Story Archive November 14 2012

Editorial: Party of just a few

Once upon a time, Northeast Philadelphia was home not only to lots of cops and firefighters, but a good number of Republican officeholders, too. Ah, the good old days.In the wake of last week’s huge election, two things are perfectly clear: One is that President Obama proved to be very popular in the Northeast, capturing 68 percent of the Northeast wards en route to winning the entire city with 85 percent of the vote.The other lesson from Election Day is that something is wrong with whatever is left of the Philadelphia Republican Party. Aside from three key positions guaranteed to the Republicans by the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter — two at-large seats on City Council and a lone seat on the city Election Commission — Far Northeast Councilman Brian O’Neill and lower Northeast state Rep. John Taylor are the Republican Party’s only bright spots. Both men are capable public servants, but why on earth are they two of just a handful of Republicans holding high office in the city?Not too long ago, Northeast Philadelphia had a healthy chunk of Republicans joining Rep. Taylor in Harrisburg — state Sen. Hank Salvatore and state Reps. George Kenney, John Perzel, Chris Wogan and Dennis O’Brien (who now sits in one of the guaranteed at-large Council seats). Their electoral success reflected a tendency of Northeast voters to split their tickets every election day. That healthy streak of independence was great for democracy.There are plenty of issues that contrast Republicans and Democrats, but the city’s Republican leaders can’t seem to capitalize on them. Perhaps the keys to the party success will flow with some new blood.Send letters to:

