Can't take media's snow jobs
Explaining last week's bust of a blizzard with "accumulation forecasts that came too high" is beyond an understatement ("Snow: Former local weather service boss fires back at Christie," Philly.com, Wednesday). That's part of the issue, but the bigger issue is the media coverage - the storm was being forecast as potentially "historic" and "life-threatening."
Combine that with the forecast of 6 to 10 inches of snow in early February, when much of the area barely got a dusting, and you can see the source of people's frustration.
The local TV news coverage only contributed to this situation. Who needs to know what a polar vortex is, how many tons of road salt might be needed, or the exact wind gusts - 60 m.p.h. in Allentown, 54 m.p.h. in Phoenixville, only 49 m.p.h. in Dover? How about, "Expect very high wind gusts," and be done? Who needs all these details and so much information?
I get it - it's difficult to call these storms, to predict the exact track and snow totals, but there needs to be a much better balance of reporting. It's tough to go from potentially "historic" and "life-threatening" to only 4 to 6 inches of snow, with some ice, without causing frustration and skepticism.
|Bryan Baker, Philadelphia
Oppose Pa. ban of 'sanctuaries'
The Pennsylvania Senate's vote in support of a bill that would prevent municipalities and counties from designating themselves as "sanctuary cities" is a prime example of our state's unwillingness to stand up to bullying by the federal government.
The Trump administration intends to rid our country of immigrants by forcing cities and counties across the United States to ignore legality and morality by detaining immigrants (including families and children) at the behest of the federal government, without probable cause. It requires local law enforcement to follow "immigration orders" from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency - or else. Or else what?
Cities and counties that refuse to comply with detention and deportation mandates (giving them the demonized label of sanctuaries) would lose funding for basic services such as 911 and public transportation.
This bill, which awaits its vote in the House, is extreme and reactionary, and it threatens the safety of our neighbors and the economic stability of Philadelphia and surrounding counties. Tell your state representative to vote no.
|Lisa Citron Taglang, Havertown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pa. ban will stop safe abortions
Pennsylvania women and communities are fighting for the right to make their own health-care decisions without the intervention of misogynist politicians. State Senate Bill 3 is a dangerous and unconstitutional abortion ban after 20 weeks, which also would ban one of the safest and medically proven methods of abortion.
Laws like these will not stop abortions from happening. They will stop safe abortions from happening. As long as people can become pregnant, they will want and need to terminate pregnancies.
As a volunteer hand-holder and counselor at an abortion fund, I have witnessed the impact of barriers to health care. People who cannot access the abortion they need are more likely to fall into poverty, remain in abusive relationships, and experience negative mental-health outcomes. Bans like these encourage stigma and shame. This is not good social policy; it is legislative and material violence.
|Kelsey Woida, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Pupils' breakfasts worth funding
Making breakfast a part of the school day is the fastest, easiest way to dramatically improve the lives of millions of low-income children and ensure they get the education they need ("Free breakfasts feed classroom performance," March 9).
Unfortunately, only about half of students who qualify for school breakfast programs actually participate. In his 2017-18 budget address, Gov. Wolf proposed $2 million to help schools launch or expand breakfast programs. It's a wise investment -- one that could leverage millions of dollars in federal funds.
When kids aren't getting the consistent nutrition they need, it's more difficult to focus in class. Test scores drop, and students are more likely to miss class time because they're in the nurse's office with headaches or stomachaches. That's why the governor's investment is so important. When children start the day with the nutrition they need, it has long-lasting consequences for the entire state.
|Jane Clements-Smith, executive director, Feeding Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Keep up Chesapeake's recovery
I'm a native Philadelphian, but my husband and I own a farm on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where our daughter, who lives in Center City, was married. We love the Chesapeake and have been gratified by its recovery. After some wrote off the bay off as dead, underwater grasses are spreading more than they have in decades. Oysters and crabs are rebounding. Dead zones are smaller.
This remarkable recovery is the result of a state and federal partnership called the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.
The bay and its tributaries are better, but they are far from saved. Fifty percent of the Chesapeake's fresh water drains from Pennsylvania, where about 19,000 miles of waters are fouled by pollution.
In this time of tremendous uncertainty about environmental protection, I urge our state and federal elected and appointed officials to accelerate implementation of the Chesapeake Blueprint, not walk away from it.
|Susan Wilmerding, board of trustees, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Haverford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pa. bill won't produce equal pay
Claiming that their Pennsylvania Senate bill will help women achieve pay equity, Sens. Tom McGarrigle and Jake Corman place the burden on women applying for a new position ("Women deserve equal pay in all corners of the state," Tuesday). Women would first need to find out the salaries of their male counterparts. I wonder how many men will be willing to provide that information. The bill would neither require employers to disclose how much they pay nor prevent them from asking about an applicant's previous salary.
Senate Bill 241 would not actually help eliminate the gender gap.
|Charlotte Glauser, Philadelphia, email@example.com