Letters: Insensitive City Council resolution dredges up Porngate

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City Councilman David Oh speaks during a hearing in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Insensitive Philly resolution

Monty Python's Flying Circus has returned. The first episode was performed live during a session of City Council on Wednesday, with Councilman David Oh playing himself ("Move for Porngate figure falls short," Friday).

The session was equal to the zany programs in the original TV series. Oh introduced a resolution to honor one of the participants in the Porngate scandal, contending that Patrick Blessington - a former member of ousted state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's staff and a lawyer in the District Attorney's Office - had been cleared of any wrongdoing, as he had only received emails containing images of women in sexual activity and crude jokes but had not sent any.

Oh chose to introduce the resolution on International Woman's Day, hardly a fitting day to discuss sharing pornography.

Presentation of the resolution was similar to throwing gasoline on a campfire. The meeting exploded. At least one female Council employee began to cry, and six Council members verbally attacked the resolution, which was defeated by a vote of 15 to 2.

Although I am certain that Oh did not plan it that way, his resolution brought attention once again to the insidious practice of a group of prosecutors who sent pornographic emails to judges, which compromised numerous court members. Many public officials and court members have tried hard to sweep that scandal under the rug; Oh has brought it back.

|Peter F. Vaira, former U.S. attorney, Philadelphia, p.vaira@gpfflaw.com

Pa. should back shale gas

Dennis Davin, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, highlighted a number of important, job-creating opportunities tied to the commonwealth's abundant natural-gas resources ("Severance tax is Pa.'s share of shale boom," Wednesday). The Marcellus Shale Coalition appreciates his recognition that natural gas is critical to our economy's success.

While we share Davin's goal of ensuring Pennsylvania does not miss out on all the opportunities natural gas provides, the Wolf administration's efforts to enact higher energy taxes will increase energy costs for consumers, according to the state's Independent Fiscal Office, and undercut Pennsylvania's economic competitiveness.

Your readers should also know that Pennsylvania's natural-gas impact tax equates to a 9 percent tax - a critical fact that Davin neglected to share. This tax has raised more than $1 billion in new revenue for communities, critical state programs, and environmental projects.

Gov. Wolf's energy tax would make Pennsylvania the highest taxed energy state - adding to the cost of new regulations on the industry - and accelerate the trend of investment going elsewhere. If the Wolf administration is serious about realizing all the benefits of natural gas, it should focus on commonsense policies aimed at attracting investment in Pennsylvania instead of discouraging it.

|David Spigelmyer, president, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Pittsburgh

Hardly a witch hunt

All this talk of Hitler and McCarthy makes me wonder when Attila the Hun is going to get his.

Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit think tank for neocons who might say Donald Trump's romance with Vladimir Putin is just "bad policy judgment," is the latest deep thinker to put the paddles to McCarthy and witch hunts ("Attack on Sessions is part of new McCarthyism," Wednesday).

Thiessen works entirely too hard trying to accuse Democrats of wielding pitchforks against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He stretches real far in holding up communist spy Alger Hiss as proof that McCarthy was right. Trashing the State Department for Hiss is like trashing the United States for Charles Manson.

Sessions lied under oath to Congress, knew it, got caught, and recused himself from any Justice Department investigation into Trump and Russia. It's pretty simple - McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee ruined innocent citizens' lives and careers. The only career Sessions threatens to ruin is his own.

|Kenneth M. Foti, Malvern, kfoti36@yahoo.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not the victim of "McCarthyite character assassination." He is being criticized, correctly, for failing to uphold the law of the land. That is quite different.

|Barbara Gold, Philadelphia