Letters to the Editor: Jan. 11, 2017

Find min­istry in home­less prob­lem

In re­sponse to Lisa Mul­lin and Joan Glynn’s Let­ter to the Ed­it­or, “Open old pris­on for home­less,” prin­ted on Dec. 28, 2016:

I was taken aback upon read­ing the let­ter from Mrs. Glynn and Mrs. Mul­lin, of­fi­cials of Good Shep­herd Luther­an Church. 

They were com­plain­ing that home­less people sleep out­side their church after hours and leave a mess. They ex­pressed con­cern as to how they would at­tract wor­ship­pers if people have to see that and walk around that. 

I have two things to say to these fine, up­stand­ing Chris­ti­an wo­men. One, read Mat­thew chapter 25:31-46. Once you’ve done that, ask your­self if maybe this home­less situ­ation is God’s way of plop­ping a much-needed min­istry right in­to your laps so you can do something about it, and by so do­ing, hon­or Je­sus, who said if you give food, wa­ter, and cloth­ing to “one of the least of these,” it’s as if you did it for him? 

There are oth­er home­less min­is­tries that would be more than happy to help you get star­ted and I would love to vo­lun­teer, hav­ing done this work many times in the past. 

If you’d like to find out how to start, please write to me in care of this news­pa­per. 

Re­mem­ber, it’s al­ways bet­ter to light a candle than curse the dark­ness.

A. Rav­in­sky 

Rhawn­hurst

Pay our teach­ers

The school dis­trict con­tin­ues to claim a budget de­fi­cit of $500 mil­lion five years from now based upon their self-serving num­bers.

Can any­one provide former Su­per­in­tend­ent Ar­lene Ack­er­man’s five-year fore­cast show­ing her $600 mil­lion de­fi­cit?

The school dis­trict is ly­ing to the pub­lic and de­priving our teach­ers of their prop­er salar­ies by find­ing ways to worry about what may or may not oc­cur.

If you were col­lege edu­cated look­ing to earn a de­cent liv­ing, would you rather be a teach­er or a SEPTA bus driver?

May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

Those Pas­sen­gers

I went to board a plane today

To take a trip that I had planned

Un­til a man with a gun showed up

And people fell down all around me

An ar­gu­ment aboard a plane

We shall nev­er be the same

A loaded gun held in his hands

I’ll nev­er un­der­stand it all

I saw blood spill­ing

And someone killing

Those pas­sen­gers

I heard their screams

Com­ing to­wards me

Those pas­sen­gers

I saw them dy­ing

And I’d be ly­ing

If I said I wasn’t sac­red

I watched so many lives fall

I heard the lucky ones pray

While the oth­ers lay dy­ing

All be­cause we were fly­ing

Three clips were used so fast

Those scars will last a life­time

Did he simply just lose his mind

Or was there something else here

Dear God look­ing down from Heav­en

We ask that you look over those we lost

Lift them back up to where they be­long

And give us the cour­age to re­main strong

I saw blood spill­ing

And someone killing

Those Pas­sen­gers

I heard their screams

Com­ing to­wards me

Those Pas­sen­gers

I saw them dy­ing

And I’d be ly­ing

If I said I wasn’t scared

John J. Rup­pert

May­fair

Soda tax all-around bad

I am amazed that May­or Ken­ney would risk the cred­ib­il­ity of his whole ad­min­is­tra­tion over a pun­it­ive soda tax that he nev­er bothered to cam­paign for. Does he want po­lice chas­ing soda boot­leg­gers who buy in the sub­urbs, and sell out of their cars? 

This is a very re­gress­ive tax. The seni­or cit­izen or poor per­son pays the same ex­act tax as a mil­lion­aire. I ex­pect that some gro­cers will spread the tax over mul­tiple items, so that even if you don’t drink soda, you’ll pay more any­way.

New Jer­sey just raised its gas tax 23 cents a gal­lon, in line with Pennsylvania rais­ing its gas­ol­ine tax to a na­tion-high of 78 cents a gal­lon. Think about it -— when you fill up your tank, you’re pay­ing nearly $15 in state tax.

Did any of these elec­ted of­fi­cials cam­paign, say­ing, “Vote for me and much high­er gas taxes?” 

