Letters: Clarke should stick with Kenney on Philly being a 'sanctuary city'

Don't end 'sanctuary city' status

I find it rather distressing that City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who represents my district, is considering a rethink on Philadelphia's status as a "sanctuary city," despite Mayor Kenney's pledge to stand firm in the face of a potential loss of federal funding and despite Council's resolution commending Kenney for upholding that policy, a resolution cosponsored by Clarke in September ("Clarke: Rethink policy on sanctuary," Feb. 3).

We in Center City are proud to be residents of a Sanctuary City, proud that our mayor is standing firm against the threats from the Trump White House, and proud that our city stands for the belief that an attack on one Philadelphian is an attack on all of us. We urge Clarke to stand firm against what may end up being a meaningless threat anyway. And isn't it illegal for the federal government to withhold funding for non-compliance?

|Jean Haskell, Philadelphia

Students flee suburban schools 

Officials in suburban public school districts are wrong to blame imagined demographic trends for the decline in student enrollment. ("A 'baby bust' hits some schools, Feb. 5). According to the Census Bureau, the number of school-age children in Pennsylvania has remained unchanged since 2010. The real reason for the loss of enrollment is simple. More and more suburban parents are fed up with their public school and are enrolling their children in private schools.

About 40 percent of Montgomery County students attend non-public schools. Parents are tired of lackluster teachers, nonresponsive administrators, poor college placement, overly large classes, a lack of special education services, and many other factors. Until suburban public schools confront these real, internal shortcomings, public education will continue to decline.

|Mark W. Voigt, Blue Bell, mark@mwvoigt.com

Outsourcing has hurt SEPTA

Philadelphia once enjoyed a stellar reputation as a leading manufacturer of the world's finest railway equipment at its sprawling Budd and Baldwin plants, which employed thousands of skilled craftsmen and used U.S.-made steel. Today, that technology - most notably including what the trouble-prone SEPTA fleet uses - has been outsourced to Hyundai and other offshore companies in pursuit of short-term economic gains.

Transit riders and local businesses are now feeling the impact of such decisions with ongoing delays and mounting inconvenience. What economists call opportunity is costly. So in the end, it's fair to ask just how much was truly saved by these questionable cost-saving measures?

|William K. Mullan, Chalfont

Turnabout is fair play

Resistance to President Trump's first Supreme Court nomination by Senate Democrats is unequivocally the right move. It is essential for all patriotric Americans to protest not merely the general obstructionist strategy imposed by the Republicans through the eight years of Barack Obama's presidency, but also the GOP's unconscionable neglect of the Senate's responsibility and obligation under the Constitution when it blocked hearings to evaluate Merrick Garland as Obama's nominee to become a justice. The GOP must learn that the American people are entitled to expect elected officials to fulfill their responsibilities, and it is incumbent upon Democrats in the Senate to drive this message home in the most forceful manner possible.

|Jonathan E. Brill, Ph.D., Voorhees, jonathan.brill.wh82@wharton.upenn.edu

Democratic edge a mirage

Chris Brennan says gerrymandering is the reason Republicans hold 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in Congress despite there being a more than 900,000-voter edge in Democratic registration (Redoing government from ground up," Feb. 6).

However, virtually all of that voter edge is due to the enormous Democratic majorities in just two counties - Philadelphia and Allegheny. So how would Brennan propose congressional districts be redrawn without resorting to some serious gerrymandering of his own?

|Anthony Lynch, Villanova