Referendum provides opportunity
To the Editor:
During the municipal primary election next Tuesday, May 16, the question “Do you favor the granting of liquor licenses for the sale of liquor in the Borough of Swarthmore?” will be presented to voters as a referendum on the ballot.
Since early February, the citizen group Swarthmore21 has endeavored to objectively and factually present the social and economic benefits anticipated from a “Yes” vote. We’ve openly discussed the issue with thousands of Swarthmoreans and shared research, statistics, and facts surrounding this matter in all available formats and venues. In short, we did the homework necessary to help educate the public on this opportunity.
Now the registered voters of our town must decide. It’s time for current Swarthmoreans to help shape the future of their town. This could mean change, which may seem scary to some. Nevertheless, change is inevitable if we are to remain the great town that we all love. Times change and Swarthmore must keep up. If not, the repercussions of resisting change may be worse than the change itself.
For those still on the fence, or not yet fully informed about the issue, we strongly encourage you to visit the “Facts” section of the Swarthmore21.com site. If there are still questions or concerns, please find and speak to Swarthmore21 volunteers in their bright orange hats at this weekend’s Makers Market and the pre-election BBQ at Hobbs on Monday night. We also ask that everyone encourage their friends and neighbors to understand the facts and to vote on Tuesday.
We’ve done our job. As concerned Swarthmoreans, we’ve delivered an opportunity for fellow citizens to have a direct impact on our town’s future. These chances don’t come along often. If you are a registered voter in Swarthmore, we encourage you take advantage of this opportunity and vote what you believe to be right.
We vote “Yes” for the future of Swarthmore.
Patrick Francher and Vince Barrett on behalf of Swarthmore21
It’s fine to dive in
To the Editor:
I first arrived in Swarthmore as a College freshman in September 1967. Since then, I have studied and/or worked and/or lived here continuously except for, I think, seven breaks totaling about 39 months. As neighbor Brodsky has noted, a lot has changed over the years. Indeed, I remember the building at Rutgers and Chester (yes, I still think of it as the Gulf+Western building) being only three stories tall, not four (look closely!).
But other fundamental things have not changed. Our tree canopy for one. You don’t have to go far to see the alternative. For another, the passion of our citizens have for Swarthmore and their engagement with it. Shortly after we bought a home here, the 18-month saga of “The Question of the Fence at the Tot Lot” began; passion and engagement indeed. And finally, I will mention community. Why did I say “neighbor” Brodsky? Because everyone in Swarthmore is my neighbor. Because if you ask a random Swarthmorean for directions to a random address, they will be able to tell you, and probably know someone who lives on that block (or did, 30 years before). A stellar example of this “community” was Sandy Sparrow’s memorial this past Sunday. A full Meetinghouse; so much joy; so much respect for someone who gave so much to Swarthmore. As befits Sandy, a memorial service like no other I had ever seen anywhere. As was said then, we have something special going on here.
These fundamental things, which make Swarthmore what it is, have not changed over the years. Nor have they in the year since 11a.m. on that fine May day a year ago, when I went to the Broad Table Tavern when it finally opened for business and bought the first for-profit beer sold in Swarthmore. I have been there enough that the bartenders know my name and my drink; and I have never heard as much as a single discouraging word. It’s still the same Swarthmore, even though you can now get a glass of wine with your dinner.
Sixteen years ago, we had a referendum which asked us if we’d like to dip a toe into the alcohol waters; we, as a community, agreed that yes, we’ll stay dry but allow for this one place to have a license, and we’ll see how it goes. Six years ago, we had a referendum which asked us if we were ready to go all the way; we then, as a community, said no, it’s too early, we haven’t seen how our toes will react to the waters yet, so let’s stay as we are, dry with the one exception.
Now, it is time. We have seen that neither the sky nor the earth has opened. So many bad things have not happened; none of the dire predictions have come true.
I will be voting YES! I hope you will, too.
Thanks, Earth People
To the Editor:
Despite a rather overcast Earth Day, about 30 energetic volunteers participated in the annual Chester-Ridley-Crum (CRC) Watersheds Association streams cleanup at Little Crum Creek Park. In less than three hours, we cleaned streams of trash and debris, and weeded and mulched trees.
Thanks to two members of the Swarthmore College Biology Department and a Swarthmore college student for setting up microscopes and showing volunteers little creatures that live in the streams and told them about the importance of maintaining clean streams. Many thanks to our faithful Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) members and their families, the local 4-H group, residents of our extended communities, and to our Public Works Department, who deliver mulch and pick up our trash. We are especially grateful to have Phil Coleman back with us this year — Phil makes these work days fun for everyone, and no one enjoys them more than Phil!
