Letters to the Editor: June 11, 2014

Phil­adelphia’s prized pub­lic em­ploy­ees

For those of us who choose to enter urb­an pub­lic edu­ca­tion, we don’t ex­pect to get rich. The fact that we serve our fel­low cit­izens and, in some small way, con­trib­ute to­ward al­le­vi­at­ing so­ci­ety’s ills is of­ten re­ward in it­self. In ex­change, we also like to see every now and then that so­ci­ety ap­pre­ci­ates our ef­forts. 

Un­for­tu­nately, the City of Phil­adelphia, the Com­mon­wealth of Pennsylvania and the School Re­form Com­mis­sion con­tin­ue to den­ig­rate and de­grade us every chance that they get. When we ask for lib­rar­i­ans to nur­ture a child­hood spark of in­quis­it­ive­ness, we get lay­off no­tices and shuttered doors. When we ask for coun­selors to help guide so­ci­ety’s most vul­ner­able mem­bers through the treach­er­ous wa­ters of Amer­ic­an in­equity, we are giv­en plat­it­udes about how the money was giv­en away in tax breaks in or­der to spur eco­nom­ic growth. When we dare point our fin­ger at a gov­ern­ment that re­fuses to in­vest in our chil­dren, they shrug their shoulders and tell us it’s our fault for seek­ing a de­cent liv­ing wage.

And what of our “ludicrous” wages? Wages so high, they claim, that the SRC is seek­ing to fore­go any cost-of-liv­ing ad­just­ments and, in fact, de­mand that we give back 13 per­cent of it?

If salary is a meas­ure of one’s worth, then so­ci­ety must des­pise the edu­cat­ors of our city’s youth. Re­cently, TWU Loc­al 234, the uni­on that rep­res­ents the city’s bus drivers, was offered an agree­ment by SEPTA that would give them a 5 per­cent cost-of-liv­ing wage in­crease over the next two years. 

What are Phil­adelphia edu­cat­ors left to be­lieve? What should we think when one pre­dom­in­antly state-sup­por­ted en­tity gets so much fund­ing that it can af­ford to of­fer its pub­lic em­ploy­ees a 5 per­cent pay raise over the next two years, but the oth­er ex­pects its pub­lic em­ploy­ees to take a 13 per­cent pay cut? Clearly, there are pri­or­it­ies and these pri­or­it­ies do not rest with our chil­dren. Per­haps it’s time the teach­ers of this city aban­don their sense of civic duty and their de­sire to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion. Per­haps it’s time for them to ex­change their nu­mer­ous aca­dem­ic de­grees for a driver’s li­cense and a place be­hind the steer­ing wheel. 

Maybe then, we’ll fi­nally get some ap­pre­ci­ation.

George Bez­anis 

Fox Chase

The PPD is broken


Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Ram­sey, stop run­ning the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment the Chica­go way. You were giv­en a raise by May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter to stay in Phil­adelphia and take charge and re­store re­spect to the high­er com­mand per­son­nel. 

In­stead, you keep people in high com­mand who have been ac­cused of com­mit­ting crimes, and you say they only made a mis­take. The Pennsylvania Crimes Code would say dif­fer­ent, com­mis­sion­er. When you hear young po­lice of­ficers call­ing the com­mis­sion­er and the high­er-ups Al Ca­pone and his un­der bosses, you know there is a mor­ale prob­lem. 

Com­mis­sion­er Ram­sey, do the right thing. The men and wo­men of the po­lice de­part­ment want to look up to their su­per­visors, not down on them. 

The com­mand struc­ture needs to be changed. The PPD needs to clean out the ac­cused crim­in­als dis­guised as su­per­visors. We need to re­store pride, in­teg­rity and hon­esty to our high­er com­mand. 

When that hap­pens, the “thin blue line” will be re­stored to full strength.

Joseph Mc­Al­lister 

Re­tired P.P.D

Thank You, Com­cast


Well Mr. Iac­on­elli, the day I agree with you has fi­nally ar­rived. Com­cast has, in­deed, done us a fa­vor by block­ing the in­ept Phil­lies from our homes. The greed, however, be­longs to the Phil­lies, and I think they are cur­rently pay­ing the price of re­duced at­tend­ance as well as re­duced TV rat­ings.  

In block­ing out more than half the pos­sible view­ers, they took less money in or­der to keep the satel­lite pro­viders off the grid as well. This is not only greedy but also very short­sighted.  

Oh well, things will get a lot worse for the Phil­lies be­fore they get bet­ter, thanks to Mr. Am­aro and top man­age­ment. I, too, will en­joy the Eagles this fall.  Go Eagles! 

Joe Oren­stein


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