Letters to the Editor: May 18, 2016

I’m proud to be white

Regarding Philomena Amati’s letter in the May 11 edition of the Northeast Times, the concept of forming a commission for white males would have never even made it onto the ballot. This, ostensibly, because white males don’t face any challenges. A notion that is at best, ludicrous.

Funny how it’s considered “racism” to express white pride when, in his recent address to the graduating class of Howard University, President Obama encouraged the graduates to “be strong in your blackness.” I’d like to have seen the repercussion if anybody said “be strong in your whiteness” during a commencement speech! And let’s not forget that offensive picture of the West Point graduates holding up their fists as a tribute to Black Panthers and “Black Lives Matter.” Had that been a group of white women showing some sort of white pride symbol, they’d have been expelled.

My grandparents came to America — legally — in 1912 from Calabria, Italy. At that time, Italian immigrants were treated worse than animals and the only jobs available to them were slave labor. They were horribly disrespected, even beaten, and called all of those negative epithets associated with Italians. They pushed past the victimization and created clean neighborhoods, restaurants, churches and social organizations and excelled in the building trade, music and art world, forever destroying the perception that if your last name ends in a vowel, you must be in the Mafia.

Be proud to be black — it’s your God-given right; but don’t decimate me for my pride in being white.

Gerri DiSalvio Ruppert

Bustleton

Sugar tax a bad idea

Do not create a new sugar tax in Philadelphia.

Creating a new sugar tax will affect the economy throughout Philadelphia.

This new sugar tax will affect businesses in Philadelphia in many ways, and consumers will leave Philadelphia and buy their products outside Philadelphia at a lower price. This will truly affect Philadelphia city government in many ways.

Walter Pieczynski

Oxford Circle

Property owners should appeal their reassessments

In Claudia Vargas’ May 7 Philadelphia Inquirer article about the city’s property reassessments, the focus of the piece is on Center City, with a brief mention of how those in Northeast Philadelphia are affected. While this story was important in bringing attention to a citywide problem that property owners can appeal until May 20, the article doesn’t reflect the gravity of Northeast property owners’ predicament.

Michael Piper, the chief assessment officer at the Office of Property Assessments, admitted in the article his office got it wrong on the Actual Value Initiative for many of the cases concerning the land values of the city’s properties.

Over the past several years, the OPA has been manipulating these values using fuzzy math in an effort to make them fair, accurate and uniform. These numbers are anything but, and instead are missing the mark — and consequently, failing miserably.

In the situations where a property owner was over-assessed on his or her land value, the city should be offering refunds. But they’re not doing so. Under-valued land is the result of the OPA’s incompetence, and is of no fault of the property owners. It’s a lose-lose situation in which the property owners and city itself are losing revenue.

Property owners of Philadelphia shouldn’t have to accept, or be victims of, this fraudulent, rigged property assessment scheme.

I encourage everyone who feels they have been assessed at an improper value to file a first-level appeal by the May 20 deadline.

If you miss this deadline or are unhappy with the decision of the review, you can file an appeal with the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) by Oct. 5.

Christopher Artur

Realtor