Letters to the Editor: May 14, 2014

Say no to status quo

On May 20, Phil­adelphia voters will go to the polls and cast bal­lots in primary and spe­cial elec­tions. As luck would have it, there are sev­er­al oth­er is­sues on the bal­lot that are im­port­ant to Phil­adelphi­ans. 

Per­haps one of the most im­port­ant ques­tions is Ques­tion #2, which would elim­in­ate “Resign to Run” for elec­ted of­fi­cials. Pro­ponents of a “yes” vote on this have ar­gued that such elim­in­a­tion will in­crease our clout out­side of Phil­adelphia.  Well, then, it is no won­der that Za­ck Stal­berg, him­self an in­di­vidu­al that lives out­side of Phil­adelphia in Mont­gomery County, has come out in fa­vor and has stated, “In fact, a yes vote for this bal­lot ques­tion is a step to­ward shak­ing up the polit­ic­al class.”  

We could not dis­agree more. This ques­tion was put on the bal­lot by that ex­act polit­ic­al class, i.e. our rep­res­ent­at­ives in City Coun­cil. And why wouldn’t they sup­port it? This is the type of is­sue that will pos­it­ively af­fect their polit­ic­al clout. This change in the Charter, a doc­u­ment which was writ­ten to give Phil­adelphi­ans con­trol over their gov­ern­ment and to com­bat pre­vi­ous cor­rup­tion in the same polit­ic­al cli­mate we find ourselves in today, would have us go­ing back­wards.

Such change will al­low Phil­adelphia elec­ted of­fi­cials to cam­paign for of­fice while hold­ing on to their cur­rent jobs. Polit­ic­al cam­paigns are all con­sum­ing and try­ing to do two full­time jobs, where you ap­peal to two sep­ar­ate groups of cit­izenry, is coun­ter­pro­duct­ive. 

On May 20, it is your turn to be the boss and tell your em­ploy­ees — our City Coun­cil mem­bers — to “quit this job if you want something bet­ter for your­self.”  

By ur­ging a “no” vote on end­ing Resign to Run, you have the op­por­tun­ity to put the power in the hands of the voters and tell City Coun­cil, “You can run for an­oth­er of­fice but it will not be on our dime.” 

Hope­fully, we will look back fondly on May 20, where we were suc­cess­ful in lead­ing the charge to “Just say no to the status quo.”  

Joe De­Fe­lice

Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or, Phil­adelphia Re­pub­lic­an Party

With Elec­tion Day loom­ing, she’s picked Arkoosh

For months I’ve tried to de­cide which Demo­crat to vote for in the primary for the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. I’ve done the home­work, at­ten­ded all but one of the de­bates, met each can­did­ate and staff mul­tiple times, listened, read, watched, con­sidered. It’s a hard choice.  Only re­cently has one horse in the race pulled in­to the lead for me — Valer­ie Arkoosh. 

All four Demo­crats have im­press­ive re­sumes and sim­il­ar po­s­i­tions, but when I fo­cus on pos­sible neg­at­ives in ad­di­tion to the pos­it­ives, most have more bag­gage than Valer­ie. She’s steady, calm, safe, re­fresh­ing, strong, fo­cused, straight­for­ward, en­er­get­ic, ar­tic­u­late, in­formed. 

Some won­der about her hav­ing not served pre­vi­ously in an elec­ted polit­ic­al of­fice. Since that will also be the case for the GOP nom­in­ee, it’s hard to see it as a li­ab­il­ity.  Valer­ie re­minds us that she, of all op­pon­ents, has spent more time in Wash­ing­ton re­cently work­ing to pass and im­ple­ment the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Some have wondered wheth­er there’s been too much made of her med­ic­al cre­den­tials. We have hos­pit­als, med­ic­al schools, phar­ma­ceut­ic­al and bi­otech com­pan­ies and fa­cil­it­ies for med­ic­al re­search. I would think know­ing medi­cine would be a re­quire­ment for rep­res­ent­ing the 13th.  

One of the biggest prob­lems after a knock­down-drag­out primary is to unite the fac­tions. An­im­os­it­ies linger.  I be­lieve Valer­ie has a clear ad­vant­age over oth­ers in the abil­ity to unite the party be­hind her. Every­one likes and re­spects her. Ex­pect min­im­al back­lash at­tached to her vic­tory.

I’m speak­ing out be­cause every­one can name re­cent ex­amples of the polit­ic­al base pick­ing a nom­in­ee who is un­ac­cept­able to the over­all elect­or­ate. It’s not just who can win the primary, it’s who can win in Novem­ber and who can func­tion in Wash­ing­ton. 

More than any­one, Valer­ie Arkoosh is the most nat­ur­al suc­cessor to Con­gress­wo­man Allyson Schwartz.

