Social Problems: Philadelphia Suburb (Chester Township) Threatens To Fine Charitable Woman
It has finally happened! The inmates are running the asylum in a small town in Pennsylvania. What’s next, pigs flying? Hell freezing over? Politicians voting their conscience?
This writer has seen some bizarre events during his lifetime, but with each event there was always an explanation that at the very least seemed reasonable. I mean, there are two sides to every issue, right? No matter how misguided one side might be, at the very least you can see some logic for the decision or actions.
However, the city council of Chester Township, has managed to render this writer speechless.
SETTING THE SCENE
All this summer long, Angela Prattis, a resident of Chester Township, has been distributing free lunches to neighborhood children. The food has been provided by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in an attempt to help low-income residents, and Ms. Prattis has been the distribution system.
As she explains, the residents of this township have a per capita income of $19,000 per year, and living conditions are horrible. “You have houses here, the roofs are falling in,” Prattis said, “and I wanted to make sure the neighborhood kids received at least one healthy meal a day during the summer.”
Prattis, it should be noted, does not get paid for this act of kindness. She is simply a good Samaritan doing what good Samaritans do, reaching out to help those who need a helping hand.
AND IN THIS CORNER
The city council of Chester Township, when “alerted” of this horrible deed, contacted Prattis and told her that she was handing out meals in a residential area and that it is a zoning violation. They also told her that if she continues to give away food next summer that she will be fined $600 per day.
But the story gets better! The city council told Prattis that she needed a variance in order to give away the free food, and that variance will cost her $1,000 in administrative fees.
In a magnanimous gesture, the city council has agreed to allow Prattis to continue her benevolent actions this summer, but next summer the fines will be levied if she chooses to continue with these obviously reprehensible actions.
It should be noted that Prattis is visited by a state worker biweekly to ensure that she is doing what she says she is doing. In other words, the state of Pennsylvania sees nothing wrong with charitable works, but Chester Township sees quite a bit wrong with such acts.
CAN YOU GUESS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
It is noteworthy that this drama is being played out miles from where Thomas Paine wrote his landmark essay, “Common Sense,” in 1776. In this work, Paine riled against the evils of an unjust government. That same year, also in Philadelphia, the Colonies issued the Declaration of Independence, stating that any government that does not have the good of the people at heart, should be removed.
236 years later the message seems to have been lost on the road from Philadelphia to Chester Township.
Can you imagine where this country would be if this kind of myopic thinking would have occurred during the Great Depression? But wait! It never could have happened in 1933 because President Roosevelt understood the value of helping one another. He understood the role of government. He understood that a nation is only as strong as its weakest link.
If someone knows of a valid reason for this travesty of government, let them come forth now! If someone knows of a valid reason why governments such as Chester Township feel the need to micro-manage the very life out of its residents, let them come forth now!
During a time of increased isolation in this country, acts like those of Angela Prattis should be applauded. They should be held up as examples of community action so that others might learn and emulate. They should be broadcast on every national media as feel-good stories so that a nation that is limping from economic hardships can have some positive light to follow.
Instead what we find is a small group of bureaucrats, so set in their ways and blinded by their positions, unable to do the right thing. They see black and white while all around them colors beg to be noticed. They hold their fingers down on the applicable statute and bask in their self-righteousness, all the while lacking an understanding of the basic tenants of law.
- City Council
In case you would like to contact them about this policy
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
- Common Sense by Thomas Paine
WE CAN ONLY HOPE
We can only hope that one day, somewhere in this country, reason will once again rule the land. We can only hope that one day, somewhere in this country, someone will stand up and say ENOUGH! We can only hope that one day, somewhere in this country, a disciple of Thomas Paine will ride forth and be the voice of reason and conscience for this once great Land.
For those of you who think this is too insignificant for you to bother with, I say shame on you! When acts of charity are regulated and shut down, it is not insignificant. When benevolence is overruled by statute it is not insignificant. When life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are pushed aside by bureaucratic ineptitude it is not insignificant.
Kindness is never insignificant! Kindness is never outdated. Kindness should never be regulated!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
Another Story of Injustice in America
- Spirit Lake: A True Story of Injustice
On the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota, children are being abused and raped, and in some cases murdered. Those who should be protecting them are not!