A T HIS inaugural address just over a year ago, Gov. Corbett stood before the people of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania promising "a new chapter in Pennsylvania's history" with "new ideals" and "new common prosperity," while chiding governments "more prone to political favor than fairness to the people."
Yet, as an outside observer, I see very little "fairness" in the governor's recent decision to reduce staff and services at Philadelphia's Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) in favor of the Library for the Blind in his hometown of Pittsburgh. With over 390,000 visually impaired individuals in southeastern Pennsylvania (greater than the entire population of Pittsburgh), many in our region have come to rely heavily on the resources provided at the LBPH. My sister Victoria is one of them.
Victoria doesn't have the option to go elsewhere. She regularly treks in from her home in Montgomery County to get computer training, audiobooks and numerous other precious resources available only at the LBPH. It's a far journey for someone born without any vision, but she gladly makes the trip knowing that a helpful and friendly staff will be there to help her find the resources she needs. With these program changes, 15 employees will lose their jobs - and 16,000 patrons like Victoria will have far less access to materials and programs.
Gov. Corbett, I can't tell you that maintaining funding to LBPH is going to end the recession. I can't tell you that it's going to create jobs, or help small businesses grow. But what I can tell you, quite simply, is that it is the right thing to do. Governor, if you truly believe in a new common prosperity for Pennsylvanians, I urge you to repeal your decision to cut funding to LBPH.
People's Editorial Board
Schooled in violence
After reading Morgan Zalot's article, I have asked myself how it is possible that an elementary-school fifth-grader brings a loaded BB gun to school. Could it be for show-and-tell? I don't think so. Protection? I pray not. However, this is the Philadelphia school system, where violence in the schools is an almost everyday occurrence - even in elementary schools.
Michael Lodise, head of the school-police union, is quoted as saying, "You might see a lot of copycat stuff going on now." Wait, did this student know about the Cleveland high-school violence before he came to school? I don't think so. This was not a copycat incident. This was a deliberate, intentional act of a young person begging for help.
Lodise is quoted as saying, "These officers we got rid of were really a deterrent." (Whittier School is one of the 100 schools that do not have a dedicated police office, after recent cuts, according to Lodise.) I am concerned that if an elementary-school student can "terrorize" his school with a BB gun, what are high school students using - machetes, rifles? Oh, but wait ... maybe they have dedicated police officer to be a deterrent.
It is so sad that the Philadelphia School District has to have police officers in the schools, and even sadder that due to budget cuts, 100 schools do not have one.
Ellen F. Goldberg
Elkins Park, Pa
We need a New Deal
I was disgusted by Charles Murray's new book, Losing Ground. He seems to have a "blame the victim" mentality, like so many right-wingers today.
Just look into who is financing his "research" and it makes sense. Conservative foundations and so-called think tanks supply the funding, so is it any wonder that the hostility to the poor and working class is so prevalent?
Areas like Fishtown and Kensington have experienced deindustrialization since the 1950s. Good-paying union jobs have been replaced by low-wage service jobs with no benefits. That's progress?
What is urgently needed is an FDR-style WPA program to put people back to work now!
Spank, but no spunk
It's disgusting, outrageous and insulting that FOX 29 was talked out of reporting the story that, while bowling, Nutter was captured spanking the buttocks of a blonde named Andrea. During other investigations FOX 29 has chased people down an alley, etc. I can understand why some journalists at FOX are also upset because the story wasn't made public. Mayor Nutter summoned FOX news director Steve Schwaid to City Hall for a meeting. All the people that were investigated and were embarrassed by their story being reported should have been invited to that meeting also.
Is Nutter better than the citizens he represents?