Letters to the Editor (February 6, 2013)

She wants to fix the Traffic Court mess

I’m won­der­ing if they are look­ing for help at Phil­adelphia Traffic Court, since it seems many of their judges and em­ploy­ees will be busy de­fend­ing them­selves in the re­cent FBI in­dict­ment. I’m will­ing to vo­lun­teer if they need someone.

Be­ing a stay-at-home mom to four chil­dren over the last eight years, I have be­come very good at ar­bit­rat­ing dis­putes and dish­ing out fair justice. Stay­ing at home has al­lowed me to mas­ter the art of re­view­ing “evid­ence” to de­term­ine who is telling the truth and who isn’t.

I am lov­ing and kind, yet I know how to give a time-out when someone isn’t play­ing by the rules. Every­one in my house is treated equal, no fa­vor­ites! In fact, if they really want to clean up Traffic Court, I could gath­er up some oth­er stay-at-home moms and we will have that place run­ning like a fine-oiled ma­chine in no time!

Also, I don’t owe any­one any fa­vors. When my roof leaks, I pay someone to fix it. When I need a room painted, I paint it. When I want to go out to din­ner, I pay for it.

Shan­non Lind­say, Esq.

(Mem­ber of the Pennsylvania Bar since 2002 but more im­port­antly, a stay-at-home mom since 2004.)

Pine Val­ley

Cred­it uni­on chief: No meth­adone clin­ic on State Road

In an art­icle that ap­peared in last week’s North­east Times en­titled Zon­ing hear­ing be­gins for meth­adone clin­ic, it states that the North­East Treat­ment Cen­ters (NET), which is seek­ing to place a treat­ment cen­ter at 7520 State Road, presen­ted a let­ter “vouch­ing for its op­er­a­tion” from Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on. 

I want to em­phat­ic­ally state, in no un­cer­tain terms, that Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on does not sup­port NET’s at­tempts to get a zon­ing vari­ance in or­der to place a meth­adone clin­ic at the State Road loc­a­tion. In fact, Amer­ic­an Her­it­age sup­ports the po­s­i­tions of both the Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation and the May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation against the NET zon­ing ap­plic­a­tion. 

North­East Treat­ment Cen­ters did so­li­cit and re­ceive an un­au­thor­ized let­ter of sup­port, writ­ten on Amer­ic­an Her­it­age let­ter­head, from our branch loc­ated ad­ja­cent to NET’s ex­ist­ing cen­ter on Bridge Street in Phil­adelphia. The per­son writ­ing the let­ter had neither the po­s­i­tion nor the au­thor­ity to speak on be­half of the cred­it uni­on, or rep­res­ent its views in writ­ten form. 

Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on will al­ways sup­port the best in­terests of our mem­bers and the com­munit­ies we share. 

Bruce K. Foulke


Whole Foods should fill void at North­east Auto Out­let site

For many Phil­adelphi­ans, as they look out the car, train or bus win­dows, they see what is be­com­ing a night­mare for many com­munit­ies, a va­cant or fore­closed com­mer­cial prop­erty. Its land­scape is over­grown and is littered with trash, graf­fiti, and oth­er debris. These prop­er­ties have be­come life­less memor­ies of their former iden­tit­ies.

As the na­tion’s fore­clos­ure epi­dem­ic con­tin­ues to af­fect the U.S. real es­tate mar­ket, com­munit­ies throughout the area are feel­ing the ef­fects of hav­ing a fore­closed prop­erty in their neigh­bor­hood.

One site that comes to mind in North­east Phil­adelphia is the former North­east Auto Out­let at Grant Av­en­ue and Academy Road (3301 Grant Ave). This prop­erty used to be the home of sev­er­al car deal­er­ships but has been sit­ting va­cant for the past few years. I al­ways hear the ru­mor that Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity will be pur­chas­ing the land, but no one can seem to con­firm this.

My brain has been go­ing in­to over­drive try­ing to think of a pos­sible pro­pri­et­or to use this land in a way that will be­ne­fit our loc­al com­munity while also us­ing sus­tain­able busi­ness prac­tices at the same time. I fi­nally settled on Whole Foods Mar­ket.

I am ur­ging all North­east res­id­ents and com­munity lead­ers to send a let­ter or make a phone call to:

Whole Foods Mar­ket

Scott All­s­house, Pres­id­ent – Mid-At­lantic Re­gion

5515 Se­cur­ity Lane

Suite 900

Rock­ville, MD 20852

301-984-4874;  301-984-2064 (fax)

We can­not just sit around and wait for someone to come and re­devel­op this site — we need to take this mat­ter in­to our own hands and push for a new busi­ness to make the prop­erty at Grant and Academy their new home.

