Letters: 'Lot of Trouble': Another view

Posted: September 20, 2012

THE DAILY NEWS did an outstanding job of presenting one side of the story regarding the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority lot at 20th and Annin streets ("Lot of Trouble," Sept. 14). Here is the other side.

Prior to beginning work to install what his attorney confirms is seating for his coffee shop and other alterations to the lot, Mr. Feibush could have sought to lease the property from the Redevelopment Authority. It is not a difficult process, but Mr. Feibush chose not to pursue it.

Mr. Feibush could have sought to purchase the lot from the Redevelopment Authority. Mr. Feibush himself purchased three publicly owned properties earlier this year, so he knows how the process works. While he chose not to do so, three potential buyers have expressed interest in the lot, which is conservatively valued at more than $50,000.

Rather than pursue these commonly used procedures, Mr. Feibush chose to ignore the request of the authority and the advice of his attorney, and instead constructed what is essentially an adjunct facility to his business on publicly owned land.

There is no doubt that the lot was not pristine, but neither was it ignored. The Redevelopment Authority had erected barriers around the the lot to prevent short-dumping and dispatched cleaning crews at least eight times in the 13 months prior to Mr. Feibush visiting the PRA offices on Aug. 8.

At that Aug. 8 visit, Mr. Feibush complained about the lot and outlined his intent to unilaterally alter it. He was told that the PRA would clean the lot and secure it with a stockade fence, and not to enter the property. A PRA crew began the promised work on Aug. 10 and scraped the lot clean. Mr. Feibush began his alteration of the lot the next day. The idea that 40 tons of trash accumulated in 24 hours, as Mr. Feibush alleges, is far-fetched.

Mr. Feibush's claim that he was told to "return it to the condition we found it in" is inaccurate. The entirety of the PRA request in an Aug. 13 email reads, "You are requested to immediately stop all work and return the j-barriers to the original location."

This issue is more than just a disagreement between two adjoining property owners. If a person is injured on it, any compensation to them will likely come from the taxpayers.

Moreover, the city and the PRA are actively marketing available lots, and three potential buyers have used the process that Mr. Feibush knows of but ignored to make offers on this lot. It is not fair to either the taxpayers or the potential buyers who have played by the rules for Mr. Feibush to attempt to acquire the lot simply by occupying it.

In short, multiple avenues were available that could have resulted in the changes to the lot Mr. Feibush desired while also protecting the financial interests of the taxpayers and the rights of other interested parties. Although these avenues have been successfully used by hundreds of other Philadelphians on hundreds of other lots, for reasons only Mr. Feibush knows, he chose not to pursue them.

Paul D. Chrystie

Phila. Redevelopment Authority

Time for history lesson

Re: Christine Flowers column (Sept. 13, reprinted Sept. 14 in the Akron, Ohio, Beacon-Journal).

You have the following to say, "But among all the world's great religions, only Islam is susceptible to the dangerous and, as we have seen, murderous type of distortion and manipulation that results in the deaths of ambassadors, soldiers and civilians on their way to an uneventful day of work. That's at least the case in this enlightened age; the Crusades happened centuries ago."

Perhaps you should read a little history of Christianity. For a few choice items:

* Columbus' men torturing and killing natives in Hispaniola to celebrate Easter.

* The Spanish Inquisition, which targeted Jews whose grandparents had converted to Christianity.

* Martin Luther, who advocated that Jews should be locked in their houses, which should then be set afire.

* The 30 Years' War, which practically destroyed Germany, as the Protestants and Catholics killed each other.

* The witch trials of Europe and the U.S., and those conducted by Christians in Africa right now.

* The Southern Baptists, who were formed because of their support of slavery.

* U.S. marshals in the 1800s, ordered to gun down Mormon families in Kansas City.

* The KKK, who chose the cross as their symbol.

* Adolf Hitler, who wrote in Mein Kampf that persecuting Jews was doing God's work.

In short, there is no political or religious belief system that cannot and has not been perverted to extreme ends.

T.S. Norfolk,

Atwater, Ohio

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