Letters to the Editor

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40/40 Club

Regarding last weeks 40th anniversary issue:

As the editor of PW’s predecessor, the Welcomat, from 1981 to 1993, I read this issue with great interest. Let me make two small but important corrections:

Anthony Clifton said that in 1981 I became “the paper's first editor since its launch in 1971.” Actually, the Welcomat had at least 15 editors in the 10 years before I arrived. Some lasted only a few months, and none lasted more than two years.

Tim Whitaker, who became editor some two years after I left, described the Welcomat when he arrived as a paper that “had a small number of writers who were paid very little to express themselves about whatever they felt like ... $10, $20, maybe $40 for a story.” It’s true that no one ever wrote for the old Welcomat for the money, but we never paid less than $30 per article when I was there. And if Tolstoy had walked in with the manuscript for War and Peace, I'm sure we would have rustled up at least $75. As for the "small number of writers," the cover of our commemorative 1,000th issue in September 1990 listed the names of 85 noteworthy contributors, and that list was just the tip of the iceberg. One of those names, incidentally, was Tim Whitaker’s.

DAN ROTTENBERG
Editor, Broad Street Review

Congratulations to PW from someone who knew you when. I was the editor-in-chief of the Center City Welcomat from September 1975 until January 1976 when I moved on to work for a suburban daily. Yes, the Welcomat was completely different, but it had an honorable mission. We aimed to serve the residents of Center City. They didn’t expect a lot of essays from their newspaper, just an extensive calendar of events and the regular news. The community news format augmented with syndicated columns proved profitable for owner Leon Levin’s “flagship” South Philadelphia Review, so he let his daughters manage the same concept in Center City. If Mr. Levin’s daughters had any desire to make the Welcomat different, I never knew it. For me, the Welcomat was a great job right out of college and I’m still grateful for the opportunity. I honed my management skills by supervising one part-time reporter, a retired gentleman in his 80s who wrote up the calendar on a manual typewriter. The daughters were cordial and generally kept to themselves, although they did suggest that I wear makeup. How many other editors get that kind of guidance from their publishers? The Welcomat was the professional beginning of my dream career. These days, I am extremely thankful—and proud—to still be doing the work I love for a newspaper I love, the Philadelphia Inquirer.

JANE M. VON BERGEN
via email

I was a part of the old and new Welcomat, both as a columnist, book reviewer and feature writer. Well before the name change, the Welcomat was also thoroughly ensconced in alternative weekly mode. In those days it was hard to get more alternative than editors Derek Davis, Jim Knipel and Suzanne Ross.

There was tension in the office when publisher Michael Cohen came on the scene. Cohen’s surgically abrasive manner hit like a spray of bullets from an AK 47. When William Warner, a smart but quietly introspective New York novelist was hired as the new editor, some wondered how he would blend with Cohen, who was more of stock broker type. Warner was a bit of a perfectionist and wasn’t above calling writers into his office for a “line by line” analysis of their work. Needless to say, there was no post hire honeymoon period between him and Cohen. At the time the word was that Cohen wanted to dictate content but Warner wasn’t having it. Cohen, not about to be upstaged, had Warner’s head before the New Yorker could even get his first edition out. The day that Warner was fired was the day that he had roller bladed to work. “I skated into work, and skated out 30 minutes later,” he told me by phone then.

THOM NICKELS
via email

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1. Barbara jean Liliana Millanes Hernandez said... on Oct 17, 2011 at 04:02AM

“Hola por anos me he encontrado buscando y estableciendo e

investigando la causa de la violacion de mis derechos humanos ya que ya paso por civiles laborales judiciales bien solo my corage ha echo que continue cada dia despues de aquella orribe noche del 31 de dic. de 1999 cuando una sicopata y un policia Sherif dep de Palm Desert,CA. de nombre Raimundo Verdugo y la sicopata de su acompanante que dijo llamarse primero Susana despues martha despues cecilia despues carmen y hoy dicen que se llama Margy.es ridiculo y es una locura cuando nos encontramos al frente de un desastre familiar economico animico y social.y cuando el mismo gobierno solo responde diciendo que Verdugo no trabaja mas con ellos pero la que ocaciono y dio las hordenes de aruinarnos y creo un desastre y destres emocional en mis hijas y en my y en todos cuantos nos conocian.No no hera ni soy la gran cosa pero hera todo lo que tenia en Aquel entonces y hoy dejemeslo soy - tego me dedique a mis hijas desde el nacimiento de my primera hija logrando dos hijas a las cuales me dedique y estudiaba y trabajaba hasta llegar a lograr un pequeno certificado como maestra de preschool en 1999. cosa que la tal sicopata no acepto ni le conosco pero por lo que investigue esa es una de las causas. mis hijas tenian un hogar tranquilo ya que suelo ser muy tranquila y solo me seguia dedicando a estudiar y a trabajar. .a un cuando el camino a seguir es duro cuando uno se encuentra en un periodo de un presidente que esta siendo manipulado por periodos anteriores por consiguiente sie el presidente dos periodos antes esta enterado y el que le siguio tambien se entero y el actual tambien esta enterado . caso pasado por apelacion de asilo en U.K. Y peleado por corte en el condado de Riversaid que solo demostraron pautadamente su sabotage su vilacion a derechos humanos e ignorancia y falta de etica y criterio. todo un juez ignorante o ridiculisado si se aplicase la duda que tambien hubo sabotage en proseso de corte

ya que vivia y trabajaba en Ma. tengo 6 meses en Indio,ca. durante los cuales he buscado trabajo dia a dia sin obtener mas respuesta que un restaurant que me dio la oportunidad de preparadora ,pero volvio el que tenian y solo me dejaron los trastes de lava platos desde luego plan con mana de la tal sicopata por lo averiguado. aun sin embargo el corage y para poder acabar mis estudios en Fine. Art/ y Art, Culinario.. me ha alludado a seguir adelante la pregunta es si solo e logrado trabajar 55 hrs. en dos mese al minimo, despues de que buscado 6 meses trabajo, y aver perdido my familia que devo dejar que despues de ver trabajado mas de 20 anos se me cierren las puertas ,por que y a donde ir .

Barbara Jean Liliana Millanes Hernandez

46299 Arabia ST. D33 Indio ,Ca. 92201

direccion de correo : PO BOX 2067,INDIO,CA. 92202

hmbarbarajeanliliana@yahoo.com

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2. Anonymous said... on Feb 22, 2013 at 12:50PM

“metro probably wont print this
Why is it that NY can build an 8 billion dollar tunnel where they established thousands of new jobs for that one project. Because they have more than one transit. Can Septa establish a 8 billion dollar project for Phila. California is constantly building in their transit and other areas establishing new jobs for their people. Their is no transit that can go to other counties, why because Septa controls where the transit will be. Other states are far more advanced because they are not one sided, and we have more politicians of both State and City than every state in the United States. The only thing we are advancing is outside companies buying all the charter schools and closing half of our public schools. Advancing in higher taxes and higher cost for utilities. Advancing in redlight programs that change from green light to red in a fraction of a second. Advancing in neighbor deteriation. When will PA and Phila join the future like other states are doing. Advancing in the city and the people. No other states have drop programs for their politicians. What new companies would want to come to a city that advances only in themselves and dominates everything . What does Phila have to attract other companies. When another transit company wanted to build in Phila many years ago, our politicians and Septa stopped that which would have created hundreds of new jobs and better travel areas for the people to find more jobs outside the city. Nothing has changed in the last 40 years. Except we became more poorer. We can't blame it on Washington when billions of dollars in tax revenue is constant in such a small city and state.”

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