February 25, 2014 |
After his Chestnut Hill Quaker meetinghouse construction site was torched in December 2012, builder Robert Reeves Jr. immediately knew whom to blame. Weeks of aggressive confrontation with members of the Philadelphia ironworkers' union had led up to the attack. But despite his confidence in their involvement, he remained reluctant to pursue a criminal case. "This type of retaliation has been going on all of my lifetime, my entire career," he said. "What was going to change here?"
February 22, 2014
One person's harassment is another person's free-speech exercise. Thus sayeth Pat Gillespie, business manager for the Philadelphia Building and Trades Council, which may help to explain the indictment of 10 Ironworkers Local 401 members for allegedly ordering various acts of violent harassment to protect union jobs. Gillespie's statement last year wasn't about the federal indictment announced Wednesday, but the issue is the same. He believes unions must do whatever it takes to get their members work.
February 21, 2014 |
When the ironworkers saw a wall of union pickets blocking entry to a King of Prussia construction site early one morning in June 2010, it seemed like the latest speed bump in a project that had already suffered several acts of vandalism. But then, as the five ironworkers waited in a nearby parking lot, the scene turned into something out of a gangster movie. A dark car pulled up and three men jumped out, wielding baseball bats they used to shatter the back windows of the workers' trucks.
February 20, 2014 |
THEIR TARGETS of violence, according to a federal indictment unsealed yesterday, included a Quaker meetinghouse site and workers building a kids' toy store. Yes, those peaceful Quakers. Yes, a kids' store. Ten members of Ironworkers Local Union 401, including its leaders, were arrested yesterday and charged with conspiring to commit acts of violence to force contractors to hire union members. The alleged crimes include a 2012 arson at the site for a new Chestnut Hill Friends meetinghouse and a 2010 baseball-bat whacking that seriously injured nonunion workers at a Toys R Us under construction near the King of Prussia Mall.
January 31, 2014 |
JENNIFER SERRANO knows how backward Pennsylvania's laws protecting domestic violence victims can be. She's been fighting off her abuser at home and in court for 10 years now. Like the times she'd hand-delivered stay-away orders with a police escort - only to be attacked by her ex after the police officers drove away. Or the other times her ex would stand outside her workplace and call 50 to 60 times to berate her on the phone. She'd call the cops, only to watch them shrug, saying he wasn't violating his restraining order because he wasn't physically abusing her. In 2007, she grew so desperate to escape the torment that when she saw a "How can we help you?"
January 24, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Gov. Corbett said Wednesday that he wants to boost funding for domestic violence and rape crisis programs by $2.2 million in the 2014-15 budget. "I'm calling for an increase because I understand these programs are not simple line items - they change and save lives," said Corbett at a news conference. Corbett, who is set to make his budget address Feb. 4, said additional funding would bring the total to $15.3 million, a 10 percent increase over the current year. The money will support emergency services, such as a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, and financial aid and victim advocacy programs.
January 22, 2014 |
It was a deadly weekend in Philadelphia, as the city suffered six more homicides between Friday and Sunday nights, making for a total of 22 killings in a year that was only 20 days old. Among the victims were a woman shot in front of her mother during a robbery, a mother and son executed in their home, and the son of a city police officer gunned down on a Southwest Philadelphia street. Amber Long, 26, was shot once in the chest Sunday night in the 900 block of North Front Street.
December 19, 2013
Philadelphia is on track to finish 2013 with fewer homicides than in any year since the relatively peaceful days of 1967. This is at least partly a result of sustained, focused crime-fighting strategies from the streets to the courts, a strong commitment to reducing gun crimes, and an openness to new approaches to law enforcement. Mayor Nutter, District Attorney Seth Williams, and the judiciary should be commended for making violent crime reduction a top priority and sticking with their goal in the face of setbacks.
December 11, 2013 |
AMONG THE challenges of living in Philadelphia for Betty Ann Townes were the violence of the streets and the wild and woolly arena of Philadelphia Democratic politics. The dangerous streets claimed the lives of her son and other relatives. Philadelphia politics had her embroiled in several battles over the years, including elections that she was sure she had won, but was counted out by what she called the corrupt counting of votes. Betty Ann Townes, who died Dec. 3 at age 69, had to summon all her fortitude and faith in the late '90s when she was dealt a double dose of pain.
December 7, 2013 |
TRENTON Incidents of violence, vandalism, weapons possession, and substance abuse in New Jersey's public schools saw an overall decrease in 2012-13 from the previous school year, according to an annual report released Thursday by state education officials. In addition, the number of incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying reported by districts decreased last school year by nearly 4,300, or 36 percent. While some of that decline may be due to bullying-prevention programs, state officials said part of the drop is the result of the Department of Education's working with local districts over the last two years to get a better understanding of the criteria for reporting bullying.