Letters to the editor: Nov. 14, 2012 edition

His spirits are dashed by PhiladelphiaI watched with disgust at what went on in this city during the recent election season.The abuse of a young girl who simply wore a Romney T-shirt to school, Black Panthers (again) lining up outside the polls, city officials like elections commissioner Stephanie Singer abusing her office by politicizing what is supposed to be public service.The national news was filled with stories about Philadelphia buffoonery on Election Day, like those poll watchers thrown out of voting places.I volunteer in my community, clean up after my neighbors, and have given hundreds of hours to public service, even while I have been ill. For what end, to serve the corrupt political process and lazy people of Philadelphia?No more for me. No more charity, no more help for community groups, no more public service.I hope for the day I can move out of this city, and I know I am not alone.One thing Philadelphia is good at is destroying the spirit of the best and brightest people, the very people so needed to make communities work.Richard IaconelliRhawnhurstWith the election over, it’s time for hopeThe election is over, with Obama getting 50 percent of the vote and Romney 49 percent. Clearly the nation is very divided. But there is hope. Hurricane Sandy provided an opportunity for both Democrats and Republicans to cooperate, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and President Obama came together, praising rather than insulting each other, both working to benefit those who were suffering. That is how our elected representatives should act.Rush Limbaugh said of Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, before he even took office, “I hope he fails.”Congress squabbled and did its best for the past four years to make that happen. For both parties, it seemed that personal power and party loyalty trumped the vital interests of the American people, and the middle class paid the price, many of whom slid into the poorer class.No wonder Congress has only a 17 percent approval rating. Now, post-election, promises of cooperation are being made. Let’s make sure they’re kept.Mel FlitterFox ChaseHe’s lost all hopeWhen a nation rewards failure at the highest level, how can there be any hope?Joseph A. BreenFox ChaseA path to victory for TaubenbergerRepublican Al Taubenberger just lost another election. This time he ran for a state representative position previously held by John Perzel. He has run for almost every elective position there is.I have done an extremely detailed analysis of the elections he participated in and came up with a solution for him. He may win when he is unopposed.Mayer KrainModena ParkAmerica needs three separate nationsSome random thoughts on the presidential campaign: The post-election map actually shows the embryos of three separate nations: a near-solid GOP south and Midwest (which remain true to the conservative values and beliefs upon which America was founded), and two emerging Soviet socialist republics, one on the West Coast (term this the Nation of the West Coast, which, led by California upon independence, I think would soon join the ranks of the other Third World banana republics) and what might be called the Northern Liberal Bastion.May these embryos come to term!While it may appear strange that a conservative like myself would actually applaud the creation of two new socialist states, the intent is to teach, via hard, real-world experience, the folly of socialism to the naïve leftist ideologues amongst us. Incapable of persuasion by normal means, given over as they are to an intellectual arrogance that springs from adherence to false values and falser political myths, this strong medicine is indicated. I have every confidence that these two nations-to-be, controlled by leftist elites supported by an electorate no longer skilled in the duties and responsibilities of citizenship and self-government, would go the way of the old Soviet Union in a generation or two.Composed of leftists comfortable in their beliefs in a worldly and secular paradise in which the almighty state will ensure no one need work anymore, and all bow before the twin gods Equality and unrestrained Eros, it will take a hard dose of reality to rouse them from the ideological slumber they fell into since the 1960s.My fellow conservatives, let’s get to work on this project, just possibly the grandest experiment in government ever contemplated for the North American continent!George TomezskoFox ChaseThe Republicans will learn a few lessonsThe ultimate lesson of the election of 2012: A party cannot win by lying, buying, hating or stealing, and in case Republicans don’t learn that lesson, in the 2014 mid-terms, they may well become the minority party in the House AND the Senate, and nowhere to be found near the White House.I’m not suggesting that the Republican Party will cease to exist should it fail to adapt; I am suggesting that it will render itself virtually ineffective, minimally powerful and incapable of winning elections with the possible exception of local elections where the electorate is comprised of older, white, poorly educated individuals.The bigoted and somewhat veiled red meat “ideas” such as “We’re taking back America” in this election were largely understood for what it says between the lines, as many Americans took it for its underlying meaning, that being, “We, the party of the (primarily) white male, by electing Mitt Romney and our radical tea party candidates, will take the country back to when white people had all the power.”Throughout history, in spite of the evolution-deniers, both biologically and socially speaking, there have been paradigm changes; the universe is not geocentric (as Galileo demonstrated), the world is not flat, people of different races can marry one another as can people of the same gender — and life goes on.It’s Darwinian, like it or not, accept it or not. Ultimately, reality calls the tune and the Cosmos writes the rules, by the process of natural selection, an environment will boot those who either resist or who are incapable of yielding to truth. One will either adapt, or perish.Arthur GurmankinBustletonCity’s going after the wrong litterbugsI can sympathize with Hezakiah Levinson’s gripe with Philadelphia fining him for putting his trash out early (A fifty-buck love letter from the city, Oct. 31). The same thing happened to me.I tore down my old yard shed recently. I called 311 to ask if the Sanitation Convenience Center at State Road and Ashburner Street would take shingles. I was told yes. I drove there on a Saturday with shingles and plywood. The attendant stated, “No shingles.””But I called 311 and they told me you’d take them,” I said.“311’s got nothin’ to do with us,” was his reply.I dropped off the wood and went home. I bundled up the shingles and left them at the curb. In the mail came my $50 summons. All right, I did it. I’m guilty. I paid the fine.My problem is the fact that this law has been on the books for more than 25 years, I’m told, but it has never been enforced.When the city put cameras up at Grant and the Boulevard and other locations, they gave you 90 days notice before they started writing tickets. Couldn’t a warning have been placed in my mailbox?I’m close to retirement and will soon be on a fixed income. How about going after the city residents who throw their trash in the streets instead of putting them at the curb? They don’t wait until 6 p.m., either.Tom HollandBustletonSuggestions for a cleaner PhiladelphiaTo help Philadelphia become a cleaner city, one place to start would be with public schools. School principals could disseminate notices to all teachers to bring up the subject (teach consciousness awareness of littering) and encourage students at after-school dismissals to hold onto trash, i.e. drink cups and wrapper bags after leaving, for example a Wawa, 7-Eleven, Burger King, McDonald’s, etc., until there is a nearby trash bin, or simply hold onto refuse until arrival at home (placing it in a school bag, or one’s pocket, etc.).Formerly a resident of Queens, New York, I recall the late mayor of New York City, John Lindsay, who started a “Don’t be a Litter Bug” campaign way back when I was in grade school.My school teacher discussed the mayor’s campaign, and it stuck with me ever since; even to this day at age 70, I actually pick up trash along my street where I live in the Burholme section of Northeast Philadelphia, often when no one else will.Mayor Lindsay posted billboards and little street signs all around the five boroughs of New York City with the slogan: “Don’t be a Litter Bug,” which is where I am from, as I have settled in Philadelphia some 30 years ago. I do believe he utilized the radio media, too.A sensitive approach to this subject can win over our youth on this important subject. Note: Sometimes some folks believe they are doing the right thing when they push trash down a sewer inlet. Many do not have a clear idea where the sewers go — i.e., the Delaware River.A short lesson on the city’s infrastructure when it comes to water and sewer drainage can be creatively done: We have storm drains and sanitation drains.A representative from the Philadelphia Water Department may be interested in making guest appearances at schools to explain how this all works. Visual aids would hold the attention of those in attendance. This can impact our environment for the better if some time was taken in the classroom on this matter. Perhaps this would even spill over to adults/parents who would be exposed to this educational project.The classroom, billboards, street signs, and local papers such as the Northeast Times are all good places to go with this project. Some schools may need a few additional trash receptacles bordering the schools’ corner locations.One of a few real eyesores I have located are at Lehigh and Aramingo avenues just under the train overpass in a fenced-in grassy area on the west side of the street. Another is on Tyson Avenue just east of Castor Avenue, north and south curbsides for three or four blocks or so. Another is on Dungan Road, just south of Rhawn, on the east side of the street along the curbs bordering several garden apartment houses (opposite the Police Department’s internal affairs building).Having neighborhood ‘spotters’ to alert the sanitation department of certain locations that may be passed over by various city departments that I am sure have plenty to do already, can help make their job a little easier. I would gladly do it, and there is no salary involved. It’s volunteers, based on neighborhood pride.I hope this helps trigger a response, soon.Paul Bogosian

Diabetic or not, enjoy healthy meals

Holiday dining and celebrations are a culinary challenge for most Americans, especially those with diet-related illnesses. While I’m not a diabetic, my family medical history provides a cautionary tale. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 23.6 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but only 17.9 million people actually have been diagnosed. This means approximately 5.7 million people have diabetes and don’t know it.

The River Wards stepped up on Election Day

A higher-than-usual number of voters from the River Wards hit the polls and exercised their rights last week. Here’s what many had to say.

Worldwide generosity

By definition, American Heritage Federal Credit Union exists to serve its members and the communities in which they live and work.

River Ward events for the week of November 14

Stay on top of all the events happening in your community with our "Around the Neighborhoods" guide.

There's a new sheriff in town

Guy Lowery might look young enough to be a college undergraduate, but he subscribes to some old-school theories on education.

Tarken Ice Rink reopens amidst grand fanfare

As November rapidly hurtles toward December, the National Hockey League is still embroiled in a bitter lockout that has so far robbed Flyers fans of their beloved team’s season.

At Fishtown theater, the rest of the season should be interesting

"Problem Child," the latest play at Fishtown's Walking Fish Theatre, is "a comedy about things that aren't funny." It runs through Saturday.

‘This one is for Polly’

In the moments before Saturday night’s championship Public League football game between Frankford and George Washington, one thing was clear — somebody was missing.