Letters to the editor: Oct. 17, 2012 edition

The double stand­ard is in black and white
I have been pay­ing pub­lic school taxes since 1950, and al­though I nev­er had a child in a pub­lic school and I re­tired 18 years ago, the beat goes on. I’m shocked to read that some schools are “Demo­crat” and a stu­dent wear­ing a Rom­ney/Ry­an shirt was com­pared to a teach­er wear­ing a KKK shirt.
Do we also have Re­pub­lic­an schools where a stu­dent wear­ing an Obama shirt would be ri­diculed and threatened and afraid to re­turn to school? Of course not, as that would be ra­cial in­tim­id­a­tion and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jack­son could go na­tion­wide with it.
If this teach­er wants a real cause celebre, she should ask why we can have black stu­dent coun­cil, black clergy, black caucus and hun­dreds of oth­ers, who by their very titles are dis­crim­in­at­ory.
If we have any groups that start with “white,” I’ll apo­lo­gize, as I’ve nev­er heard of them, and it was years ago that coun­try clubs, swim clubs, etc., had to in­teg­rate or lose their charters. If there is a dif­fer­ence between “whites only” drink­ing foun­tains and “Demo­crats only” polit­ic­al shirts, I can’t see it, ex­cept to say, wake up, Phil­adelphia — we’re pay­ing for these schools and teach­ers, and look what’s hap­pen­ing!
Jim Laverty

Our city work­ers don’t have it so bad
I am in total agree­ment that City Coun­cil and their staff and up­per man­age­ment are steal­ing from the city. Here is where I have a prob­lem with Mike Li­na­han’s ana­lys­is of why the city has such fin­an­cial woes (Don’t blame the work­ers, says re­cent re­tir­ee, Oct. 10 let­ter).
First, I think Mike should have told us how much he got from the DROP pro­gram if he was in it. It is a pro­gram that no city em­ploy­ee should have avail­able to them, as it is a mo­nu­ment­al rip-off of all city tax­pay­ers.
Secondly, let’s say for the sake of ar­gu­ment there are 100,000 city em­ploy­ees, and Coun­cil and all those people make up 1,000 of them. Every pay­day, the city has to pay 99,000 oth­er city work­ers be­sides the 1,000 Coun­cil types. The li­on’s share of the cost of payroll goes to the 99,000.
All city work­ers get more days off — sick, per­son­al, an­nu­al and paid hol­i­days — than any­one in the private sec­tor. Be­ing asked to fore­go raises be­cause your be­ne­fits are already too ex­pens­ive for the city to handle is noth­ing to com­plain about, and should be ex­pec­ted.
My math says that be­fore you re­tired you were get­ting $429.20 more per paycheck than when you star­ted, no mat­ter how you broke it down in your art­icle. That sounds really nice to me. Now that you are re­tired the city is ob­liged to pay for your med­ic­al for five more years. An­oth­er great deal.
One of the main reas­ons the city is con­stantly rais­ing taxes is to af­ford all the great pen­sion plans, med­ic­al plans and oth­er be­ne­fits for all city work­ers. So don’t com­plain if your cost of liv­ing is up in Phil­adelphia. If you were still work­ing last week, you would have been off for Colum­bus Day!
Ron Kall

Speed­ers put chil­dren in danger
If Pennsylvania needs more rev­en­ue, please have po­lice of­ficers sta­tioned at every school at open­ing and clos­ing be­fore someone gets killed.
I take my grand­son to New Found­a­tions Charter School at Rhawn Street and Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue. Drivers fly up Rhawn Street and past St. Domin­ic’s on Frank­ford Av­en­ue and St. Kath­er­ine’s, also on Frank­ford Av­en­ue. Po­lice could make a for­tune with tick­ets.
When the new high school opens on the oth­er side of Rhawn Street, it will be hor­rible. The school and po­lice need to fig­ure out a new sys­tem to en­sure our chil­dren’s safety.
Dale Giord­ano
Pennypack Vil­lage

Killers should not be killed
Re­gard­ing Mil­dred Koch’s let­ter, Let the people de­cide on the death pen­alty (Oct. 3 edi­tion):
Dear Mil­dred: You ask, “are we not al­lowed to pun­ish the per­pet­rat­ors?” Yes, pun­ish — not kill! That prerog­at­ive be­longs to God alone, but I guess it’s OK be­cause we don’t kill oth­er hu­man be­ings like un­born chil­dren, right? Who’s next? Mil­dred? At what point do we stop all the killings and blood­shed?
Mi­chael Joseph Jones

