A labor and civic leader

The media is fixated on the government investigations into Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electical Workers and its business manager, John J. Dougherty ("U.S. targets another Dougherty ally," Friday). Bad headlines always take priority in newsrooms. Dougherty and Local 98 have had their fair share of negative press over the years, yet they not only have survived but have thrived.

Dougherty is not only a great labor leader - he's also one of our city's most effective civic leaders. If Dougherty - along with labor leaders such as Sam Staten Jr., business manager of Local 332 of the Laborers' International Union of North America; Sam Malone, business manager of Ironworkers Local 405; and Mike Barnes, head of Local 8 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees - hadn't taken a courageous stand to fix the Convention Center once and for all, there would have been no papal visit and no Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Likewise, many of the city's most exciting new developments, including the East Market Street project, are only happening because of Dougherty's hard work and leadership. That's the "Johnny Doc" I know.

|Ryan N. Boyer, business manager, Laborers District Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity, Philadelphia

Not the St. Joe's Prep way

I am saddened by the federal investigation of IBEW Local 98 and my fellow graduates of St. Joseph's Prep - John Dougherty and Mayor Kenney ("Kenney files are sought in probe," Saturday).

During my years at St. Joe's (Class of 1962), we learned that we must be "men for others" and must "change the world, make it a better place."

I belonged to the Holy Week Group at Malvern and met the Rev. Bernard Shanley, our retreat master. Mayor Jim Tate, U.S. Rep. Thomas Foglietta, and many other future politicians were part of the group. After a discussion on ethics, Shanley told us, "There will be an exacting justice in this world; think about that when you spend other people's money."

Union money must be spent exclusively for the benefit of the members and with their approval. I wonder what benefit they received by spending thousands of dollars to elect Dougherty's brother, Kevin, to the state Supreme Court?

It seems there is an incorruptible "exacting justice" in Philadelphia - the FBI.

|Ron Chance, retired detective,

Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud,

U.S. Department of Labor, Hammonton