Gov­ern­ment ar­rog­ance has nev­er been high­er, nor has its al­li­ance with big busi­ness and big me­dia ever been more cor­rupt. The big­ger the gov­ern­ment’s reach, the smal­ler the cit­izen’s free­dom. 

Do they think that the rise of Don­ald Trump (and to some ex­tent , Bernie Sanders) is a fluke? 

People are angry that our lead­ers are so re­mote, un­re­spons­ive and ar­rog­ant about what’s best for us. 

People shouldn’t have to ask why a very im­per­fect Don­ald Trump was elec­ted pres­id­ent. Ex­pect a lot of “little Trumps” to be elec­ted in the near fu­ture.

Richard Iac­on­elli

Rhawn­hurst

No be­ne­fits to pre-K

So the may­or and cer­tain mem­bers of City Coun­cil were able to shove the bever­age tax down the throats of the cit­izens of Phil­adelphia. But here’s the truth they don’t want you to know about pre-K pro­grams, and I in­vite any­one to re­search it for them­selves.

The De­part­ment of Edu­ca­tion, after 50 years, has con­cluded that they have hardly any re­search con­firm­ing Head Start’s ef­fect­ive­ness.

In a 2010 art­icle, Is Head Start Work­ing For Amer­ic­an Stu­dents, the find­ings were as fol­lows: 

“The study demon­strated that chil­dren’s at­tend­ance in Head Start has no demon­strable im­pact on their aca­dem­ic, so­cio-emo­tion­al, or health status at the end of first grade. That’s right. If you were a moth­er who lost the lot­tery, couldn’t get your child in­to Head Start, and had to care for her at home, she was no worse off at the end of first grade than she would have been had she got­ten in­to Head Start.” (Grover J. Russ White­hurst, Jan 21, 2010).

The De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices also re­por­ted in 2010, “Head Start has little to no ef­fect on cog­nit­ive, so­cial-emo­tion­al, health or par­ent­ing out­comes of par­ti­cip­at­ing chil­dren.”

So, con­grat­u­la­tions may­or and those on City Coun­cil who voted for the bever­age tax, you’ve man­aged to pos­sibly cost the city more jobs, in­clud­ing uni­on jobs, cre­ate more fin­an­cial bur­den for busi­nesses and  the cit­izens of Phil­adelphia and will ul­ti­mately cause more people to leave the city, fur­ther erod­ing the tax base.  

And all for something that has proven to be in­ef­fect­ive, with a tax­pay­er tab of $180 bil­lion since 1965.

Way to go, geni­uses.

Peter Di­Gi­useppe

Rhawn­hurst

Vote out tax sup­port­ers

Would you pur­chase a $20,000 auto­mobile and pay $10,000 in sales tax? Would you buy a new $600 kit­chen ap­pli­ance and pay $300 in sales tax?

Of course you wouldn’t. That is 50 per­cent in taxes. That would be ri­dicu­lous.

Well, that is what our City Coun­cil mem­bers voted in­to law for their con­stitu­ents… an ex­cise tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on most bever­ages pur­chased in the City of Phil­adelphia. 

This tax, con­stantly re­ferred to (in­ac­cur­ately) as a sug­ary drink tax, also in­cludes diet bever­ages and even vit­am­in-en­hanced flavored wa­ters.    

Al­though we were giv­en warn­ing that this would com­mence on Jan. 1, I won­der how many cit­izens ac­tu­ally took time to do the math to real­ize how much we were be­ing taken over by our elec­ted “rep­res­ent­at­ives”   A gal­lon of iced tea — reg­u­lar or diet — is 128 ounces.  At 1.5 cents per ounce, the tax on that is $1.92. So, if that iced tea is on sale for $2, the tax rate on that pur­chase is 96 per­cent, al­most double the price of the item.  In some cases, the tax is more than the ac­tu­al cost.

How dare they call them­selves our “rep­res­ent­at­ives?”   Rep­res­ent­at­ives are defined as “people chosen to act and speak on be­half of a wider group.”   

