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Letters to the editor: Sept. 5, 2012

We must protect our great protectorsWhen an officer or firefighter passes away, the city joins together in supporting these fallen heroes. We clasp hands and collectively grieve for these members.In our prayers and conversations we recognize the tremendous sacrifices they make, and commend them for their heroism. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring our thoughts to center stage.All firefighters in our city need our support now more than ever. Every day these men and women make our homes safer, yet whether it is because of waves of brown-outs or a never-ending contract dispute, they are under attack.It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with our firefighters. We are all quick to recognize their need for support in the face of tragedy, but frankly the current environment they must endure is also a grave tragedy. Our neighborhood protectors should not have to worry about the ability to make ends meet.Our entire neighborhood should be grieving at the loss of respect given to these brave souls. Every day they stand up ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, and as their friends, family, and neighbors, we need to stand up with them.I recently sent a letter to Mayor Nutter asking him to accept the terms of the binding arbitration process.It is my hope that you will join me in fervent support for our firefighters.State Rep. Kevin Boyle172nd Legislative DistrictGutless theft of a flagAfter returning from vacation, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we realized someone had stolen our American flag. It had been on our front lawn since Sept. 11, 2001.Hopefully the person or persons who had the guts to steal it, have the same kind of guts it takes to protect it, like our men and women are doing right now overseas. My guess is they probably don’t.Brian DealMayfairSame-sex marriages are anything but traditionalAh, the left! Always ready to put out rhetorical fiction to advance an agenda. That was my reaction upon reading the lengthy letter by Kimberly Kunda justifying her “marriage” to her same-sex partner (Same-sex wife appeals for mutual respect, Aug. 15 edition). Her piece is pure rhetoric, because it rests on the flimsiest reasoning I have seen in some time.  First, she contradicts herself. She states that “free speech is a sacred, American right” then, later on, she writes that others don’t “have the right to have an opinion” on her marriage. Kim, isn’t that what freedom of speech is, the right to have and publicly state opinions? And that includes expressing opinions we may not like to hear, even ones that do not support certain so-called “lifestyles.” And, Kim, the fact that we debate marriage is not absurd, as you state, but is an exercise in free speech. The debate you decry came from YOUR side because your side made the redefinition of marriage an issue in the first place!  And, in an era when children more than ever need both strong male and female role models as parents, the benefits provided by solid heterosexual marriages need to be aired thoroughly, publicly and completely. This is called responsible citizenship, and both citizens and public officials alike have the duty to protect and preserve fundamental human institutions.These are institutions (of which traditional marriage is but one) that have been devised by humanity via trial and error over the course of millennia because they are most likely to produce happiness for individuals and benefits for the wider scope of whole societies.These institutions are so vital that governments have no right to tamper with them, and they most definitely trump American values like “equal rights.” Preserving these institutions is called responsible stewardship, and it falls to all of us to rise above the narrowness of self-interest and half-baked ideological schemes and defend them. Even you, Kim. Meanwhile, I’ve got a challenge for you: how about applying your writing skills to genuine literary fiction and avoid ideologically driven screeds?  As for the rest of us, to avoid falling for such folderol, we should definitely “eat mor chikin” and pray fervently for heaven to touch these misguided souls.George TomezskoFox Chase


Editorial: Let’s do it again

Yo, Philly, are you feeling left out? If not, you have no civic pride, you haven’t been watching the national political conventions, or both.Anybody who has ever lived in, worked in or visited the City of Brotherly Love has to be rather jealous of Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., the host cities of the Republican National Convention (last week) and Democratic National Convention (this week), where supporters have whooped it up for Willard Mitt Romney and Barack Hussein Obama.With the coveted title of host city comes a humongous dose of national attention — the kind that money just cannot buy. Indeed, the conventions themselves attract tens of thousands of politicians, delegates and their families, and journalists — in search of drama during events that have turned out to be largely free of suspense — who leave behind lots of money.Philly hosted both the Democratic and the Republican conventions in 1948, and it proved that it can be a terrific host city again in 2000, when newly installed Mayor John Street’s ultra-Democratic town did a fantastic job hosting the Republicans at the First Union Center.Philly has it all — tons of historical sites, hotels, restaurants, a great public transit system. It’s everything conventioneers could ever hope for. So, what do Tampa and Charlotte have that Philadelphia does not? Nothing, and a whole lot less.Note to Mayor Nutter, Gov. Corbett and Philadelphia’s hospitality industry: Get off your butts right now and start working to bring the Democratic or Republican National Convention to Philly in 2016. Philadelphia and democracy are a perfect match.Send letters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com