Pay to play in the school gym? Foul play!
As a fath­er, long-term coach, Cath­ol­ic League bas­ket­ball of­fi­cial, former ath­let­ic dir­ect­or, and as­sist­ant ath­let­ic dir­ect­or, I have seen the huge part ath­let­ics play in the de­vel­op­ment of our neigh­bor­hood chil­dren.
There is a new plan be­ing im­ple­men­ted in the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia that will re­quire any or­gan­iz­a­tion in need of time in the school gyms to pay an hourly rate of $57 for grade schools and $72 for high schools. This is for all time after 7:30 p.m. on week­days and all day Sat­urday.
This new policy will ef­fect­ively cre­ate chaos, with many or­gan­iz­a­tions vy­ing for the free time and no one be­ing able to af­ford the paid time.
While I fully un­der­stand the fisc­al situ­ation of the school dis­trict, I also un­der­stand the im­pact on the neigh­bor­hood when these thou­sands of kids are now left with no struc­tured leagues and or­gan­iz­a­tions to par­ti­cip­ate in and will choose to roam the streets un­su­per­vised.
This is­sue was raised last year at the end of the sea­son and some­how City Coun­cil was able to step in and rec­ti­fy the fin­an­cial hurdles, and while it was heart­warm­ing to see the may­or and so many City Coun­cil mem­bers ap­pear at the news con­fer­ence to make the an­nounce­ment in a “Kum­baya mo­ment,” there has not been such talks go­ing on this time around.
As a tax­pay­er who made the choice to send my chil­dren to Cath­ol­ic schools and has seen the amount of po­lice and fire per­son­nel de­teri­or­ate dra­mat­ic­ally over the last five years, I felt the one area I was get­ting some re­turn on my taxes was the use of these fa­cil­it­ies. Now I can’t even claim that as a be­ne­fit of my con­stantly in­creas­ing taxes (four times in the last four years).
I have read Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill’s con­sist­ent “I didn’t vote to raise your taxes — it was all those oth­er bad people in City Hall” com­ments, and frankly I am fed up with the ex­cuses. No more leaf col­lec­tion, shoddy snow re­mov­al, trashy and over­grown parks and streets due to the decim­ated and di­min­ished work­force that has been without new con­tracts for over five years. Enough is enough!
I en­cour­age every par­ent and com­munity lead­er to flood their coun­cilp­er­son’s of­fice (num­bers are avail­able by ac­cess­ing the www.phila.gov Web site) and let them know how de­struct­ive this new policy is to our chil­dren and the fu­ture of this city, and you will re­mem­ber them at elec­tion time.
Bill Ru­bin
Ed­it­or’s note: Mr. Ru­bin was Mr. O’Neill’s Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ent in last year’s elec­tion.

Is Schwartz OK with re­duced Medi­care?
If there was a de­bate between 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict can­did­ate Joe Rooney and in­cum­bent Alyson Schwartz, my ques­tion would be based on Tom War­ing’s Sept. 12 art­icle Schwartz stresses im­port­ance of Medi­care.
How does Con­gress­wo­man Schwartz plan to pro­tect both the par­ti­cip­a­tion and be­ne­fits in main­tain­ing Medi­care as “Amer­ica’s great prom­ise of health care for our seni­ors”?
 I would like to know how the cre­ation of ac­count­able care or­gan­iz­a­tions through the Af­ford­able Care Act be­ne­fits Medi­care par­ti­cipants un­der the shared sav­ings re­quire­ment, con­sid­er­ing that or­gan­iz­a­tions that meet spe­cified qual­ity per­form­ance stand­ards will be eli­gible to re­ceive a share of any sav­ings if the ex­pendit­ures of their as­signed Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies are a suf­fi­cient per­cent­age be­low their spe­cified bench­mark amount.
This sounds like Con­gress­wo­man Schwartz sup­ports the re­duc­tion of Medi­care be­ne­fits sim­il­ar to cost con­tain­ment meth­ods found in ra­tion­ing of care.
Elmer Money
Mor­rell Park

Teach­er should fol­low Hon­est Abe’s lead
Re­gard­ing the com­ment made by Lynette Gay­mon of Charles Car­roll High School say­ing that the high school is a “Demo­crat­ic” school, does that mean it is a black school?
She fur­ther in­sinu­ated that the Rom­ney T-shirt was like wear­ing a KKK shirt. I won­der why Gay­mon does not sup­port Rom­ney, who is a Re­pub­lic­an. After all, Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln was a Re­pub­lic­an.
Theresa Golem­biewski

