Letters to the Editor

Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, facing an overhaul, offers fishing and swimming among its attractions for visitors.
Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, facing an overhaul, offers fishing and swimming among its attractions for visitors. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 03, 2013

Sustaining green

The Inquirer article shining a spotlight on the critical need for improvements at Parvin State Park provides a perfect example of why Gov. Christie and the Legislature need to create a dedicated and sustainable source of funding for the stewardship of New Jersey parks, as well as the preservation of open space, farms, and historic sites ("Overhaul will be no walk in the park," Sept. 23).

With leadership from Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate voted twice this summer to authorize a voter referendum on dedicating $200 million in sales-tax revenues annually. That would represent less than 1 percent of the state budget, but would address both stewardship and preservation needs over the long-term.

Now, it's up to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Majority Leader Louis Greenwald to bring the bill to a vote in the Assembly. Otherwise, we will read more stories about the deterioration of parks like Parvin, and risk losing not only these natural jewels but also the visitors and tourism dollars they attract.

Tom Gilbert, chairman, NJ Keep It Green, Trenton

Costly, not reform

The assertions by the Arnold Foundation and Manhattan Institute on the need for pension changes for Pennsylvania teachers is just another attack on teachers ("Reform teacher pensions," Sept. 24). In 2010, teachers worked with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to pass Act 120, which restored pension funding gradually, created a system of shared risk in the event of big investment losses, and brought stability to employer-contribution rates. Act 120 ushered in savings for both the state and school districts' retirement systems.

The claim by commentators Josh McGee and Marcus Winters that moving to a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan would be advantageous has been disproven by estimates that put the cost at around $40 billion. The most stable source of funding for the pension systems has been employee contributions, which average more than 7 percent. Moving to a 401(k)-style plan would stop that flow of funding into the pension fund, thereby reducing funding tremendously.

Debating the future of the teaching profession should not be about how public policy can make sure that high teacher turnover is a permanent reality.

Ted Kirsch, president, AFT Pennsylvania

To help the dying die

Pennsylvania says you can't legally help a dying person end his suffering ("Phila. nurse's assisted-suicide charge strains her family," Sept. 30). As Mr. Bumble said in Dickens' Oliver Twist, "The law is an ass."

John Brodsky, M.D., Swarthmore, johnbrodsky7@verizon.net

Nothing to see here

I am at a loss to understand why The Inquirer featured a story on a councilwoman who sought guidance before undertaking a fund-raiser, then canceled the event when the Board of Ethics advised against it ("Fund-raiser scuttled by ethics fears," Sept. 25). Nothing to report that day on schools, hungry children, the continuing unfairness in society, Grover Norquist's hold on the legislature, funding for roads, bridges, and transportation?

Shelly Yanoff, Philadelphia

Getting their way

I remember a time when children would scream and fight if they were losing or lost a competition, or didn't get their way, and we called them poor losers or spoiled brats. Today, we would call these children Republicans.

I. Milton Karabell, Philadelphia

No dice, locally

I was disappointed to learn that new casinos are being proposed only in Center City or in South Philadelphia. What will people in Germantown, Mount Airy, Chestnut Hill, West Philadelphia, Bustleton, and other city neighborhoods do? With no casinos proposed nearby, they may have to pay rent and feed their families.

Joe Orenstein, Philadelphia, Joe4189@verizon.net

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