Friday, August 25, 2006

Art Outperforming Life

From the Philadelphia Daily News:


As a college-educated, middle-class white resident, I'm ashamed of the state of our city. I'm disgusted by the lack of action by Mayor Street on gun- and drug-related deaths.

Take the $10 million for the video surveillance program and hire more officers and start more social and educational programs in the neighborhoods. Don't treat our streets like a population of suspects.

I have grown to admire an HBO series that represents the true life of the inner city. "The Wire" is set in Baltimore, but its themes of political and police bureaucracy in the crime-stricken neighborhoods of Baltimore are directly relevant to the struggles of Philadelphia.

I'm tired of hearing about casinos and condo developments. I want to hear about real crime prevention, social intervention and an ethical mayor who truly represents the heart and soul of this city.

This slogan for the coming season of "The Wire" is "No Corner Left Behind." Let School District CEO Paul Vallas, with his six-figure income, relate to the reality of everyday struggle on the streets, and not just what he wants to show the puppetmaster Mr. Bush.

Mayor Street, you once said "the brothers and sisters" are running the city. If any of those employees had any backbone, they would tell you about the horrible job you are doing to protect the streets and schools.

Ian Shumard, Philadelphia

A Desire For Change

Last Wednesday we held our second Crime Forum at the Lawncrest Recreational center. Concerned citizens began arriving 15 minutes early and by the time we opened the floor we had 100 people. Clearly, these people have had enough of crime in their neighborhood.

These people have had gangs of kids mug them and their children get attacked. The elderly are afraid to go to the store for groceries. I watched about 10 people leave the event early, so they would be safe walking home. It’s no wonder why everyone triple locks their doors at night in fear of a break-in.

Residents offered suggestions to each other. One woman told her neighbors to get to know the children so that they won’t have to be afraid of them when they grow up. Another informed everyone of the Lawncrest Community Association’s meeting on September 19th at 7 p.m. held at St. William’s church. Many people suggested that parents act more responsibly with their children. And some told Raj to focus on bettering their schools.

The Lawndale Town Watch representative begged the citizens to get more involved with the community by coming to their meetings every 3rd Tuesday at St. Williams (for info call 215-745-1200). Anti-Crime crusaders C.B. Kimmons and Greg Buccaroni spoke to the crowd about what they can do in their neighborhoods.

In his most stunning speech, Greg explained that even though he is a Democrat, he is going to vote for Raj because he wants change.

The forum was very successful in outlining the issues in the neighborhood and getting the citizens’ ideas for solving the problems. We look forward to the next Crime Forum at Cannstatters on August 31st.

Sarah K.

“We're Losing That Battle Right Here"

Northeast News Gleaner recounts second crime forum.

Last Thursday night 13th district Congressional hopeful Raj Bhakta held another Emergency Crime Forum, this time in the community of Lawncrest.

"At the most basic level, the government must be able to make us safe," Bhakta said. "I find it absolutely insane to be fighting a war halfway across the world for freedom from tyranny and terror when we're losing that battle right here."

Raj Requests Mayor Use Surplus For Security

Congressional candidate Raj Peter Bhakta today implored Mayor Street to set aside one quarter of the newly announced $202 million budget surplus for the hiring of new police officers and education programs to keep youth away from crime.

In the year that ended June 30, the City of Philadelphia wound up with a surplus of nearly $202 million.

Raj is urging Street to save the city from the violence that is destroying our neighborhoods. “Philadelphia is quickly becoming the murder capital of the United States,” said Raj. “If we have a budget surplus we should put it toward hiring more police officers.”

253 murders have occurred already in Philadelphia this year. “The top priority of government must be public safety,” said Raj. “Right now the people in Philadelphia are not safe.”

130 MPH… Without Gas

Los Angeles Times showcases electric car.

When Tesla, the upstart auto company based in Silicon Valley, unveiled its all-electric Roadster at a swank affair in Santa Monica last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped in for surprise visit. Recognition hung in the air. The man who became famous for playing one seriously aggressive electric appliance had come to pay his respects to another.

The event — where Tesla was offering its first 100 "signature edition" cars for $100,000 apiece — felt like automotive history, and I have the feeling that one day I'm going to be very glad I bothered to attend. The yare and sleek carbon-bodied sports car is, by my reckoning, the first plausible electric automobile of the 21st century. And, without electrics, the 22nd century is going to be very rocky indeed.

Northeast Times: Tip Bottles Pill Pusher

From the Northeast Times:


Philadelphia Police Department narcotics officers arrested a Far Northeast woman after allegedly finding dozens of illegal prescription pills during a search of her home last Thursday.

Complaints from other residents of the 3500 block of Gloucester Lane, a loop street in the Morrell Park section, sparked the investigation, said Officer Jim Cullen of the Narcotics Field Unit-2.

Neighbors said that the woman, identified as Maria Slevenski, 40, received many visitors and was selling pills illegally. An informant confirmed the suspicions, Cullen said.

At about 7:15 p.m., police served a warrant on the woman’s home and allegedly found 32 Oxycontin pain reliever pills, 53 Ambien sleep-aid pills and 10 Marinol appetite stimulant pills, along with a .38-caliber revolver that was not registered to the woman.

Slevenski also had two grams of cocaine on her person, Cullen said. She has been charged with drug possession and possession with intent to deliver.

Cullen, Sgt. Joe Bologna and Cpl. Mark Palmer conducted the investigation.