A sweeping resolution

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To the Editor:

Happy New Year, South Philly. 

I hate to start the new year on a sour note, but I’ve held it in as long as I can. Does anyone in South Philly know what a broom looks like?

I’m not talking about the three or four people who actually know how to use a broom, I’m talking to the other few thousand homeowners and renters who do not. How can anyone be proud to call South Philly home? I am embarrassed beyond belief to bring any guests to my home because they have to travel through some of the filthiest streets I have ever seen in my life to get to my block. 

You want to have a block party? You want to have a barbecue? You want to have a New Year’s party? Great, but don’t you think you should clean up afterward? Want to shoot fireworks? I love ‘em! Clean up afterward. And the garbage does not go down the sewer. It goes in the appropriate trash receptacles. 

If the City wants to cure its financial crisis, all it has to start doing is giving tickets. 

I, myself, am a dog owner and always pick up after my dog. To all the lazy owners who do not, you make it very bad for us responsible pet owners, and I don’t care to step in your dog’s waste. Pick it up or let your dog crap in your living room so only you have to deal with it. Cleaning up after your pet is part of pet ownership. If you can’t handle it, don’t have a pet. 

How do you teach your children self-respect without teaching them to respect where they live? They learn by example and I see all the parents trashing the neighborhood, so I can’t place the blame on the kids. Respect your neighborhood, be an active part of your community and watch the crime go down. Yes, I contribute to my local civic organization, but a few people can’t possibly keep up with all this trash. Everyone has to pitch in. 

South Philly has so much to offer. I really want to be proud to live here, and the buy in is only a 99-cent broom. Please can we all pitch in and clean up, not once or twice, but all the time. I have photos of brooms for those of you who do not know what to look for in the store.

Have a happy, healthy and hopefully cleaner new year.

Mary John
South Philadelphia

Send a letter to the South Philly Review at editor@southphillyreview.com. Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification purposes.

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Comments 1 - 9 of 9
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1. Anonymous said... on Jan 4, 2013 at 08:22PM

“Amen. I don't understand it myself. What does it take to sweep a sidewalk? 5 minutes??”

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2. Anonymous said... on Jan 5, 2013 at 08:17AM

“I can't imagine walking out my front door to litter sitting there. I guess some people are lazy or just don't care.”

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3. Diane Cavaliere said... on Jan 5, 2013 at 04:15PM

“Responding to Mary John’s letter from last week’s Review. 1/5/13
I totally agree with you Mary John.
I was born and raised here in South Philly my whole life. I live with my parents now who live above a mom and pop store, which they have owned for nearly 50 years now and they sweep every morning and every night outside their home, in front of the store and in the street.
Since the store is on the NE corner of the street. We get most of the debris and trash on the corner, sidewalk and in the street from the surrounding neighborhood.
I get so upset to see my parents clean and sweep the outside of the store constantly. Especially because they are both past 70 and they both have arthritis, but they still sweep the outside corner of the store, both sides of our neighbor’s houses, The street and the outside of their own house too.
My brother and I always help so they don’t have to do it. I mean really… it only takes a broom and a small shovel and just a few minutes of your time to do a simple and really nice thing for your neighbor hood. You can make it a part of your daily normal chores. Come on people!..... Mary is so right. Let’s not be ashamed of where we live. The trash is discussing and it is such an eye sore to see all over and which I believe makes people think it’s okay to just throw their trash anywhere they want, just because it’s already there. So they think it don’t matter. Well it does!
I myself have swept the corner store, sidewalk and street, I can’t tell you how many times and people would just throw their trash right on the ground, sometimes right in front of me, while I am actually sweeping and the cars passing by would just throw their trash right out their window...I mean. This is totally ridiculous!
There are trash cans everywhere in site. One in the store before you leave...one right outside the store on the corner of the store and another one right by the ally way. How lazy can you get?
In the summer- time, we get someone to put the fire hydrant on hoping that people would take part or take the hint to come out and join in the sweep. It’s not that hard people!. All you need is a few moments of your time during your daily chores, a broom, a shovel and maybe a small bucket or empty box.
Don’t you know that cleanliness is next to Godliness? Just think how beautiful our street would be if we all pitched in together and not just the few people that do.
Thank you Mary for what you wrote last week. You have inspired me to write back.
I hope all of youl take this seriously and not get offensive in any way, that you wouldn’t pick up a broom and pitch in. Take to heart that all am saying is ..It would be a very nice if we can get off the computers and cell phones once in awhile a come out to say hello to a neighbor who is sweeping right along with you. Just like the good old days. I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Safe blessed New Year!
God Bless!

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4. Dottie C. said... on Jan 6, 2013 at 04:20PM

“I have to say to Diane AND Mary John, I know exactly how you both feel. Both my daughters live in South Philly and I have noticed quite a change in all the neighborhoods, all for the worse. I actually wrote an editorial several years ago to talk about the area along Ritner St. between 5th St. and 8th St. My God those people in that area are total pigs. No one ever sweeps, they just keep adding to the mess. I live in SW Philly and ever since this area has changed and I see that one of my new neighbors is being a pig, they receive a letter from their alleged "Block Captain". This letter comes with a threat, but I have to tell you, it works. If people are threatened with a big fine, they clean up their act. You don't sign it with your real name, but a fictitious name. They don't know who you are and they think it is from someone on their street who is their block Captain. I have done this about ten different times and every time I get results, my husband laughs.”

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5. Paula said... on Jan 7, 2013 at 07:36AM

“Absolutely on target. Moyamensing Ave, Shunk, Porter, Oregon, 13th.....primarily from 12th to Broad are disgusting. Perhaps the problem there is because the area is a major transit point with commuters coming or going to the subways. The piggy dog owners are also to blame. I walk mine every day, always armed with bags and papertowels to clean up his waste. Fortunately most of the dog owners I see do pick it up. The trash littering those streets, along with weeds growing up through the sidwalk cracks, bespeaks loudly of a neighborhood that is going quickly downhill. What a shame.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Jan 7, 2013 at 10:51AM

“From 5th to Broad is a total pig sty. Ritner and Porter are a disgrace! 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th streets need to be torn down and re-built. Since when does financial status equate level of cleanliness. It doesn't take money to be neat and tidy. I see people pouring tons of money into their homes, but the outside is ankle deep in trash. Eww, gross. I would rather live in a shack in a clean neighborhood than a mansion on 9th Street! Take back the neighborhood, make the pigs move out!”

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7. Lou said... on Jan 8, 2013 at 09:28AM

“Twice now I have actually seen people open up their front door and throw garbage out onto the sidewalk. I can honestly say that is a first for me. Only in Philly do people do that in front of their own homes. One pig lives on Sartain and Porter and one pig lives on Mildred. If I were their neighbor I would make them eat the trash.”

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8. Broomhilda said... on Jan 8, 2013 at 05:54PM

“Mary, you are right on point! It's too bad that people have no sense of pride and ownership of their own neighborhoods. I live on a main street and it's just disgusting what people leave behind. Honestly, I could be out there and five minutes later it's just as bad or worse. Until the day when throwing garbage on the pavements is unacceptable to everyone, it's a daily battle! I hate to use the old cliche, but it was never this bad when I was young!

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9. Anonymous said... on Jan 8, 2013 at 08:09PM

“I'll tell you one thing that works. When my husband and I moved into our South Philly house on day one the neighbors introduced themselves and said, "we keep this block clean". It made an impression on me and I always sweep up my front. Introduce yourself to new neighbors and talk about how it is important to keep the neighborhood nice and tidy.”


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