This prop­erty is loc­ated in the heart of North­east Phil­adelphia and is sur­roun­ded by Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity, North­east Phil­adelphia Air­port, Au­gust­aWest­land, Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School, Po­lice and Fire Cred­it Uni­on, 8th Po­lice Dis­trict headquar­ters, LA Fit­ness, The Aquat­ic Fit­ness Cen­ter, two golf courses and one of the greatest com­munit­ies in this city.

Let us con­vince Whole Foods to con­sider this site for a new store. I have draf­ted a let­ter with sup­ple­ment­al in­form­a­tion and neigh­bor­hood stat­ist­ics.

If any­one is in­ter­ested in send­ing a let­ter and would like to use some of the sup­ple­ment­al in­form­a­tion or the let­ter as a sample, please send me an e-mail.

Jeff George



Our na­tion is com­ing apart

I find it amaz­ing that our na­tion­al dis­cus­sion seems to circle end­lessly around is­sues such as: guns, re­de­fin­ing mar­riage, abor­tion, or im­mig­ra­tion re­form.  I guess this is what we do when we re­fuse to deal with the big­ger prob­lems.

Not long ago I read a book en­titled Com­ing Apart: The State of White Amer­ica 1960-2010, by Charles Mur­ray. If there is one book I could wish every Amer­ic­an to read, this would be it.  

The au­thor makes a com­pel­ling case for the work­ing class in crisis, with chron­ic un­em­ploy­ment, nearly half of chil­dren born to single moth­ers, rampant di­vorce, and a new gen­er­a­tion of men, many of whom are angry, ali­en­ated, and hos­tile to tra­di­tion­al val­ues.

The na­tion­al me­dia has shame­fully run away from the chal­lenges of this book, as have most of our polit­ic­al class. (Rick San­tor­um and Chris Christie are not­able ex­cep­tions, though both have been short on solu­tions.)

 If you care about the fu­ture, read the book. It has just been is­sued in pa­per­back, and can also be found in the lib­rary. You’ll see that we will make little pro­gress on gun vi­ol­ence, the sta­bil­iz­a­tion of mar­riage and fam­ily, or find­ing the right bal­ance to im­mig­ra­tion, un­til we deal with the grow­ing crisis of the work­ing class. 

Richard Iac­on­elli


Re­mem­ber­ing Wendell the War­ri­or

There’s an old say­ing: Your repu­ta­tion pre­cedes you. Wendell Young III’s de­port­ment as the former pres­id­ent of the Re­tail Clerks Uni­on (UFCW Loc­al 1776) was im­mense. For nearly 40 years he led his uni­on with dig­nity, fair­ness and in­tel­li­gence.

 Ini­tially, he had to com­bat cor­rup­tion in his own ranks, es­tab­lish a uni­on and ne­go­ti­ate with the op­pos­ing forces.

 Not ac­quain­ted with him per­son­ally, but aware of his pro­fes­sion­al ac­com­plish­ments in bar­gain­ing in good faith for de­cent wages, be­ne­fits and equal treat­ment to all, and in his gra­cious deal­ings with every­one, I sa­lute a “fallen war­ri­or.” He’ll be dearly missed but not for­got­ten, es­pe­cially by his own.

Bob Dawson

Fox Chase

Van­dal­ism hits the streets of NE

I was very glad to see John Murphy’s let­ter (The un­kind­est cuts of all, Jan. 23 edi­tion)

For the past sev­en years, I too have seen this “lit­ter” in the 19116 ZIP code area. This has been go­ing on at least once a week for the past sev­en years. The lit­ter al­ways comes from loc­al pub­lic­a­tions, and the pa­per is ob­vi­ously cut with scis­sors, not with a shred­der. This is a de­lib­er­ate act of van­dal­ism, not an ac­ci­dent. I have ob­served this as far south as Gor­man Street by Wash­ing­ton High School, and as far north as Lark­spur Street, north of Loes­che School, and as far east as Jeanes Street off Par­lin Street.

This “per­son” strikes in the early morn­ing. I have not see her, but I have heard it’s a crazy lady. I grew up here in the 1960s and ’70s, and I don’t like to see this crap. 

