City’s treatment of firefighters is baffling
At the end of December I had a chance to view some of the public meetings of City Council on the government access channel and listen to the questions of some elected councilmen and the responses of our current city administration’s designees as it danced around the refusal to honor the arbitrator’s decision in regard to our firefighter/paramedics contract.
As a Philadelphia School District teacher and wife and mother of firefighters, I found it disingenuous and disrespectful that the city is dismissing the agreed upon arbitration in regard to a fair contract for our firefighters.
There are many dedicated public servants that honorably and professionally serve our city in various capacities each day. For this administration to proceed to settle contracts with some of our public servants and then dismiss fair bargaining with other city employees is baffling. Such treatment is causing many to wonder if these actions are retaliatory for the freedom of unions to endorse or recommend candidates for election.
We all realize that during this period of fiscal troubles all city departments must look for responsible spending and cost- cutting measures, but the burden of this should not be put on the backs of those city employees who each day put their lives on the line fighting fires, responding to the infirmed, providing and protecting public safety or as we have just witnessed yet again, educating our nation’s youth.
Maureen M. Rebstock
Holiday toy drive was a success
My dear friends: Since 2011 my office has coordinated with various churches and other charitable organizations in Northeast Philadelphia to collect and distribute toys to Northeast families in need.
I extend my sincerest thanks to our community residents for the overwhelming positive response and generous donations my office received during our annual toy drive.
My offices collected hundreds of toys for boys and girls of all ages, making Christmas a reality for hundreds of families in and around the 170th Legislative District. Because of your generosity, our mission to better the lives of children and keep alive the holiday spirit has been a success.
For those who have fallen on hard times, a small leg up from others can be the difference between having a few items under a tree or none at all. With as many people in difficult circumstances as there are in the Northeast, this need has never been more urgent.
The character of our community was once again on display this holiday season. I wish you and your family a safe and happy new year!
State Rep. Brendan F. Boyle
Actual value = real estate tax rip-off
Actual Value Initiative (AVI) is a new city program that will assess our properties at 100 percent of fair market value.
Dave Glancey, former chairman of the Board of Revision of Taxes, said the change would be made because citizens were confused about their bills. It was supposed to be revenue neutral.
Anyone in City Council who supports this bill can stop by my tomato garden and drop a load of you-know-what, starting immediately, for next season’s fertilizer. This program was created to overtax homeowners, rip us off and finance the School District of Philadelphia, which thinks it has eminent domain rights on our wallets and pocketbooks.
Every budget season they march down to City Council, bring along some parents and cry and whine that “the poor kids” won’t have funding. They tell tales about a lack of books and computers, etc. Yet, the school district recently raised the pay of many officials. How could they afford that?
Northeast Philadelphia citizens should call, fax and e-mail every councilperson RIGHT NOW if they oppose Actual Value Initiative (100 percent assessments). The spring budget hearings will be here soon. Last year I contacted all 17 Council members stating I opposed all real estate and other tax increases. Let’s start earlier this year.
It’s time to give Lloyd Ayers the air
Every fireman in Philadelphia knows how Commissioner Lloyd Ayers keeps his job; I would like to know how he got the job. He’s not a commander; he doesn’t even have a command of the language.Would anyone bet money on him passing a qualifying test for this job if the situation should arise this year, let alone scoring higher than other Fire Department candidates?
He keeps the job because Mayor Nutter loves him for being the good little “yes man.” He complies with whatever whim Nutter wants, such as fighting the entire force on the court approved and well deserved increase in pay and benefits, and these forced transfers, which amount to no less than the mayor’s punishment for them not buckling to his heavy-handed and oppressive dictates.
Councilman Jim Kenney summarized the situation very eloquently at a hearing by stating, “How disgraceful it is to be treating people who are willing to die for you, like this.” We have here the same person who bent over backward for “Queen Arlene” Ackerman — who was a complete disaster for the school district — now dumping on the firefighters of the city, who put their lives on the line for all of us. They are the actual heroes; not the politicians.
Nutter made it abundantly clear to the president and to all of us that he was pandering for a job with the administration in Washington recently, and we are not adverse to that, sir; we pray that it comes through for you so we may be free of you and hopefully Ayers as well.
A few ways to avoid another slaughter
In order to prevent another tragedy resulting from either mentally unbalanced gunmen or terrorists, I suggest the following:
Set up a commission to organize and implement having volunteer armed guards in all schools and public buildings/places. The guards should be thoroughly screened retired policemen, military veterans and others who desire to give back to society. A small compensation should be offered to entice them to volunteer, such as a tax break or annual parade to honor them, etc. Much publicity should be made to make society view them as heroes.
In every school and public area entrance or gathering place, there should be a bulletproof shield (and when deemed necessary, a mobile shield on a golf cart type vehicle) with a gun port from which the guard can safely defend the public.
