Saturday, July 4, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 8:39 AM
AP photo

My Sunday Inquirer column about Rick Short's crusade against New Jersey's red-light cameras seems to have galvanized other opponents of these problem-plagued devices -- which supposedly enhance safety but definitely enrich municipal coffers.

Emails, voicemails and online comments reveal a genuine fervor for allowing the state's pilot program to expire Dec. 16. Which will be the case if N.J. Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth has anything to say about it.

Via email, Scanlon assails what he calls "the misinformation campaign by local officials and the camera companies" about purported safety improvements. In reality, he writes, the devices "virtually entrap people into committing thousands of technical - but not hazardous - violations." He likens this arrangement to "government stealing from the people it is supposed to serve." 

POSTED: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 10:49 AM
Anti-gay attack suspect Kathryn Knott

If I were Kathryn Knott’s lawyer, I’d be getting ready to argue that a Twitter feed absolutely is not a window into the soul.

Knott, 24, of Southampton, Pa., is one of three suspects charged in connection with the brutal beating Sept. 11 of a young gay male couple in Center City. The 2013 LaSalle University nursing graduate reportedly has been suspended from her suburban hospital job due at least in part to the appalling Tweets she posted about, you know, those icky sick people.

Like the ER patient whose severed fingers were on display in a photo she Tweeted.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 8:53 AM
At the Collingswood PATCO station, an advertisement aimed at LGBT consumers. Photo by Kevin Riordan

Reader reactions to my column about a group attack on two young gay men in Center City Sept. 11 offered much food for thought.

Except for a handful of haters -- dispatched to oblivion by the peerless invention called the delete key --  most of the emails were supportive of that radical 'homosexual agenda' item that calls for LGBT people to be able to live openly and in peace.

Some readers did suggest that the column in particular and the media generally are violating the due process rights of potential suspects, three of whom -- all of them Bucks County residents -- were charged Tuesday. Others insist that citing the role a part-time Catholic high school coach may have played in the incident was tantamount to Church-bashing, or Church-blaming.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 8:42 AM
Valerie Frick. Photo: Facebook

Valerie Frick, who disappeared Sunday and returned home Tuesday, says she was stressed out and simply seeking a break. She needed time to collect her thoughts, sort things out, settle down.

Been there. Haven't we all?

Then again, not all of us are public figures. And Frick, 61 -- co-founder of the Camden Children's Garden and Camden City Garden Club  -- says she "had no idea an adult could not make [a] choice" to go off on her own without telling anyone.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 7:16 PM
Monnette Sudler. Photo provided.

OutBeat,  billed as 'America's First Queer Jazz Festival,' opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at various venues in Philadelphia. 

"LGBT people have had a huge impact on the history of jazz," notes Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Center, which is producing OutBeat  and hosting discussions, receptions and other events. The center was awarded a $220,000 Pew Center for Arts and Heritage grant to underwrite the festival (WRTI-FM's interview with Bartlett is here).

The OutBeat lineup includes pianist Fred Hersch; guitarist (and Philly native) Monnette Sudler; the Bill Stewart Quartet; and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and a diverse array of other performers. The Painted Bride, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and Union Transfer -- site of Sunday's finale, featuring a dozen artists -- are among the venues.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 8:13 AM
Masonry is falling from former RCA building in Camden, NJ. Photo provided.

In Camden City Hall, whatever needs to be done -- like securing a downtown building the city has declared a public safety hazard -- always takes much, much longer than expected.

That's because it takes the people who are supposedly in charge time to figure out that whatever needs to be done needs to be done by somebody else. And the somebody else who's really responsible is always...somewhere else!

It's a fabulous arrangement.

POSTED: Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:52 AM
Bill Hansen, center, with Voorhees Township, NJ construction office employees wishing him a happy retirement. L to R: Lea Schaeffer, Rebecca Keane, Wendy Flite, and Valerie Marchitto. Photo provided.

After 83 years of work, Bill Hansen, 97, is retiring.

Monday is the Haddon Township, NJ resident's last day at Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling, the Cherry Hill firm where he's the permit coordinator. Hansen has delivered and picked up applications and work permits issued by municipalities all over South Jersey for decades; read the 2012 column I wrote about him here.

"This is the finale," says Hansen, whose first job was on a horse-drawn Jersey City milk wagon at age 14. He  later became a truck driver, shipyard worker, and supervisor of a home heating oil sales force. "I've never had  a job I didn't enjoy," he says.

POSTED: Friday, September 12, 2014, 5:20 PM
The blogger Brian K. Everett posted this image of himself documenting open sidewalks at Radio Lofts in Camden, nearly two weeks after a city inspection concluded the site should be fenced off to protect public safety.

Four weeks after a Camden blogger questioned the stability of a vacant downtown building -- and a day after he posted two-week-old municipal inspection documents urging immediate action --  the city is finally moving to secure the structure.

"If sounding a little alarmist is what it took to make sure people aren’t killed by falling objects, so be it," said Brian K. Everett,  whose NJ Poverty Reality blog suggested the Cooper Street landmark may be in danger of collapse, or could be demolished.

"There are no structural problems with the building," Camden spokesman Vincent Basara declared Friday, citing a city inspection as well as a preliminary review of outside consultant's inspection. "There is no structural damage to the building."

About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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