Honor thy firefighter with proper compensation
I agree with state Rep. Kevin Boyle’s letter that appeared in the Northeast Times Sept. 5 (We must protect our great protectors). In fact, everyone that I talk to also agrees. Four long years without an increase in pay is unconscionable. The average Philadelphia firefighter makes $40,000 a year. Compare this to Pittsburgh at $48,000, which in itself is well below the national average of $62,000 per annum. The following information will rev you up: Chicago, $65,000; Columbus, $54,000; Los Angeles, $64,000; Phoenix, $52,000.
I love our firefighters. During 9/11 ceremonies last week, I was reminded of the Philadelphia contingent of off-duty firefighters who traveled to Ground Zero. They are not the best paid, but they are the best in the land.
We can see light at the end of the tunnel. Sam Katz, chairman of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, passed Mayor Nutter’s five-year plan with one caveat — that the city sits down with Local 22 this year to begin talks in earnest. Mr. Katz said in an interview last year, “Philadelphia is disconnecting from government and has become quite entrepreneurial, much of it happening without permission.”
It is time, right now, for the city to reconnect with government. Sit down immediately with union leader Bill Gault and his team of negotiators and agree on a new contract that will pay our firefighters a fair salary.
You can fight City Hall’s real estate tax hike
OK, here I go!!!! I wrote a letter to the editor some time back for the Northeast Times and I was shocked at how many of my neighbors gave me kudos.
In a nutshell, the point was that many residents of Philadelphia complain about what is happening, or lack of progress — no, I am not a progressive — and keep voting for the same political party and people, and expect things to change. Did Einstein state something about insanity?
In attendance at the Republican Executive Committee meeting last week for the 63rd Ward was Councilman Brian O’Neill, and the information he gave makes the Boston Tea Party in 1773 look like a Girl Scout rally. There is an initiative happening called AVI, or Actual Value Initiative, backed by the Democrats, and it looks scary.
Let’s look at an example.
You are currently paying $2,600 in real estate taxes. This is what will happen to your tax with the AVI based on a home at $200,000 and a tax between 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent of the “actual” value (but it is leaning toward the latter.) Your tax will be $3,600, and that does not include the “temporary” trash tax that was never taken away, so now it appears to be $3,900. Out of that money, 60 percent goes to a failing public school, which is supposed to be near bankrupt, as well as the city of Philadelphia, which is also near bankrupt.
Mr. Nutter, please explain to me how you plan on increasing jobs in the private sector, or becoming a more business-friendly city to pay for that increase? Or, do you plan on giving pay raises to those that work for the city, paid by tax dollars, while everyone else tries to figure out how to rob Peter to pay Paul?
How is this fair with those that do not utilize, or abuse, the services the taxes pay for? Why again must the taxpayers be penalized for the failing policies in City Hall?
It is time that the residents take a stand and make their case against the city, or there will be a blight and another vacant metropolis like others across the nation.
Pat yourselves on the back for giving the Philadelphia residents “another” financial enema. Time to wake up, Philly.
No cars for Council aides
The most appalling thing about the two City Council aides who were recently arrested for driving under the influence was the fact that they even had city-owned cars.
Since when are aides to City Council members “entitled” to cars paid for with taxpayer money?
I don’t know about you, but I work in the private sector. I drive and pay for my own car, gas and insurance, and I’m sick of all the privileges bestowed upon these political appointees who are supposed to be serving their communities. The only people they seem to be serving are themselves and their colleagues.
Our forefathers must be rolling over in their graves.
Mayor Nutter, it’s time for some changes.
Kathleen M. Golden
For they are jolly good office workers
I recently had the pleasure of getting to meet the wonderful staff at state Rep. Brendan Boyle’s Somerton office. After my experience there, I have realized that the staff is a reflection on Rep. Boyle’s genuine, honest, and caring character.
I had accompanied my grandmother to the office so that she could pick up a form to replace her handicap placard. Immediately upon arrival, we received friendly hellos from everyone on the staff, were asked what we needed help with and then promptly brought the form needed.
In the short wait for the placard application, we were engaged in friendly conversation with most of the staff, as if they were longtime friends or neighbors. They were not hesitant to ask us if there was any other issue or problem that they could assist us with while we were there, and when we replied no, they told us to simply call the office if we come to have a concern so that they could help resolve it for us.
The staff as a whole seemed so willing to help, eager to assist, and had a genuine care for the well-being of the people in the neighborhood, even if it came to be with something as simple as a handicap placard application.
