Letters to the editor: January 22, 2014

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 (philly311@phila.gov), 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.

Jeff George


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

You can reach at .

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