Author: Michel Lee

Upland online post blasts leaders for Dr. King’s house demolition

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, many communities in the county annually commemorate the civil rights activist’s dream of peaceful coexistence, but last year, a Facebook group in Upland took a more militant approach, through social media, to memorialize Dr. King’s legacy by waging a politically-charged internet-war against Upland Council President Christine Peterson and Upland Mayor Michael Ciach. A Facebook page titled, “The New Upland,” with a profile picture of Dr. King, lambasted Upland Borough Council for its Feb. 3, 2016 decision to demolish two properties neighboring the Sunnyside House on Upland Ave. One of the homes is where Dr. King resided during his three–year academic stay at the Crozer Theological Seminary. “The New Upland’s” maintains anonymity and did not respond to The Spirit’s messages, but the nearly one-year old, publicly viewable Facebook page reveals posts of the moderator accusing Peterson of underhandedly approving the house’s demolition without the public’s opinion nor input from the Delaware County Historical Society (DCHS), deviating from the public notices for scheduled hearings from both the public and DCHS, and also eliminating Dr, King’s historic presence from the borough. “Can you explain to the city and nation why Martin Luther King, Jr. isn’t considered historical by the New Upland Council President and (its) Mayor????” a Feb. 5, 2016 post reads, “….I have no idea how two people in politics care so little...

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A lesson in legacy highlights King breakfast

On Monday, the Community YMCA of Eastern Delaware County hosted its annual Unity Day Breakfast in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., where guests enjoyed a continental breakfast buffet, live music and speeches from an award-winning student essay and a lively speech from keynote speaker, Renee Amoore. Seated throughout the large roundtables in the Drexelbrook Special Event Center’s elegant ballroom were many well-known county politicos who celebrated Dr. King’s legacy with their constituents. “It’s wonderful and important to be reminded of Martin Luther King’s legacy and the dream he had for America,” said state Rep. Margo Davidson (D-164), one...

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Upland leaders accused of bias?

By MichelLee mlee@myspiritnews.com @MichelTheSpirit The federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) is probing discrimination in Upland Borough, The Spirit has learned, based on a complaint filed by former Upland Police Chief Nelson Ocasio, the county’s first Latino police chief who was “suspended indefinitely” then terminated months after a public blow-up with Borough Council President Christine Peterson, who was also the police department secretary. The EEOC action, the paper has learned, invokes “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” which renders discrimination against employees “on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion” as federally unlawful. EEOC...

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Kirkland administration set to raise taxes on poor, working residents

By MichelLee mlee@myspiritnews.com @MichelTheSpirit While Chester City government is hoping for a fresh financial start for the New Year, it will potentially put its own residents in the line of fire that is debt by raising taxes on residents who work. At this week’s final meeting for the year, Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland and Chester City Council were expected to vote to approve a series of revenue-oriented ordinances including one to raise the Earned Income Tax (EIT) from the current 2.10 percent level to 2.75 percent; a 31 percent jump in residents’ “salaries, wages, commissions, net profits” and “any other” resident-earned compensation. Plainly put, the tax hike is anything but a remedy in a city where the median income is $27, 365, as of 2015; the numbers also reveal a $216 decline from 2013’s recorded median income of $27, 581, according to census.gov and city-data.com. The decline could also point to a decrease in the same years’ populations. To add salt to the wound, residents have paid, and will continue to pay, double the EIT rate of non-residents, people who are merely employed in the city but reside elsewhere. Non-residents currently experience a 1.10 percent rate, but that will be lowered to 1.05 percent for 2017. Sources familiar with city government workings say the vast majority of non-residents working in the city are police officers, firefighters, some employees at City...

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Joy to Their World; Throughout Delco, Santa’s elves wear uniforms

By MichelLee mlee@myspiritnews.com @MichelTheSpirit If Santa’s helpers were real, they’d probably be police officers in Chester, Darby Township and Folcroft. Like many other departments among Delaware County’s 49 municipalities, these each exuded holiday spirit by giving back to their communities and at a time when relations between communities and their police are national matters of concern. “There is a negative perception of police; we’re even used as a threat,” Darby Township Police Chief Regina Price said. Last week, Chester police officers creatively gave away 100 turkeys in the span of two hours. According to Acting Police Commissioner Otis Blair,...

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