Letters to the Editor

Members of the South Jersey Rowing Club during a recent practice on the Cooper River in Pennsauken. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Members of the South Jersey Rowing Club during a recent practice on the Cooper River in Pennsauken. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Posted: June 01, 2012

Competition for regattas heats up

The Schuylkill Navy is heartened that rowing has grown in popularity at the high school, college, and recreational levels, and that new venues such as the Cooper River in South Jersey are emerging ("Moving up quickly," Sunday).

The question "Does the future belong to the Cooper?" highlights the attractions of the enhanced Cooper venue, but also the financial challenge of putting on regattas in Philadelphia. Some regattas, wanting to avoid city-imposed fees, have decamped to the Cooper. City Hall seems intent on extracting as much revenue as possible from regatta organizers (park usage fees, police overtime, food vendor inspections, etc.), while Camden County invests millions to improve the Cooper River Park for rowing spectators and to dredge the river to widen the rowing course.

For now, some of the largest and most storied regattas remain here and new ones have joined us. The Schuylkill also supports Philadelphia City Rowing and an annual Learn-to-Row Day — the largest event of its kind in the country. These rowing events bring thousands of athletes, fans, and volunteers to Fairmount Park and Boathouse Row, and place tens of thousands of out-of-town visitors within walking distance of Philadelphia’s business, recreational, and cultural treasures.

To ensure the future of the Schuylkill as a racing venue for this quintessential Philadelphia sport, we are ready to work with the city to adapt the Cooper approach to rationalizing costs involved in preserving the venue and presenting regattas on the Schuylkill.

John Hogan, commodore, the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia, mwmeigs@gmail.com, www.boathouserow.org.

Inspiring Naval Academy grad

I was both inspired and moved by the story of Wesley Brown, the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy ("Wesley Brown; blazed a trail at Naval Academy," Saturday). His persistent courage through those challenging years, his maturity and forbearance in relating his experience to his children when they were best able to appreciate it as adults, and his empathy toward others who had also been discriminated against at the academy are indicative of a truly remarkable man. It was also interesting to note that a midshipman named Jimmy Carter stepped forward in support of Brown while at the academy. I couldn’t help comparing this brave act with the revelations of Mitt Romney’s involvement as a leader in an assaultive hazing incident as a young man at boarding school.

Robert Boucher, Philadelphia, boucherrkwi@gmail.com

Nutter’s embarrassing comments

As a Republican, as well as someone who was born and raised in Philadelphia, I believe Michael Nutter has done an excellent job as mayor. However, his statement about Mitt Romney meeting with people at a charter school in West Philly is a total embarrassment ("Romney visit riles West Phila. residents," Friday).

As the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Romney deserves a modicum of respect. The mayor obviously fails to realize that Romney may be president next year, and maybe the mayor may need him to provide some federal resources to the city for the various projects.

Joe Pasquarello, Medford, jpasq99@aol.com

No wonder city schools in trouble

It’s no mystery why Philadelphia’s schools are in trouble. Just read the sad tale of Jennifer Laxson, who could afford a house for $285,000 — as long as she only paid $453 in taxes ("When city deals end, tax bills can shock," Tuesday).

I live in Cheltenham Township, where the taxes on the house I purchased for $175,000 are $8,000. No wonder Cheltenham has blue-ribbon schools, while Philadelphia is on the verge of going under.

You get what you pay for.

Linda Riley, Elkins Park

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