Saturday, August 05, 2006

Raj: "You Should Never Live In Fear"

From the Northeast Times:

Citing the skyrocketing number of shootings and the general rise in crime in the 15th Police District, Raj Bhakta hosted an emergency forum in Bridesburg last week.

Bhakta, the Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District, said there is not enough police manpower in the district.

In Bhakta’s view, crime is responsible for the decline of many Northeast neighborhoods. He faults Mayor John Street for ignoring the woes in the Northeast.

"He’s happy to watch it go down the drain," he said.

Bhakta, who faces Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Libertarian candidate Chuck Moulton, hosted the forum at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2. He was joined by 15th Police District community relations officer Christine Murphy, Town Watch Integrated Services community support specialist Damian Padilla and longtime anti-drug and anti-crime crusader C.B. Kimmins.

Murphy told the overflow crowd, which was frustrated by the long response time by police, that officers are driving to one 911 call after another.

Padilla urged residents to join Town Watch, adding that his organization will train them to make 911 calls in such a way that the police will make their emergency a priority.

Kimmins agreed with Bhakta that there is a lack of police manpower. He encourages residents to become active in their community to show criminals that they don’t own the streets.

Bhakta, who addressed the group while standing on a chair, promised to fight for funding to add police officers and build prisons. He also favors providing Town Watch groups with money and empowering them to be more proactive in the fight against crime.

The candidate supports more undercover police work, additional foot patrols and greater use of bicycle cops. He wants any drug dealer convicted three times to be sentenced to life in prison.

"You should never live in fear," he told the audience.

In response to other questions, Bhakta vowed to fight to end Section 8 funding and expressed support for the Boy Scouts, who are being threatened with eviction from their city-owned headquarters for prohibiting gays from joining.

The challenger acknowledged that he has an uphill battle against the well-funded Schwartz, but asked residents to send him to Congress to address issues such as crime.

"Help me help you," he said.

Northeast Times: Death Despite the Plea

Northeast Times details double homicide.

Two Northeast Philadelphia men were fatally shot inside their homes within days of Mayor John Street’s televised plea for peace in the streets last week.

The first killing occurred early Friday as three people burst into a Frankford home and shot a man to death.

The incident occurred shortly after 4 a.m., according to police. Officers from the 15th Police District responded to reports of gunshots in a home on the 5000 block of Jackson St.

On the scene, they found a dead body in a second-floor bedroom. The victim was identified as Shakeem Perry, 21.

Another male in the house told police that three black men with guns entered the home looking to rob it. After being frustrated by the small amount of money in the house, one of the men shot Perry once in the back of the head.

One of the gunmen fired at the second man, but the weapon misfired. The threesome escaped in an unknown direction.

About 47 hours later, Crescentville became the scene of the city’s 232nd reported homicide this year as a man was shot multiple times inside his home early Sunday morning.

Officers from the 2nd Police District went to a home on the 300 block of Stevens St. just before 3 a.m. in response to a report of a person with a gun, said Capt. Michael Costello of the homicide division.

Inside the living room, the officers discovered the body of Tarik Hunter, 34, who had been wounded in the head, torso and leg, Costello said. Hunter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not named any suspects in the shooting or disclosed a suspected motive.

Three black males in white t-shirts were "seen in the area" immediately prior to the shooting, but descriptions given to investigators have been minimal.

The homicides followed Street’s July 27 address outlining steps being taken to end the rising number of shootings and killings in the city.

Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call the police homicide division at 215-686-3334 (3335, 3336).

Inquirer: The Street Took Them All

Philadelphia Inquirer chronicles six tragic stories.

Anthony Chisholm was 9 when he secretly played with his stepfather's pistol.

Jamil Thomas was 10 when an older boy let him hold a 9mm.

Raymond Ferguson was 11, his brother, 12, when they spotted a plastic shopping bag at a playground, with distinctive outlines.

Both boys knew what was inside.

Luis Cheverez at 13 burglarized a house, scoring a Glock.

At 14, Tyson Montgomery stole a .357-caliber snub-nosed revolver.

Antwian Melvin was 15 when a friend gave him a Ruger.

As Philadelphia reels from mounting gun deaths and shootings, especially among black males in their teens and 20s, the question at the heart of the problem is: Why?

Offering insights are the stories of these six young men, all sent to Pine Grove State Correctional Institution, a prison in Western Pennsylvania for juveniles convicted of adult crimes.

Three are in state prison for armed robbery, another for shooting and paralyzing a 19-year-old. Two are serving life sentences for murder.

Daily News Once Again Very Wrong

Philadelphia Daily News columnist showcases ignorance.

I think the Boy Scout's Cradle of Liberty Council needs a new merit badge: the Weasel Badge!

It would be awarded to Scouts who act in opposition to admirable qualities, like honor, that the Council tries to instill in its 64,000 local members.

For guidance, Scouts can look at the Cradle's actions regarding its potential eviction from the city-owned property it occupies, rent-free, at 22nd and Winter.

Boy Scout Eviction “Horrific”

World Net Daily blasts Boy Scout eviction.

It is a violent summer in Philadelphia. Drug-related gang violence plagues the streets of the City of Brotherly Love. But one of the most outrageous attacks comes from the office of Philadelphia Mayor John Street. It is aimed at the Boy Scouts.

That's not just bad policy. It is horrific.

Just what have the Boy Scouts done in Philadelphia that would justify eviction from their headquarters building? Well, they serve 40,000 youth in the city, many of whom would be left to gang violence and drugs without Scouting. They contribute hundreds of thousands of volunteer project hours to the city each year. They teach boys to become responsible citizens in the community.

Boy Scouts: What Philadelphia Needs

Philadelphia Daily News requests Mayor’s reconsideration.

No, the murder rate is a direct result of kids born into families in which there is nobody home to kick butt, kids who are uncontrolled and facing no future. The closest anyone in this town has come to addressing the real root cause was when Inquirer columnist Claude Lewis wrote recently about the need to give kids back their childhood.

Not only does the city not hear Lewis' wisdom, but it's about to contradict his logic by undercutting a private group that preaches ethics, values and morality to young people who could otherwise fall into the grip of urban violence. At a time when young black people are dying in the streets, the mayor has set his sight on the Boy Scouts.

Leave the Boy Scouts Alone

Northeast News Gleaner categorizes Mayor’s priorities.

Please, Mr. Mayor, you have less than two years left in your administration. The time and energy this issue will take from you, the rest of the government and the lawyers, is probably going to a losing cause. Right now, your time would be better used for other pursuits.

Look at the bigger problems. Focus on the violence that is running rampant this summer. If you want a project, why not ask your friend Gov. Rendell to push through legislation making it more difficult to buy a gun in this state. Think about the poor and elderly, who need help to survive in the heat. Drugs continue to be a scourge in this city. Heck, if you're looking for one other thing to do, how about our town's Olympic bid?

Leave the Boy Scouts alone. Find a way to cut your losses, and drop the subject. Of all the things that can be left to your successor, this one can be left on your desk.