Letters to the Editor: July 24, 2013

Schwartz: ‘A risk we can­not af­ford’

   North­east Phil­adelphia is a vi­brant res­id­en­tial and com­mer­cial com­munity. The pres­ence of a pro­posed meth­adone clin­ic at the corner of Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Dec­atur Street in Holmes­burg threatens the com­munity’s qual­ity of life, eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment and pub­lic safety. It’s a risk we can­not af­ford.

  For the last two years, I have stood with com­munity mem­bers and elec­ted of­fi­cials in strongly op­pos­ing the pro­pos­al for a for-profit meth­adone clin­ic at this loc­a­tion. I am out­raged that the Com­mon Pleas Court sus­tained an ap­peal of a Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment de­cision, clear­ing a path for The Heal­ing Way to open the clin­ic.

  We have a re­spons­ib­il­ity to en­sure that treat­ment op­tions are avail­able for those suf­fer­ing from ad­dic­tion. However, The Heal­ing Way’s op­er­at­ors have no med­ic­al cre­den­tials of any kind. Meth­adone clin­ics provide nar­cot­ics and can pose a health and safety threat if not ad­min­istered by qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als. Fed­er­al laws and reg­u­la­tions ex­ist to pro­tect our com­munit­ies, and I am work­ing closely with fed­er­al, state and loc­al of­fi­cials to en­sure the full en­force­ment of all rules and reg­u­la­tions. Giv­en the many con­cerns and po­ten­tially neg­at­ive con­sequences as­so­ci­ated with this pro­ject, we must pur­sue every op­tion avail­able to stop it from open­ing.

  I’ve ex­pressed my strong con­cerns and op­pos­i­tion to the fed­er­al Drug En­force­ment Agency (DEA), the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices (HHS) and the Sub­stance Ab­use and Men­tal Health Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion (SAM­HSA), and I will con­tin­ue to call on them to pre­vent the clin­ic from open­ing.

  I com­mend City Coun­cil Mem­bers Bobby Hen­on and Den­nis O’Bri­en, State Reps. Kev­in Boyle, Mi­chael McGee­han and John Taylor, and State Sen. Mike Stack for their lead­er­ship, and I will con­tin­ue work­ing with them to en­sure this clin­ic does not open. I would also like to thank the May­fair and Holmes­burg civic as­so­ci­ations for mo­bil­iz­ing the com­munity’s col­lect­ive voice on this im­port­ant mat­ter.

  U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-13th)

Obama, Sharpton and Jack­son fuel­ing ra­cial fires 

Zi­m­mer­man vs. the State for Trayvon Mar­tin was def­in­itely not an easy case.

A 17-year-old get­ting shot and the con­stant dis­play of his grade school pic­ture (I guess be­cause they couldn’t come up with a more re­cent one) surely tugged on heart strings (my­self in­cluded). So when the jury came back with a not guilty ver­dict, be­cause the pro­sec­u­tion did not prove its case, it was quite shock­ing to much of Amer­ica. From Mr. Obama on down, they cru­ci­fied Zi­m­mer­man from the start without know­ing all the facts. They all had something to say be­cause all they could man­age to see was a white-on-black crime and ran with it. They didn’t even get Zi­m­mer­man’s race cor­rect. That didn’t seem to mat­ter to any of them. Whatever happened to in­no­cent un­til proven guilty?

So this case, which nev­er should have be­come the cir­cus it had be­come, went to tri­al. So now that it’s over and Zi­m­mer­man was found not guilty, people are still not happy. Now they are say­ing the justice sys­tem is guilty of ra­cism be­cause they fol­lowed the facts and not their hearts, and found a His­pan­ic-Amer­ic­an not guilty for shoot­ing a black Amer­ic­an.

I really wish the me­dia would get a clue that there is a lot of black-on-white crime also. But some­how we nev­er hear about this in the main­stream me­dia. I still don’t know why this coun­try only sees ra­cism as white-on-black crime. In real­ity, ra­cism is alive and kick­ing the oth­er way around as well. There will nev­er be equal­ity in this coun­try un­til this fact is real­ized and dealt with.

Jesse Jack­son and Al Sharpton, and in this in­stance, Pres­id­ent Obama, need to stop fuel­ing the ra­cial fires. Sharpton and Jack­son claim they are con­tinu­ing what Mar­tin Luth­er King star­ted in or­der to jus­ti­fy what they do. However, if they did their home­work, this is not what Mr. King wanted for Amer­ica. Even his own niece, Alveda King, said as much, and she is not happy with these in­di­vidu­als for us­ing her uncle’s name on be­half of what they do.

MLK’s dream was not that all black Amer­ic­ans should get away with murder, and the rest of Amer­ica should not have this dream. This is not what he meant by us be­ing equal and surely was not his dream.

I can only hope when the dust clears from this tragedy and cir­cus me­dia, the people will see that even though they may not al­ways agree with the leg­al sys­tem here in the United States (my­self in­cluded), it still is the best sys­tem there is in the world. This is where the powers that be and me­dia should be con­cen­trat­ing their en­er­gies and re­sources. They should be work­ing on bring­ing this coun­try to­geth­er and not tear­ing it apart. Not un­til then can we truly be called the “United” States and ac­tu­ally mean it.

Di­ane Mc­Dow­ell

Park­wood Man­or

Stop com­plain­ing about Zi­m­mer­man ver­dict 

As I look at a 5-year-old pic­ture of smil­ing Trayvon Mar­tin, I have to agree that the me­dia and Pres­id­ent Obama were as guilty of race-bait­ing as Al Sharpton. 

