Letters to the Editor

Posted: October 27, 2011

Come occupy a drug corner

I fully support the Occupy movement, but as a Philadelphian who lives in the persistently dangerous neighborhood of Kensington, I am angered that the protesters would stage a sit-in in front of the Police Administration Building ("Arrests among occupiers," Monday). The whole process - prepping for arrest, asking if the protesters wanted to walk or be carried - was more make-believe than actual civil disobedience. And asking for some vague apology to anonymous victims of police brutality was futile. It's especially frustrating when I see that the city has spent $300,000 this month on the protest when so many projects go unfunded in Kensington, and it takes police double, sometimes triple the time to respond to crimes in this neighborhood.

Why don't the protesters give the police more reason to be in Kensington? Hop on the El and come occupy Somerset and Kensington. You'll make a real difference on one of the busiest drug corners of Philly, where dealers sell in open-air markets and residents are forced to live in fear. Yes, we need to send a message to Wall Street, but we also need to let dealers know that their actions are just as evil and they must be held accountable too.

Nick Esposito, Philadelphia, seedsofdiscent@gmail.com

Direct protests at Congress

It appears the Occupy Wall Street movement is ineffective for two reasons: It is focused on the wrong entity and it lacks a unifying slogan. The object of the protest should be Congress. Banks just play by the given rules, like any other business. Congress makes the rules. Congress should be the justifiable object of complaints and demands for action.

In protesting the inequities that Congress has put into place, a unifying slogan can be "Throw out all incumbents." Only by threatening political tenure can a protest gain serious attention and demand change.

Until Occupy Wall Street is taken seriously by Congress, nothing will change, and the sincere protests will have been in vain.

George Colby, West Chester, BGColby@hotmail.com

Confrontation with police no surprise

On Oct. 15, 1,200 people marched, listened, and participated in an inspiring day acknowledging that the rate of poverty in America is growing, and that the upper 1 percent of Americans hold more of the country's wealth than at any point in history. A variety of speakers looked at individual theories as to why there are so many people without jobs even though America's corporations have more money now than ever. We listened as some of those speakers offered solutions to the problems. The day was a true example of democracy in action.

KYW-AM news radio reported simply that there was a march in Philadelphia. No details, no interviews, no sound bites. Monica Yant Kinney had a column with interviews of some of the occupiers from during the week ("Those chiding aren't listening," Oct. 16), but there was no front-page account of the march from the day before. So it is no surprise that some people became frustrated and confronted the police Sunday. This time they got lots of time on KYW. They made the front page of The Inquirer. If it bleeds, it leads.

Mardys Leeper, Wynnewood, ma1leeper@gmail.com

How to lose support for movement

Occupy Philadelphia and its counterparts have generally struck me as self-indulgent riffs on serious economic and social themes. However, because the issues of economic dislocation and opportunity are so difficult and so real, I've felt that the protesters should be cut some slack on matters of style and comportment.

However, when the group blockades the Police Department's headquarters and a member of its "legal working group" says, "This went off really well. The Police Department really showed the rest of the world, specifically New York, how to handle protesters. And I think they should be commended for being peaceful," the protesters lose me.

I don't think our courageous, hardworking, and well-trained police force should be evaluated by individuals who break the law, impede public safety, and cause public resources to be spent on their containment and arrest.

Andrew Greenberg, Philadelphia

A lack of transparency

When addressing serious long-term problems, as is the case with the Occupy Wall Street movement, refraining from emulating the behaviors, modalities, and paradigms that were intrinsic to that which is deemed wrong is crucial. I believe my views would coalesce with the movement's: Many of the laws passed to allow the pillaging of America's wealth have been passed without transparency. Only those in the halls of Congress and in boardrooms get information, to which the public is not privy.

Occupy Philadelphia has not avoided these behaviors. Updates on their daily general assemblies are woefully lacking. The recent Eighth Street protest, which many, myself included, did not agree with and thought unnecessary, was not "sanctioned," but clearly supported by them. An entire thread about the protest was removed from their Facebook page. The general assembly broadcast following the protesters' arrests was cut off due to a disturbance, keeping those of us watching in the dark.

There is a lot of good work happening at Dilworth Plaza, but Occupy Philadelphia's lack of transparency deserves no less scrutiny than it directs toward those who caused the mess we are in.

Terrance Berge, Runnemede, terryb61@juno.com

Not all lives valued equally

A letter writer extols Israelis for adhering to their "core belief in the value ... of every human life" ("Shared values of U.S. and Israel," Sunday). And Israelis do adhere to this belief, as long as the life in question is that of an Israeli. But anyone familiar with the history of the founding of the modern state of Israel knows that since before the birth of their modern state, even to the present day, Israelis do not adhere to that belief when it pertains to the life of a Palestinian.

William Cooney, Philadelphia

Saying goodbye to reviewers

On back-to-back Sundays, I have read goodbyes from two critics. Carrie Rickey ("Critic's eventful quarter-century comes to a close," Oct. 16) and Jonathan Storm ("22 years of TV good and bad," Sunday) both wrote their farewell columns, and now all we readers have are the memories. They both brought knowledge and passion to their craft. Whoever fills their shoes will have their work cut out for them.

Ed Bowman, Philadelphia

A prayer to St. Luigi Guanella

I was pleased to see David O'Reilly capture the wonderful story of the path to sainthood of Luigi Guanella ("Delco man's recovery yields newest saint," Sunday). However, as the father of a daughter with Down syndrome, I was disappointed to see the use of the word retarded in the article. I acknowledge the r-word has an accepted, scientific definition, but society most often uses it as a term to demean individuals with intellectual disabilities.

So, I feel compelled to share one dad's reaction to what the editors simply deemed a factual report.

I count my blessings every time I look into the eyes of my beautiful little girl; and it pains me to think about someone labeling her with the "r-word." One day, my daughter will read this publication (likely on one of the new tablets). I hope this letter is one small step toward her never feeling the hurt of seeing this unfair, inaccurate, pointed language in print.

I encourage The Inquirer, and all its readers, to take the pledge to stop using the r-word (www.r-word.org). Tonight, the Murray family, including my daughter, will pray to St. Luigi Guanella that this wish becomes a reality.

Chris Murray, Wayne

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