Letters to the Editor: May 18, 2016

I’m proud to be white

Re­gard­ing Philom­ena Am­ati’s let­ter in the May 11 edi­tion of the North­east Times, the concept of form­ing a com­mis­sion for white males would have nev­er even made it onto the bal­lot. This, os­tens­ibly, be­cause white males don’t face any chal­lenges. A no­tion that is at best, ludicrous.

Funny how it’s con­sidered “ra­cism” to ex­press white pride when, in his re­cent ad­dress to the gradu­at­ing class of Howard Uni­versity, Pres­id­ent Obama en­cour­aged the gradu­ates to “be strong in your black­ness.” I’d like to have seen the re­per­cus­sion if any­body said “be strong in your white­ness” dur­ing a com­mence­ment speech! And let’s not for­get that of­fens­ive pic­ture of the West Point gradu­ates hold­ing up their fists as a trib­ute to Black Pan­thers and “Black Lives Mat­ter.” Had that been a group of white wo­men show­ing some sort of white pride sym­bol, they’d have been ex­pelled.

My grand­par­ents came to Amer­ica — leg­ally — in 1912 from Ca­lab­ria, Italy. At that time, Itali­an im­mig­rants were treated worse than an­im­als and the only jobs avail­able to them were slave labor. They were hor­ribly dis­respec­ted, even beaten, and called all of those neg­at­ive epi­thets as­so­ci­ated with Itali­ans. They pushed past the vic­tim­iz­a­tion and cre­ated clean neigh­bor­hoods, res­taur­ants, churches and so­cial or­gan­iz­a­tions and ex­celled in the build­ing trade, mu­sic and art world, forever des­troy­ing the per­cep­tion that if your last name ends in a vow­el, you must be in the Mafia.

Be proud to be black — it’s your God-giv­en right; but don’t decim­ate me for my pride in be­ing white.

Gerri DiS­alvio Rup­pert


Sug­ar tax a bad idea

Do not cre­ate a new sug­ar tax in Phil­adelphia.

Cre­at­ing a new sug­ar tax will af­fect the eco­nomy throughout Phil­adelphia.

This new sug­ar tax will af­fect busi­nesses in Phil­adelphia in many ways, and con­sumers will leave Phil­adelphia and buy their products out­side Phil­adelphia at a lower price. This will truly af­fect Phil­adelphia city gov­ern­ment in many ways.

Wal­ter Pieczyn­ski

Ox­ford Circle

Prop­erty own­ers should ap­peal their re­as­sess­ments

In Claudia Var­gas’ May 7 Phil­adelphia In­quirer art­icle about the city’s prop­erty re­as­sess­ments, the fo­cus of the piece is on Cen­ter City, with a brief men­tion of how those in North­east Phil­adelphia are af­fected. While this story was im­port­ant in bring­ing at­ten­tion to a city­wide prob­lem that prop­erty own­ers can ap­peal un­til May 20, the art­icle doesn’t re­flect the grav­ity of North­east prop­erty own­ers’ pre­dic­a­ment.

Mi­chael Piper, the chief as­sess­ment of­ficer at the Of­fice of Prop­erty As­sess­ments, ad­mit­ted in the art­icle his of­fice got it wrong on the Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive for many of the cases con­cern­ing the land val­ues of the city’s prop­er­ties. 

Over the past sev­er­al years, the OPA has been ma­nip­u­lat­ing these val­ues us­ing fuzzy math in an ef­fort to make them fair, ac­cur­ate and uni­form. These num­bers are any­thing but, and in­stead are miss­ing the mark — and con­sequently, fail­ing miser­ably. 

In the situ­ations where a prop­erty own­er was over-as­sessed on his or her land value, the city should be of­fer­ing re­funds. But they’re not do­ing so. Un­der-val­ued land is the res­ult of the OPA’s in­com­pet­ence, and is of no fault of the prop­erty own­ers. It’s a lose-lose situ­ation in which the prop­erty own­ers and city it­self are los­ing rev­en­ue. 

Prop­erty own­ers of Phil­adelphia shouldn’t have to ac­cept, or be vic­tims of, this fraud­u­lent, rigged prop­erty as­sess­ment scheme. 

I en­cour­age every­one who feels they have been as­sessed at an im­prop­er value to file a first-level ap­peal by the May 20 dead­line.

If you miss this dead­line or are un­happy with the de­cision of the re­view, you can file an ap­peal with the Board of Re­vi­sion of Taxes (BRT) by Oct. 5. 

Chris­toph­er Ar­tur


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