Mar­jor­ie Ber­ling­hof


Elect a man for the times

To serve as a state rep­res­ent­at­ive for the 173rd Dis­trict in these hard times de­mands a man with in­teg­rity, vis­ion, un­der­stand­ing and abil­ity. Mike Driscoll fits these cat­egor­ies to the fullest ex­tent. 

His in­teg­rity is bey­ond re­proach as a fam­ily man, busi­ness own­er, seni­or Ca­sey ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, former teach­er and civic lead­er. His vis­ion is to build a con­sensus of co­oper­a­tion amongst all seg­ments of the elect­or­ate to get things done promptly.  He un­der­stands the sys­tem and what it takes to fund pro­gram, wheth­er it in­volves seni­ors, vet­er­ans, stu­dents, singles, mar­ried couples, uni­on and oth­er work­ing house­holds. 

His abil­ity is based on his track re­cord of run­ning two suc­cess­ful res­taur­ants, Ash­burn­er Inn and Finnigan’s Wake, in the dis­trict and in Northen Liber­ties. Also, Mike helped run one of the largest de­part­ments in Har­ris­burg, the De­part­ment of Gen­er­al Ser­vices, dur­ing the Ca­sey ad­min­is­tra­tion. 

He will de­vel­op an edu­ca­tion plan to im­prove schools, keep them safe, and help them grow. He will sup­port vet­er­ans’ pro­grams and help im­prove fund­ing. He will be a hands-on rep­res­ent­at­ive and be in­volved in com­munity af­fairs.

His edu­ca­tion, gradu­at­ing from Car­din­al Dougherty High School, La Salle Uni­versity with a de­gree in edu­ca­tion, and the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania with a mas­ter’s de­gree in gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tion is prac­tic­al, prag­mat­ic and ef­fect­ive. 

Mike Driscoll is a multi-fa­ceted can­did­ate with brains, edu­ca­tion and ex­per­i­ence — a man for these times who can hit the ground run­ning from day one in Har­ris­burg.

Bob Dawson

Fox Chase

Change is com­ing to the NE

My name is Paul DeFinis and I am run­ning for state rep­res­ent­at­ive in the 173rd Dis­trict of North­east Phil­adelphia. You know me and my fam­ily. I have lived and worked in our dis­trict all my life.

I earned my po­s­i­tion on the bal­lot by di­li­gently se­cur­ing the re­quired num­ber of sig­na­tures on my nom­in­at­ing pe­ti­tions and by win­ning the sup­port of many of my neigh­bors.

Yet my op­pon­ents, Demo­crat­ic Party in­siders, have done everything in their power to re­move me from the primary, or fail­ing that, to dis­tract me from run­ning my cam­paign. They chal­lenged my pe­ti­tions — with many of your names on it — as in­val­id in the Com­mon­wealth Court. They lost. Now, they have taken the ex­traordin­ary step of ap­peal­ing to the state Su­preme Court.

While they have fo­cused on these strong-arm tac­tics, I have fo­cused on plans such as elim­in­at­ing or re­du­cing your prop­erty taxes in Pennsylvania. Real es­tate taxes hurt our seni­ors. We can make up lost rev­en­ue from cur­rently un­tapped sources, like our share of large cor­por­ate profits gen­er­ated from the gas shipped over­seas from the Mar­cel­lus Shale. Our share or pro­ceeds from nat­ur­al gas taxes can and will also fund and re­new the edu­ca­tion sys­tem for our chil­dren. I am work­ing on the Lid­don­field pro­ject site to bet­ter our neigh­bor­hood, bring pos­it­ive change and pre­vent un­wanted de­vel­op­ment. 

To at­tempt to pre­vent me from con­tinu­ing what I star­ted on the loc­al level, as your rep­res­ent­at­ive in the state House without an elec­tion, is pre­pos­ter­ous. To deny you, the voter, the op­por­tun­ity to have a con­tested elec­tion is not in the spir­it of a true demo­crat­ic sys­tem. Your voice needs to be heard. There will be an elec­tion. Change is com­ing to the North­east.

I ask for your sup­port on Tues­day, May 20, to be your can­did­ate for state rep­res­ent­at­ive in the 173rd Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict.

Paul DeFinis

Up­per Holmes­burg

Vote no on bal­lot Ques­tion 2

I agree with the ed­it­or’s po­s­i­tion op­pos­ing charter change ques­tion two. No elec­ted of­fi­cial can ef­fi­ciently rep­res­ent the cit­izens of Phil­adelphia while cam­paign­ing across the com­mon­wealth of Pennsylvania.

A “No” vote means that all elec­ted city of­fi­cials would have to abide by the cur­rent charter pro­vi­sion that says you must resign if you seek an­oth­er of­fice.

Ac­cord­ing to The Phil­adelphia In­quirer, a cur­rent Phil­adelphia con­gress­wo­man who is run­ning for gov­ernor has been miss­ing votes in Wash­ing­ton. Is there any more proof needed?