With such a great staff, it is easy to see that Brendan Boyle is working for his constituents and truly cares for the people of his district. Now that I know how helpful his office can be, I will definitely not be hesitant to go there again with any other problems.
* * *
I want to commend the Hon. Tom Murt and his wonderfully helpful office staff in Hatboro.
Recently, while I was “enjoying” a period of poor health, a friend of mine just happened to stop in to visit the office of state Rep. Tom Murt to pick up some Pennsylvania veterans materials.
While he was chatting with the office staff, my name came up and my friend told them that I was recovering, but had some issues for which I would eventually need help.
The staff knew that my home was “just outside” Tom Murt’s district, but … being the great people that they are, they asked the question anyway.
“Why can’t this office help with Bill’s constituent issues?”
Representative Tom, “Everybody’s Rep,” and his office staff went to work and solved my constituent problems in no time at all.
In summary, it’s nice to know that there’s a great bunch of people at Tom Murt’s office in Hatboro, and you can do yourself a favor by stopping in to make their acquaintance!
William C. Doty
Setting the record straight on Sen. Stack’s mailing
By Mike Tomlinson
In the first week of September, state Sen. Mike Stack released a mailing to the residents of the 5th Senatorial District. The heading of this mailing was titled “Mike Stack” and was prepared and mailed at taxpayer expense. This expense is at a time when even Sen. Stack is aware that there are grave state budgetary constraints.
The senator shows that he is the typical Harrisburg politician who points the finger at those who make the difficult decisions. On the other hand, he stands front and center to take credit when things go well.
It is necessary that the content of Sen. Stack’s government-paid pamphlet be challenged and put into proper perspective. The people deserve transparency and integrity.
Clarification is needed with respect to the state budget, acquired grants, jobs and employment, business environment, and the conditions of our roads and bridges.
Sen. Stack states that the newly enacted budget “hurts working Pennsylvanians while giving generous tax breaks to foreign corporations.” The 12-year incumbent senator is being outright disingenuous.
At a time when the commonwealth is $121 billion in debt and tax revenue has been decreasing, strategic action and leadership are necessary. It is clear that the long-term strategy (of the Shell facility) will bring prosperity and economic growth; however, the senator is playing games with the truth.
It is widely known that the Shell Corporation is expected to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and construct an ethane gas conversion plant.
This project, supported by unions, local universities, the communities in Western Pennsylvania and a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly, will create tens of thousands and ultimately more than 100,000 good-paying, family-sustaining jobs.
In connection to this plant, a manufacturing jobs explosion will occur in Western Pennsylvania. This will create billions of new tax revenue to the commonwealth. The long-term growth will bring prosperity to all Pennsylvanians, especially the middle-class. The senator should explain why he is pointing fingers at the governor for a plan to move our economy forward.
Sen. Stack also said “we should invest in our classrooms and universities to help our children succeed and become successful entrepreneurs, public servants, and doctors.” However the Hon. Michael Stack offers absolutely no plan on how to make this happen. Stack offers nothing but words. The Shell corporate investment and related economic strategy is a bipartisan plan that will provide the resources to invest in education.
The senator says “economic investments help make the American dream a reality.” While criticizing the billions of investments in the Shell facility and related manufacturing plants, Stack shamefully touts, “I secured $3 million in state funding for the project” at Aria Health-Torresdale. Reliable fact checking indicates that Sen. Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson had a significant role in securing this grant. Stack should understand that billions of dollars of private-sector investments far outweighs securing a grant of the taxpayers’ money.
It must be noted that the senator is very gracious with his criticism of the governor but fails to give any credit for the Delaware River deepening. This project, driven by the governor, will, as Stack says, “expand international trade…create 75,000 direct and indirect jobs.”
Stack stated, “Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges are in dire shape…we need to find a funding solution to repair and maintain our roads and bridges.” He further notes “the Society of Civil Engineers gives us a D- for the state of our roads and bridges.”
Fact checking indicates that the roads and bridges have had a D- rating for over three years. Almost three years ago, the inspector general of the commonwealth reported on this situation to the General Assembly with a recommendation on how to fund and repair our roads.
As a 12-year incumbent senator, it is shameful that he waits until our roads and bridges are failing structurally. And, as his re-election campaign starts, he finally states, “I am working to convene a special session to consider transportation infrastructure improvement and funding.”
A senator who is elected of the people and by the people must proactively work for the people. Waiting for our bridges to fail is not time to convene a session; this is not working for the people.
Republican candidate, 5th Senatorial District
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