IAGREE WITH every word of Michael Smerconish's column

"Save the elephants!"

In addition to all the valid points he makes is that Dulary and her longtime companion, Petal (age 50) have lived almost their entire lives at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Transferring abused or mistreated elephants to other zoos or sanctuaries makes sense. But moving older, healthy animals that have lived all their lives in one location makes no sense at all. (And please go to this site, Mr. Smerconish, to reassure yourself about the use of bull hooks at the zoo: faculty.mc3.edu/RDGREENW/

elephant.htm)

Marianne Bessey, and even the zoo, have failed to mention that the majority of zoos, including those with the same relative amount of space per elephant, have decided to keep their elephants, and they are thriving. Even zoos with budget problems are doing the right thing: finding clever and inexpensive ways to enrich their elephant exhibits until they can raise the money to expand and improve them.

The Philadelphia Zoo should at least keep the two older elephants, Dulary and Petal. They belong together at the zoo.

Merry L. Morris, Philadelphia

Disputing Community College editorial

In its eagerness to cast aspersions on Bob Brady and Ed Rendell, your editorial of March 28 ("Flunking grade on Community College deal") failed to make its point about the collective-bargaining process strongly enough, and unnecessarily insulted the staff and faculty of Community College of Philadelphia.

The president and board could have done a better job pressing city and state leaders for the funding the college deserves, and is still owed by the city, before and during the contract negotiations and subsequent strike. They also could have opened their books so that the citizens of Philadelphia can be assured that they are managing the money the college does have well. Had they done those things, there probably would not have been an opportunity for Brady-Rendell politicking.

The union demands were reasonable, even in these economic times. We wanted to protect hard-won health-care benefits, which surely any working person can understand. We wanted no less than we started with in terms of salaries. We wanted enough in salary to protect us from inflation and to be equitably distributed among all of us. We were people who after nine years make $22,000, asking for an extra $20 a week.

We were MAs and Ph.Ds, some of whom are paid less than public-school teachers, asking for what's needed to cover inflation. Is that unreasonable? Yes, Brady got my thanks for his efforts, but I did not sell him my vote.

Lisa Handler, assistant professor

Community College of Philadelphia