So­lomon J. Aron­son


Gov­ernor’s lot­tery plan just doesn’t add up

Seni­or cit­izens and tax­pay­ers should be out­raged that Gov. Tom Corbett stealth­ily agreed to privat­ize the Pennsylvania Lot­tery late on a Fri­day af­ter­noon. 

He did this des­pite the fact that for weeks, le­gis­lat­ors were seek­ing more in­form­a­tion about the plan. In fact, the Sen­ate had sched­uled an in­form­a­tion­al hear­ing on the idea for Monday morn­ing and a House meet­ing was to fol­low later this week.

As the state rep­res­ent­at­ive of the 174th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict, which has the largest seni­or pop­u­la­tion of any dis­trict in Pennsylvania, I am con­cerned that our com­munity has a lot to lose.  

The privat­iz­a­tion plan ac­cep­ted by Corbett came about through months of closed ne­go­ti­ations between the gov­ernor’s privat­iz­a­tion con­sult­ant and the only bid­der on the pro­ject, Cam­elot Group. There were no pub­lic hear­ings or meet­ings. Le­gis­lat­ors were not in­cluded in the pro­cess. This com­pany is based in Bri­tain and owned by the Ontario Teach­ers’ Pen­sion Plan. They have re­cently set up U.S. op­er­a­tions in the state of Delaware, which I’m sure is no co­in­cid­ence. 

The lot­tery is one of Pennsylvania’s most well-run state pro­grams. In 2012, the pro­gram saw re­cord sales of nearly $3.5 bil­lion, car­ried a mere 2.1 per­cent in op­er­at­ing costs and con­trib­uted nearly $1.3 bil­lion to vi­tal seni­or pro­grams. Sales are cur­rently on pace for an­oth­er re­cord-break­ing year, up 8.89 per­cent. Phil­adelphia re­ceived nearly $215 mil­lion last year for area agen­cies on aging and seni­or cen­ters; PACE/PA­CENET for pre­scrip­tion as­sist­ance; shared and free ride pro­grams; the Prop­erty Tax/Rent Re­bate Pro­gram, Alzheimer’s out­reach, and long-term liv­ing as­sist­ance, among oth­er things. These pro­grams are vi­tal to im­prove the lives of count­less seni­ors.

The few de­tails avail­able about the plan are of great con­cern. The com­pon­ents of the pro­pos­al in­clude a 20- to 30-year con­tract. In the last 10 years of the con­tract, Cam­elot will only guar­an­tee lot­tery growth of 1 per­cent per year. 

This is the same time peri­od where nearly 25 per­cent of Pennsylvani­ans will be 60 or older. The com­mon­wealth would be re­quired to pay Cam­elot’s op­er­at­ing ex­penses, in­clud­ing ex­ec­ut­ive salar­ies, man­age­ment fees and in­cent­ive fees. And, Cam­elot only plans to re­tain 70 of the cur­rent 230 lot­tery em­ploy­ees. This means that ap­prox­im­ately 160 Pennsylvani­ans will have to find work else­where while their jobs leave the coun­try.

Cam­elot plans to raise rev­en­ue by adding new lot­tery games such as Keno. Why pay a private cor­por­a­tion to run new games when the cur­rent state em­ploy­ees could just as eas­ily run them? Was Keno stud­ied? Will Keno can­ni­bal­ize sales from casino slot ma­chines that cur­rently fund prop­erty tax re­lief? Why didn’t the gov­ernor wait for a pub­lic vet­ting of these is­sues and de­tails? Why such a rush to privat­ize now? These and oth­er ques­tions will have to wait un­til the gov­ernor and his team provide the an­swers. 

Right now, it seems that there was no need to privat­ize the lot­tery, es­pe­cially in such a hurry. With the pub­lic de­mand­ing open­ness and trans­par­ency, the gov­ernor should not have awar­ded the con­tract without full dis­clos­ure of the de­tails.

The pro­posed con­tract has the po­ten­tial to jeop­ard­ize vi­tal seni­or pro­gram fund­ing and Pennsylvania jobs.  

As cur­rently pro­posed, I find Cam­elot’s in­volve­ment in im­prov­ing state lot­tery per­form­ance un­ne­ces­sary. I am com­mit­ted to work­ing with my col­leagues to cre­ate a more prom­ising and less costly ex­pan­sion ef­fort. 

Sabat­ina, a Demo­crat, was elec­ted in 2006 to rep­res­ent the 174th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict. 

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