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Vaccinate those who want it

The white population of Philadelphia is a minority. Yet it’s vaccinated at twice the rate as the black population. It’s not for lack of trying. The city has redlined the city twice so far to benefit the black population. Once for the Black Doctors Consortium 24-hour vaccination marathon and then again for the Convention Center when they opened it to walk-ups from certain ZIP codes. It took until late March for the city to open a mass inoculation site in the Northeast. With the forced availability of the vaccine in the black and outside neighborhoods there is definitely no reason for the 2-to-1 ratio other than the black population not accepting the vaccine. Maybe instead of trying to force the vaccine, they should vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible to reach herd immunity.

Richard Donofry

East Torresdale

Bringing back memories

Barb Haldis’ letter on growing up in the ‘60s in NE Philly brought back memories of my teenage years in NE Philly. Some of the memories were good, some bad, and some I rather forget. But it was a different era than the one we live in today.

The ’60s were not a politically correct era; there was racial and social unrest with the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Protests against the Vietnam War were raging across the college campuses. But it was a more sanguine and safer era, since society was much more stable. There were no cell phones or personal computers, no Facebook or social media, at least in my opinion. The murder rate in Philly was much lower than today; there were no mass shootings in the country.

I grew up in Olney and went to St. Helena Catholic grade school and Cardinal Dougherty High School. I graduated in 1969, the same year as Barb Haldis graduated from Lincoln. The Catholic school system was very disciplined, and the nuns and priests ruled the roost. But the tradeoff was that there were no shootings, robberies or rapes in those schools; at least when you graduated, you could read and write, and get a job.

I also loved to travel by bus and trolley; and also went to Boulevard Pools, and the dances at Cardinal Dougherty. I also went to the Mayfair and Merben theaters, but mostly to the Fern Rock theater for its afternoon shows. It was safe enough to walk anywhere, and also safe enough to travel by bus or the rickety old Market El trains.

Sad to say, those days are long gone, but not forgotten. Thanks to Barb Haldis, at least we can bring back old memories.

Bill Scicchitano

Parkwood Manor

Happy days ahead

Finally, it appears that our favorite district attorney, Mt. Larry Krasner, will be voted out of the office that he has single-handedly destroyed, brought it to its knees and disrespected the laws that have been written decades ago.

Finally, the Republican Party is nominating a formidable candidate who knows the legal system and the do’s and don’ts as well as the rights and wrongs. Charles Peruto may not be our saving grace or even the best person available. However, his track record goes without suggesting that Mr. Peruto will do a fine job and perhaps bring some sense of peace to the onetime City of Brotherly Love. Look at what he will inherit. A homicide rate that has increased this year by 30%. Philadelphia was second only to Chicago in murder rates in 2020 at a staggering 499 deaths. Unacceptable, Krasner, Jimbo and Outlaw.

Another strong, viable Democratic opponent who will make a run at Krasner goes by the name of Carlos Vega, a former assistant district attorney.

Look, Philly, it’s no secret everyone wants Krasner to disappear. May the best man win.

Bill Heiser


Show us the money

Our city government has been hunting for revenue in the wake of the pandemic, and has made some bad choices with consequences for citizens.

Since the city employed speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard, traffic has increased on

Bustleton Avenue — including many driving too fast for a road that winds tightly through neighborhoods.

What did they think would happen? The speed limit trigger on the Blvd. is unrealistic. Revenue, not safe driving, was the main goal.

The city will get less-than-expected camera ticket revenues — and we now have a much more dangerous avenue for kids and seniors. A classic lose-lose.

The city is also attempting to raise water bills by about 18 percent over the next two years, in a city where one-third of customers do not pay their bills.

Can’t they understand a big rate increase will result in even fewer residents paying? Duh. That means the rest of us will have to foot even more increases down the line. Another loser.

The city/school district is soon getting big cash from the COVID relief bill. In return, how about re-thinking some budgets and giving the taxpaying citizens some relief, too?

Richard Iaconelli


No transgenders in girls sports

I have read all the articles both pro & con regarding transgenders playing women’s sports. I coached youth sports for at least 30 years, both male and female. I want to pose a question to those who are in favor of this. Your daughter plays on a high school basketball team. The opposing team has a trangender player who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 225 pounds and has a 36-inch vertical leap. Is this really fair? We always seem to favor the few at the expense of the many. Why? This is somewhat similar to the ruling that males can use both ladies restrooms and locker rooms. Really? Instead of being idealistic, try thinking about practical reality. They are not discriminating against transgenders, just trying to be fair to all the girls playing sports such as basketball and track.

Anthony Dello Russo Jr.

Fox Chase

Women hurt by ignoring biological reality

For decades women fought for the passage of Title IX, which made tremendous strides in leveling the playing field to give women the opportunity to play sports and receive funding to support women’s athletics.

But President Joe Biden’s recent executive order to mandate schools allow biological men to compete against biological girls puts female athletes at a physical disadvantage and risks their safety.

Science and common sense tell us that males are generally bigger, faster and stronger than females. They have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, stronger muscles and generate more force in athletics. These are all advantages that cannot be undone.

Imagine the loss a young girl would experience if she missed a roster spot on her high school soccer team to a biological male. She loses more than an opportunity to compete on a level playing field. She loses potential friendships and life lessons that come from being part of a team.

