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   March 27, 2008 Issue                                       

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Chestnut Hill Local
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Philadelphia, PA 19118
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©2007 The Chestnut Hill Local

From our readers

In hysterics over the Spitzer column

I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed the article by Jim Harris regarding former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, et al [“At least Gov. Spitzer did not use low-budget hookers,” March 20]. I was in hysterics. Ah, humor, it puts everything into perspective.

Betsy Thompson


Remembering Dr. Roberts

Our community lost a precious physician last week. Joan Mary Roberts, M.D. was a consummate professional. She was a doctor’s doctor. She exemplified all that is noble in medicine. She was a graduate of Woman’s Medical College and opened her practice in 1950. She claimed to have delivered five thousand babies in her OB-GYN career. I first knew of her when she began her new endeavor at Chestnut Hill Hospital. 

In 1974 she became the director of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review at Chestnut Hill. She was a founding member of the American College of Utilization Review Physicians (ACURP) and served as its president and chairman of the board. She was also a founding member of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review.  She received awards from ACURP and from Women’s Medical College.

My first memories of her were with her starched white coat carrying charts under her arm. She looked through the top of her glasses, her head bowed slightly forward; there was a slight twinkle in her blue eyes while the face was stern. Some called her the “velvet hammer.” She had the daunting task of keeping the rest of us current in our chart work. From 1976 to 1990 she was the backbone of the medical staff. She was of the tradition of Ben Parish, M.D., Mary Livsey, M.D., Henry Close, M.D., Charles T. Lee, M.D., Robert May, M.D., Warren Lambright, M.D. and Robert Gillesby, M.D.

She embodied both the science and the art of medicine. She represented what so many of us sought when we chose the profession. She was a friend and a stalwart member of our community. I will miss her. 

T. Ramsey Thorp, MD
Chestnut Hill

Ed Note: This letter ran in last week’s Local but with the incorrect signature.


Disagree, but don’t steal signs

I am an Obama supporter. My wife supports Clinton. Maybe she is less ambivalent about her endorsement than I am, or perhaps she is just better organized. But the Clinton sign appeared on our front lawn before the Obama sign did. In fact, the Obama sign still isn’t there, because it’s on back order. However, we agreed that there was plenty of frontage along our street for both. And while, for the first time in our marriage, we are a house divided in an election, we also agreed that displaying our difference would be an emblem of this engaging and rather complicated Democratic race.

But I am horrified to report that her Clinton sign was stolen, as was the second one she put out, as was our next door neighbor’s. The third one is out there now, along with a sign that reads “DO NOT STEAL. YOU ARE TRESPASSING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. YOU ARE VIOLATING MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH.”

Our conversations have been interesting at the dinner table about what this means, if anything, about who does this kind of thing. Is it zealousness for another candidate, perhaps my candidate?

My wife and daughters are trying not to attribute it to misguided passion for Obama that has turned into disdain for others’ views. I hope that isn’t it. Regardless of our differences, I need to live in a community that values tolerance and diversity.

Will someone please tell me if you disagree. Don’t just steal another sign!

Ken Kring
Chestnut Hill


Boycott the Olympics

I’m not sure why it has taken Tibetans almost 50 years to once again stage serious protests against the oppressive Chinese occupation of Tibet, but better late than never. While protestors in Tibet have received lots of media coverage lately, I hope they remember the practices of the most effective activist in history. 

Mahatma Gandhi’s revolution against imperial Britain and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership in the civil rights movement should be blueprints for Tibetans fighting for freedom and independence. As protests have already begun to turn violent, I hope Tibetans stay true to their Buddhist beliefs of non-violence and unconditional loving-kindness.

If Tibetan activists follow their religious principles, they will leave a legacy like those who fought for independence in India and equal civil rights in the US and less like militants in the Israeli-Palestinian and US-Iraqi conflicts.

Tibetans will eventually have an independent state free of oppressive Chinese rule, but they need our help. As Americans, we have a humanitarian responsibility to denounce Chinese dominance in the region. A country like China, with such serious human rights violations and poor business ethics (imperialism in Tibet, financial support for genocide in Darfur, massive toy recall in the U.S.), does not deserve to host the 2008 Olympic games. 

We all should support 2008 Olympic boycotts. We must pressure our President to confront the Chinese government about its actions in the region. Considering the disastrous international reputation this administration has earned, here is their opportunity to support a real humanitarian effort (not one rooted in oil or family grudges) and have a positive impact on millions of Chinese and Tibetans alike. 

Oh yeah, by the way, where does your presidential candidate stand on this issue?

Kevin Todd
West Philadelphia


CHCA should be more open

Editor Pete Mazzaccaro telegraphed an important message last week [“ No matter the means, it looks like the end”] concerning the future of the CHCA.

The credibility of this organization is no doubt at an all time low, as both community attitude and fund raising shortfalls clearly demonstrate. But there are two major obstacles to its resurgence, one financial transparency in both records and continuing practice, and making the case that this monopoly community organization is one committed to being inclusive rather than narrowly exclusive.

Since I have been singled out, I will go on record that I would not like to see the result of the challenge by board members become a case for the regulatory authorities; it was never a recommendation of our Committee. Restructuring from within makes much more sense and would not be that hard to accomplish.  

Both the current Board majority and Trustees in my view worked diligently this past year to end oversight and prevent an orderly review of financial data by the directors, a right they have under the law. Having to spend private money to gain access to what is a matter of right for directors I find to be unconscionable.

The CHCA and the CHCF Trustees should publish in a very public way all the key remedial action taken on their own over this past year and as a result of the auditor’s findings regarding management shortcomings.  And the Trustees should publish the minutes of meetings as they happen and make more frequent detailed presentations to the Board; preferably quarterly as was recommended by the Oversight Committee 

I suggest a special public meeting where all of these matters would be open to discussion. One where all Officers and Trustees are present and held sooner rather than later. Members could get firsthand answers and help them decide the makeup of the soon-to-be elected CHCA 2008 board. It’s time for the community association to open up to the community.

I am available to discuss findings, details and conclusions relative to these matters with any Board Member, Trustee or member of the community.

Jim Foster
CHCA board member