I live in Flor­ida part-time, have fol­lowed this case since its out­set, and had nev­er seen the 2-month-old pic­ture of Trayvon Mar­tin un­til the de­fense at­tor­ney showed it to the jury. Why not a 5-year-old pic­ture of Zi­m­mer­man? The dif­fer­ence between a 12-year-old child and a nor­mal 17-year-old is start­ling, as il­lus­trated. Does this look like a son Obama might have? Do any pic­tures of 17-year-old blacks killed in his town of Chica­go or any big cit­ies fit the pro­file, and if so, why con­cen­trate on this par­tic­u­lar case and em­ploy the Justice De­part­ment to in­vest­ig­ate? 

I’m sure it would be ra­cist to say it’s all about votes. Most ex­perts agree that this case should have nev­er gone to tri­al, that both sides said they had a great jury, but a cer­tain seg­ment of our so­ci­ety will still protest and scream “ra­cism” even though the tri­al they clamored for took place, but did not end to their sat­is­fac­tion as the O.J. tri­al did, so they would be able to cel­eb­rate.

Jim Laverty


Shame on me­dia’s cov­er­age of Zi­m­mer­man case  

I am very sad to see the di­vi­sions in this na­tion over the George Zi­m­mer­man tri­al. At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er says we need a good con­ver­sa­tion about race, and I agree. Let’s start with some ques­tions.

Why is the me­dia ob­sessed over the sad death of Trayvon Mar­tin, when in the days since Zi­m­mer­man shot him, about 12,000 blacks have been murdered in this coun­try? Do they count? On the Ju­ly 4 week­end, 74 people were shot in Chica­go. Why don’t we know their names?

Why has the na­tion­al me­dia said noth­ing about the two black teens who al­legedly shot and killed (white) Sherry West’s 13-month old child in a baby stroller in Geor­gia in March in a threat to rob her? Or the tor­ture-rape-murder of (white) Chris New­s­om and Chan­non Chris­ti­an in Ten­ness­ee by four black teens in 2007?

Do white people not have sens­it­iv­it­ies that need re­spect, too?

Why did pro­sec­utor An­gela Corey al­legedly hide evid­ence, by­pass a grand jury and charge Zi­m­mer­man with murder, des­pite ob­jec­tions by some Flor­ida law en­force­ment of­fi­cials, sev­er­al of whom were then fired or de­moted?

Why did the me­dia (MS­N­BC) doc­tor the Zi­m­mer­man “911” call to make him ap­pear a ra­cist? Why didn’t Mar­tin call 911? Why did the me­dia con­stantly show pho­tos of little-boy Trayvon, when he was now 17 years old and about 6 feet tall?

When Trayvon Mar­tin was al­legedly caught with stolen jew­elry and burg­lary tools in his school, why wasn’t he ar­res­ted? He was also al­legedly sus­pen­ded for fight­ing and drug pos­ses­sion, but not giv­en a prop­er in­ter­ven­tion by the au­thor­it­ies. Why? He was a dis­aster wait­ing to hap­pen. His death might have been avoided.

I know why. Read the book Un­til Proven In­no­cent by leg­al schol­ar Stu­art Taylor. Sev­en years ago, we went through all this polit­ic­ally cor­rect ly­ing in the fram­ing of the Duke lacrosse team by pro­sec­utor Mike Ni­fong. 

Sadly, with both our me­dia and our polit­ics, noth­ing has changed.

Richard Iac­on­elli


Obama’s com­ments height­en ra­cial ten­sion in Amer­ica  

A jury found George Zi­m­mer­man in­no­cent of all charges re­lat­ing to the shoot­ing death of Trayvon Mar­tin based on all the evid­ence presen­ted in court. The jury found George Zi­m­mer­man in­no­cent bey­ond a shad­ow of a doubt. This was not a ra­cial tri­al. It was not a tri­al of black vs. white. It was a tri­al of evid­ence presen­ted.

The Afric­an-Amer­ic­an com­munity is out­raged with the out­come of this tri­al. They want to take this case to the U.S. De­part­ment of Justice. Last week­end’s events in 130 cit­ies were or­gan­ized for “Justice for Trayvon.” They are look­ing at this case through the lens of past dis­crim­in­a­tion. 

I was shocked to hear Pres­id­ent Obama state that, “Trayvon Mar­tin could have been me 35 years ago.” He also stated of hav­ing the ex­per­i­ence of be­ing fol­lowed while shop­ping in a de­part­ment store or walk­ing down a street and hear­ing car doors click lock as he passed.

I feel that hear­ing the pres­id­ent re­view the tri­al in such a man­ner on na­tion­al tele­vi­sion did noth­ing more than in­cite more [ra­cism], and I do not re­call any oth­er pres­id­ents in­ject­ing their opin­ion on court cases.

Mari­an C. Borell


Stop ex­pand­ing gun rights 

Re­gard­ing the Trayvon Mar­tin/George Zi­m­mer­man case, I grew up in a part of the city of Phil­adelphia where fist­fights among men in their teens and 20s were fairly com­mon. What was not com­mon was for the loser of the fight to pull out a gun and end the life of the oth­er young man.

Un­for­tu­nately, this de­cision un­der­scores the grow­ing trend of state gov­ern­ments ex­pand­ing the leg­al rights of cit­izens to use their guns. This will only have more un­ne­ces­sary and deadly con­sequences.

State Rep. Kev­in Boyle

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