The Kennedys’ reported plan to purchase the Philadelphia Eagles in 1962 may be the subject of speculation, but their substantial involvement with the National Football League in that year is not (“Kennedys’ flight of fancy?” Nov. 20).
At the end of the 1961 season, the Washington Redskins were the last NFL team whose roster was all-white, as their owner had staunchly refused to sign any African Americans. Early the next, the Kennedy administration threatened to revoke the Redskins’ 30-year lease on the government-owned D.C. Stadium.
Before Khrushchev blinked in October, 1962, Redskins owner George Preston Marshall did — when he signed his first black player, running back Bobby Mitchell.
It is a certainty that every candidate for governor of Pennsylvania will tell us that our best days are ahead. As a realist, I am skeptical.
Gov. Corbett has been unable to pass three critical pieces of legislation in Republican houses of the General Assembly, both of which one would expect would be friendly to him and aligned with his goals for the state. Despite extensive bipartisan public support, privatization of the sale of alcoholic beverages and pension fund reform to address an astounding $47 billion shortfall have not been acted upon with time drawing short before yet another legislative recess. (Only this week did lawmakers come to grips with the need for a new transportation-funding plan.)
What would change in a second Corbett administration to prod our elected officials to do their jobs and to respond to the will of the people? Were the governor to be voted out of office, as appears likely today, how would things be any better with an Allyson Schwartz or a Rob McCord as governor? The House and Senate are likely to remain under Republican control, thus they would be apt to be even more hostile to the expensive big government which a Democratic governor would surely espouse.
In his efforts to cast Theodore Roosevelt as an early ancestor of today’s conservative activists, former Corbett administration official Robert Patterson glosses over a number of facets of the 26th president’s life and times (“Echoes of T.R.?,” Nov. 10).
First, while Patterson is correct that Roosevelt was an unashamed patriot, his promotion of American power and exceptionalism came at a time when the United States was effectively the only secular democracy on the planet. We were ascending economically and militarily while the old monarchies of Europe were making their final decline into the horrors of World War I. That’s a far cry from the current multipolar world, where “We’re Number One” chest-thumping is leaving us behind the curve on everything from infrastructure to health care, education, even our measurement system.
Second, unlike many of today’s conservatives, T.R. was neither unaware of nor dismissive of other cultures. By the time he was a teenager he had already visited Europe and the Middle East multiple times, and had spent months studying — in German — in Saxony.
As a parent/founder of the Philly Free School, another small, independent school, just around the corner from the Philadelphia Classical School, I know firsthand the challenges involved in getting a new school up and running (“Parent opens her own school,” Nov. 4).
So, I applaud Katharine Savage for creating a viable school option, not just for her own children but for Philadelphia children from all walks of life.
Our schools are not siphoning money away from the school district, and we are not in competition with one another. The more viable school options for Philadelphia families who might otherwise leave for the suburbs, the more families will commit to raising their kids here.
Let’s hope commentator Kevin DeGood’s advocacy for increased attention to SEPTA and Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure overall is heard by policymakers across the federal, state, and local spectrum (“SEPTA’s fiscal challenges,” Nov. 6).
With respect to federal involvement in public transportation, however, DeGood makes two somewhat misleading characterizations, the first regarding what constitutes eligible costs for federal transit funding. Since the Congress first provided direct federal funding of local public transportation in 1961 (then creating a federal agency in 1964), the emphasis on, and justification for, federal involvement in a local service has been on the capital needs of transit systems.
Of course, there have been, and continue to be, many exceptions to this, whereby federal dollars fund operating costs. While the landmark 1998 TEA-21 act that Mr. DeGood references appears to restrict federal funding for operating costs in big cities, as he contends, it actually expanded such eligibilities in a new direction. Specifically, TEA-21 redefines “capital costs” to include “preventative maintenance”, such that, say, the costs of cleaning rock salt off of a bus in the winter is an eligible expense for federal dollars, which includes the salaries of the folks undertaking such preventative maintenance. Interestingly, this expansion was strongly and effectively advocated for by the then-administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, Gordon Linton, who is from Philadelphia.
As the first Pennsylvania suburb prepares to install red-light cameras, Abington Township residents may well fear that their tax bills will take a big jump to pay for the program if not enough motorists flout the law.
That’s the dilemma posed by red-light camera enforcement programs, which require substantial sums upfront to cover the cost of installing and maintaining cameras, as well as paperwork associated with issuing $100 tickets to motorists who fail to stop on red.
In Philadelphia, where 25 intersections have been equipped with cameras since 2005, the high volume of violations means the program’s costs have been covered, and more. With an annual take of $10 million in fines, the cameras monitoring intersections from Center City to the Northeast spin off about $3 million extra for state and city coffers after expenses are deducted.
With the announcement Wednesday of a large grant to help improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians on the Camden side of the Ben Franklin Bridge, another crucial link in the region’s impressive network of recreational trails moves ahead.
For cyclists, in particular, the installation of a $3 million ramp will mean they can ride all the way across the bridge — rather than having to dismount and haul their bikes down a set of stairs on the South Jersey side.
In a 750-mile network of existing and planned biking and walking paths throughout the region, every cog is important. Indeed, a break in a trail can stop cyclists, hikers, and joggers in their tracks — often forcing them to use city and suburban streets where they’re put at risk from passing traffic.
For Camden County, the bridge ramp expected to open in 2015 should be seen as “a key component of Camden County’s Multi-Use Trail Master Plan providing county residents with an alternate means of transportation to Philadelphia,” notes Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. Eventually, the county hopes to link destinations as diverse as schools, shopping centers, parks, and historic sites.
Former Gov. Tom Ridge is to be highly commended for his stance against “the narcissists and ideologues” within the Republican Party, but he pulled a historical blooper when he drew attention to the GOP’s intolerant, judgmental, and self-righteous attitude of today as “worthy attitudes of the Pilgrims in 1620 but hardly attractive qualities.... nearly 400 year later” (“A view from the right, the right way,” Nov. 3).
Clearly, Ridge here confuses the Pilgrims with the Puritans.
The Pilgrims were separatists who insisted on their right to separate from the Church of England. They endured persecution and fled to the New World in 1620 to establish a colony where they could have freedom to live, worship, speak, and vote as they chose, freedoms they gradually extended to dissenters who came into their midst. The Pilgrims made long strides toward establishing democracy in both state and church.