Letters to the Editor

Posted: September 08, 2012

Wind and more

Thanks for supporting continuation of the wind-power tax credit ("Wind industry's survival could depend on tax credit," Monday). I support the credit but believe that focusing on that alone is thinking much too small.

We need to think about how we are going to replace coal, oil, and natural gas with wind, solar, hydro, and other renewables that will help stabilize the world climate for future generations. We already have the technology and know-how. According to Stanford's Mark Z. Jacobson, the world can be powered by alternative energy, using today's technology, in 20 to 40 years, with approximately the same investment that will be required to meet future demand through coal, oil, and natural gas energy sources.

Moving to renewables will require the kind of resolve that we showed in winning World War II, landing on the moon, and creating our massive highway system, to name just a few of our great achievements. This country has proven time and again that it has an unmatched capacity for solving big problems through creativity, hard work, and large-scale investment. We have been world leaders in the past and could be so again once we find the resolve.

Alan Windle, Philadelphia

Job well done

I had the same experience as Linda George's husband: years of excellent evaluations until I received that not so good one, even though no work habits or job effectiveness had changed ("Scant thanks for a career," Monday). After the evaluation, the layoff notice and package shortly followed. I went into unplanned "early retirement" on April 1, 2011. No thanks, no watch, no retirement party. My father, a steelworker for 30 years who did get the watch and the party, sent me to college so that I would have a better job than his. Now I wonder who had the better work experience.

Although I keep myself busy with some community volunteer work and spending more time with my husband, I have yet to venture back into the corporate world. I don't think I want to. Sometimes I feel that it's a shame, since I am underutilizing my talent and experience. But I am now looking for a different path, one that will leave me with a feeling of a "job well done" at the end, and at least a small pat on the back.

Laura A. Feldman, Philadelphia, wolfwillow@comcast.net

Workplace risks

Linda George's Labor Day lament is a good reminder that, for an employer, jobs are about "the money," but the employed tend to freight the relationship with additional emotional baggage. Since we wrap our identity around our occupation, it is little wonder that, for most, the current rising tide of joblessness and candidates' plans to stem that tide are the central issues of the election.

Although a failure up until now, President Obama will argue that future tax increases and regulations on employers will fund the occupational training, infrastructure spending, and renewable-fuels initiatives he needs for full employment. Mitt Romney will argue that employers sending less money to Washington will have more to spend on factories that need workers to produce the energy and products the world needs. One approach is top-down; the other is bottom-up. In a top-down world, an employer might be told he can't lay off a 25-year employee. The risk is, if employers know they will be forced to keep workers they can't afford, would they ever hire them in the first place?

Michael B. Hudson, Pottstown

Road tolls

The writer of the letter "Get creative about highway tolling" (Tuesday) believes that the increased funding stream from tolling Interstates 95 and 476 will magically cure all our transportation ills and "make our state more efficient, more competitive, and perhaps even more relaxed." Instead of being "creative," let's go back to basics. Look at how the current funding stream (a very big stream) is being spent. Look who's in charge of how that money is being spent. I don't assume everything is being done efficiently.

Turnpike tolls were significantly increased just a short time ago, and savings and better cash flows should have been realized through use of E-ZPass. Concerned residents should be asking for details regarding plans for infrastructure repair. Who is responsible for these plans? Are they qualified - and, if not, why are they in that position? And how are contracts awarded?

I personally would not be more relaxed if I were giving the state more of my money, or if I were sitting in a parking lot on a crowded 95 or 476 during game days, rush hours, and all the construction due to the new toll booths. The state would just have more of our money to waste, not be more efficient.

Ed Dixon, Philadelphia

SEPTA service

Andrew Dalzell's essay "No award for transit basics" made a number of good points about the need for SEPTA to improve customer service. As a frequent bus rider, I am generally pleased with the service, but second the complaint that bus shelters are few and far between.

The only bus shelter with a roof and seats in my neighborhood is located at 22d and South. For months, that shelter has been enclosed in fencing surrounding the construction site for a new CVS, which I assume was approved by a city department.

The fenced area provides free parking for construction workers in a prime city location, while SEPTA riders, who reduce congestion and pollution, are forced to walk to another stop that has no shelter and no place to sit. Daily bus riders are being inconvenienced - the opposite of good customer service.

Anne Tobey, Philadelphia

Required reading

I wish David Rothkopf's brilliant commentary ("A requiem for the spirit of Armstrong," Tuesday) were required reading in every U.S. classroom. It is heartbreaking to witness the steps backward our country has taken - not only as to scientific and educational inquiry, but also on social issues and interpersonal decency - because of the efforts of religious zealots and right-wing demagogues.

Jack Scott, Wallingford

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