The case for marriage equality in Pennsylvania can best be described as an example of doing good while doing well.
The doing good part is simple: Marriage is a wonderful institution that knits people together into families which then become a critical part of their local communities. We all have close friends, or relatives, that are gay, and who deserve the opportunity to share the joys of marriage, and legally sanctioned, long-term relationships.
The doing well part is even simpler: Pennsylvania right now is struggling to provide quality education in our public schools, and sufficient medical care and services for the poor. Legalizing gay marriage can provide a big economic boost, generating much needed public funds.
I have been a fan of Inga Saffron’s fiery support of historic preservation during all of the years for which I have held a position of leadership in this community. I value her opinion, but cannot overlook my own in the case of the Boyd Theater’s slow death on and to Chestnut Street.
After all, I grew up in the William Penn House. I watched movies there as a tot with my family. And I was the leader decades ago in the fight to preserve the Boyd as the last movie palace in Philadelphia. But that was long before the Kimmel Center became the home to many of our greatest performing arts institutions, and long before elegant new and restored buildings took the place of the 1928 Boyd Theater, shuttered because its allure and its usability became obsolete.
As a lover and proponent of culture and architecture in our city, I have always cared deeply about historic preservation. In 1999, I was honored by the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia with its “Public Service Award for Support of Historic Preservation in the Public Interest.” But the long shuttered and neglected Boyd Theater’s future is folly as a single stage venue. Center City residents are begging for a modern first class cinema experience. And Chestnut Street needs to develop westward— which is why I very much support iPic Entertainment’s proposal to bring the Boyd back to life.
While the New Jersey Pinelands Commission debates the merits of the proposed 22 mile natural gas pipeline designed to insure post-Sandy regional energy reliability and promote the conversion of the BL England power plant from a coal to a natural gas powered plant, one key element of concern should be project safety.
On this count, there is no debate. The pinelands pipeline will be the safest such pipeline constructed in the nation. Its proposed design exceeds the highest required standards set under the Federal Safety Pipeline Act guidelines in several very important areas.
Most importantly the pipeline, the vast majority of which will be built under the existing Route 49 right of way, is designed to lie four feet below grade, a third lower than required. Combine that fact with the proposed 24 hour 1Continual monitoring of pipeline pressure, and the ability to operate valves remotely, and you have a uniquely secure project. Additional inspections will occur on a monthly basis to verify no environmental disturbances occur.
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.