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Letters to the Editor

Vote for Hasher and Murray

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Dear friends and neighbors, I would like to sincerely thank all who voted for me and supported me in the May Republican primary for City Council at large. My wife and I were in a serious car accident in April, but despite this I still won the primary, coming in a strong third place out of a field of six candidates, all while being unable to campaign and unable to raise a lot of money.

After thoroughly thinking about the race in November, I have decided to drop out of the race and put all of my support behind two candidates for City Council at large: Jim Hasher and Drew Murray. Unlike the five Democrats running for City Council at large, our Republican candidates are not guaranteed the two minority party-reserved spots on City Council. They are fighting for those seats against the Working Families Party, a fringe Democrat group that seeks to disenfranchise Republican voters in Philadelphia.

I’m asking all who voted for me, as well as all Democrats and independents who are unhappy with the status quo in Philadelphia and value a strong, dissenting voice in our city, to vote for Jim Hasher and Drew Murray on Nov. 7.

Gary Grisafi


Thin-skinned detractors

I can’t help but feel troubled by the recent dismissal of John Hunter just hours after he was hired to be Father Judge High School’s next baseball coach. Slurs of any kind are not to be taken lightly, particularly if used in a hurtful way. It is understandable Judge found itself in a difficult position. However, I truly believe we as a society have gone way too far in how we hold others onto their misgivings of their past, particularly several years removed from the kind of person they/we are in the present. I think it is safe to say most of us have things in our past that we would much rather not be known by others. What is by far most important is how we evolve in our journey to become, simply put, “good people who contribute in our own way to a world that is better off for what we have done.”

It is not like it was discovered Mr. Hunter was previously involved in a murder case, or has been accused of being a pedophile, or has a reputation as a scammer who has mistreated people at many stops along his way through life. Yes, the use of any slurs is frowned upon. But what was the context of them? Mean-spirited or vicious? Silly cutting up of others who know that no harm was intended? We have become far too thin-skinned and sadly look to jump on anyone/anything who others decide hurts our feelings so easily. It has become sad, pathetic and even laughable at how sensitive too many people have become. And let’s not forget about “throwing stones in glass houses.”

I wouldn’t know John Hunter if I fell over him. I don’t know what kind of person he is or what kind of baseball coach he is. However, I don’t think he arrived where he is in life by fooling others. Father Judge thought enough of him to select him to lead their young men on the baseball diamond. They could have selected a thousand other candidates, and rest assured virtually each one would have something long ago in their past, but like all of us, has moved forward to be an asset to the society we live in. Shame on those who have created a world that seems to delight in bringing down others who have shown to be “imperfect.”

Keep your head up, John Hunter. My Spidey sense tells me you are just like the rest of us.   Another imperfect creature who has made mistakes and bad judgments during their life’s journey, but who has moved on each day looking to do good. Continue to be a “hit” with others, both on and off the field.

James McCaffrey


Reauthorize speed cameras

I write this letter to push my elected representatives, Rep. Kevin Boyle and Sen. Jimmy Dillon, as well as House Transportation Committee chairman, Rep. Ed Neilson, who represents a neighboring district, to support any bill that reauthorizes, makes permanent and expands the Roosevelt Boulevard speed cameras to other roads in Philadelphia.

Philadelphians deserve to be able to travel safely. Drivers, pedestrians, bike riders and public transportation riders alike should not worry about their life being turned upside down because they took or crossed the Boulevard. I’ve lived in Northeast Philly my entire life – I’m a driver, a walker, a runner, a bike rider and a public transportation user. In all of these transit modes, I tend to avoid the Boulevard. Frightening stories about entire families being killed by one speeding driver and crashes because of carelessness deter me from using the throughway. Yet, these stories have become more rare – when I cross or take the Boulevard, there are far fewer cars speeding. Never in my life did I think I would feel “safer” on the Boulevard without any giant redesign that it seriously needs. Yet, the automated speed enforcement cameras installed in the last few years are working. They’re reducing speeding and, consequently, traffic crashes and deaths.

The traffic camera pilot has been successful. Studies have shown huge reductions in traffic crashes. As my elected officials, please support making these speed enforcement cameras permanent and push to install them along other streets. Speeding has gone down on the Boulevard but has gone up on Bustleton Avenue. It’s time for the state legislature to take action and ensure safety of all Pennsylvanians – Sen. Dillon, please support and co-sponsor HB 1284. Rep. Boyle, please continue working to support Northeast Philadelphians and ensuring traffic safety.

Viktor Kagan


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