Letters to the editor: August 22, 2012

Those cameras are nothing to smile aboutI was very surprised to see an editorial last week praising these red light cameras (Let there be light).Suggesting that cameras be put on every corner is absurd. Next, someone will suggest putting one outside of every house, to prevent crime, of course. And after that, someone will suggest putting them in every house, because many crimes do happen inside the homes, and we want to be safe, don’t we? I don’t think so.Our founding fathers said things like, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” That was Ben Franklin.Patrick Henry got more to the point: “Give me liberty, or give me death.”A more contemporary quote that would fit here is from Dwight Eisenhower: “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking … is freedom.”May I add you won’t have to worry about looking before you cross the street, and you won’t have to worry about watching your children either. Is that really what anyone wants?Turning America into more of a surveillance society than it already is, is not the answer. Placing law enforcement into the hands of private companies that make money off it is a bad idea. Tweaking the yellow lights just a little bit could bring in millions more for the city and the company operating the program to split. Once they figure that out, the traffic lights on the Boulevard will be operating like strobe lights and the accidents will be up again. Do you really think they are concerned about your safety?You got to be kidding; it is all about money and control. These red-light cameras are a horrendous idea for the people of Philadelphia or anywhere in America. Time will tell.Frank YostRhawnhurstVoter ID is stirring our readers’ hornet’s nest And so it appears that Republicans are about to steal another presidential election, at least the second one in the last 12 years, and if that happens it will have been made possible, to one degree or another, by Republicans in high offices and in the American judicial system!Think not? In the year 2000, Jeb Bush, the then-Republican governor of Florida, was responsible for purging 173,000 voters from the Florida rolls; vote recounts precipitated by the so-called “butterfly” ballots — the ones with the hanging chads — were stopped by Florida’s then-secretary of state, Katherine Harris. As Florida’s secretary of state AND co-chair of George Bush’s Florida election efforts, Republican Harris was ultimately central to Bush’s election to the presidency, certifying that he had defeated Democrat Al Gore in the popular vote.Harris’ order to halt the recounts was upheld in the state circuit court, and though subsequently overturned on appeal by the Florida Supreme Court, that decision was reversed by the United States Supreme Court. One Republican justice, Clarence Thomas, cast what could arguably be construed as the deciding vote giving George W. Bush the election. And Mrs. Clarence Thomas, it should be noted, was a member of the Bush transition team.Slam dunk!With the assistance of George W. Bush’s brother, a Republican governor, and that of a Republican Florida secretary of state, and Republican justices, Bush beat Al Gore in Florida by a mere 537 votes — and that made Bush our king.As of Aug. 15, by virtue of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s Voter ID law, upheld by yet another Republican judge, the state of Pennsylvania is poised to steal the upcoming presidential election by disenfranchising possibly a million Pennsylvania voters “coincidentally” comprised of a similar disenfranchised demographic as in Florida in the year 2000. George Santayana told us about this kind of stuff: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”Arthur GurmankinBustleton


Editorial: Do the math

When Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. delivered an opinion earlier this month upholding  Pennsylvania’s new Voter Identification law, he must have forgotten to look at the calendar.Even the most simple math shows that there is not enough time for everyone who needs a photo ID to get one before the Nov. 6 election. PennDOT’s driver’s license centers will begin issuing those photo IDs this Monday. When you factor in the number of days those centers will be closed for holidays, you’ll see that only 57 days remain for a voter with no photo ID to get one. There are 71 driver’s license centers in the state, and most are only open five days a week, though some are open for six days. For argument’s sake, we’ll say they are all open for six days, and they all operate for 7 ¾ hours.And, because we believe in giving the benefit of the doubt, we’ll suppose  that PennDOT will assign one person in each center to handle only these photo IDs, though there has been no such announcement as the agency figures out how to proceed.All of this adds up to a total 31,264 hours these potential voters have to get their IDs before Election Day. The state has estimated that there are 750,000 people who are without photo IDs, and right now ineligible to vote.If you do the math, you’ll see that each person would have to get in and out of a PennDOT center in 2.5 minutes, if all 750,000 people showed up to get their photo IDs. It’s simply not possible.The state Supreme Court should delay implementation of the new law until the next election cycle. Let’s wait and do this right.Send letters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com