We will continue to coordinate with various community groups to schedule regular work days in the park. If you are interested in participating with the EAC on a regular (or irregular) basis, please get in touch with Susan Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swarthmore Environmental Advisory Council
Killing the Clean Air Act, and us
To the Editor:
Ozone and particle pollution can cause developmental harm in children and reproductive harm in older individuals. In humans these two pollutants can also cause premature death, asthma attacks, wheezing and coughing, shortness of breath, heart disease, susceptibility to infections and lung tissue redness and swelling, and lung cancer. Yet bills under consideration in Washington would weaken or end the Clean Air Act, more than likely helping kill many of those with serious health or respiratory problems, and causing healthy individuals to develop the illnesses cited above. For the 40 percent of Americans who still live where the air is unhealthy to breathe, preserving the law of the land is a life and death matter.
Since most of the health-damaging pollutants come from fossil fuel sources, more monitoring is needed near roadways to measure air pollution from traffic, in communities that have gas or coal fired power plants and in places with expanded oil and gas extraction operations such as in the counties of and near the Marcellus Shale region here in Pennsylvania.
Less than one-third of all U.S. counties have ozone or particle pollution monitors to adequately detect and track the levels of these forms of air pollution. This has real consequences. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection, which is obligated to protect people from dangerous air pollution under the Clean Air Act, has been prevented from doing so because of inadequate resources and staff. Thirty-one of 67 counties have no monitors collecting data on ozone levels, and 42 out of 67 counties either have had no monitors collecting data on particle pollution or the data, or the data has been incomplete for the last three years.
I urge people to read the American Lung Association’s report titled “State of the Air 2017” to understand the improvements to health and quality of life we’ve made under the Clean Air Act, how much more we need to improve, and how that progress will be more difficult in the future (even if the Clean Air Act is not undermined) due to the consequences of climate change.
Our communities need more than ever before the daily passion and commitment of regular citizens to protect public health, public safety and the environment. We must collectively and individually be thorns in the sides of our elected local, state, and federal officials to ensure that our government effectively and quickly prevents new environmental problems and cleans up our air, water, and public lands to scientifically proven healthy standards.
No fan of Whelan
To the Editor:
A few years ago, intruders entered my home while my family, including my three young children, was asleep upstairs. Our kids woke up the next morning to a ransacked home, while my husband and I discovered one by one, that our computers, cars, and phones were gone. Perhaps even more important than our kids’ irreplaceable baby photos and Christmas morning videos was the permanent theft of our sense of safety and security within the walls of our own home. After many subsequent sleepless nights, my kids still have a sign that hangs on their bedroom door warning any future robbers not to enter their room.
After months of searching and outstanding work, the Upper Darby police found the intruders and appropriately charged them. The evidence pointing to the burglars was strong and included my husband’s work ID found inside their house. The thieves were charged with several burglaries in Drexel Hill and another burglary in Swarthmore. They were actually caught in the act of breaking and entering homes in Drexel Hill.
Criminal justice would now be served, or so we thought. But that expectation vanished when the District Attorney’s office (under the charge of District Attorney Jack Whelan) did not seek to appropriately punish these criminals. The D.A.’s office offered the offenders a light and inappropriate plea deal without consulting my family or sizing up the evidence. The D.A.’s office knew the offenders were responsible for a string of burglaries across Delaware County and that one of the offenders had prior violent crime convictions. Instead of appropriately prosecuting these serial offenders, the D.A.’s office let them go with a plea deal that amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist. Even later, when one of the criminals violated his parole, they looked the other way. We e-mailed District Attorney Whelan about our concerns. He never even responded. When I personally spoke with the Assistant District Attorney on the phone, I asked him if this was the same punishment he would seek if it had been his home and his young children that had been violated. He couldn’t answer me.
District Attorney Jack Whelan is running for judge in Delaware County. He cross-filed to be listed as a candidate on the Democratic and Republican primary. When I think about electing a judge, I want someone who is strong and not afraid to take the harder path. I want someone who will uphold our current laws to keep our homes and citizens safe. In my experience, he failed to do exactly that.
This is my personal story. It has nothing to do with politics. It is about integrity and doing the right thing. I am voting AGAINST Jack Whelan during this election and I encourage you to do the same.
Melissa Burkhart Zeserson
Interfaith Council praises City of Chester
for recognizing Muslim holidays
To the Editor:
We, the members of the Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County (formerly the Swarthmore Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium, SWIM), dedicated to cultivating relationships of trust and solidarity among religious leaders, congregations, and faith communities, commend the City of Chester, Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, and the City Council for issuing a proclamation recognizing the two major Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The proclamation was issued at a City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, and was accepted by Imam Shakur Abdul-Ali on behalf of the city’s Muslim community.