I’m sorry, but these people do not speak for me.   With the ex­cep­tion of the three Re­pub­lic­an Coun­cil mem­bers and one lone Demo­crat — Coun­cil­wo­man Maria D. Quinones-Sanc­hez — every mem­ber of Phil­adelphia’s City Coun­cil voted to bur­den its cit­izens with this tax. I give Ms. Quinones-Sanc­hez much cred­it for up­hold­ing her per­son­al con­vic­tions and re­fus­ing to vote along with her party lines.

This was all done un­der the premise of en­cour­aging Phil­adelphi­ans to make health­i­er choices (then why the tax on diet drinks and vit­am­in en­hanced wa­ters?) and also to fund a uni­ver­sal Pre-K pro­gram. While Pre-K is a noble cause and im­port­ant, it should not be a bur­den on, for ex­ample, seni­or cit­izens liv­ing on a fixed in­come who just want to pur­chase some iced tea. I’m sure their wants and needs do not lie with a Pre-K pro­gram. 

How about the thou­sands of col­lege stu­dents at­tend­ing school in the city? I’m sure their uni­versit­ies will pass this tax on to them in the form of more ex­pens­ive meal plans in the fu­ture. So, for every­one who may be­ne­fit, there are count­less oth­ers who will only find this a hard­ship and will see no dif­fer­ence in their lives.   

I and many oth­ers will be trav­el­ing a few short miles to Bucks, Mont­gomery or Delaware County to pur­chase their bulk bever­ages in the fu­ture. However, every­one does not have the means or the time to take ad­vant­age of that op­tion.   

Why a “per ounce” tax? There has to be a bet­ter solu­tion. Per­haps some new faces on City Coun­cil would be able to come up with something. Yes, new faces. I urge every Phil­adelphi­an to call, write or email the present City Coun­cil mem­bers and voice your dis­sat­is­fac­tion.   Or, bet­ter yet, show them in the next elec­tion. Stop vot­ing for the same people over and over just be­cause they might have done your cous­in’s friend’s uncle a fa­vor, or be­cause they shook your hand at a train sta­tion, or just be­cause it’s easi­er to pull that big lever than to ac­tu­ally vote for an in­di­vidu­al based on their own mer­it (no mat­ter what their polit­ic­al party) and who will be a true rep­res­ent­at­ive of the people of Phil­adelphia.

Bar­bara Per­kis

Winchester Park

Un­happy with soda tax

Usu­ally, when writ­ing a news­pa­per, I write about my per­son­al opin­ion on something. This time is dif­fer­ent. Be­cause this time, it’s the people talk­ing. I say this be­cause I have re­ceived count­less Face­book posts and mes­sages by people with their dis­pleas­ure of the soda tax. This tax does not talk to the will of the people.

I have yet to meet any­body who be­lieves that the city will get the rev­en­ue that they think they will get from the soda tax. All this is go­ing to do is force people to shop in oth­er areas out­side the city. This will have a huge con­sequences on the Phil­adelphia eco­nomy. Busi­nesses will leave, and jobs will be lost.

It’s ob­vi­ous that May­or Jim Ken­ney and City Coun­cil didn’t see the re­per­cus­sions of this tax. The time has come for the people to be heard. I hope this ed­it­or­i­al starts that pro­cess. Our may­or and City Coun­cil have to real­ize that their spe­cial in­terest is not al­ways the in­terest of the people.

Dav­id Lee

Chalf­ont

An­oth­er tax hike in Philly

Let’s look at just some of the Phil­adelphia taxes we have had shoved at us. I re­peat, just some: 

Sales taxes (now at 8 per­cent in case you lost count); in­come tax; school, prop­erty and trans­fer taxes; res­id­en­tial park­ing fees; cable taxes; and vehicle in­spec­tion tax.

Now, the soda tax, which was pushed through even though some of our il­lus­tri­ous Coun­cil people knew that at least half was go­ing to the city’s slush fund. 

Why no at­tempt to col­lect the hun­dreds of mil­lions owed the city from de­lin­quent prop­erty taxes, util­it­ies, wa­ter and sew­er? How many vehicles do you see on the streets with ex­pired tags, stick­ers?

Oh, that’s right, that would take work. Work seems to be something that Coun­cil ab­hors. Plus, they don’t get any kick­back from that.

Tom Chi­ac­cio

Pennypack Woods

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