Letters to the Editor: December 4, 2013

Speed cam­er­as will de­ter reck­less drivers

Pos­ted speed lim­its aren’t simply sug­ges­tions; they are laws in place to pro­tect us all. While we need ad­di­tion­al po­lice of­ficers to mon­it­or against reck­less drivers, we are so over-stressed with oth­er crime is­sues that we have to con­sider speed cam­er­as as a means of sav­ing lives. We’ve see the cata­stroph­ic ef­fects all too of­ten in Phil­adelphia. Drive up and down Roosevelt Boulevard, which cuts straight through my sen­at­ori­al dis­trict, and road­side me­mori­als mark fatal ac­ci­dents and serve as stark re­mind­ers of what can hap­pen.

Over the years, a great deal has been done to en­hance safety along this busy stretch of high­way, which used to be known as the “kill zone.” Red-light cam­er­as have helped pre­vent dan­ger­ous right-angle col­li­sions and re­duce the num­ber of red-light run­ning vi­ol­a­tions.

But there’s still more we can do. There’s no bet­ter en­force­ment tool than a strong po­lice pres­ence. And our po­lice do an ex­traordin­ary job patrolling this high­way and oth­ers all around the city. But these cops can’t mon­it­or every mile of every high­way. Speed cam­er­as can help. When drivers know these devices are in use and they could face a fine for speed­ing, they slow down. This isn’t some new, un­tested tech­no­logy. Speed cam­er­as have been used in the United States since 1987. Today, more than 125 Amer­ic­an cit­ies and towns use the tech­no­logy. In loc­a­tions with speed cam­er­as, fatal crashes have de­clined as much as 71 per­cent.

I want to be clear: In­tro­du­cing speed cam­er­as isn’t about crack­ing down on the daily com­muter who may go a few miles per hour faster every so of­ten to make a pass. This is about put­ting the brakes on reck­less drivers who treat our high­ways as drag strips and put the lives of oth­er mo­tor­ists and ped­es­tri­ans in jeop­ardy. 

I want to end the days when high­ways like Roosevelt Boulevard are a haven for speed­ing, reck­less drivers. With speed cam­er­as, we can re­duce the rate of crashes and the num­ber of cas­u­al­ties, and truly en­sure our road­ways are safer.

Sen. Mike Stack

5th Sen­ate Dis­trict, Phil­adelphia

Let’s de­bate the Af­ford­able Care Act

I am so an­noyed at the gull­ib­il­ity of some in the pub­lic who be­lieve the polit­ic­ally mo­tiv­ated lies of our politi­cians. Re­cently, on Bustleton Av­en­ue, I saw people hold­ing large card­board signs, one of which said that Obama is in bed with Al Qaeda and showed him hold­ing hands with a Saudi sheik and an­oth­er sign with a painted Hitler mus­tache. 

For­tu­nately, this type of stu­pid­ity is un­com­mon. The Af­ford­able Care Act  was re­named Obama­care by the Re­pub­lic­an Party in hopes of cash­ing in on the pres­id­ent’s un­pop­ular­ity. In a street poll, too many Amer­ic­ans showed their ig­nor­ance when asked wheth­er they pre­ferred Obama­care or the Af­ford­able Care Act and chose one over the oth­er des­pite the fact that they are the same law. One wo­man was sure that the law would re­quire a com­puter chip be­ing em­bed­ded in every­one’s arm.

Few people, in­clud­ing mem­bers of Con­gress, know the de­tails of the Af­ford­able Care Act des­pite the fact that, three years ago, both houses of Con­gress passed it and a year ago the Su­preme Court found the law to be val­id. Re­cently, we wit­nessed a 16-day shut­down of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment over fund­ing the en­acted law. It has been es­tim­ated that the shut­down took about $24 bil­lion out of the eco­nomy.

I would love to watch on TV, for the be­ne­fit of all cit­izens, two well-in­formed con­gres­sion­al sup­port­ers of the bill  sit on one side of a table and two sim­il­arly know­ledge­able con­gres­sion­al op­pon­ents of the bill sit on the oth­er side. 

A mod­er­at­or would ask ques­tions of each side, and after they replied, the oth­er side would be al­lowed to re­but their ar­gu­ment. We all would be en­lightened. I would gladly tune in to bet­ter learn the is­sues and then de­cide who is right, wouldn’t you? 

Mel Flit­ter


Thanks Ri­ley and Sons

A spe­cial thanks to Ri­ley and Sons Mov­ing and Stor­age for a pro­fes­sion­al and prob­lem free job of mov­ing my son from Phil­adelphia to Kan­sas.

Pa­tri­cia Schmidt


Boyle Play­ground Let­ters of Apo­logy

Two youths re­cently spray-painted graf­fiti on the bas­ket­ball courts at Boyle Play­ground in Somer­ton. Their im­ages were cap­tured on se­cur­ity cam­er­as, and they were ar­res­ted. As part of their ad­ju­dic­a­tion, they were re­quired to per­form 40 hours of com­munity ser­vice and write let­ters of apo­logy to be pub­lished in the Times.

I want to apo­lo­gize for van­dal­iz­ing the bas­ket­ball court. I didn’t mean to cause the com­munity pain and suf­fer­ing. I have learned a big les­son about caring for my com­munity, and to not do things without think­ing of the con­sequences. 

It didn’t feel good to hurt my fam­ily. It was em­bar­rass­ing. It was scary know­ing that I could have gone to jail be­cause of the bad choice that I made. I hope I can be for­giv­en for this, and I will nev­er do any­thing like this again, or any­thing that is against the law.

An­onym­ous Minor


I would like to apo­lo­gize to the whole Somer­ton com­munity for be­ing in­volved in the van­dal­ism that was done to Of­ficer Daniel Boyle Play­ground’s bas­ket­ball courts in Novem­ber. 

I real­ize now that I should not have done it, and I am really sorry. In do­ing what I did, I didn’t think about how beau­ti­ful of a play­ground it ac­tu­ally is, and how many chil­dren come to play at the play­ground or play sports. 

I def­in­itely will nev­er do any­thing like that again, and I am now pay­ing back the com­munity for dam­age that I have caused. Thank you.

An­onym­ous Minor


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