Also, I believe that this commission must help enact restrictions on violence as displayed in the many media and games to which the public is exposed. This step will serve to prevent the public’s desensitization to violence and restore perceived value to human life.
The implementation of this plan could save many lives and prevent many of the tragedies we have been witnessing with increasing frequency. It will also make people feel more secure and increase pride in our country.
Taking aim at NRA’s track record
The NRA’s response to gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is business as usual — more guns.
When Gov. Ed Rendell was in office he wanted to pass a law that banned assault weapons in Pennsylvania. With a 90 percent approval rate from the citizens of Pennsylvania, and despite that high approval, what prevented the bill from becoming law is the NRA.
When Bill Clinton was president he signed a bill into law banning assault type weapons. The law was set to expire in 2004. Rather than allowing the law to be extended, the NRA made absolutely sure that the law did expire, 12 times over.
The NRA made a statement after the Sandy Hook School tragedy that they intend to make meaningful contributions to ensure that what happened at Sandy Hook School never happens again. In truthful reality, the NRA intends to continue making monetary contributions to political election campaign funds of politicians to ensure that it does happen again.
When Obama was running for president in 2008, he said he would address the assault weapons issue as president during his first term. That address was postponed until after the Sandy Hook School tragedy. The reason for the postponement? Contributions from the NRA.
The people in Washington and the president have been put in the sewer on this one by the NRA.
The assault weapons ticking time bomb has exploded in their faces. Similar incidences have happened 37 times since 1974. Now the NRA is in the spotlight and feeling their feet to the fire and feeling loss of power and influence
The NRA and the politicians who have been accepting NRA contributions are attempting to say in a quiet way to the rest of us, thank you for allowing this to happen.
Grief is a long and painful journey. If the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School is what it takes to unite we the people to make a difference and to be heard, it only adds to the sad state of affairs and the sorrow.
Ban rifles for the good of the people
The recent horrendous school shooting in Connecticut where 27 people lost their lives once again shows the dire problem of the spread of weapons in this country.
The sale to the public of all assault and semiautomatic weapons should be made illegal. It is an absolute disgrace how easy it is to buy a gun in this country. In some states, it is as easy as buying a candy bar across the counter.
European countries have one-tenth the deaths we have due to gun violence because they are not saddled with the albatross around their necks of a misinterpreted 2nd Amendment that applied to militias at a time when our young country was struggling for survival against the European powers.
It was not intended to create a public with everyone armed to the teeth and a law onto themselves.
Walter M. Desher
For blame game, go to the guy at the top
Needless to say, the killing of innocent people is heartfelt throughout this country. However, those who want to point fingers at the NRA and Congress forget the one person who is in control, the president.
On July 20, 2012, a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 people at a Batman movie in Colorado.
Where was our president? Why didn’t he bring up gun control and mental health issues then? Was it because of the upcoming election and concern that it would cost him votes?
Maybe if he had acted back then we would never have heard of a school called Sandy Hook.
So let’s start from the top on down with the blame game.
Jerry De Panther
What America needs is some good old-fashioned mutual respect
In this season of peace on Earth and good will toward men, perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on the need for mutual respect with regard to our differences.
Arguably, religious faith is a belief or a personal opinion much like preferring vanilla over chocolate ice cream.
Most of us believe in freedom of religion but few consider freedom from religion, or perhaps better said, freedom from the imposed religious beliefs of others.
When it was required to read the Bible daily in advisory in high school, the suggested portion was always from the Old Testament, which was part of the traditions of both Judaism and Christianity. Reading from the Koran or the Gospels did not happen, and all of it would have been irrelevant to a Buddhist, a Hindu or an atheist.
Prayer was not, as claimed, banned in public schools, but neither was it required or organized. I am sure some students chose to pray before a major test and no one would interfere.
I would hope that sensible people are not insulted or hostile to displays such as a Hanukkah menorah, a Christmas tree or manger scene on public property as long as it is paid for out of private funds and removed in a timely manner at the expense of the group displaying it.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said a century ago, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
Only when it affects you do you have the right to interfere. It is arguably a sensible policy. Why should an individual’s personal beliefs as described in the books they hold holy be imposed on others?
Regardless of our own feelings about same-sex marriage, homosexuality, birth control and more, is it right to impose them on others? If you think a behavior is wrong to do, don’t do it.
Should a woman who gets pregnant after being raped, let’s say, by a man of another race, be forced to carry the child to term and raise it when every day looking at the child’s mixed features be reminded of the horrible trauma, simply because of the religious beliefs of others?
Should two people of the same sex who love each other and who have been together for decades be denied official recognition of their relationship or their right to happiness? How does their relationship affect another person’s marriage? What if one of the same-sex partners is hospitalized in grave condition? Should the other partner be denied visitation rights or the right to make life-and-death decisions because they are not family?
Is Holmes right that behavior that does not affect the life and happiness of others is not their business? This matter of loving, kindness and mutual consideration is surely worthy of debate, especially at this time of year.
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