Letters to the Editor

Posted: August 31, 2012

One way to end gun violence

I watched the funeral of Officer Moses Walker Jr. on television and heard Mayor Nutter say that the gun violence has to stop ("Final procession for slain officer," Monday). I have the solution.

Have the state legislature pass a law giving an automatic 50-year prison term with no parole to anyone found guilty of committing a crime with a gun. No exceptions. This nonsense will stop after the first moron is sentenced.

Philadelphia is a great city, but we will end up like Detroit if this violence keeps up. People want to feel safe, and a lot of them get permits to carry a firearm because they think that will make them safe from a robbery. But Walker was an armed police officer. He knew something was going down but, even with his experience, he still did not have time to react.

Instead of worrying about the right to bear arms, how about the right to walk around without being shot?

Bill Mestichelli, Philadelphia, mesti4@comcast.net

City's 'extra' money for projects

Joseph DiStefano has exposed the city's decision to pay an extra $1.5 million to rebuild Venice Island ("Taxpayers lose when city pays more for 'lowest' bid," Sunday). The work goes to a higher bid by Daniel J. Keating, apparently on the basis of Keating's satellite office just east of City Avenue, even though the lower bidder, Thomas P. Carney of Langhorne, pays the city business-privilege tax and its workers are subject to the city wage tax. Apparently this same scenario is playing out at other projects in the city.

Now Council members Blondell Reynolds Brown and W. Wilson Goode Jr. want to spread icing on the cake by proposing an increase in the price local firms may charge, to 10 percent, to "keep more of Philadelphia's money in Philadelphia," Reynolds Brown is quoted as saying.

This practice and the new proposal will certainly put more money in the pockets of a few people. It will also mean the city, which has drastically cut funding for parks and libraries, will have less money to spend elsewhere. I hope Council members will give serious consideration to the implications of this proposal before approving it.

Norma Van Dyke, Philadelphia, nvandyke@verizon.net

Hire professional for restoration

The article "Botched restoration of fresco shocks Spain" (Friday) reveals a surprising truth about maintaining antique artwork. One would think that a church would try harder to keep artwork in quality condition and take better care of it in the first place. The moisture damage of the ecce homo fresco exhibits the neglect that no doubt many old frescos receive, and the flaking indicates that measures could have been taken to prevent disrepair only a handful of years ago. The church could have contacted a descendant of artist Elias Garcia Martinez when the first signs of deterioration appeared.

What is even more appalling is the work done by the elderly churchgoer, Cecilia Gimenez. Although she meant well, she should have allowed the church to contact professional restoration artists. The new fresco is truly an unrecognizable Jesus. All detail is lost.

This incident can be a lesson for small churches everywhere: Hire a professional.

Lucy Pawliczek, Avondale

Insist on environmental safety

Kudos for bringing the issue of "fracking" front and center ("Long fight over fracking still divides Pa. town," Sunday). I believe Dimock is just the beginning of the battles between angry citizens like myself and the big oil and gas companies. Just as the tobacco industry tried to dismiss the cancer-causing hazards of smoking, the oil and gas industries are spending millions of dollars to counteract those who question drilling.

We should not be offered a false choice, energy that we use to heat our houses vs. paying the price of environmental destruction. It must be required by law that firms disclose what chemicals are used in fracking and we must have biological, chemical, and environmental safety.

Judy Rubin, Philadelphia

Remembering a jazz great

You did a wonderful job profiling local jazz musician Byard Lancaster ("A master Phila. musician," Saturday). He and his band were regular performers at the annual People's Festival in Vernon Park. His music was great, but I was most impressed with his rapport with kids. During his sets, he often invited children from the audience to come on stage and play instruments. He was obviously as concerned about connecting youth to music as he was for his own sound. That's how I'll remember him.

Jeff Smith, Philadelphia, germantownsmith@gmail.com

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