Letters to the editor

Posted: August 24, 2012

IT HAS BEEN a sad year for the heroes of our city. We have lost so many police officers and firefighters, and it is only August. The injury and death of one is one too many. We must always remember that the natural tendency for self-preservation means that ordinary people run from the sound of gunfire. Thank God we have a select few whose instinct is to run towards violence and protect our children and family and all we love.

In the Fire Department, our brave firefighters and paramedics are working harder than ever to keep our families safe with fewer members and in the wake of station closures and brown-outs. As is natural for self-preservation we run away from fire or horrific events of blood and carnage. Thank God there are men and woman who have dedicated their lives to saving our lives by running into the fire and saving our Philadelphia families.

Because of the special role these brave men and woman play in the life of Philadelphia, I am dismayed by the Nutter administration's refusal to implement the contract-arbitration award for the firefighters. By law, those awards are to be final and binding. Police and firefighters can't strike as others can due to their unique contribution to society, and the arbitration process was created to settle contract disputes. The arbitrator's award should be the end of this process.

There is no one who has fought for fiscal sanity more than I have. I was honored to be an elected official and continue to be concerned as a father, son and grandfather in the future of our great city. In these trying times, let us not lose sight of those who risk their lives for others. And, to a greater degree, all who serve as employees and guardians of the health and soul of our home we call Philadelphia must be treated fairly and with honor.

Let us work together for a bright future for our home, and please do not appeal the arbitration award, which was decided based on the facts presented. May God bless our firefighters, paramedics, police officers and all who serve our government.

Jonathan A. Saidel


It's already working

I read with great interest your article in the Daily News in which you recommend a carrot-and-stick approach to drug addiction (Bykofsky, Aug. 10). I agree completely but wanted to point out that drug courts employ just the kind of sanction-and-reward system that you suggest.

I am the public defender assigned to the Philadelphia Treatment Court, the first drug court to operate in Pennsylvania. We have successfully graduated thousands of drug-addicted participants through an approach that rewards clean time and holds addicts accountable for their behavior. This method employed by drug courts across the nation has proved successful for all kinds of addicts, potheads and cocaine and heroin users alike. The court is in session every week in Room 1006 at the Criminal Justice Center and our judge and coordinator are always happy to speak about our remarkable success.

The Philadelphia D.A.'s Office has been a big supporter of drug courts since Treatment Court began in 1997, even as it has eased sanctions on possession of small amounts of marijuana. The Philadelphia Treatment Court is a national model and a mentor court for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, an organization that supports drug courts nationwide.

With the news of Garrett Reid's death, I am hopeful that the importance of drug treatment will gain more prominence in the public discourse.

Your carrot-and-stick approach when coupled with access to effective treatment has proven success in the "war on drugs."

Erica Bartlett


Penn St. multitasking

Re: "We are Penn State, And we can multitask with the best of them" (Aug. 15).

You may be Penn State, but we don't care.

You can feel deep satisfaction that the monster who abused poor young boys will rot in jail, but we don't care.

You can weep for Sandusky's victims, but we don't care.

You can shudder at the perverted acts described by Sandusky's victims, but we don't care.

You can be proud of the PSU students who have raised so much money for rape, but we don't care.

You can hate Sandusky with every fiber of your being, but we don't care.

You can multitask. Guess what? We don't care.

Yes, it was only a few people that failed miserably to be decent human beings in this whole Sandusky mess, but for once, sit down, shut up and just accept what has happened.

Stop trying to justify. Stop trying to defend. Stop making this about you. It's not. There are real victims in this mess that will have trouble moving on throughout life because of what this monster did and what the mascot JoePa and his stooges didn't do. Get over yourselves.

Seth H. Vigdor


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