Letters to the editor: August 29, 2012

A plea for PumpkinWith summer ending, everyone goes on their final vacations — the last attempt of luxury before the warm weather is gone for another year. Unfortunately, some people would rather focus only on themselves, rather than the ones under their care. Being in rescue, I see so many pets being abandoned in shelters or the streets by people leaving for vacation. People can come back home, but their dogs or cats never will again.Pumpkin, a sweet orange tabby, is a victim of this cruel neglect, as she and her two kittens were found starving on the streets just a few weeks ago.Pumpkin’s kittens were adopted, but their lonely mother sits in a crate, still waiting and wishing for love again. If anyone can help give (or foster) this sweet and gentle girl a true home, please contact her caretaker, Janice, at zeusms08@aol.com or by calling 267-269-4040. So if you need to go away for a while, please have plans for your pets before you leave. There are always family, friends and boarding services to watch over your fur-baby. This way, you can both come back home, together. Please, don’t let your pets wind up like the others — forgotten — like poor Pumpkin.Gina DeNofaNormandy


Letters to the editor: August 15, 2012

A new way to crack down on the drunksA drunken driver kills someone. He or she gets caught, is fined and jailed. This is not acceptable because no one should have died in the first place. How can this scenario be stopped? Here’s an idea: Since we have plenty of police, detectives, investigators, and others, why not have them go back to the source of the problem? Find the tavern or the private party or wherever the place was that the guilty one became intoxicated. Then search out all the others that were present there, too. Finally, fine everyone at that affair, even those who were not in direct contact with the drunken person.What will this eventually do? This action may make people aware of what is going on around them at future affairs, and the mere threat of a fine (possibly $100 a head) may have folks consider speaking to the bartender or whoever is responsible at a party to take action.Awareness and responsibility seem to be the keys to help end this horrific problem. A considerate society means everyone must be involved.Nicholas ZeccaSomertonTacony needs a reality check To Alex Balloon, corridor manager of the Tacony Community Development Corporation, regarding plans to build all the storefronts on Torresdale Avenue (Grand plans in Tacony, July 18 cover story):Why? And for who? Are you kidding? It’s yet another waste of money. That’s like putting lipstick on a pig! Go with the times!You need a couple of pawnshops, tattoo parlors, a pool room, adult book store, head shop, two more 7-Elevens, and a rest stop for the hookers. And you could put car carriers down the middle of Torresdale Avenue for parking. Also, make the lot at Princeton Avenue and the Delaware River a trailer park!All of these will increase the economy for Tacony! If all of those fail, I suggest an air strike.J. “Boots” RitterAlmost gone Tacony


Editorial: Let there be light

What do you call a program that was established by the government, is run by the government, was created to save lives, and is, in fact, saving lives?A success.That’s right, folks. Those cameras that have been catching red-light runners at some of the worst intersections on Roosevelt Boulevard for seven years and are popping up at several other frustratingly congested intersections in Northeast Philly are doing their job.On the Boulevard alone, the number of pedestrians struck and killed by vehicles since the cameras were installed has dropped dramatically.In addition to adding funds to the city and state from financial penalties imposed upon red-light runners, the cameras are getting many motorists to do what they should have been doing all along — stop driving like maniacs, reduce their speed, and actually stop when the traffic light turns red.It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist — or even a Philadelphia Department of Streets official with a Ph.D in traffic engineering — to know that the city must do its level best to install cameras at as many busy intersections as possible, not just in the Great Northeast but throughout the City of Brotherly Speeders. Police need all the help they can get to crack down on red-light runners. Vigorous enforcement of the traffic code, aided by the marvelous technology mounted atop poles on the busy streets of the city, will do wonders to force all the Leadfoots to ease up on the accelerator and step on the brakes.Foes of red-light cameras need to remember this: We, the people, need government to protect us from ourselves.Send letters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com


