Letters to the editor: May 23, 2012

Stuck in the mud or rid­ing out the storm
The ma­jor­ity of North­east res­id­ents fall in­to two cat­egor­ies: either they are stuck in their neigh­bor­hood and would prefer to move out but at the mo­ment, they can­not af­ford to do so, or they are the res­id­ents who fall in­to the cat­egory of homeown­ers that have paid their mort­gages off and are hop­ing for bet­ter days ahead in the re­gion.
To say that the bar has been lowered would be an un­der­state­ment after you speak at length with long­time res­id­ents about the glory days of the North­east. These days when you take a leis­urely stroll around the neigh­bor­hood, every few steps that you take, you are in­stinct­ively look­ing down to dodge dog crap or trash.
Fast for­ward to today and out of des­per­a­tion the com­munity gets ex­cited over the in­tro­duc­tion of new min­im­um wage jobs cre­ated by fast-food res­taur­ants break­ing ground in the com­munity. For in­stance, I re­mem­ber the ini­tial buzz in the North­east over the newly con­struc­ted Krispy Kreme shop in Fox Chase.
What can be done to make the North­east vi­able and once again
eco­nom­ic­ally rel­ev­ant?
Is Sec­tion 8 hous­ing mainly to blame for the rap­id de­cline in the area over the past 25 years?
Does the com­munity think the North­east re­gion is head­ing in the right dir­ec­tion?
Jason Kaye

Thank you to the staff at Boyle Play­ground
On Thursday, May 10, the Re­gion One CYO Base­ball All-Star Games were held at Boyle Play­ground in Somer­ton. The Ju­ni­or Varsity and Varsity All-Star Games were played sim­ul­tan­eously on ad­ja­cent fields. The fields were in mint con­di­tion, con­ces­sions were sold, and the play­ers, coaches and their fam­il­ies en­joyed a great night of base­ball.
I would like to ex­tend a per­son­al thank you to George Geiss, Lou De­Cree and the staff at Boyle Play­ground for a job so very well done in host­ing our games, as everything was first class all the way.
I would also like to men­tion that the play­ers played with re­spect, dig­nity and tre­mend­ous skill. I say this be­cause in today’s world we of­ten hear about the neg­at­ives with our kids, but I feel for­tu­nate to have wit­nessed an aw­ful lot of good that day at Boyle Play­ground.
I look for­ward to many more years of play­ing our All-Star and cham­pi­on­ship games at Boyle Play­ground, as they have been so very kind to Re­gion One Base­ball over the years.
Mi­chael O’Don­nell
CYO Re­gion 1 base­ball com­mis­sion­er

Ex-com­mis­sion­er blasts fire de­part­ment lead­er­ship
I have been fol­low­ing your art­icles con­cern­ing the dan­ger­ous policies em­ployed by the lead­er­ship of the Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment.
Per­man­ent and tem­por­ary clos­ings of fire sta­tions have a very neg­at­ive im­pact on ef­fect­ive ser­vice de­liv­ery to the tax­pay­ers and on the fire per­son­nel who provide pro­tec­tion. This ho­cus-po­cus style of man­age­ment has gone on too long and is fraught with prob­lems.
The re­cent eval­u­ation com­mis­sioned by the Pennsylvania In­ter­gov­ern­ment­al Co­oper­a­tion Au­thor­ity cites re­sponse times and many oth­er ex­ist­ing de­fi­cien­cies with­in the de­part­ment that are un­ac­cept­able. Ad­di­tion­ally, they con­clude that double stand­ards due to ra­cially based de­cision-mak­ing is a huge prob­lem. This was also al­luded to in a com­pre­hens­ive art­icle in Phil­adelphia magazine.
In a pathet­ic re­sponse to these al­leg­a­tions, Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers is­sued a three-page deni­al to the de­part­ment. Al­though he at­tacks Phil­adelphia magazine, he fails to ad­dress sim­il­ar con­clu­sions from the Berkshire Ad­visors re­port.
The many years of mis­man­age­ment, lack of vis­ion and poor lead­er­ship have a ser­i­ous im­pact on de­part­ment ef­fi­ciency and ef­fect­ive­ness. Un­for­tu­nately, these in­bred prob­lems have res­ul­ted in poor com­mand and con­trol on some ma­jor emer­gency scenes. The re­cent tragedy in Kens­ing­ton is a graph­ic ex­ample of a de­part­ment in dis­tress.
This was a large, long­time va­cant build­ing sub­jec­ted to an in­tense fire for two hours. The ob­ject­ive was to lim­it the spread while re­du­cing the haz­ard posed to fire­fight­ers. Where was the risk-be­ne­fit de­cision pro­cess?
Why didn’t the fire com­mis­sion­er re­spond and take con­trol of a ma­jor five-alarm fire? Why didn’t the as­signed deputy com­mis­sion­er as­sume com­mand? Why wasn’t a col­lapse zone es­tab­lished and en­forced? Where was the su­per­vi­sion and con­trol of the fire per­son­nel?
How many more fail­ures on the part of this ad­min­is­tra­tion will res­ult in un­ne­ces­sary deaths and in­jur­ies? Poor man­age­ment of scarce re­sources is one thing, but mak­ing a dan­ger­ous oc­cu­pa­tion more so is an­oth­er.
Enough is enough. It is long over­due for the ex­ec­ut­ive branch of city gov­ern­ment to purge the Phil­adelphia Fire De­part­ment of the in­com­pet­ent lead­er­ship. Please note the fire­fight­ers ap­pre­ci­ate your past sup­port.
Ro­ger M. Ulshafer
Former Phil­adelphia Fire Com­mis­sion­er

On pub­lic safety, the city is play­ing with fire
In re­sponse to Ant­oinette Wood’s let­ter to the ed­it­or in the May 16 edi­tion (The tax­pay­ers should see what they’re not get­ting):
The brown­outs that are still oc­cur­ring in the city of Phil­adelphia are a res­ult of the Nut­ter ad­min­is­tra­tion, not Coun­cil­man Hen­on. Since be­ing sworn in five months ago, Coun­cil­man Hen­on has been an ad­voc­ate for pub­lic safety and the Fire De­part­ment, most re­cently while con­duct­ing the Fire De­part­ment budget hear­ings.
Coun­cil­man Hen­on ques­tioned Com­mis­sion­er Ay­ers and Deputy May­or Ever­ett Gil­lis­on nu­mer­ous times on the $3.8 mil­lion “chump change” that, if re­in­stated, which he is in fa­vor of, would stop the brown­outs. Deputy Gil­lis­on’s reply was neg­at­ive. So who is the real chump?
As stated in your re­sponse, it is time for the pub­lic to wake up and see what good our elec­ted of­fi­cials (Hen­on) are do­ing. And how the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion (Nut­ter and the Fire De­part­ment) con­tin­ue to roll the dice on pub­lic safety.
Dawn Mel­loy
Mor­rell Park

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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