by Pete Mazzaccaro

Part 1.

It’s Valentine’s Day week. Time to buy the cards and long-stem roses. Make those dinner reservations and hire a babysitter. It’s time to remember the romance, even if it is at the prodding of Hallmark and the rest of the greeting card industry.

In our super cynical society, it’s sort of sweet that most of us still choose to follow the routines – to take on the roles expected of us and read our lines dutifully. It’s the least we can do. There’s no harm in having days set aside to remind us to get out of our own routines and take an accounting of other people, especially those who are close to us.

So yes, I’m going to mark Valentine’s Day the best I can. When you have small children doing so, it is all the more important. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of work, school and activities.

So be a big boy or girl and get with the holiday spirit.

Part 2.

On the subject of love, there’s a good opportunity coming up to show some for your neighbor. I’m not talking about the elderly couple next door or the family of five on the corner. I’m talking about the many people in the community you don’t necessarily know who need blood.

On Sat. Feb. 23, the Chestnut Hill Community Association will hold its annual community blood drive at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. The drive, which will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be conducted by Miller Keystone, an organization that supplies blood to local hospitals, including Chestnut Hill Hospital. A donated pint of blood will directly help a neighbor.

It’s a small thing anyone can do to help someone in need.

To donate, save the date and call Noreen Spota at 215-248-8810 to make a reservation. Organizers are also looking for volunteers.

Part 3.

Last but not least, I’m going to strain “the spread the love” metaphor to note that soon – very soon – Philadelphia will be making a move to change the way everyone in the city pays property taxes. While the outcomes of a new property assessment system remain unknown, most prognosticators agree that nearly every homeowner in Chestnut Hill will see his or her tax rate go up and the tax bill increase.

The CHCA will have already hosted its second straight panel on the Actual Value Initiative (AVI). The first was very popular with Hillers looking for answers and a venue through which they could lodge complaints. I think it’s safe to say there are few Hillers who won’t mind paying more taxes.

While the theory behind changing property assessments in Philadelphia is sound – the current system is overly complicated and demonstrably regressive and thus unfair – a quick move to hike taxes for the well-to-do could backfire. It would be much more like spreading the pain than spreading the love. Many who face stiffer tax bills have the means to pack up and take their tax dollars elsewhere.

There’s no doubt that many who live here right now really do love the city. And they love Chestnut Hill. But those feelings could quickly sour if there’s any sense of unfairness.

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