Letters to the editor: Oct. 17, 2012 edition
The double standard is in black and white
I have been paying public school taxes since 1950, and although I never had a child in a public school and I retired 18 years ago, the beat goes on. I’m shocked to read that some schools are “Democrat” and a student wearing a Romney/Ryan shirt was compared to a teacher wearing a KKK shirt.
Do we also have Republican schools where a student wearing an Obama shirt would be ridiculed and threatened and afraid to return to school? Of course not, as that would be racial intimidation and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could go nationwide with it.
If this teacher wants a real cause celebre, she should ask why we can have black student council, black clergy, black caucus and hundreds of others, who by their very titles are discriminatory.
If we have any groups that start with “white,” I’ll apologize, as I’ve never heard of them, and it was years ago that country clubs, swim clubs, etc., had to integrate or lose their charters. If there is a difference between “whites only” drinking fountains and “Democrats only” political shirts, I can’t see it, except to say, wake up, Philadelphia — we’re paying for these schools and teachers, and look what’s happening!
Our city workers don’t have it so bad
I am in total agreement that City Council and their staff and upper management are stealing from the city. Here is where I have a problem with Mike Linahan’s analysis of why the city has such financial woes (Don’t blame the workers, says recent retiree, Oct. 10 letter).
First, I think Mike should have told us how much he got from the DROP program if he was in it. It is a program that no city employee should have available to them, as it is a monumental rip-off of all city taxpayers.
Secondly, let’s say for the sake of argument there are 100,000 city employees, and Council and all those people make up 1,000 of them. Every payday, the city has to pay 99,000 other city workers besides the 1,000 Council types. The lion’s share of the cost of payroll goes to the 99,000.
All city workers get more days off — sick, personal, annual and paid holidays — than anyone in the private sector. Being asked to forego raises because your benefits are already too expensive for the city to handle is nothing to complain about, and should be expected.
My math says that before you retired you were getting $429.20 more per paycheck than when you started, no matter how you broke it down in your article. That sounds really nice to me. Now that you are retired the city is obliged to pay for your medical for five more years. Another great deal.
One of the main reasons the city is constantly raising taxes is to afford all the great pension plans, medical plans and other benefits for all city workers. So don’t complain if your cost of living is up in Philadelphia. If you were still working last week, you would have been off for Columbus Day!
Speeders put children in danger
If Pennsylvania needs more revenue, please have police officers stationed at every school at opening and closing before someone gets killed.
I take my grandson to New Foundations Charter School at Rhawn Street and Torresdale Avenue. Drivers fly up Rhawn Street and past St. Dominic’s on Frankford Avenue and St. Katherine’s, also on Frankford Avenue. Police could make a fortune with tickets.
When the new high school opens on the other side of Rhawn Street, it will be horrible. The school and police need to figure out a new system to ensure our children’s safety.
Killers should not be killed
Regarding Mildred Koch’s letter, Let the people decide on the death penalty (Oct. 3 edition):
Dear Mildred: You ask, “are we not allowed to punish the perpetrators?” Yes, punish — not kill! That prerogative belongs to God alone, but I guess it’s OK because we don’t kill other human beings like unborn children, right? Who’s next? Mildred? At what point do we stop all the killings and bloodshed?
Michael Joseph Jones
Pay to play in the school gym? Foul play!
As a father, long-term coach, Catholic League basketball official, former athletic director, and assistant athletic director, I have seen the huge part athletics play in the development of our neighborhood children.
There is a new plan being implemented in the School District of Philadelphia that will require any organization in need of time in the school gyms to pay an hourly rate of $57 for grade schools and $72 for high schools. This is for all time after 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday.
This new policy will effectively create chaos, with many organizations vying for the free time and no one being able to afford the paid time.
While I fully understand the fiscal situation of the school district, I also understand the impact on the neighborhood when these thousands of kids are now left with no structured leagues and organizations to participate in and will choose to roam the streets unsupervised.
This issue was raised last year at the end of the season and somehow City Council was able to step in and rectify the financial hurdles, and while it was heartwarming to see the mayor and so many City Council members appear at the news conference to make the announcement in a “Kumbaya moment,” there has not been such talks going on this time around.
As a taxpayer who made the choice to send my children to Catholic schools and has seen the amount of police and fire personnel deteriorate dramatically over the last five years, I felt the one area I was getting some return on my taxes was the use of these facilities. Now I can’t even claim that as a benefit of my constantly increasing taxes (four times in the last four years).
