Why we continue to move backward
Watching the City of Philadelphia continue down the road of fiscal irresponsibility is not news. There have been countless policy and financial decisions made in the name of progress over the last several decades that have had disastrous outcomes for our city and the people who call it home. The failure to properly fund and monitor our school district and employee pensions are the most prominent and pressing.
So I have to ask, have we had enough?
As a city, we find ourselves in trying times to say the least with single-party control of City Hall. A lack of political and intellectual competition has wreaked havoc on our neighborhoods. We must put an end to knee-jerk tax hikes. We can no longer afford to reel from crisis to crisis. Accountability is key to effective, responsive government. It’s an all-too-familiar story. Obliging the status quo will send Philadelphia down a path that only leads to fiscal ruin, a path that will be almost impossible to return from if we get too far down. If we don’t act now and commit to developing and implementing a new path forward that begins by putting our fiscal house in order, but certainly does not end there, we will eventually find that we can no longer avoid financial and economic devastation, just like Detroit. The lesson of Detroit is that there really is such a thing as too late.
Philadelphia, once called the “Workshop of the World,” has shuttered jobs with severe implications for working-class families and failed to adapt our public education system so our children can compete in the global market place. The result is that we are now the highest taxed, yet poorest large city in America. I believe most Philadelphians share my impatience.
As we are experiencing now, it is a failure of leadership and lack of objective oversight that prevents us from reaching our potential on the international stage.
This year, on Nov. 5, we can replace antiquated, one-dimensional governance with new leadership that understands how to leverage limited resources, attract investment and inspire entrepreneurs. It is time for us to stand up and change the direction of our city because a thriving Philadelphia is in all of our best interests.
Candidate, Philadelphia City Controller
An individual’s race shouldn’t matter
I saw an interview on CNN in which a man said that he agreed with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. He pointed out that when the country discusses race there is an inaccurate assumption that white people are the only racist ones. He went on to say that the media give racists a platform to vent ignorance. He added that everyone protects their own tribe and that black people can be racist, too, and just because you don’t agree with a verdict you can’t change the rules.
The person being interviewed was Charles Barkley, former 76ers basketball player who is black. We can recall that when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty, some danced in the streets. The same verdict for Zimmerman elicited cries of, “No justice, no peace.”
In the Zimmerman trial, the witness who was talking to Trayvon Martin on the phone during the incident testified that he referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy ass cracker” and said that, “This n–a is still following me.”
When Eagles player Riley Cooper was taped using a variant of that same word, a word that apparently dare not be spoken or spelled out in print, cries for very severe punishment flooded every written and televised outlet.
Barkley is right. Racism is racism no matter its origin. Period.
Martin Luther King put it well when he asked that we judge an individual by the content of his character and not the color of his skin. We should work for a better society in which the criminal is punished and the solid citizen is rewarded, and never let race or irrelevant issues enter into the matter.
I would hope that I not be judged by what you think of my group nor that you judge my group by what you think of me. Never treat an individual in a manner that you would not want to be treated yourself. These ideas are hardly new.
The benefit of dams
Most city crossover dams serve as sewerage gravity feed to the treatment plants as public utility service to avoid pumping stations. Any rash dam removal will release 80 years of silt impoundment to degrade stream beds, but if converted into an underflow dam, a slow release will accomplish most concerns and add a level fishway.
In the meantime, all dams provide benefits, especially good in the slow waters of Pennypack Creek. When water falls over a dam, it creates turbulence to release noxious gases to purify the water, and also aerate the stream with more dissolved oxygen for fish. The dam center spillway groves a channel flow where trout gather and feed in pool edges.
Most visitors enjoy the sight and sound of falling waters as they do music with flashing lights, but the Pennypack does not have riffles substitute. To remove any existing scenic space will reduce public user pleasures.
The impact of a dam conversion in the Tacony Creek picnic area reduced summer holiday users of 500 by 92 percent. How sad to find one picnic and three walkers last July 4.
I miss our old Pennypack Mill dam WPA swimming pond freedom.
