DN letters: Ranking bigotries is senseless

RANKING bigotries is a fruitless task, as Christine Flowers did in her March 2 column. People are going to rank different bigotries differently, based on the harm that each individual act has on their identity groups.

We are, frankly, a pretty mixed-up crowd in this country - as demonstrated by the popularity of genealogy websites and genetic test kits. What we need to rank is the intimidation intended by acts of bigotry and the involvement of police, courts and government forces in enforcing acts of religious approval or disapproval.

The violence to the gravesites at Jewish cemeteries was most certainly intended to intimidate Jews paying respects to the memories of their dead. Such violence to headstones is intended as a warning to the living that violence is a possibility for those attending their dead.

Bomb threats to community centers, swastikas painted on synagogue walls and synagogue windows broken in the dead of night are intended to intimidate Jews from congregating and from developing a sense of ethnic community together.

Ben Burrows, Elkins Park, Pa.

Sanchez's rebate

With regard to Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez's homestead tax break: If she is entitled to a tax break on her other home, isn't it likely she owes less than $1,642.88, as Stu Bykofsky reported? That she might be entitled to a refund if the annual rebate is larger on the other property?

Before saying she just owes more money, shouldn't you state the amount of the rebate on the other home?

David E. Mapp, Edgewater Park, N.J.

This letter from Councilwoman Maria Q. Sanchez is in reference to a March 1 column by Stu Bykofsky on her homestead tax exemption:

I strongly believe Stu Bykofsky mischaracterized our conversation for his column on the homestead rebate tax. I am never uncomfortable talking about issues.

Please print for the record. I take “prosecution optional” statements very seriously.

Thank you,

Maria Q. Sanchez, Philadelphia Councilwoman

Cyclists cause numerous problems

I read Stu Bykofsky's column, "Neighbors want protection from 'protected bike lanes," and I'd like to add another problem to his list of bike riders' neighbors gripes.

I live in Passyunk Park, a/k/a Passyunk East, and we have no bike lanes in this area. That doesn't mean we don't have any problems with bike riders. Most people get around the neighborhood by walking. This can be a real problem, especially if you're walking your dogs, because many of the bike riders ride on the sidewalk, expecting the pedestrians to move out of their way.

Many also ride against traffic, so when a pedestrian is crossing the street, a bike rider can come close to hitting a pedestrian or car, not expecting anything to be coming from that direction. It has happened where both have been hit on various occasions.

Unfortunately, even though both riding on the sidewalk and against traffic are ticketable offenses, nothing happens.

James McGinley, Passyunk Park

What makes some schools successful?

If Meredith, MAST Charter and Masterman are the pinnacles of free public education in the City of Philadelphia, so much so that parents must hope to win a lottery to have their children gain entry, why doesn't Superintendent Hite request (or direct?) those respective principals or CEOs to share their management philosophy or business plan with all the other free public education schools in the city? They have to be doing something different that needs to be copied by all.

Anthony Santini, Philadelphia