ISSUE | PA. BUDGET

Agencies stymied

The stalemate between the General Assembly and Gov. Wolf, if not resolved quickly, could have long-lasting effects on health and human-services providers who protect individuals throughout the commonwealth ("Wolf vetoes entire GOP budget," July 1).

An extended budget impasse will reduce providers' ability to effectively make program and investment decisions. Providers may have insufficient cash to provide services, pay staff, and meet day-to-day expenses.

When there are funding delays, providers often draw against lines of credit, which trigger interest costs. Some agencies are still paying for the last late state budget.

Without a quick solution, the most vulnerable members of our communities, who rely on human-services programs, will not receive the services our members provide.

|Richard S. Edley, president and chief executive officer, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association, Harrisburg

Veto was right thing

I applaud Gov. Wolf for having the courage, intellect, and passion for what is right to veto the budget sent to him by Republican legislators. I fully support him and encourage him to continue to be mindful of the needs of Pennsylvanians, especially the children.

|Ahmeenah Young, Philadelphia

Why always more?

Gov. Wolf is demanding a $1 billion increase in school funding. But if the levels of per-student spending over the past decade were inadequate, what levels would ever be considered adequate? We should demand accountability for how current education dollars are being spent and determine why we are getting so little in return.

Efforts to draft a formula for allocating state funding to school districts based on need may have promise. Children's education must not be compromised. But the answer can't always be to spend more.

|Jack Keeney, Collegeville

ISSUE | LITTER

Cups runneth over

I was going to complain about the lack of trash containers in Center City, but then I noticed that the existing containers were filled to overflowing. No point in adding more that won't be emptied.

|Tim Walsh, Havertown, timpeg@verizon.net

ISSUE | POPE 2015

Art project fitting for pope and faithful

How wonderful that the mural artist Meg Seligman has chosen the theme "Undoing the Knots" to honor Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia ("Papal visit inspires healing artwork," June 30). Mary Untier of Knots is one of the pope's favorite devotions, discovered during his studies in Germany in the 1980s. This lovely devotion dates back to the 1600s. Many people call upon Mary to untie the knots that keep them from being united with God.

There is a shrine dedicated to Mary Untier of Knots in the Church of San José del Talar in Buenos Aires. The painting of the same name by Schmidtner is preserved in a chapel of St. Peter's, a church staffed by Jesuits in Bavaria. The Philadelphia display, I am sure, will bring a smile to Pope Francis, and hope to people of all faiths.

|Maureen Theresa Krepol, Media, mtdirish@aol.com

ISSUE | CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Lack of fairness is the main death-row ill

There is a larger argument against capital punishment itself rather than the method with which it is implemented - the subject of last week's Supreme Court ruling ("Justices approve drug for execution," June 30). The Sixth Amendment requires "trial by an impartial jury," but given that potential jurors opposed to the death penalty are routinely rejected, these juries are no longer impartial. If juries were indeed impartial, there would be few death sentences.

|Maxine Schwartz, Willow Grove

ISSUE | CITY ELECTIONS

Finding a glass half full at City Commissioners

The Inquirer is right about City Commissioner Anthony Clark: No one who hasn't voted in a good while deserves to be paid more than $130,000 a year to run elections in Philadelphia ("Another vote for reform," June 28). But let's offer the commissioners' office praise when it's merited as well.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt has done a commendable job of professionalizing the office and - along with Commissioner Stephanie Singer - shedding considerable light on what had been a dimly lit corner of city government. Working closely with the dedicated civil servants who actually run things on Election Day, Schmidt has demonstrated a commitment to performance and transparency that sets a great example for the rest of City Hall. His leadership sets the standard for what voters and taxpayers should come to expect when they go to vote and in between elections.

While the Committee of Seventy has long supported the idea of appointing election officials rather than electing them, before that day comes, we have to make sure we pay attention to who's doing the job and who isn't.

|David Thornburgh, president and chief executive officer, Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia, dthornburgh@seventy.org