Letters to the Editor

Posted: September 15, 2012

Andrews' trip

I find it sad that two highly educated people such as U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.) and his wife, Camille, couldn't determine that their sojourn to Scotland should not be paid for with his campaign funds ("Wife vetted funding of trip," Tuesday).

It would not take long for the average resident/voter in his district to flag the trip as a no-go using those funds. Too frequently, elected officials of long tenure begin to think that they are entitled to greater benefits than those they serve. If I had contributed to his campaign, after reading the Inquirer article, I would have been at his legislative office requesting my contribution back.

Andrews and his wife make a handsome income, as two successful people should. There is no need to stoop to raiding the campaign cookie jar to pay for family vacations.

James J. Faulk, Sewell

Gaming system

The actions of Camille Andrews, an associate dean at Rutgers-Camden Law School, provide the public with yet another reason to hold lawyers in contempt. Here we have a law school professor acting as a compliance officer for her congressman husband, U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.), and signing off on a $30,115 campaign-funded family excursion to Edinburgh. What an exemplary way to teach law students how to game the system.

John Bannon, Philadelphia

Society's slobs

When Michael DiBerardinis proclaims, "You wouldn't throw an empty potato-chip bag or dirty diaper on the floor of your own house, so why would a person do that in LOVE Park?" he's talking about a societal quirk that is not limited to LOVE Park ("LOVE Park needs more love," Tuesday).

In movie theaters, patrons leave boxes, bags, and cups for employees to clean up. Sports fans leave their trash under their seats. In both cases, trash cans are available, but carrying an empty cup to a trash can is too much effort.

I'd guess that these are the same people who go home and yell at their kids, "Pick up your toys. This place looks like a pig sty."

Anthony Preziosi, West Deptford, a_preziosi@yahoo.com

Effective leader

In the story on Archbishop Charles Chaput ("Chaput emerges from bruising first year," Sunday), the archbishop is quoted saying that the roughly three decades of service provided by both Cardinals John J. Krol and Dennis J. Dougherty allowed them to be "very effective." Chaput has been very effective in just one year, and Philly is lucky to have him. Kudos to David O'Reilly for an exceptionally fair piece.

Bill Donohue, president, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, New York

Philly in 2016

Among many good reasons why the Democratic National Committee should give serious consideration to hosting its 2016 convention in Philadelphia, one factor outweighs all others: We've done it before and done it beautifully.

In 2000, through a concerted effort by local elected officials, business leaders, and the Building Trades, Philadelphia was chosen to host the Republican National Convention. Not only did the convention shine an international spotlight on our fair city, it also pumped more than $364 million in out-of-town money into our local economy and created 600 jobs for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 98, alone, 90 percent of which were filled by Philadelphia residents.

With our newly expanded Convention Center, world-class hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions, and unique status as the birthplace of American democracy, Philadelphia is supremely positioned to host the 2016 Democratic convention.

John J. Dougherty, business manager, IBEW Local 98, Philadelphia

Show mercy

Starting at the age of 6, Terry Williams was exposed to a prolonged and continuous regime of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by various adults in his life ("Unusual petition in death sentence," Sept. 7). It is common for survivors to be fairly high-functioning in various parts of their lives, only to be derailed by triggers that force them to re-experience their trauma. The trauma that Williams endured accumulated through the years and had a direct bearing on his crimes. As a teenager, after years of sexual and physical abuse, he murdered two of his abusers, and he now faces execution for killing one of these men.

Our legal system takes into account mitigating factors such as an extensive history of abuse, particularly for a defendant who committed his crimes as a teenager. I implore Gov. Corbett to heed the words of the jurors and those of the widow of one of the victims: Commute Williams' sentence to life without parole.

Toorjo Ghose, assistant professor, School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, toorjo@sp2.upenn.edu

Time to change

The most recent jobs report is probably the worst this year: 96,000 jobs were added in August, well below the number needed to keep up with those entering the workforce ("Markets shrug off lukewarm jobs data," Saturday). Unemployment remains above 8 percent, and only slightly fell because discouraged workers dropped out of the labor pool as they gave up attempting to find employment.

One of the most damaging pieces of the jobs report is that the average work remained at 34.4 hours per week, while falling 0.2 hours per week (to 40.5) in manufacturing, a field that also lost 15,000 jobs in August. Job creation is generally coupled with a rising average work week, as businesses can no longer get productivity out of their current workers and need to hire more labor to increase productivity. Those numbers' remaining stagnant provides very little hope that the jobs numbers will significantly increase anytime soon.

President Obama insists that four more years of his policies will yield different results. With the jobs reports becoming more and more unsettling, the question to be asked is whether we can afford to waste another four years on failed economic policies or if the time for change is now.

Kyle Rice, Broomall

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