Stop home invasions
The lead story on the news recently concerned the violent home invasion of a Somerton family. The perpetrators kidnapped the family’s 16 year-old child as part of their plan to steal everything of value from the property. As anyone who follows the news can attest, home invasions are becoming ever more frequent. Now an additional component has been added — the frightening specter of kidnapping.
Philadelphia, and particularly Northeast Philadelphia, might be the epicenter of this repellent activity. Oxford Circle, Lawncrest, Castor Gardens, Frankford, Holmesburg and other neighborhoods in the Northeast are witnessing home invasions for the first time. Criminals often target senior citizens and those physically impaired.
As a former assistant district attorney who has prosecuted lawbreakers, I’ve been conscious of unusual crime patterns in the Northeast. And it is because of the alarming increase in home invasions that I introduced HB 1296 in the state legislature several months ago. Designed to fill a gap in the criminal code, alert residents to the growing problem and spark greater police awareness, the proposed legislation would substantially increase penalties for those found guilty of home invasion.
As the bill states, a person could be convicted of home invasion if he or she knowingly enters, attempts to enter or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a violent crime.
Once the bill becomes law, those convicted of home invasion would be hit with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Those convicted of a similar or subsequent home invasion charge or where the victim is 62 years of age or older would receive a 10-year sentence. Judges would have no discretion or ability to reduce an offender’s term behind bars. HB 1296 has won bi-partisan support in the state House. It passed the House of Representatives 200 to 2 and is now awaiting a vote in the state Senate. Pennsylvania residents need to contact their state senator and urge them to demand a hearing and vote on HB 1296.
As one home invasion victim told my staff recently, “If they got away with it before, they’ll do it again.” His message to lawmakers was simple and direct, “How would you feel if it happened to you?”
Rep. John P. Sabatina Jr.
174th Legislative District
Salaries are the issue
We continue to be bombarded by school district requests for more money. We hear the scripted sob stories about teacher, nurse and supply shortages. Are we to believe that the state has a magic machine that will crank out 96 million more dollars, without any pain to citizens?
Do you know that the district has 396 employees who earn more than $100,000?
None of them are teachers.
The school district has 10 superintendents who average $160,000 a year. A principal’s base salary averages $138,000. Does this sound like a school district that is broke?
Do you mean to tell me you deny the kids nurses and supplies while this payroll pig-out is going on? And where is the media on this?
It took me all of 10 seconds to go to www.watchdog.org and find Maura Pennington’s story and the payroll list.
Thank you, Mayor
Philadelphia City Council has given Philadelphia the best gift with the ratification of Mayor Michael Nutter’s FY15 $2.5 million budget increase providing six-day-a-week open libraries.
Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia and our 50 Friends volunteer groups applaud Mayor Michael Nutter for the additional $2.5 million, every year for five years. Included in this budget is $200,000 dedicated to books, DVDs, periodicals and other materials to fill the shelves of neighborhood libraries. Library advocates, patrons and Philadelphians know that 21st-century libraries foster lifelong learning and are where communities go to enrich their lives and get connected.
Thank you, Mayor Nutter and City Council for your support to Philadelphia’s neighborhood libraries!
Karen D. Lash
President, Friends of Holmesburg Library