The spared Philadelphia schools deserve a round of applause ("8 schools closed, 2 spared," Friday). Reading about E.M. Stanton and Isaac A. Sheppard Schools, it was so obvious that parental involvement is what it is all about. As a former teacher, I am well aware that if parents show their interest and lend support, it is a clear signal to their children that school is important and that they are expected to do well. Sheppard is a jewel that, like the little engine that could, keeps chugging along.
We know, however, that these two schools will be the issue again when the budget is at the forefront. I hope that those in high income brackets, especially Philly sports figures whom children so emulate, will "step up to the plate" and follow the good examples of Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino. Help from their pocketbooks is what is needed. Supportive parents and quality teachers will handle the rest.
Bernice Sherman, Philadelphia
The real threat
Kudos to Helen Caldicott for reminding us of the ongoing threat of nuclear proliferation and its potentially disastrous consequences ("Nuclear arsenals: The forgotten threat," Wednessay). In the midst of our study of the Cold War, my students are well aware of the concept of mutually assured destruction and, having recently viewed Thirteen Days, which chronicles the Cuban missile crisis, they are also cognizant of the reality that, exactly 50 years ago, we narrowly averted a nuclear disaster.
Justifiably consumed by conflicting tensions related to racial stereotypes and economic inequality, affordable housing and decent health care, equal educational opportunities and sensible job creation, we are offered the sobering reminder that the most dangerous threat to our existence is this "forgotten threat" of nuclear weapons.
We preach tolerance, compassion, justice, and humanity as virtues for our young people to emulate and, at the same time, we have 23,000 hydrogen bombs at our disposal. How do I explain this madness to my children, my grandchildren, and my students?
Peter C. McVeigh, Oreland, email@example.com
I was impressed that the writer of "Voter ID law fulfills its goal" (Tuesday) visited the offices where IDs can be issued, and she performed a valuable service in describing the difficulties some people are encountering. Her column is a good step toward timely correction of possible defects in the implementation of the law.
However, I think she took a step too far when she claimed that the intent of the law was to suppress the vote of "a certain group of citizens." There is a difference between the intent of a law and the potential effects of a law.
The fact that the law contains provisions for people to obtain alternative IDs with a waiver of costs is indicative that the intent was not to disenfranchise people. The stated intent of the law is to preserve the integrity of the voting process by preventing double-voting and other related irregularities that dilute the votes of eligible voters. Even with the problems described in the column, I think the intent of the legislature is what the legislature said it was.
James P. Ryan, North Wales, firstname.lastname@example.org
Time will tell whether the recently passed Photo Voter ID legislation will pass constitutional muster but the results of the smell test are in. Any impediment placed between the eligible citizens and the right to vote is a mistake, especially one that targets people of certain economic groups.
The state legislature's majority, under the guise of stamping out voter fraud, is engaging in voter suppression of the homeless, the poor, and the elderly. Apparently the governor agrees that this is a good idea.
Thomas Broido, Havertown, email@example.com
The proposed regional force to take over policing Camden would be the best thing for the city ("Camden County ads seek police for new force," March 20). Perhaps then the force would focus on solving real crimes.
As a registered nurse at Cooper University Hospital, I take the PATCO Speedline to and from work every day. The corner of Broadway and Mickle, where the station is located, can be a dangerous intersection. One recent evening, as I left work, I was about to cross Mickle when a Camden police officer yelled at me to wait for the light to change. I waited for the cars to pass and then crossed toward the train station. The officer ran across the street, yelling, "Ma'am, I told you to wait for the light." I noted that there were no cars coming, and he said, "That's not the point. I told you to wait."
However, standing on a corner in Camden, alone, at night, waiting for the light to change is not something I relish. The officer then gave me a ticket for crossing against the light. For walking. In the most dangerous city in the nation.
At municipal court last week, the judge told me there is a $750 fine should I plead guilty. I chose to plead not guilty, and will take another day off to go back to court next week.
Don't Camden police have more important things to do?
Patty Coburn, Stratford
Save green jobs
The Labor Department's report on green jobs in Pennsylvania is certainly optimistic, but many people probably don't realize that we have the ability to do even more ("Labor Dept. releases its first report on green jobs," March 23).
In Pennsylvania we have the capacity to create thousands of jobs by investing in the wind industry. The potential this energy sector holds is enormous - so far, we have seen turbine manufacturing increase 12-fold over the last six years. This success has been achieved because of the wind energy production tax credit, which is scheduled to expire by the end of this year. Expiration would result in the loss of manufacturing jobs, which is more harm than citizens of the Commonwealth can afford in the midst of the current economic crisis.
We must renew the production tax credit and ensure that Pennsylvanians have access to sustainable jobs.