Shared from the 5/10/2020 Philadelphia Inquirer - Philly Edition eEdition


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Arts need city funding

On May 1, The Inquirer reported that Mayor Jim Kenney had announced that, due to the coronavirus, he was going to submit a revised budget to City Council with a $649 million projected shortfall. Part of his intention was to “save” $4 million by eliminating the City’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, which would include $3 million from the city’s Cultural Fund, which made 349 grants to arts and cultural organizations last year. This “savings” would constitute less than 0.005% of the projected shortfall.

As the board of directors development chair of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and a significant fund-raiser for Mural Arts Philadelphia, I know how difficult it is, with revenues shut off by the COVID-19, to raise philanthropic contributions during the pandemic, despite the mayor’s reference that many of these organizations “have demonstrated outside funding capacity.”

On May 2, the New York Times reported that since the onset of COVID-19, its Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers confirmed that 95% of artists have lost income and 62% are unemployed. These projected cuts in personnel and funding sends the wrong message to our arts and cultural communities, their philanthropic supporters, and the rest of our region and the entire nation, which have learned to view our fair city as an arts and culture jewel.

Joseph Manko Sr. Philadelphia

Blue Angels, Thunderbirds appreciated

Talk about taking the air out of the room. Solomon Jones in his op-ed May 1 has mastered the art. Without a doubt, medical workers need green angels, but they also need Blue Angels and Thunderbirds to lift their spirits. Not everything in life needs to be measured in dollars and cents. Perhaps that’s what many of us are learning in this pandemic — how we can reach out to lift others out of sadness, isolation, pain, etc. What wonderful support and gratitude is being expressed by our local citizens — why not do the same on the national level? How welcoming was that demonstration of love, appreciation, and gratitude by those dedicated pilots to those on the front lines. Given the media coverage, it seems to have been deeply appreciated.

Sister Peggy Devlin, Marlton

Let protestors protest, but...

Every American has the right to protest and speak out; however, health insurance companies also have the right to base premiums on activities. Since attending public rallies exposes the protesters to higher risk, either health insurance companies should charge them higher premiums, or the protesters should sign waivers saying they will not go to public hospitals or health centers should they contract the virus. Protest, but take responsibility for your actions. Don’t expose the rest of us to paying for your bad behavior.

Bob Fleischman, Philadelphia

Essential Workers Bill of Rights

As Pennsylvania reopens, we must protect anyone whose job makes them vulnerable to the coronavirus. The Inquirer reported that Philadelphia unions called for new city regulations, but we also need national laws. Our essential workers kept us going during this shutdown, leaving their homes so trash is collected, grocery stores are stocked, and children of other workers are cared for. But most essential workers aren’t being paid a livable wage and can’t access health care.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) have introduced an Essential Workers Bill of Rights to ensure these workers access to health and safety protections, robust compensation, and paid leave. On behalf of the Southeastern Pennsylvania NETWORK Advocates Team, I call on Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey to support the Essential Workers Bill of Rights. Our workers have sacrificed for us, and it’s time for us to give back.

Gerri DiLisi, Lansdale

Preview of November

Mail-in ballots? Three tubs of ballots discovered in a mail processing center after polls closed in Wisconsin was the headline. Three tubs left sitting on voting day in Wisconsin? A practice run to control the vote, or a massive screw up by the Postal Service? Somehow I can’t see the post office not noticing three tubs full of thousands of ballots at a processing center that does millions of letters and parcels a week.

Will we see the same thing happen here in Pennsylvania, or will they take a lesson from Wisconsin and make sure they disappear before it gets caught? Have a preview of November if the Dems get their way to make it all by mail. Would love to see if most are undelivered ballots for Republican voters or uncounted Republican votes. If we can head out to places like Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and every grocery store in America as long as we wear masks, we can survive going to the polls in person, too.

Hezakiah Levinson, Philadelphia,

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