Letters: Don't delay increase in minimum wage

20170109_inq_lede09-a
Jason Gardner flips a chocolate-chip pancake at the Trolley Diner in Mount Airy, where the minimum wage is being raised to $8 this year.

Don't delay minimum-wage hike

No one would dispute that Ken Weinstein is a civic treasure in light of his development and retail initiatives in Mount Airy and Germantown. The city should have more like him.

But his latest effort to rally other local businesses to increase the minimum wage for workers is mired in molasses ("Some area businesses step up on pay," Thursday). Why wait until 2019 for $10 per hour and then a whopping $1 increase to $11 in 2020?

Those getting on board through the just-launched WageChange.org should take their lead from Amy Edelman, owner of the Night Kitchen bakery in Chestnut Hill. She's paying her employees a minimum of $10 an hour.

If you want to make change, make it real and make it now.

|Pamela Rainey Lawler, Philadelphia

Philly Dems, clean up your act

If the national Democratic Party wants to win more elections in Pennsylvania, it should fight the corruption in the Philadelphia Democratic Party. A concerted, funded, multiyear campaign to get 100,000 more Philadelphia Democrats out to vote in every election would have given Pennsylvania, and the national Democratic Party, a Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Sestak instead of a Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in 2010 and 20 more Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Increasing turnout isn't rocket science: recruiting committeepeople and creating an interactive, voter-empowering website are good first steps. But the czars of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee mightily resist efforts in this direction, because high voter turnout threatens their ability to control the outcomes of local primary elections - the elections that determine who will control money and jobs in the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The national Democratic Party has the power and the resources to focus the Philadelphia Democratic Party on increasing turnout. Somewhere in the current soul-searching, perhaps the Democratic National Committee can find the courage to stand up to entrenched corruption in their ranks.

|Stephanie Singer, former Philadelphia 8th Ward Democratic leader, Portland, Ore.

Lawmakers should feel pain, too

In his commentary, Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman mentioned the often-heard necessity of pension reform to help solve the state's fiscal problems ("Pa. reforms needed to battle deficits," Wednesday). He said the defined-benefit pensions provided to state and public-school employees are no longer sustainable. He did not mention that the pensions for state legislators are also defined-benefit pensions and that the legislature has no plans to change those pensions. I realize that there are far more state and public school employees than there are state legislators, but for once I would like the legislators in Pennsylvania to follow the principal of "lead by example" rather than "do as I say, not as I do."

|Rich DiFelice, Havertown

Focusing on the photographers

I read the comments by readers of the Inquirer and cannot recall any appreciation shown to the staff photographers who give us a glimpse into the lives of so many people. From strikes and protests to house fires and the Mummers Parade, they document life as it happens. Thanks to Michael Bryant, Steven Falk, Charles Fox, Tom Gralish Jessica Griffin, Ed Hille, Yong Kim, David Maialetti, Elizabeth Robertson, David Swanson, Clem Murray, and any others I may have left out. In the City of Brotherly Love, excellent photojournalism always wins the day.

|Michael Makovetz, King of Prussia

Stop rewarding Fenerty types

Perhaps government at all levels should have a resolution that officials and employees dismissed or convicted of a crime based on an ethical shortcoming should forfeit any and all pension, back wages, or other compensation ("Fenerty paid $120,000 by PPA for vacation time," Wednesday).

Former Philadelphia Parking Authority executive director Vincent J. Fenerty is just one in a long line of disgraced public officials who will spend their retirement years well taken care of at the expense of the city. Having public officials at all levels dipping their beaks in places they shouldn't be is a crime. Having them laugh all the way to the bank after they are dismissed, convicted, or forced to retire is just plain disgusting.

|Vincent Hughes, Middletown, Del.

Voters entitled to secrecy

Philadelphia district attorney candidate Beth Grossman declined to say for whom she voted in the presidential election ("GOP's DA pick vague on Trump," Thursday). Our right to vote is sacred and secret. To protect the integrity of the process, and to prevent manipulation of voters, we are never required to disclose for whom we voted. Grossman should not have been asked to disclose her vote.

|Joan Lichtman, Philadelphia