Worse, imagine a talented high school freshman who makes her varsity softball team as a catcher. With the president’s executive order, she could find herself standing at home plate ready to tag a runner who is a much bigger and faster biological male. A collision like this in softball does happen and the injuries the young girl suffers could be life-changing.

These are just a few of the reasons why we must ensure only biological females are competing in the female category. Having separate teams for men and women is the time-tested way to ensure women have the opportunity to showcase their talents and be champions.

That is why I, along with four of my colleagues, introduced the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which would ensure all female athletes have a level playing field to compete and win.

Under the law we are proposing, a student who is deprived of an athletic opportunity or who suffers direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of this act by a college or public school would be able to bring a cause of action for injunctive relief, psychological and physical damage, and the costs involved in filing the lawsuit against the college or high school.

Even prominent members of the LGBTQ community like Martina Navratilova have advocated for this position as a matter of fairness. Yet, Gov. Tom Wolf stated he would veto the legislation.

I’m very disappointed President Biden and Gov. Wolf have chosen not to protect women and have dismissed women’s legitimate concerns after nearly 50 years of progress made on the field.

But we will push forward and stand up for young girls, so they have the opportunities that women fought for and were promised to them by Congress under Title IX.

Martina White

170th Legislative District

Not an even playing field

In response to Paul Kaplan’s views regarding transgender males playing on female sports teams (April 7 NET Opinion), he is missing the point. It’s not about the person but the physical attributes involved, e.g., males are physically stronger than females and putting a person who is biologically physically stronger to compete against females is not on an even playing field. Due to their physical strength, males competing with females in sports will always present a disadvantage to the females. Therefore, a female will not be able to excel in the sport solely as a female and possibly lose future opportunities related to sports.

Lorraine Kolibabek

Walton Park

Larger conversation needed

As a new arrival to Northeast Philly, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at the brief yet ill informed piece written about Rep. White’s anti-trans bill in your 4/7 issue.

I found the citation about the 275 high school boys to be … confounding, as it assumes trans women live the same biological reality as cis men (men who identify with their assigned gender). However, the majority of trans women undergo therapy that brings their hormone levels within similar range to a cis woman. The “feminizing” effects of this on things like muscle distribution/gain and metabolism is significant and complex and doesn’t necessarily leave trans women with a clear advantage. For example, the Olympics have allowed trans athletes to compete with others of their gender since 2004 if they’ve undergone 2 years of hormone treatment, yet we’ve yet to see any trans athlete win a single medal.

Additionally, this bill fails to even recognize the existence of transgender men (like me, for example). Even if we take Rep. White’s arguments at face value, wouldn’t forcing a transgender man to compete in women’s sports hurt the opportunities of cis women? After all, trans men are female assigned at birth and often undergo testosterone therapy. To see how this can turn out, one only needs to look to trans man Mack Beggs’ high school wrestling career when he was forced to compete in the girls division.

I’m not arguing that biological differences don’t exist, they exist even among cis folk and are often celebrated. We don’t decry Michael Phelps for genetically possessing freakishly large hands and feet, for example, despite that being an inarguable advantage while swimming. I think there is a larger, more nuanced conversation to be had here about the ways in which sports are segregated in the first place, and how it can evolve beyond a simple man/woman divide into something more fair, interesting and inclusive to all athletes regardless of gender.

Jack Shen


No respect for life

Black lives matter. We have these words posted and seen everywhere: a mantra, slogan, attention getter.

My thoughts about this phrase:

A teenage boy wants a snack at 12:30 a.m. He rides his bike to a convenience store. He is shot. Does that black life matter?

A teenager in a car with a gun at 3-4 a.m. – shot. Does that black life matter?

A man trying to make a video about helping with violence – gets shot. Does that black life matter?

A mother tells her son to get a gun from her car – he shoots his sister. Does that matter?

Mother, father do a bed check at 11 p.m. – none there. Does that matter?

A boy released from prison waiting for a pickup – shot. Does that matter?

These all are not just shot, they are killed.

Blacks killing blacks.

Does that matter?

Not sad, but tragic.

Virginia M. Murphy


Illegal border surge no laughing matter

Uncle Joe Biden said that by the Fourth of July we can have a family cookout, maybe with 6 people. But at the Texas/Mexico border, hundreds maybe a thousand illegal men, women and children are coming across the border now, carrying COVID and other disease, not wearing masks.

Also, Uncle Joe put Aunt Kamala in charge of the border. A minor problem, as she laughed about visiting the border, but not today. Haha.

This is an example, like placing Uncle Bill Clinton in charge of a female chicken farm (henhouse).

Richard B. Krzaczek

Lexington Park

No promotion for Jimbo

Mayor Kenney wants to run for another office after this one even though he has disappointed so many people in so many ways.

He grew up in South Philly and has all the Italians upset about his handling of Frank Rizzo and Christopher Columbus statues, etc.

When I was a kid, my Italian friends would say there are only two types of people, Italians and people who wish they were Italian.

That was true except on St. Patty’s Day, when there were two types of people, Irish and those who wish they were Irish.

He may lose some large voting blocs, so, yo Jimbo, save your money and don’t run.

Mayer Krain

Modena Park

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