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Good Philly Samaritan Might Be Sued For Good Deed


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In a city littered in scumbags and crime, it's the hard working innocents that get victimized......but this time it's by the city itself.

Be ashamed Philly. Be very ashamed.

A business developer in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze is facing legal action after voluntarily cleaning up more than 40 tons of trash from a vacant lot neighboring his local business.

As the old adage goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Ori Feibush says he visited the local offices of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority four times, sent in seven written requests and made 24 phone calls to the agency asking them to take care of a major eyesore: an empty lot next to his coffee shop was home to more than 40 tons of debris.

Not only did the agency fail to act but it also denied Feibush's offer to clean up the mess himself.

But the Daily News reports that Feibush went ahead with his plans anyway, reportedly spending more than $20,000 of his own money not only to remove the trash but also to level the soil; add cherry trees, fencing and park benches; and repave the sidewalk.

"This was a lot of garbage," local resident Elaine McGrath told the paper. "Now it's gorgeous. I'm excited."

However, the city agency was less excited, demanding that Feibush return the vacant lot to its previous condition and saying it is considering legal action against him.

"Like any property owner, [the authority] does not permit unauthorized access to or alteration of its property," Paul D. Chrystie, director of communications at the Office of Housing and Community Development told the paper. "This is both on principle (no property owner knowingly allows trespassing) and to limit taxpayer liability."

And the situation is not without irony. Feibush says he received a citation in August 2011 from the city for litter on the same lot that the city now points out is not his property.

Nonetheless, the city's request puts Feibush in an unusual position. In theory, he committed a good deed, investing his own time and money to improve the condition of his neighborhood when city authorities refused to step up to the plate. But he also knowingly did so after the city refused his request to intervene.

The situation is almost like a reverse case of eminent domain, in which a private owner is attempting to revitalize a piece of public property.

For his part, Feibush thinks the city agency is jealous.

"For a private developer to create a garden, it's a question of who gets credit. To do it without their blessing, you're basically insulting them," he said. "I'm not looking for a thank-you, but I'm not looking for a big F.U."

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Philadelphia :picard:


By Walt Hunter, Steve Beck

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia firefighters claim they are being punished by the department for being injured on the job.

Representatives with the Philadelphia Firefighters’ Union say a member of Ladder Company 15 is being punished under a new department policy.

The firefighter saved two lives during a fire, but union officials say he is now facing disciplinary action.

The controversy stems from a house fire in Frankford in November of last year. The firefighter and his co-workers pulled a couple to safety from a third-floor window. The firefighter suffered burns during the rescue.

Shortly after the fire, the firefighter received a department memo that cited him for failing to properly wear his protective gear. The firefighter was then ordered out of Ladder Company 15 to another station, miles away. The union referred to the action as a “disciplinary transfer.”

Fire Union President Bill Gault says blaming the firefighter, and five others recently transferred, for the injuries they suffered as they risked their lives is flat out wrong.

Gault pointed out that even the hoods and coats that the firefighters rely on carry disclaimers that, in flames that can reach 2,000 degrees, they can’t guarantee protection.

“They’re disciplining members for getting wounded,” Gault said.

Gault believes disciplining the firefighters is an attempt to frighten other firefighters from reporting their injuries, thus cutting the number of injury claims and saving the city money.

When asked if the city was trying to save money, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said “it actually sounds ridiculous when I hear it.”

Ayers said it’s not about saving money or discipline. He said it’s about keeping firefighters protected.

“It’s about safety.”

The union is in the process of filing grievances for the disciplined firefighters.

In the meantime, fire department officials said there are no plans to change the policy.

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