As a coalition of leaders and community members across many faith traditions, we want to lift up and draw attention to all positive and affirming acts of inclusion that honor our various faith and cultural traditions. We commend the City Council for making this official proclamation, thereby sending out a message of unity with our Muslim neighbors and recognizing the rich diversity of our Delaware County community. As sisters and brothers in faith, who share this region that we all call home, we celebrate both that which is common among us and that which makes us unique.
As members of ICSDC, we are committed to supporting one another, and opening ourselves to learning about our diverse faith traditions. We offer our heartfelt thanks to Mayor Kirkland and the City Council for their proclamation. We congratulate our Muslim brothers and sisters for this milestone achievement and reaffirm that our unity is rooted in the holy work of loving our neighbors, thereby strengthening our shared community.
Rev. Sukja Bang, Swarthmore United Methodist Church
Rev. Marcie Brozyna, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Clergy
Rev. Jennifer Casey, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Mary E. Chollet, St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church
The Rev. Peter Friedrichs, Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware Co.
The Rev. Alina S. Gayeuski, Reformation Lutheran Church
Rabbi Jeremy Gerber, Congregation Ohev Shalom
Rev. William L. B. Gray, Sr., Wesley A.M.E. Church
Rev. Edward J. Hallinan, Saint John Chrysostom Church
Jennifer Karsten, Pendle Hill Quaker Center
Rev. François Lacroix, Wallingford Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Wayne Matthias-Long, Reformation Lutheran Church
Venerable Amy Miller, Buddhist Nun and Teacher
Jeanne A. Musewicz, St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church
Mary Lou Parker, Religious Society of Friends, Swarthmore Meeting
Rabbi Linda Potemken, Congregation Beth Israel of Media
Rev. Sarah Cooper Searight, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
Rev. Joyce Shin, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
Rev. Joyce U. Tompkins, Trinity Episcopal Church; Swarthmore College
A great race
To the Editor:
Kudos and thanks to all of the runners and walkers who participated in last Sunday’s 16th Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair 5K Run and Walk sponsored by the Swarthmore Lions Club and the Swarthmore Rotary Club. Although it was a little cooler than expected, the rain held off and a good time was had by all. It was great to see a number of kids running their first 5K and families running together. Here are the race results.
The women’s overall winners were 1.) Morgan McErlean (23:08), 2.) Keira Bolin (24:44), and 3.) Rebecca Maneen (25:00).
The men’s overall winners were 1.) Thomas Morton (21:15), 2.) Duane Christy (21:30), and 3.) Ben Ent (23:06).
The female age group winners were 1.) Hailey Murray, 2.) Katie Stack, and 3.) Charlotte Davis (1-10-year-old group); 1.) Taylor Brody, 2.) Lilly Huffman, and 3.) Kristen McKenna (30-39); 1.) Samantha Simonsen 2.) Sarah Sidiqi, and 3.) Jennifer Rothman (40-49); and 1.) Noreen O’Connor-Abel and 2.) Patti Gregory (50-59).
The male age group winners were 1.) Sawyer Bock and 2.) Will Slootmaker (11-13); 1.) Stoney Gingrich and 2.) Tyrone Hurston (20-29); 1.) Joel Brody, 2.) Mike Bolin, and 3.) Robert Page (30-39); 1.) Patrick Poliski (40-49); 1.) Michael Stack, 2.) Doug Schauerman, and 3.) Rick Sultzer (50-59); and 1.) Terry Britt, 2.) Frank Kelly, and 3.) Don Casey (60+).
If you did not receive your medal, please send an e-mail to email@example.com. Full race results are now posted on runtheday.com.
I would like to recognize Swarthmore Rotarians and the Fun-Fair director Joe Lesniak for their generous support of the race. Special thanks to Gina Sheehan, faculty advisor of the Ridley High School Leos Club, and the Leo volunteers (Mike Quinn, Christian Mendoza, Gina Borcky, Haley Pattinson, Emily Coghlin, Margaret Trautz, Maria Russo, and Lexi Burns), who marshaled and served refreshments at the finish line. Many thanks to Chief Brian Craig, Sgt. Ray Stufflet, Officer Joe McGinnis, and Officer Anthony Aloi for keeping the streets safe. Beth Brady and the Run the Day team did a great job with the race timing and the race results. We also thank Michael Hill and Swarthmore College for allowing us to run through the campus.
Finally, thanks to fellow Lions and friends (Carol Gallo, Tom Dillon; James Verdi, Jeff Bergstrom, and Jim Donahue) for their help with the race. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Fun-Fair 5K.
Swarthmore Lions Club