Pleased by active police response

We want to publicly thank several of our local police officers. It is a story of one good thing leading to another.

The article in the 8/22/13 Local, urging residents to report anything that feels suspicious by calling 911 was very helpful. It is so easy to talk ourselves out of suspicions and intuitions that things are “off.”

Shortly after reading the article, Janet experienced something “off” in our immediate neighborhood. She expected to not be taken seriously when she called 911 the following day, with her delayed reaction and was happy that was not the case. The 911 operator was excellent.

Officer Nurse came to our house within an hour and took her report quite seriously. We were so impressed with both Officer Nurse’s warmth and professionalism and that of the two officers who followed up a few days later. Both Officer Harris and Officer Seymour could not have been better at listening to our concerns and providing good security advice for the future. You featured their picture in your article.

This iced the cake, already started by Officer Mahan’s contact with Ralph as he drove through our neighborhood. All four officers have been excellent in our contacts with them, and we are very grateful that they are patrolling our area.

We also understand that Captain John Fleming of the 14th District has been instrumental in this effort. We would like to thank him, as well. It is heartening to know we are in such good hands. We have such a great team working on our behalf in Chestnut Hill.

Janet Mather and Ralph Purvis

Chestnut Hill

 

Assumptions on race are uncalled for

I wish to respond to the Aug. 29 letter of Joseph A. Ferry.

Perhaps Mr. Ferry should not assume to know that Trayvon Martin was a “cracker hater.” Did Mr. Martin describe Mr. Zimmerman as a “weird a** cracker” to his girlfriend on the cell phone while being pursued by someone that law enforcement instructed to stay in his vehicle and that they did not need him to follow the “suspect.”

So basically according to some, African Americans are not at liberty to walk where they please when they please. Did Trayvon Martin steal George Zimmerman’s iPod? Why is a stolen iPod even in Mr. Ferry’s letter? Keep a Philadelphia crime separate from the Trayvon Martin case.

Stand your ground basically allows for two people to be in a fight, but when one is better at defending himself skin to skin, the other can pull out a gun, kill, and claim self defense later.

Damali Dixon

Bala Cynwyd

 

Unions did much for workers’ rights

As Pete Mazzaccaro noted in last week’s editorial, “the working conditions of our labor force today are far removed from those of 119 years ago.”

Of course our working conditions did not improve by themselves. No matter what one feels about labor unions today, we should all remember with gratitude the countless union members who struggled so hard, even sacrificing their lives, in order to achieve the rights that we take for granted today:

• 8-hour workday, 40-hour work week, and weekends off

• All breaks at work, including lunch breaks

• Paid holidays and vacation

• Pregnancy and parental leave; Family and Medical Leave Act

• Sick leave

• Social Security

• Unemployment insurance

• Minimum wage

• Civil Rights Act/Title VII (prohibits employer discrimination)

• Overtime pay

• Child labor laws; public education for children

• Workplace safety standards and regulations

• Worker’s compensation

• Pensions

• Employer health insurance

• Employer dental, life, and vision insurance

• Collective bargaining rights

• Wrongful termination laws

• Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

• Whistleblower protection laws

• Employee Polygraph Protection Act (prohibits employers from using lie detector tests on employees)

• Veteran’s employment and training services; military leave

• Sexual harassment laws

• Americans with Disabilities Act

• Privacy rights

• Right to strike

• Equal Pay Acts of 1963 and 2011 (requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)

• Laws ending sweatshops in the United States

Noreen Spota

Chestnut Hill

 

March recollections are appreciated

Thanks to the Local for featuring a front page commentary (8/29 issue) on the March on Washington, past and present, by Phyllis and Richard Taylor. Their reflections on that day in 1963 brought the struggle for human rights home to Philadelphia in a powerful way.

The Taylors are to be recognized and greatly appreciated for the many brave and prophetic actions they have taken over many years to alert our community to a higher standard of social justice, whether it be opposing racism, protecting the environment, prison reform or the practice of nonviolence in national or world affairs.

Sincerely,

Jack Malinowski

West Mt. Airy

 

Children deserve better from schools

Thank you Sue Ann Rybak for your article on the continuing crises of the Philadelphia School District. While the teachers, staff, students and families have not caused the current financial situation, we are being punished for it with fewer teachers, increased class sizes, no extra-curricular programs, no money for books and supplies, limited nurses and very few counselors.

The School Reform Commission – under state control since 2001 – has arbitrarily determined that schools with a student population of 600 or more will have a counselor reinstated, and schools with less, will not.

Will the children in schools without the benefit of a counselor not have any crises or only have them on the days the itinerant counselor is in the building? Will students no longer need assistance completing applications to high school or college? Who will handle IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) for those students deserving of learning or gifted support? Who will help keep the schools safe when staff has already been reduced to a skeleton crew?

A counselor is an integral part of a school’s community, providing support to all in the building and is someone essential to providing a quality education for children.

The constitution of the Commonwealth (Article 3, Section 14) calls for providing the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth. It’s time the state does its part to uphold the constitution and it’s time for city leaders to come together with the state to find a solution to this immediate crisis with full restoration of teachers, secretaries, counselors, noon-time aides, programming, and books and supplies – everything that makes a school a school.

Officials at the state and local level must work toward a fair funding formula so that we are not dealing with this problem year after year. Our children are the future and our children do not deserve to be pawns in this political game.

Jennifer Aiello

C.W. Henry parent

W. Mt. Airy

  • d_weller

    @Damali:

    Well, you got the “weird-ass cracker” quote right, but Zimmerman wasn’t “pursuing” Martin, he was following him – an act not incompatible with Zimmerman’s function as a town-watch operative, and not against the law in any state.

    Further, Zimmerman was never “instructed by law enforcement to stay in his vehicle” – the exact words of the 911 dispatcher (who was NOT an agent of law-enforcement) were “we don’t need you to do that”.

    Clearly, your disappointment at the outcome of the Zimmerman trial is clouding your ability to parse simple facts – inconvenient facts, but facts nonetheless.

    The likelihood that ANY of the next 1,000 African American kids who are gunned down will be by a Town Watch operative is virtually zero – you should save your concern for the clear & present danger represented by the much more plausible circumstance.