Mt. Airy group calls on Obama and Congress to redirect military spending to domestic issues

As we approach another exciting political season and many Americans are debating over which candidate will best suit their core beliefs, one small neighborhood group is weighing in on military spending.

East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN) board member Dave Bell presented a resolution at the group’s monthly board meeting on Tuesday evening to call for Congress and the President to redirect military spending to domestic priorities.

The resolution was created by the New Priorities Network, of which Bell is also a local member. The group is attempting to gain support from neighborhood groups and hopes to present the resolution to City Council sometime in the spring.

The flier brings home the issues and states that “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost Philadelphia taxpayers since 2001 well over $5 billion dollars.”

Past president and current board member Dan Muroff strongly opposed the motion to support the resolution, citing that EMAN should not be “distracted” by these larger issues and continue to focus on the community.

“I am there with you, but I think it’s a distraction from our core mission,” Muroff said.

Bell countered by saying that these issues affect all Americans on some level and that in a part of Philadelphia such as the Northwest funding is greatly needed to improve.

The group agreed, and all but two members voted to approve the motion in support of the resolution.

In other news

Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way Community Center, joined EMAN to discuss city-wide outreach programs on which community center is currently working. The group formed in 1975 and it’s core mission surrounds the issue of acceptance of sexual and gender minorities through education and cultural programming.

Bartlett emphasized that the community center is made up of different types of people, not just gay, lesbian, transgender.

“We welcome a diversity of opinions but we want to be engaged in those conversations,” Bartlett said.

Officials from the Green Tree School also attended the meeting to report progress in the plans for the new school which will be built at 1196 E. Washington Lane. They hope to start building in late spring/early summer, but have to get the project approved at the zoning hearing on Feb. 15.

The school will consist of 150 students with special needs and about 75 teachers. The officials, including Dr. Herman Axelrod, Executive Director and Board of Trustees Vice President Bill Smith requested EMAN’s written support of the project which the community organization agreed to.

The next EMAN meeting will be March 6 at 7pm on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

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