Happy 90th birth­day to my hero!
As many of us sit and watch the new re­lease of Mar­vel Avengers or en­joy the latest Bat­man movie, as we have fond memor­ies of who our su­per­her­oes were grow­ing up — wheth­er it be Cap­tain Amer­ica, Spi­der­m­an or Su­per­man — I guar­an­tee my su­per­hero and all the su­per­her­oes just like him far sur­pass any of those we see in the movies.
My su­per­hero is my fath­er-in-law, Ed­ward J. Pown­all Sr., who turned 90 years old on Oct. 9. My su­per­hero was born on Oct. 9, 1922 in Phil­adelphia. He was a ser­geant in World War II. Some of his battles were in Si­cily, Rhine­land and Ar­dennes; he stormed the beaches in Nor­mandy and served in Cent­ral Europe with the 39th In­fantry Re­gi­ment.
He was a lead­er in the Army and was shot twice in the war with wounds to his hand and to his leg. He still has pieces of shrapnel in his calf. He was shot while serving in France on Ju­ly 19, 1944, and shot again while serving in Ger­many on Jan. 15, 1945.
Both times he was shot while, in­stead of try­ing to save him­self, he went back to save and help the oth­er men in his unit.
My fath­er-in-law re­ceived the Purple Heart Medal, the European Afric­an Middle East­ern Ser­vice Medal with five Bronze Stars, the Good Con­duct Medal, and the Dis­tin­guished Unit Badge. My hero does not wear a cape and he does not live in a mys­ter­i­ous cave or man­sion. My hero lives at Im­macu­late Heart of Mary Nurs­ing Home in North­east Phil­adelphia, where he can be found watch­ing the MLB play­offs, and if it’s Sunday, you bet­ter be­lieve he will be watch­ing the Eagles.
My hus­band, Ed­ward J. Pown­all Jr., and my­self bring my hero over to our home a couple times a week for din­ner and we en­joy his com­pany.
I can­not thank my fath­er-in-law enough for the sac­ri­fices he has made for his coun­try. I can­not thank him enough along with my own fath­er, a Vi­et­nam War vet­er­an, along with all the men and wo­men who served and presently serve our coun­try. But one way to thank my hero today is by this art­icle, which has giv­en me the op­por­tun­ity to ac­know­ledge a hero and to cel­eb­rate his 90th birth­day and many more! Love, your daugh­ter-in-law.
Jen­nifer Pown­all

This is De­pres­sion Aware­ness Month
Oc­to­ber is De­pres­sion Aware­ness Month — a time to re­cog­nize a con­di­tion that af­fects nearly 10 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to the CDC.
Each year, an es­tim­ated 8 mil­lion to 10 mil­lion people ex­per­i­ence the loss of a loved one. In ad­di­tion to death, people ex­per­i­ence the loss of a job, a child leav­ing home or oth­er ma­jor life changes such as a di­vorce.
Each of us ex­per­i­ences grief through a range of emo­tions such as sad­ness, con­fu­sion and an­ger, and the grief pro­cess is unique for each per­son. But some­times in­tense feel­ings of hope­less­ness and guilt do not go away and are ac­com­pan­ied by phys­ic­al symp­toms like loss of ap­pet­ite, sleep­ing prob­lems and trouble con­cen­trat­ing on daily tasks.
When the emo­tions of grief per­sist for a pro­longed peri­od and af­fect all as­pects of a per­son’s life, this is known as “com­plic­ated grief.” If un­treated, com­plic­ated grief can lead to health con­di­tions like de­pres­sion, sub­stance ab­use and heart dis­ease. People who are at the highest risk for de­pres­sion are those with a past his­tory of the con­di­tion or those who lack a strong sup­port sys­tem.
Wheth­er it’s spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends, join­ing a loc­al grief re­cov­ery pro­gram or seek­ing treat­ment from a pro­fes­sion­al, no one should ex­per­i­ence grief alone. If you know someone who is griev­ing, let the per­son know you are there for them. Simply show­ing your sup­port can make all the dif­fer­ence.
Crys­tal Gorel
Be­reave­ment Co­ordin­at­or
Cross­roads Hos­pice, Ply­mouth Meet­ing

Speak your mind  …
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