Editorial: What a bonehead

It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and SteveLove and marriage know no boundaries


Letters to the editor: August 8, 2012

Yo, Philly, show some pride in your city!After living and working in Philadelphia all my life, I have moved to a retirement community in Schuylkill County.I am living near a family that has helped me get settled in, as I need assisted living. I’m grateful for family to help.Small-town life is so different. There is no hustle-bustle and noise of the city streets. A traffic jam is rare. Many people that I have met have lived their entire lives here and maybe visited Philly on a rare occasion.I felt that Philly was a small town compared to New York. We have so much to be proud of, especially now with the new Barnes museum, excellent theaters and restaurants everywhere. Our schools and universities are tops.I am proud to tell people that I am from Philly as I try hard to get used to the quiet of small-town life. Actually, I don’t have to tell people because most people can pick up my “Pfhilly” accent if I ask for “a cup of cawfee.” I didn’t think we spoke oddly, do ya?Enjoy the city, be proud of the Northeast and appreciate what you have.Janice JakubowitczPottsville, Pa., formerly of RhawnhurstKnights in shining carsI was diagnosed with cancer in February. My treatments included 45 radiation therapies and 12 chemotherapies. I stressed over how I was getting to these appointments, until I spoke to an “angel” who said they would help. When my family could not help, the “angels” came. I got to every appointment!When you are sick, having support, kindness and generosity really matters. So far, the treatments have worked and I am grateful for all my angels that gave me hope.Please, if you have a day to give, I can only say you will be rewarded in a way that is indescribable.Eva GebauerFrankfordTake a hike, CouncilmanOnce again in the Soviet Republic of Philadelphia, City Council has spoken with all-knowing wisdom.Councilman James Kenney has decreed the owner of Chick-fil-A must “take a hike.”Just what we need — push successful businesses out of Philadelphia (as if we have loads of them waiting to move in). And what was Chick-fil-A’s crime? The owner said he supported the biblical view of marriage as heterosexual, as he also supports closing his restaurants on Sundays. That’s it. No one who is gay is denied service. Is Mr. Kenney aware of the message he is sending? As a public official he is attacking a private business simply for the common, Christian beliefs of the owner. What does Kenney think of traditional Catholics? And free speech? His words seem deliberately “intolerant” to me. This is all part of a bigger political game plan. Ten years ago it was “all we want is civil unions.” Then it had to be marriage “equality.” Now, even President Obama uses the inclusive “gay, lesbian… bisexual, transgender community.”Pretty soon, gay marriage will be old business, as we push into gender-free, anything goes America. Absurd…or is it?This is not a civil rights issue, it is a technique for destroying religion. If you are seriously religious, you are now a bigot.And if you want to run a business in Philadelphia, prepare to shut up about it — or become an atheist.Richard IaconelliRhawnhurst


Letters to the editor: August 1, 2012

He yearns for mild gun-control reformsThe mass shooting in Colorado should motivate our legislators to come together and make sensible reforms to our gun laws. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen.I predict gun-control advocates will make reasonable proposals like an assault weapons ban and a “one handgun purchase per month” law. But then they’ll overreach and advance unwise laws that do nothing but inhibit law-abiding gun owners from protecting themselves — for instance, designating so many so-called “gun-free zones” that legally carrying a concealed weapon becomes impracticable.On the other side, the gun lobby and the politicians beholden to them will refuse to budge on anything. The mildest reforms will be decried as an assault on fundamental liberty — as if the right to buy 30-round magazines for Glocks belongs on the list of unalienable rights endowed by our creator.Debate will be filled with the same tired bumper-sticker logic and nothing will change. This process will repeat itself after the next massacre and the next one after that.Of course, I hope I’m wrong. I want to see someone step up and say, “I can work with you on no assault weapons and one handgun a month; but now we need to get something done about concealed carry reciprocity.”I yearn for compromise and reforms that hamper madmen and strengthen the citizens to stand up against them. I yearn for politicians who are reasonable enough to make it happen.Matthew McGrathBrookhaven