IN DISTRICT Attorney Seth Williams' letter to the Daily News, published Jan. 27, he wrote:
"I want to make this clear: I . . . make decisions based on the merits and facts at my disposal. My number one job is to keep all Philadelphians . . . safe from crime, fraud and corruption and I take that role seriously."
That you felt the need to defend your person in such public way belies your words, makes your motives suspect and speaks volumes, which you kept silent.
If you really do "make decisions based on the merits and facts at (your) disposal," please explain the following.
As a crime victim, for years, I, personally hand-delivered to you, information and ironclad proof of crimes and public corruption, ongoing in Philadelphia courts, committed by attorneys, judges and Philadelphia's Sheriff.
I repeatedly tried to file criminal complaints in your offices, and even directly with you. I made many personal requests, directly to you, also by email and fax, asking that you perform your publicly paid, ministerial, nondiscretionary duty to investigate the crimes against me, which include extortion, forgery, fraud, perjury, attempts on my life, and theft of my home and everything I own - thereby leaving me destitute.
Why did you, in writing, tell me to go away, be quiet, and ask someone other than you - the primary public official, responsible to enforce the Law, and, as you wrote, "to keep Philadelphians . . . safe from crime, fraud and corruption . . . (a) role (you) take seriously"?
Am I the wrong "gender, race, age or political affiliation"? Or, is the real problem, that I asked you to do your job?
School Reform Commission assailed
I wanted to thank Solomon Jones for the article that appeared on Philly.com about the "rigged" School Reform Commission.
I have volunteered in some of the elementary schools and I have friends who teach in some.
I don't have children, but have a lot of friends who have worked hard to keep their children out of what they see as a failing system . . . choosing to move away if the option is there. Not everyone has that option, though, as you are clear to point out.
I have been in several of the public elementary schools and I can only say I found the conditions dangerous and appalling.
There is no way those schools will give any child the tools to rise up out of poverty. In fact it may set more of the kids back than provide a path forward.
The state needs to relinquish control and the city and state need to make educating our children the priority that it has always been.
Charter schools appear to be nothing but a scheme to add one more disconnect to the levels of accountability that should exist for those charged with running schools and educating the children of this city.
Kevin M. Towey
The article about the SRC nailed it! For 14 years, I've taught at Julia deBurgos, a K-8 Philadelphia public school at 4th and Lehigh streets, primarily a Spanish-speaking area. At 42 years old, I made that career change and have never regretted the moments spent with my kids. Unfortunately, the relentless beatdown of the profession and the refusal to provide adequate funding, take a toll on everyone and the students suffer. Once again, the children who need the most get the least and have even less say in their education. Thank you for speaking out.
While I applaud the sentiment of inclusion that was impetus to add two Muslim holidays to the city calendar, I think that Council, city government, and the SRC should carefully consider the ramifications. If the purpose is inclusiveness, then where will this end? Why only Muslim holidays? Certainly, some holidays will have to be given up and it's easier to give employees new holidays than it is to take away old ones.
This will also set a new precedent for Philadelphia public schools. Right now, religious holidays are not the official basis for days off. Christmas and Easter are swept up in the secular Winter and Spring breaks.
One could argue that the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur days off are religiously based. But religion was not the basis on which they were added to the school calendar when I was a girl. They were added at a time when so many teachers were Jewish that the district could not get enough substitutes to stay open. It was easier to close.
Perhaps the school district and the city, instead of giving a governmental endorsement of religious holidays, could instead give employees and students a certain number of flexible holidays off and keep schools and government open on those days whenever possible.