Northeast Times
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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:

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

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

Editorial: What a bonehead

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

Editorial: Voter ID is fair

Unless Pennsylvania’s so-called Voter ID law is struck down by the courts before The Big Day — the general election on Nov. 6 — every eligible voter in the Keystone State will be required to show poll workers valid photo ID before they’re permitted to enter the voting booth, thanks to the Republicans in Harrisburg.People who buy the argument that Voter ID is NOT an attempt by the ruling Republicans to suppress the votes of urban Democrats and help presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney win Pennsylvania also believe that the moon is made of cheese. Mike Turzai, the Republican majority leader in the state House of Representatives, admitted the GOP’s motives just last month.Aside from the Republicans’ obvious ulterior motives, however, Voter ID is a good idea. As proponents point out, citizens must show photo ID in order to purchase alcohol or gun, drive a car or get into the screening line at the airport. Showing valid ID will protect the integrity of the vote by virtually eliminating fraud at the polls.There’s still ample time for unregistered voters to find the necessary documents required to obtain a state-issued Voter ID card. The Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections, and PennDOT can do their part to get folks registered — thereby helping to increase voter participation and aiding the cause of democracy — by sending staffers with mobile electronic machines that verify required documents to senior centers, nursing homes, etc., to sign up voters on the spot.Election Day is more than three months away. May the best-organized political party win.

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

Letters to the editor: July 25, 2012

Silence is deafeningOn hearing the news concerning Monsignor Lynn’s sentencing, my first thought was to turn to the Catholic Standard & Times and send a missile to them about my thoughts. However, that institution is history. My theory of sending a letter to the CST was to get the big guy’s attention, the chief of the diocese, Archbishop Chaput. I wonder why he, the shepherd of his flock, including his own priests, would be so silent during the trial of Monsignor Lynn and all days leading up to his sentencing.The bishop is in charge of the diocese and is an extension of the pope in Rome —  the head bishop. He, the bishop, is to tend to his flock, being pastoral, supportive, understanding and just. He might have pulled the wampum over many of the parishioners in the diocese as well as some of his priests, but his silence and inactivity around the Lynn debacle is disgraceful and doesn’t even come close to being just.Hiding behind his collar, his bishop’s miter and staff is cowardly. He sat there day in and day out and pretended that the Lynn trial was so removed from his responsibility that I think at times he thought the trial was happening in some other state. Did he walk into a mess when he accepted the keys of the Philadelphia kingdom? Indeed. Did he attempt to try to support Lynn in any way, at any time, in any manner? NEVER.Every priest, bishop, cardinal and yes, even the Holy Fathers through the ages knew this was happening and many closed their eyes to some of the vilest of acts and closed their ears to the screams of abuse as well as ways to stop the sickness.How can those clergy, no matter what level of the hierarchical ladder they are standing on, sleep at night?Stephen T. FerryBustleton

Letters to the editor: July 18, 2012

Penn State isn’t the only cover-upIt sickens me to see the hypocrisy around the media’s non-stop assault on Joe Paterno. He is surely one of the most vilified Americans of our time, more so than the actual child abuser, Jerry Sandusky.One needs to remember that as the Jerry Sandusky abuse story broke, a parallel story also broke. Hall of Fame sportswriter Bill Conlin (sadly, a childhood hero of mine) was also accused of child abuse. He immediately retired, moved to Florida and will not speak. The story was briefly reported, but the media then quietly dropped it.Readers, use some logic. Bill Conlin worked at the old Inquirer/Daily News building for 40 years. He was known by reporters all over the country. And none of these people (who are trained to dig out stories) knew something was rotten in Philly?One has to believe, either every reporter was completely fooled by Conlin’s behavior, or that a few of them KNEW something was wrong but refused to investigate or say something. Why? Maybe like “JoePa,” this was out of shame for one of their own.The media crucify Paterno, but are they likewise running away from another big child-abuse story? They demand the Paterno statue be torn down, that Penn State football be suspended, yet one of their own, Bill Conlin, remains in the Hall of Fame. I have called and written to the Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News, asking them about why they attack Paterno but Conlin gets a pass. No one ever responds and my letters go unpublished.I hope someone has the courage to publish this letter.Richard IaconelliRhawnhurstOfficer Brian Lorenzo, we salute youToday our city says goodbye to a heroA life that touched so many is now goneWe are left to move on without your graceBut we’ll never forget the smile on your faceThose who had the chance to walk with youKnew you as a man with a heart of goldAnd a smile that would take your breath awayBut today Heaven has taken you from usWe are never given enough time to thank someoneLike you, Brian, for the sacrifices that you’ve madeThe lives you’ve changed and the joy that you gaveEach time we were all graced by your smiling faceToday all of our city will shed its tears togetherFor the loss of someone who made us all betterHeaven opens its gates to allow your soul throughOur Dear Officer Brian Lorenzo, we salute you John J. RuppertMayfair

Letters to the editor: July 11, 2012

Fourth of July entertainment was garbageI cannot believe that Mayor Nutter thinks Philadelphia should have national coverage for our Welcome America concert and fireworks.The city of Philadelphia will never receive national coverage when they continue to provide horrible entertainment year after year. When will the city get some class and provide entertainment meant to celebrate our nation’s independence? Just look at the other major cities and what they provide on the Fourth of July — Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. If I’m not mistaken, Philadelphia is the birthplace of America. We should act like it. Get some class entertainment next year. Year after year it is the same old garbage.Happy birthday, America!!Mark PuckerRhawnhurst

Letters to the editor: July 4, 2012

Happy birthday to America the BeautifulAs a former federal worker with 26 years of service at the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration, the Fourth of July, our nation’s 236th birthday, is an important day for me. I love the parades, barbecues, pool parties and mostly fireworks commemorating this day. Since the dawn of our nation, federal workers have played a significant role in America’s achievements.The contributions of federal workers will be very much in evidence this week as Americans prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday. Millions of Americans will check a weather report prepared by the National Weather Service, grill meat inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and flyin skies kept safe by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration.Others will enjoy time outdoors in our national parks, travel with children protected by car seats inspected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and visit post offices to mail letters and packages to loved ones serving in the military.My fellow federal workers and I are proud of the jobs we’ve done for America for the last 236 years. We wish you, and the nation we love, a Happy Independence Day.Gloria SpeerEast Torresdale