U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz spoke about a dysfunctional Congress in a recent visit to the Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association meeting.
Schwartz (D-13th dist.) mentioned a lack of an agreement on issues such as gun safety, spending and illegal immigration.
The five-term congresswoman indicated that she favors cuts in subsidies to the big oil companies.
“I think they’re doing just fine,” she said, adding that the cost savings should be used to lower the budget deficit or pursue alternative energy sources.
There were few questions about federal issues.
One neighbor complained that, while Philadelphia Gas Works has six customer service centers, the only Northeast location is at 4410 Frankford Ave. in Frankford, a lengthy trip for many area residents. PGW previously closed an office at 8566 Bustleton Ave. in Bell’s Corner.
Schwartz’s district consists of about 700,000 people. She has an office at 7712 Castor Ave. in Rhawnhurst and another in Abington.
A former state senator, Schwartz is giving up her congressional seat next year to run for governor.
In other news from the July 15 meeting:
• Take Back Your Neighborhood will hold its third annual Northeast Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Max Myers Recreation Center, at 1601 Hellerman St.
There will be food, music, children’s activities, history speakers and officials from local political offices and civic and community groups.
• Amy Dougherty, executive director of the Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, encouraged people to join a new Friends group at Northeast Regional Library. The neighborhood’s branch library, Bushrod, no longer has a Friends group. The citywide Friends group has been boosting Philadelphia libraries since 1973. The organization also accepts donations of used books at its bookstore at 311 N. 20th St. (near Vine Street).
The group is fighting for more money in the city budget to keep all 54 library branches open six days a week.
“We’re small, but we’ve got a big mission,” Dougherty said.
For more information, call 215-567-4562.
• Dianne Murphy, the community relations officer in the 2nd Police District, told the crowd that robberies of cell phones are “absolutely through the roof.”
“It happens at 9 in the morning. It happens at 9 at night,” she said.
Murphy, who was joined by Lt. Lisa Harner, urged people to be aware of their surroundings so they don’t become easy targets. She said pockets and purses are good places to keep cell phones when they are not in use.
One woman at the meeting complained about slow 911 police emergency response. Murphy explained that all calls are prioritized in order of seriousness, adding that people should contact their elected officials to provide funding for more officers.
Harner (215-685-7275) and Murphy (215-685-7276) both welcome calls from 2nd Police District residents.
• Take Back Your Neighborhood will meet again on Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. at Max Myers. The meeting after that is set for Oct. 21. ••