Northeast Times

Letters to the editor: Sept. 19, 2012 edition

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.
John Fritz
Park­wood

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.
Peter Lav­elle
Fox Chase

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
Ta­cony

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.
Cath­er­ine Quinn
Somer­ton

* * *

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
Warmin­ster

Set­ting the re­cord straight  on Sen. Stack’s mail­ing
Guest Opin­ion
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.
Mike Tom­lin­son
Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate, 5th Sen­at­ori­al Dis­trict

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 or il­legible 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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