Letters: Trampling Philly's history

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Workers excavate a coffin from an apartment building construction site in Old City on March 9.

Trampling Philly's history

As an Old City resident and proud owner of a 267-year-old home, it was with considerable dismay that I learned Philadelphia doesn't employ a full-time staff archaeologist and that we are winging it when it comes to excavating historical sites in the country's only World Heritage City ("Weak foundation," March 12). I know many others who are equally appalled.

I realize that a city with high poverty rates, an underfunded pension system, crumbling roads and bridges, and a beleaguered school district has other pressing needs. But if Boston and New York - other large cities with problems of their own - can find a few shekels to pay for a city archaeologist, surely we can do the same.

I find it hypocritical that this city milks its history and heritage when convenient (such as when conventions or tourist dollars are at stake), but when the chips are down, it simply doesn't care about taking care of the incredible treasures that are literally at our feet. As Philadelphians, like it or not, we are caretakers of American history. It's time that we stepped up and did something before more of our precious history is lost to the wrecking ball.

|Jane Berryman, Philadelphia

Trump's blueprint for disaster

President Trump is submitting to Congress a new budget titled, "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again" (" 'Hard power budget,' " Friday).

An initial look presents a starkly different picture. It seems that to fund a massive increase in military spending and building a border wall, he is willing to sacrifice programs extremely important to the well-being of current and future generations of Americans.

The budget would slash funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion (19 percent); the Environmental Protection Agency, $2.5 billion

(31 percent); and the Education Department,

$9.2 billion (13.5 percent). Trump even wants to eliminate the meager support we give to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Is that what he calls "making America great again?" I call it myopic, shortsighted, and uninspiring. Since 9/11, jihadists have killed 95 people in this country. Millions have died from Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease.

How about a budget that will help to protect and save the lives of millions of Americans from killer diseases and a potential global warming catastrophe.

|Ken Derow, Swarthmore

Put Gorsuch nomination on hold

I could not disagree more with the commentary, "Casey should back Trump's nominee" (Tuesday). As a constituent of Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, and an engaged resident who has voted in every primary election save one and every general election since I moved to Pennsylvania in 1981, I have written both to tell them that the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court must not be considered until we know whether President Trump's campaign conspired with Russia to illegally influence our election.

We do know that more than a few members of Trump's campaign and inner circle, including Trump himself, met with Russian officials and intermediaries. We do not know whether they actively participated in Russia's campaign to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy and aid Trump's. We need a full and independent investigation to find out the truth, and until such an investigation is complete, we do not know whether Trump's election was legitimate.

With this in doubt, Gorsuch should not be afforded a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

|Joe Magid, Wynnewood

Penn should return Koch's $2.2M

The University of Pennsylvania's acceptance of any donation from Charles Koch is alarmingly bad news ("Charles Koch Foundation gives $2.2M to Penn Law School," Philly.com, March 8). Koch's wealth funds foundations, politicians, and pseudo-intellectuals who encourage extremist libertarian actions to undermine the American system of justice. He and his brother David seek to cripple and remove justice from America's courtrooms.

Jane Mayer's book, Dark Money, details the Kochs' expenditures of millions of dollars to members of Congress, local officials, and judges across America who obediently support their personal agenda of no business taxes, no industry and bank regulations, no social programs - seeking an unfettered path to increasing their personal wealth. They know the only institution in America to thwart them is the judiciary and the Supreme Court. This is why they fund a "beachhead" program with Ivy League schools.

This money is like biting the poisoned apple. It will make Penn a contributor to the death of our American justice and democracy.

|Robert N. McLaughlin, Ridley Park, rnm1126@verizon.net