination of a storied president whose legacy still thrives nearly 50 years later.
Booth’s bobblehead deserves a shelf in Gettysburg’s gift shop. He is a villain, no doubt about it, and there was everything cowardly in his rise to martyrdom among compatriots in the war-torn South, but you can’t rewrite April 14, 1865. He and Abe shared equal billing on that history-making night at Ford Theater. ••
John Scanlon is editor of the Northeast Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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