Lynn Abraham discusses crime, drugs with Greater Bustleton Civic League

District Attorney Lynn Abraham addressed many issues at last night’s Greater Bustleton Civic League meeting, including her decision not to run for re-election this term.

“It was not that I really wanted to go,” Abraham said, as she corrected those who said she is retiring. The 19-year DA said her decision was based on the health of her husband of 33 years, who became ill around the time Abraham would have been starting a fresh campaign. The decision was an easy one, she said. Her husband has since passed away.

But the longtime public official made it clear she isn’t finished with her career

Continue reading for notes from the rest of the GBCL meeting, and a hot zoning issue.

Mayfair-based cheesesteak franchise coming to Bustleton

The hottest zoning issue of the night centered around Wit or Witout, a Mayfair-based cheesesteak place that has been franchised, and is seeking a location at 9898 Roosevelt Blvd.

John Tumolo, whose mother and brother started Rita’s Water Ice, sought zoning approval to renovate the abandoned E-Z Hot Dogs, and create what he called a “first class” eat-in/takeout cheesesteak place, similar to the original location on Frankford Avenue.

After nearly an hour of discussion and questions from residents, Tumolo received zoning approval, though Bustleton residents requested he plant more trees to create a green buffer for nearby residents and have parking restriction signs installed in some areas to reduce congestion.

Tumolo plans to open Wit or Witout before Thanksgiving.

“Serving people is what I do,” she told the filled room at the American Heritage Federal Credit Union. With that, Abraham launched into a discussion about crime prevention and punishment, including an advisory from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration, which detailed the risks of cocain laced with veterinary anti-parasitic medication.

“Crime changes every second,” Abraham said, but estimated that 80 percent of those in the Philadelphia prison system have drug-related problems.

With prisons fulled nearly to capacity – and sometimes beyond – Abraham advocated programs for Advanced Violators of Probation, which would require several criminals in violation of their paroles to appear collectively before a judge, sometimes via closed-circuit television, in an effort to cut the costs of sentencing. Abraham was vocal about easing the burden the criminal justice system can be for Philadelphia taxpayers.

One issue Abraham was adamantly against is the legalization of medical marijuana. When asked by a Bustleton resident what her stance on the matter is, the D.A. said; “I don’t support it right this moment.” She gave examples of Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith, both celebrities whose deaths coincided with over-prescribing by doctors.

“Too many doctors want to make a quick buck,” she said.

Bustleton residents were happy to hear that Abraham has intentions of holding public office again. Though she said she “has a lot of irons on the fire,” Abraham told the crowd she is not yet certain if she’ll seek city, state or federal office. No matter what, she said, “organizations like the Greater Bustleton Civic League play an important role in allowing [government] to serve you.”

Other civic issues discussed: A hair salon/tattoo parlor has been given a three-year temporary zoning approval by the city to operate at 9427 Bustleton Ave., despite opposition from the GBCL…No decision has been made regarding zoning for Cowgirls restaurant in Whitman Plaza…GBCL Vice President John McKeever relayed notes about victims assistance from the latest Police District Advisory Council meeting…Republican District Attorney candidate Michael Untermeyer reviewed his campaign points for the upcoming election. You can track him via his electronic monitoring device here…Councilman Brian O’Neill explained changes coming to the breakdown of the zoning system and announced his new office above the 7th District Police headquarters.

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