Letters to the Editor

Mayor Nutter speaks at a Norris Square Park rally sponsored byYouth United for Change and others to talk about a new School District safety campaign. RON TARVER/ Staff Photographer
Mayor Nutter speaks at a Norris Square Park rally sponsored byYouth United for Change and others to talk about a new School District safety campaign. RON TARVER/ Staff Photographer
Posted: May 18, 2012

It’s all about fairness

While the editorial “Fairness must be Nutter’s goal” (Sunday) praises my courage for taking on property-assessment reform, it also asserts that I “avoided” real change until after I’d been “safely reelected.” Even a cursory look at Inquirer news stories over the last two years shows the absurdity of such an assertion.

Fixing the utterly broken and conflicted Board of Revision of Taxes was a legislative goal I pushed when I served in City Council, highlighted in the 2007 mayoral campaign, and advocated as mayor. Real change, however, requires partners, and in this case, City Council. In early May 2009, then-Council President Anna C. Verna and I called for “swift and direct action.” A year later, voters approved a charter change, splitting the assessment and appeals functions of the BRT.

That action set in motion the creation of a new, professional Office of Property Assessment, which undertook the first professional, citywide reassessment. That work is nearing completion.

Your editorial argues that funding the city schools and the assessment reform contained in the Actual Value Initiative should not be tied together. The facts are just the opposite. They are inextricably connected. For years, the school system was denied revenue it was due because of assessments that were wildly different from the real values of city properties. That hurt our children and our city’s future.

The time for decision is upon us. We need to fix a broken property assessment system and deliver vitally important new revenue to Philadelphia children and the schools they attend. That’s what fairness is about.

Michael A. Nutter, mayor, Philadelphia

That other ‘human right’

The front-page story about U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) notes his work in opposition to abortion (“Keeping heat on for Chinese activist,” Tuesday). It then says Smith “also has been a champion for human rights.” Also? I am saddened by the suggestion that the right to life of a child in utero is not, itself, a “human right.”

William J. Maffucci, Huntingdon Valley

Can’t turn back the clock

After several hysterical paragraphs about President Obama’s campaign using the word Forward, Jonathan Gurwitz then gets to his real complaint about the feature “The Life of Julia”: America is no longer living in the early 1800s (“Obama ’84: Echoes of Big Brother,” Tuesday).

America used to be a place where people were far more self-reliant. If you broke your leg, you took a tree branch, whittled it to fit, and tore up an old shirt to set your own leg. Our independent ancestors didn’t have none of them fancy hospitals to fix people’s legs.

“The Life of Julia” simply acknowledges that setting the clock back 200 years is not a very practical plan.

Richmond L. Gardner, Horsham, rlg3526@ix.netcom.com

Bullying the tip of the iceberg?

Regarding the Mitt Romney alleged bullying story of 50 years ago, it looks like the Washington Post and your letter writers (“A hate crime, not a prank” and “A warning to voters,” Tuesday) are on to something.

After all, presidential candidates should be fully vetted. If they continue to dig up this dirt on Romney, they might uncover other unsavory facts about his life that might affect his eligibility. For example, what if we find out that his spiritual adviser for 20 years was an America-hating racist? That he had friendships with sleazy characters, radicals, and terrorists? That his college records and other documents have gone missing?

The bullying incident could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Barbara Zamochnick, Wyndmoor

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