Remove the dam
Having known Pennypack Park every square foot with Peter and Lisa Kurtz, I feel the hazardous spillway dam should be removed. Public safety is a serious responsibility.
If you want a fundraising campaign to raise money for the needed demolition, count on me to donate.
Police should ticket Boulevard speeders
Fifty years ago, there were Fairmount Park guards policing Roosevelt Boulevard. When Mayor Nutter came into office, he asked for suggestions or ideas. My idea then and now is bring back policemen who could monitor the Boulevard and give tickets to speeders. It would keep the road safer for all.
The speed limit signs have gotten bigger but still no one pays attention. Also, last year they made indents on the side of the road where the police could park their car and watch the traffic. They are not being put to use. The city could make lots of money from speeders, and there would probably be fewer accidents.
Maria N. Formicola
Stop the barking dogs in Tacony
We live on a small street here in Tacony. The homes are close together. The street is one way, small, with houses on both sides of the street. We have a very big front lawn with dog owners who allow their dogs to bark nonstop in the house. The sound carries. It actually sounds like the dog or dogs are in our house. Then we have the nonstop barkers on the porch and also the backyard. It is a constant, loud, very annoying sound, and the owners are home. It is a quality-of-life issue. There are a lot of beautiful sounds in world. The constant barking of poorly- or not-trained-at-all dogs is certainly not one of them.
There is far too much bullcrap about dog rights. I am for people’s rights. I don’t want someone’s dog waking my family up at 4:30 a.m. or even 2 a.m. on a work night or any night. We have found animal care to be pretty useless with this ongoing problem.
Mr. Jeff Garber was a great teacher. I had him in ’72, the year I graduated from Clara Barton in eighth grade.
The school district has lost a really caring and talented educator, and the teachers lost a leader in the building.
Good luck in your retirement, Mr. Garber, and thank you for all the years you spent teaching and touching the lives of the thousands of students who had the pleasure of your wisdom.
Learning about autism
I visited Rosemont, Ill., this past Memorial Day Weekend for the “Autism One Conference.” People from all walks of life attended, including parents, grandparents, doctors, attorneys and teachers. Also present were Jenny McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy Jr. and members of Congress. The “comradery” was something I’ll never forget.
The biggest impact, for myself, took place during the “Visual Stimming” class, hosted by Jeffrey Becker, OD. He spoke of how differently children with autism see their world. He had a pair of glasses that he allowed us to try. For the first time I saw my son’s world through my eyes. Such an awakening! So many of my son’s sensory issues make sense now. Although he’s 12, his fear is very real as he grabs on to my arm as we enter a facility with high ceilings such as a mall or Home Depot.
We, as parents, played by the rules and made sure our children followed the vaccination schedule. I believe that is what led to my son’s autism, and harmed other children, too. Please educate before you vaccinate!
The NFL has bigger problems than Cooper
When I heard about the Eagles’ Riley Cooper on the evening news, I wondered whom he had murdered. Then I found out he used the n-word to no one in particular while at a concert. Well, he needs to watch his “beer muscles.” (Yet I wonder how many black entertainers use the n-word at concerts, without criticism.)
Cooper was immediately fined by his team, forced to apologize and blasted by the local media. Funny, when teammate Shady McCoy allegedly threw a woman off a bus on the New Jersey Turnpike, there was very little outrage, even among media feminists.
The NFL has a dirty little secret. There is widespread abuse of women and children by NFL players, and it is treated as nobody else’s business. So why is Riley Cooper my business?
A prime example is NFL player Antonio Cromartie. He has nine children by eight women in six states. (He’s a busy little fella.) Many players have serious issues with the financial support of their out-of-wedlock children. In fact, these are crimes.
At a time when urban America has serious issues with marriage and male leadership, we have the horrible example of NFL players fathering and abandoning children. Where’s the media “heat” on this issue? Instead, we get silence. Why?
Keep racist words out of movies
Is racism alive in America? Of course it is. Will it ever disappear? Probably not. Should we try to live with it? Yes.
The problem is, instead of dealing with reality, we decide to pick and choose when to be racist or not.