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Phil­adelphia has had many cred­ible elec­ted of­fi­cials that have sought oth­er of­fice and have done the right thing. Former City Con­trol­ler Jon Saidel did not seek re-elec­tion in 2005 when he planned to run for may­or two years later. Tom Le­onard and John Street resigned to run for may­or.

Myles Gor­don


Can­did­ate has let us down

Den­nis Kilderry, pres­id­ent of the Roosevelt Play­ground Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil — which dir­ectly over­sees and man­ages the tot-rec tu­ition fund­ing — al­lowed a long­time, sus­tain­able pro­gram to simply shut down last Au­gust. Kilderry, who touts him­self in his state rep cam­paign as the “cham­pi­on of the work­ing class,” did ab­so­lutely noth­ing to meet with the loc­al par­ents or the im­pacted teach­ers be­fore, dur­ing or after the clos­ure. 

Par­ents were in­con­veni­enced; chil­dren were left scram­bling for a new site; teach­ers lost their jobs yet, all through this fiasco, Den­nis Kilderry did noth­ing as the Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil pres­id­ent. He simply turned his back and al­lowed this vi­able and af­ford­able preschool pro­gram to die.

All fol­low-up re­quests by us for a tu­ition audit or some trans­par­ency on how this de­cision was reached through the Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil, whose meet­ings are no longer open to the pub­lic, have fallen on deaf ears. We are left with the ques­tion­able claim of “low en­roll­ment” from oth­er sources. Yet, the pro­gram en­rolled a vi­able 25 chil­dren in its last year. If this is how Den­nis Kilderry handles an im­port­ant loc­al mat­ter un­der his dir­ect con­trol, what kind of state rep would he be?

Den­ise Ma­tos, Cathy Le­onard 

Roosevelt Preschool

Boyle is the only North­east Phil­adelphia can­did­ate

It’s time to elect a new rep­res­ent­at­ive for Con­gress. What about North­east Phil­adelphia? We need to pick a rep­res­ent­at­ive to rep­res­ent the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, but more im­port­antly someone to rep­res­ent us. 

There are four can­did­ates on the Demo­crat­ic side that want to rep­res­ent us. Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies rep­res­en­ted this dis­trict 20 years ago and she is run­ning with the help of her friends in Wash­ing­ton and her daugh­ter in-law’s fath­er, Bill Clin­ton. She has noth­ing to of­fer us this time around for she has lost touch with the com­munity. 

State Sen., Daylin Leach lives out­side of our dis­trict. 

Now, there are two can­did­ates that ac­tu­ally live in the dis­trict. Valer­ie Arkoosh, of Glen­side, is an ob­stet­ric an­es­thesi­olo­gist whose cam­paign cen­ters around her re­cent work push­ing for the Af­ford­able Care Act. 

So where is the North­east Phil­adelphia can­did­ate? Brendan Boyle is a res­id­ent of the 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict as well as a lifelong Phil­adelphi­an. Mr. Boyle rep­res­ents his con­stitu­ents every day in Har­ris­burg. Over 95 per­cent of labor or­gan­iz­a­tions have en­dorsed Mr. Boyle. Mr. Boyle has stated that he feels that com­munit­ies are im­port­ant and that Con­gress has ig­nored urb­an neigh­bor­hoods and older in­ner sub­urbs. There is a need to re-in­vest in and re­vital­ize areas that need it. 

This must not only be a loc­al is­sue, it needs  to be­come a na­tion­al pri­or­ity. Iron­ic­ally, loc­al ward lead­ers Janice Sul­man, John Sabat­ina, Bill Dol­bow and Mike McAleer re­fuse to sup­port Mr. Boyle, for he is not one of them. Mr. Boyle wasn’t groomed by old school politi­cians to fol­low their path and do what’s best for them or the party, but he does what’s best for the people. 

It’s sad that these lead­ers would prefer an out­sider to rep­res­ent North­east Phil­adelphia. Mr. Boyle star­ted in polit­ics as a young kid from Ol­ney, who after gradu­at­ing from Car­din­al Dougherty, Notre Dame and Har­vard went door to door ask­ing for sup­port and show­ing his eager­ness to serve his com­munity. I can still re­mem­ber a 20-something Boyle knock­ing on my door. My first thought was he is too young to rep­res­ent me. After two tries to be a state rep­res­ent­at­ive, he suc­ceeded and con­tin­ues to suc­ceed in Har­ris­burg. We as North­east Phil­adelphi­ans need this same ef­fort and suc­cess rep­res­ent­ing us in Wash­ing­ton. 

No mat­ter whom you vote for, take your priv­ilege ser­i­ously and vote. But, if you want to be rep­res­en­ted in Wash­ing­ton, you should vote for Brendan Boyle.

Susan M. Schmidt


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