April 2, 2009


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The Chestnut Hill Local
8434 Germantown Ave.
Phila. PA 19118
Ph: 215-248-8800
Fx: 215-248-8814
2009© Chestnut Hill Local
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Election results

Did you catch the latest on the upcoming CHCA election results? I say “results” because if it is true that there is a business association slate, then the results are pretty much a forgone conclusion. Last year, we had the buying of the election. This year, it’s pretty much there for the taking.

A board member is elected by less than 10 percent of the membership… so much for democracy. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz could always go home by clicking her heels together; so could the Business Association always take over the Community Association … again. I say “again” because the founding fathers of the CHCA were local business owners.

What’s good for the Avenue is good for Chestnut Hill. What’s good for GM (also AIG, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch… yikes!) is good for the country. What, did you really believe in free speech and the rights of the people? What happened to think globally and act locally?

Locally, 200 well-placed votes can determine the makeup of a board that influences the lives of 10,000 residents. And, to have the right to cast one of those votes, you have just a few days left to pay your $50. In the future, the “Octomom” could control an election for $15 more, without ever setting foot in 19118. And don’t think your $50 is going to programs. If it did, you could deduct it.

Maybe there are better things to spend your money on. Give or take $10, you can buy a membership in the zoo, the aquarium or a ticket to four plays at the Wilma Theatre. $50 gives you the right to vote in a pre-ordained election, and your membership shows support for all they do and how they do it.

Chestnut Tim had a point.

Ed Budnick
Chestnut Hill


Senior Center a Community jewel

I wish to write a letter to express my opinion about the Chestnut Hill Senior Center.

Recently I became involved with a friend who fell in January, breaking her hip. There were many things to take care of, as she lives alone and has two pets. A relative and several neighbors and friends helped, and we were able to help her through this awful experience.

I had been involved with the center through the short story group, which meets every Thursday. My friend had joined the group several months prior to her fall, and being a skilled knitter, had been invited to lead a knitting group on Fridays. When she called me from the hospital the day after her fall, her first concern was to ask me to let the director know that she wouldn’t be in that week.

Now that she’s recovering well, and able to return to the Senior Center, I have become aware of how important this place is to her. It has become the focus of her social life in my estimation. It is simply a joy to see her there in that warm atmosphere.

I wish to thank everyone involved in the center, and also wish everyone good luck in the recent move to a new location on Germantown Avenue.

Jane Benge
Chestnut Hill


A love fest for the Local

The Chestnut Hill Local is a treasure beyond measure. The ‘little’ paper covers many ‘big’ issues, subjects and people doing significant work. With the publication’s writing being as engaging as its content, the newspaper is a real page-turner. With the paper’s fine writing, I avidly read from front page to last. Moreover, I’ve canceled a number of other subscriptions (with limited time to read them all), but I would never cancel the Local.

The paper serves our communities with such generous portions of informative news, enlightening readers with a myriad menu of issue coverage, cultural and community events and biographical news including accounts of individuals making outstanding contributions not only in our immediate region but in countries abroad.

Additionally, the expansive coverage scope of the Local includes articles on music, art, food, films, drama, sports, occasionally poetry, and items of interest to youth or children with more than a dash of humor. The music critic is one of the finest music reviewers, and I never miss the food critic column by Len Lear. Journalist Lear especially writes with gusto and relish. His stimulating descriptions make me salivate, and he personalizes the owner/chef like no other food critic does. Lastly, the Local’s writing in general is of the highest quality. How lucky for the paper and its readers to have an editor as fine and professional as Pete Mazzaccaro.

Chestnut Hill was rated seventh in the nation as the most desirable place to live, but indisputably the Chestnut Hill Local, having garnered numerous awards, is the foremost community newspaper in our country. It is as much a distinction as our elegant Germantown Avenue business section, which along with the paper is part of the area’s desirability. In the event of losing such helpful business venues, not having such an enriching, informative paper would compound the loss.

Henrietta Edelschein
West Mt. Airy


Democracy doesn’t fail, people do

Last month a public town meeting at the Chestnut Hill Library was attended by more than 80 people. It was democratic and orderly. We discussed the actions of the CHCA board concerning elections, the Local, and specifically an attempt, at a meeting closed to the public, to fire Local editor Peter Mazzaccaro.

Three motions were presented and voted on. Two of them, calling for the resignations of CHCA vice president Dina Hitchcock and CHCA president Tolis Vardakis, passed with only one dissention. A motion calling for a year-long moratorium on non-public discussion or actions concerning Local employees was passed unanimously. A vote of confidence for the editor also passed unanimously.

Board members present promised to submit these motions for a vote at the next board meeting. But the next board meeting was adjourned before it began.

Two board meetings have taken place since then. At the first, none of the motions were read.

At last Thursday’s board meeting, the motion concerning Dina’s resignation was read. Acting chair Ned Mitinger announced, “we’re not going to discuss this.” No one protested, even board members present who had previously voted in favor of the motion at the town meeting

And that was the end. And that is the end. The people you trusted to present your motions for vote at a CHCA board meeting have not done so, and I don’t know why. The two motions designed specifically to keep the Local independent and Pete in his job, which would have had a good chance of passing the board, and would have been binding to the incoming board, have never been presented for a vote, and I don’t know why.

If board members you trusted to present motions that you voted for at a civil, democratic, public meeting will not do so, then civility has failed, democracy has failed, and all that’s left is anarchy. I must continue to use the tactics left to me.

Ed Feldman  
in Roxborough


It’s about choice

Let’s talk about choice. School choice, that is!  We who live in Springfield are fortunate that we have our school system; however, some school districts (mostly urban) are not so fortunate.

Given the opportunity, it is my guess that any parent would jump at the chance to send his or her child to a private or parochial school, and I don’t mean vouchers. Everyone knows a dollar is most efficient when it does not go through Washington D.C.

If Washington wants to make an investment in education, let’s give a tax credit to corporations, companies and/or individuals for contributions made to state approved private and parochial schools for the exclusive purpose of giving grants to motivated children. Let’s also give tax deductions for tuition paid by parents toward state-approved private and parochial schools.

This concept may give over-burdened public school teachers more quality time with their students, thus a true investment in education.

Tom Bell, Sr.