If we are honest, we know that Trayvon Martin was not a racial incident. It was about an overzealous person who thought he was helping to protect his community that was being robbed by unknown people. It had nothing to do with color. Why are we making it so.
Now we come across a white football player using a disgusting word in a fit of anger. Yes, it is a disgusting word. No one should say these words that are so degrading and ill-intentioned. My problem is listening to some people saying these words as if it’s a funny word. I have seen black comics on TV saying these words along with other disgusting words like “MFr,” which has no place in our world. The crazy thing is, when these so-called comedians said these disgusting words, the audience laughed. I couldn’t believe it. I watched for a couple of minutes and it kept happening. I had to turn it off. To me, as a 73-year-old white man, I found it disgusting. I hope you would, too.
If we are going to do anything about racism, we have to avoid picking and choosing when we want to claim racism.
Otherwise, we must stop feeding it to each other. I want to know how many people have laughed when someone has said that in your presence or you just ignored it. You are a hypocrite. If it is such a bad word, why do you accept it from anyone? I remember years ago, Spike Lee saying white men can’t make movies about black people and that he can make movies about his brothers on the corners of Harlem because he’s been there. Have you ever heard some of his nasty movies and the words they use? He even made Janet Jackson, a person I admire, sound like someone I didn’t like. Please, people, if we want to erase racism, we have to start with our own house. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.
Don’t worry about law-abiding gun owners
The letter by state Rep. Kevin Boyle (“Stop expanding gun rights” in the July 24 issue) bemoans “the growing trend of state governments expanding the legal rights of citizens to use their guns.” However, many years of experience and mountains of data confirm the empirical truth that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens mean less crime.
In fact, laws permitting the carrying of concealed weapons actually lead to a drop in crime in the jurisdictions that enact them. It is not true that expanding legal Second Amendment rights of citizens results in “more unnecessary and deadly consequences.”
It is the law-abiding citizens, not criminals, who obey gun bans. The murderer who committed the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo. had a choice of seven theaters who were showing “Batman” within 20 minutes of his residence. It is no coincidence that he did not choose the closest or the largest theater, but picked the only one that had a gun ban. Politicians should be concerned, not about the law-abiding citizens, but about making criminals pay for their crimes instead of letting them roam freely.
Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon
“F–ing punks,” prosecutor John Guy said in open court, quoting George Zimmerman’s own words to a nonemergency police dispatcher. “These a—holes, they always get away.”
I don’t see how anyone can deny that this remark by George Zimmerman is racial profiling. He used plural pronouns —— “these” and “they.” What category of people did he have in mind? Young black teenagers in hoodies? Would he have said the same thing if he saw a young white teenager in a Miami Dolphins sweatshirt walking home with some tea and candy? Who else would be included in that category of human beings who roused such anger in George Zimmerman? Old men, old women, teenage girls, young men, all young men or only young black men?
Zimmerman was looking at one young man, minding his own business, walking home, and he defied the police dispatcher by pursuing Trayvon Martin, because he felt this young 17-year-old belonged to a group of a—holes who always get away. What was it about Trayvon if not for skin color that classified him, in Zimmerman’s mind, as a punk? I’d just like to hear an explanation, so I’m hoping this goes further to the Department of Justice in a civil rights trial. To believe there was no racism in that remark is naive at best, and it emanates from deeply held racism at worst.
People say Zimmerman was being beaten. Who struck whom first? Zimmerman could just have gotten back into his truck — a truck he was never supposed to have gotten out of to begin with. He was the pursuer. He was not supposed to be carrying a gun. Why is Trayvon portrayed as the aggressor when he most likely was fighting Zimmerman in self-defense? Who threw the first punch? Doesn’t Trayvon get a self-defense plea too? Oh, that would be no. He’s dead. He can’t tell his side of the story.
Zimmerman may have gotten a not-guilty verdict, but for quite some time, the six-person jury was split 3 and 3 for conviction, one of them saying openly that, “Zimmerman got away with murder.” He might not be able to be tried with murder again, but I’d like to be in that civil rights courtroom where he has to open his mouth and define what characteristics people have to have to fit his perception of punks and a—holes.