I have read Councilman Brian O’Neill’s consistent “I didn’t vote to raise your taxes — it was all those other bad people in City Hall” comments, and frankly I am fed up with the excuses. No more leaf collection, shoddy snow removal, trashy and overgrown parks and streets due to the decimated and diminished workforce that has been without new contracts for over five years. Enough is enough!
I encourage every parent and community leader to flood their councilperson’s office (numbers are available by accessing the www.phila.gov Web site) and let them know how destructive this new policy is to our children and the future of this city, and you will remember them at election time.
Editor’s note: Mr. Rubin was Mr. O’Neill’s Democratic opponent in last year’s election.
Is Schwartz OK with reduced Medicare?
If there was a debate between 13th Congressional District candidate Joe Rooney and incumbent Alyson Schwartz, my question would be based on Tom Waring’s Sept. 12 article Schwartz stresses importance of Medicare.
How does Congresswoman Schwartz plan to protect both the participation and benefits in maintaining Medicare as “America’s great promise of health care for our seniors”?
I would like to know how the creation of accountable care organizations through the Affordable Care Act benefits Medicare participants under the shared savings requirement, considering that organizations that meet specified quality performance standards will be eligible to receive a share of any savings if the expenditures of their assigned Medicare beneficiaries are a sufficient percentage below their specified benchmark amount.
This sounds like Congresswoman Schwartz supports the reduction of Medicare benefits similar to cost containment methods found in rationing of care.
Teacher should follow Honest Abe’s lead
Regarding the comment made by Lynette Gaymon of Charles Carroll High School saying that the high school is a “Democratic” school, does that mean it is a black school?
She further insinuated that the Romney T-shirt was like wearing a KKK shirt. I wonder why Gaymon does not support Romney, who is a Republican. After all, Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.
Happy 90th birthday to my hero!
As many of us sit and watch the new release of Marvel Avengers or enjoy the latest Batman movie, as we have fond memories of who our superheroes were growing up — whether it be Captain America, Spiderman or Superman — I guarantee my superhero and all the superheroes just like him far surpass any of those we see in the movies.
My superhero is my father-in-law, Edward J. Pownall Sr., who turned 90 years old on Oct. 9. My superhero was born on Oct. 9, 1922 in Philadelphia. He was a sergeant in World War II. Some of his battles were in Sicily, Rhineland and Ardennes; he stormed the beaches in Normandy and served in Central Europe with the 39th Infantry Regiment.
He was a leader in the Army and was shot twice in the war with wounds to his hand and to his leg. He still has pieces of shrapnel in his calf. He was shot while serving in France on July 19, 1944, and shot again while serving in Germany on Jan. 15, 1945.
Both times he was shot while, instead of trying to save himself, he went back to save and help the other men in his unit.
My father-in-law received the Purple Heart Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with five Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Distinguished Unit Badge. My hero does not wear a cape and he does not live in a mysterious cave or mansion. My hero lives at Immaculate Heart of Mary Nursing Home in Northeast Philadelphia, where he can be found watching the MLB playoffs, and if it’s Sunday, you better believe he will be watching the Eagles.
My husband, Edward J. Pownall Jr., and myself bring my hero over to our home a couple times a week for dinner and we enjoy his company.
I cannot thank my father-in-law enough for the sacrifices he has made for his country. I cannot thank him enough along with my own father, a Vietnam War veteran, along with all the men and women who served and presently serve our country. But one way to thank my hero today is by this article, which has given me the opportunity to acknowledge a hero and to celebrate his 90th birthday and many more! Love, your daughter-in-law.
This is Depression Awareness Month
October is Depression Awareness Month — a time to recognize a condition that affects nearly 10 percent of the population, according to the CDC.
Each year, an estimated 8 million to 10 million people experience the loss of a loved one. In addition to death, people experience the loss of a job, a child leaving home or other major life changes such as a divorce.
Each of us experiences grief through a range of emotions such as sadness, confusion and anger, and the grief process is unique for each person. But sometimes intense feelings of hopelessness and guilt do not go away and are accompanied by physical symptoms like loss of appetite, sleeping problems and trouble concentrating on daily tasks.
When the emotions of grief persist for a prolonged period and affect all aspects of a person’s life, this is known as “complicated grief.” If untreated, complicated grief can lead to health conditions like depression, substance abuse and heart disease. People who are at the highest risk for depression are those with a past history of the condition or those who lack a strong support system.
Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, joining a local grief recovery program or seeking treatment from a professional, no one should experience grief alone. If you know someone who is grieving, let the person know you are there for them. Simply showing your support can make all the difference.
Crossroads Hospice, Plymouth Meeting
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