a new Family Court complex. And we need to decide where to locate that complex as soon as possible so that the new facility can be up, running and serving Philadelphia families.
While many of our city's lawyers represent individuals in divorce, custody, domestic violence and other critical issues in Family Court, the overwhelming majority of matters involve self-represented litigants who have no opportunity to speak to the public about their concerns.
As the voice of 13,000 lawyers in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bar Association can provide a cogent, rational perspective informed by the needs of these families.
The Bar Association can be the "honest broker" that the Daily News and others have called for.
So we're offering our services here and now as an independent third party who can help resolve disputes about the location of the complex and get the project moving.
For more than five years, our lawyers have closely examined the urgent need for a new Family Court complex. Our family law section and public interest Section have worked with former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman - who served as liaison to the First Judicial District and who was an important and compelling advocate on behalf of a new Family Court building - to identify the broad range of problems with the current Family Court facilities, which are clearly inadequate.
We have called for increased public accountability about funding and resources allocation; increased personnel, assistance and information for pro se litigants; improved facilities, security, scheduling and timeliness, and the fulfillment of the constitutional mandate of open court.
We have endorsed the recommendations of a comprehensive 2003 report from the Women's Law Project, finding that the Domestic Relations Division falls short of national court performance standards in a number of critical areas.
We want to help solve these problems and we are confident that we can bring together key decision-makers, frame issues and facilitate resolutions.
Tens of thousands of people bring their family crises to the Domestic Relations Division each year. The division cannot significantly improve its performance if maintained at the current inadequate level of economic support and personnel and in its current condition and location.
A new Family Court complex location must be agreed upon without further delay. We are ready to make it happen.
Jane Leslie Dalton, Chancellor
Philadelphia Bar Association
End PGW senior discounts
If PGW would cancel the 20 percent discount that it gives to the senior citizens, then it would have enough money to pay back the $45 million that it owes to the city of Philadelphia.
Ted Lahm, Philadelphia