I was recently informed that a banner was unfurled above the Schuylkill Expressway that read: “Your Tax $$ Fund Israeli Apartheid.” When I was running for Congress against Rep. Dwight Evans in 2018, he told many Jewish voters that he supports the State of Israel and sadly, they believed him. Since the election, Rep. Evans has turned his back on Israel and has co-signed multiple anti-Israel pieces of legislation while remaining silent on the rise of anti-Semitism in our country. I am calling on Rep. Dwight Evans to publicly denounce this banner and to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism in America.
Bryan E. Leib
Former Republican Congressional Candidate for PA-03
Reining in bad landlords
I read with interest your story on the Take Back Your Neighborhood meeting and problems with absentee owners/landlords. I wish I could have been there. For several years I have faced nuisance property issues, and even been harassed for my concern. It seems many of us have faced problems with misuse of property, noise, trash, dog poop and all those cars parked everywhere. I’m one of those people who thanklessly cleans up other people’s trash, gets graffiti taken care of and supports my civic association. But I’ve gotten nowhere with nuisance properties, when the owner and manager are nowhere to be found. City agencies, from police to human relations, claim they have limited powers, and politicians seem to have no answers. I once confronted a city agency with the evidence of false landlord information and was told, “We don’t have the staff to deal with it.” Well, then, why have rules? The head of TBYN (Mr. Rudnitsky) offers a useful owner ID decal for rentals. We need to know the owners and managers of rental properties, how to reach them and hold them and the city accountable. I would also add a second layer, and ask that community groups join together and obtain legal guidance on dealing with owners. If the owner/landlords face complaints every day, they will see the value in being good neighbors — yes, even if they live in New Jersey or New York.
The Republican Party is mentally ill. They have lost their minds and their character. One of the most sacred rights as an American is your right to vote. And they are hell bent on taking that right away from as many Americans who don’t agree with them as they can. Passing laws directly aimed at people of color in states where they are losing ground. Trying to overthrow an election they know was fair. It was proven by election officials and judges whom Trump appointed himself. Acting like Jan. 6 never happened and that Donald Trump was not at least partially responsible for the insurrection. Bending the Constitution when it serves them. And now, state Rep. Aaron Bernstine is trying to pass a gun law that allows PA residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Meanwhile, our streets are like the wild, wild west, and mass shootings are becoming the norm. Talk about spiteful. The wheels have fallen off the bus, people, and too many Republicans have drunk the Kool-Aid. How can you possibly have bipartisanship with an underhanded opposition? Impossible when you are dealing with the insane.
More money for EITC
We would like to thank lawmakers in the state House and Senate for their continued support of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit. Education issues are always complex, and state lawmakers are working hard to improve how we teach children in Pennsylvania. Issues remain, but it’s our hope legislators and Gov. Wolf can reach a compromise on an EITC escalator, which will ensure the future needs of students and their families are met. Last year, 67,000 students applied for an EITC scholarship. The state Department of Community and Economic Development estimates that about a third of those students went unfunded. We need to do everything we can to help parents choose the school that will best serve the needs of their children. EITC has been critical in this regard and is a true success story for Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
On Feb. 4, 2020, President Trump made a statement in his State of the Union address about protecting Americans against the coronavirus outbreak in China and that his administration “will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” Now let’s trace back to when the coronavirus first appeared and surprisingly, if people have forgotten, it surfaced during Trump’s impeachment trial around December 2019. And while the world started noticing an infectious disease outbreak coming from China, our politicians in Washington were solely focused on none other than impeaching Trump. Even after President Trump mentioned the threat of the virus in his speech, one month before the nation’s lockdowns on March 11, an aloof Nancy Pelosi’s only concern was to tear up Trump’s speech like an irate child throwing a tantrum. If Pelosi wasn’t so adamant about her hatred toward Trump and her obsession with getting him impeached, then maybe she and her fellow House Democrats could have had a jump on the pandemic instead of dissing Trump’s statements. And as Mitch McConnell stated, the impeachment trial distracted and diverted the government’s attention from fighting the virus. But yet again, the self-centered Pelosi’s only concern for four years was impeaching Trump instead of working with the president and for the people.
Stop the war on driving
The Philadelphia Vision Zero 2025 Action Plan seeks to harass drivers and make them pay unreasonable sums of money to safely drive on roads. It seeks to install more red-light cameras, install stop-arm cameras, blanket the city with speed cameras, set absurdly low speed limits and install transit bus-lane cameras. Some of these would require state law changes, but all stories I found did not mention the bus-lane cameras would need a state law change, also. Poor engineering and predatory ticketing failed in many places, and Vision Zero cities are showing poor results. Bicyclists and pedestrians are routinely shown to cause many crashes. The above items would make things worse and punish good people. These add to the
potential policy of civilian traffic enforcement, which the FOP said violates state law. What about the new vague Council proposal of police mailing owners of cars tickets, rather than pulling them over? Legality? It is time to stop waging a war on driving. The city should get rid of engineering that does not meet best practices, and cease overzealous enforcement. At this point, the city has some serious issues to confront, and trying to ticket people who are actually spending money in the city should not be at the top of the list.
James Sikorski Jr.
PA Advocate, National Motorists Association
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