Question: When is a contract not a contract?Answer: When Mayor Michael Nutter doesn’t like it.Members of the city firefighters union, Local 22, were supposed to get a new contract following binding arbitration in 2010, but Philadelphia’s mayor has thus far refused to honor the new deal. His reason, that the city can’t afford the new contract, is a poor excuse and just doesn’t hold water. The city can find ways — i.e., by trimming its fiscal fat — to pay the firefighters what they deserve. In fact, the city can’t afford not to pay them more.While firefighter demonstrators were a bit rude when they heckled the mayor at Tuesday morning’s grand opening of a state-of-the-art firehouse in Tacony, their anger is understandable. They’re taking Mr. Nutter’s nasty attitude personally, as well they should. After all, these brave men and women put their lives on the line every day.Considering that so many of them call Northeast Philly home, every single person who lives or works in the Northeast should bombard Mayor Nutter’s office with phone calls, letters and e-mails instructing the city’s top leader to stop appealing the contact in court and make it happen for Local 22. Without our firefighters, the City of Brotherly Love would become the City of Smothered Love.Even Mr. Nutter’s fellow Democratic politicians are urging the mayor to stop sticking it to the firefighters.“It’s wrong and the mayor’s continuous efforts to fight the contract award must end,” said state Sen. Mike Stack.“The more time that goes by,” said state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, “the harder it will be to restore the trust between these dedicated professionals and the city administration.”Send letters to the editor to: email@example.com
A new year brings more fond memoriesWith every new year, we hope for improvement, fulfilled promises from our politicians, kinder weather and less violence. For me, the main thing is keeping my health stable and adjusting to life in Pottsville, Pa. I am living near family in an assisted living facility trying hard not to miss Philadelphia, the city I love.On New Year’s Day, we don’t see the Mummers Day Parade, and I’ve met people who have never made the long trek going 90 miles to Philly! It seems incredible to me. There probably are Philadelphians who have never seen the Liberty Bell.Last night I spoke with an elderly resident who lived most of her life in Philadelphia in the Fox Chase neighborhood. Her four children graduated from Northeast High School. As we reminisced about the Country Club Diner cheesecake, the regional rail and Knowlton Mansion, the conversation brought vivid images. We laughed about Horn & Hardart’s, the light show at Wanamaker’s and the Gimbels department store at Cottman and Bustleton.I certainly didn’t think I’d ever meet anyone here that knew my neighborhood. She agreed with me that Philadelphia and especially the Northeast had so much to offer. Everything was at our fingertips.Even though I can’t go home again, the love of the Northeast will always remain. Have a happy new year and enjoy a cheesesteak!Janice Jakubowitcz
Editor’s note: if you’d like us to feature your new-in-2012 River Wards business in this story, please email editor Mikala Jamison at firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll keep updating this online version of the article.
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Newtown, Conn. is more than 170 miles from Philadelphia. And yet, some students from Kensington said that distance didn’t diminish the pain they felt upon learning of the mass school shooting there last month, which left 20 children and six adults dead.