Take pride in the Northeast
Have you ever tried “googling” the words Northeast Philadelphia? Give it a shot. If you were expecting links and articles describing the new farmer’s markets popping up throughout our neighborhoods, the new thirty-two million dollar Super-Walmart being built at Franklin Mills or the development of the old Northeast Auto Outlet at Grant and Academy, you would be mistaken.
Top 5 entries on Google:
1. Hesh’s Bakery closes, as Jewish demographics change
2. Chain of Northeast Philly Wawa robberies
3. ‘Swiss Cheese Pervert’ terrorizes Northeast Philly
4. Man shot twice during attempted carjacking in Northeast
5. Police: Man tried to firebomb Northeast Philadelphia home five times
I don’t have the answers to save the Northeast, but I do know that we all can do our part to keep the Northeast the ideal place to live, work and raise a family.
If you have never been to your neighborhood’s local civic association, try attending one of the meetings to listen, give feedback on issues and even volunteer by joining the group. An organized group has a louder voice and more of a synergy effect than one single person.
If you see graffiti, overgrown lawns, abandoned homes, drug deals, etc., call/email 311 (firstname.lastname@example.org), call CLIP, report it to your local civic association, and/or call the police. It’s OK to be a ‘snitch!’
Last but not least, vote! You want your elected representatives to fight for you and be visible in your community… not just during re-election season. Send a message by getting to the polls.
I’ll end this with a few little fun facts: Voter turnout in Philadelphia for the 1960 Presidential Election (JFK) was 90 percent; Philadelphia Mayoral Election in 1971 (Rizzo) was 77 percent; Philadelphia Mayoral Election in 2011 (Nutter) was 20 percent. Anyone notice a trend?
Thank you to all that already do the above mentioned actions.
Lottery privatization: It’s time for Gov. Corbett to fold
I welcomed the news that, on Dec. 30, Gov. Tom Corbett officially dropped his efforts to outsource the Pennsylvania Lottery to a British firm. However, I am still very concerned that he did not rule out a renewed effort at privatizing the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery in the future.
These efforts to hand the management of the lottery over to a private company serves no logical purpose. Pennsylvania’s state lottery is one of the most profitable and finely run lotteries in the country. In the past two years, the lottery enjoyed record sales and profits, and is on pace to beat those numbers again this year. The lottery operates with minor administrative overhead, which cannot be said for many private companies.
The most troubling aspect of this effort is that Gov. Corbett has already wasted a significant chunk of taxpayer dollars on this short-sighted effort. Despite the fact that polls have consistently shown little support in Pennsylvania for outsourcing the lottery, Corbett spent more than $4 million taxpayer dollars on private consultants to try and make the deal happen.
Originally, the cost was estimated at $725,000 for three consultants. However, a recent review of the contract reimbursements shows that the cost has soared to an estimated $4.6 million. That’s $4.6 million in taxpayer dollars that should have gone to aid our senior citizens.
What could that kind of money have done for Pennsylvania’s seniors? Provide more than 213,000 additional prescriptions; more than 1.7 million additional free transit rides; over 9,000 additional property tax rebates; or provide $84,800 more in funding for each of the 52 Area Agencies on Aging.
I applaud Governor Corbett for finally dropping his efforts to outsource our lottery. However, he needs to understand that wasting taxpayer money that should be going to Pennsylvania’s senior citizens on future attempts to privatize the lottery will be equally ill-advised and unsuccessful. The time has come to fold on the idea of privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery and stop wasting taxpayer dollars.
State Rep. John Sabatina Jr.
174th Legislative District