Letters to the Editor

Sixth-graders in the Girard College lower-school choir perform at the school's Founder's Hall last week.
Sixth-graders in the Girard College lower-school choir perform at the school's Founder's Hall last week. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 14, 2014

Historic setting

Inquirer coverage of Philadelphia's plans for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service glossed over the irony that many events on Monday will be taking place at Girard College. In 1954, the year the Supreme Court issued its Brown v. Boardof Education ruling, Philadelphia's city solicitor started proceedings to break a discriminatory clause in Stephen Girard's will that had excluded black boys from Girard College. It took 14 years of protracted litigation (three lawsuits went all the way to the Supreme Court) and massive public demonstrations - including one led by King in 1965 - before Girard College admitted its first black male students in 1968, to be followed by black girls in 1984.

Paul L. Newman, Merion Station

3d term for Rendell

Ed Rendell must run again for mayor because Philadelphia is a turf city, and Rendell knows how to bring rival turfs together. He's color-blind, is seen as such, and was able to collaborate with John Street and bring genius into his fold, à la chief of staff David L. Cohen. Rendell also makes us smile. Sure, he can be a hothead, but he's our hothead, who loses it when exhausted and misunderstood. Rendell's success stemmed from being what I call an outer-world person. Endless public contact, which would exhaust inner-world people, keeps him thriving. With the support and vital contributions of his extraordinary wife Midge, Rendell, in a sense, married Philadelphia. And we loved him back. He's needed again now.

SaraKay Smullens, Philadelphia

Pension makeover

Social Security was intended to be a small but meaningful component of retirement income because, as an Inquirer editorial suggested, fixed-benefit pensions were held by far more retirees when Social Security was implemented than today ("Pension disaster can be avoided," Jan. 5) But simply removing the cap on Social Security payroll taxes would change the program, whose benefits were designed to correlate with prior investment. If that's the plan, so be it. But call it what it is: a new tax for a new social-welfare program. It needs a new name. Perhaps the Taxpayer-Funded Pension Act. In no way am I suggesting people should live in poverty. Yet reengineering existing programs using accepted names to make them more palatable to the electorate is simply unethical.

Gregory Busch, Sewell

Prince, paupers

Gov. Corbett's Medicaid expansion proposal is another attack on the neediest. It asks that people make lifestyle changes such as losing weight. Apparently, Corbett is blind to the reality that the lifestyle these folks face is one of grinding poverty, which does not allow for healthy eating options. Waist-busting high-carbohydrate foods often make up their diet, because that is what they can afford and the food is filling. They wouldn't be seeking Medicaid if they could dine on scallops and artisan salads. If lifestyle change is what the governor wants, he should try swapping places with the people seeking Medicaid coverage. They'd be happy to oblige.

Beverly Hahn, Blue Bell

No givebacks

After the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel annexed an area of Samaria next to the narrow neck of the Jewish state between Tel Aviv and Haifa in order to widen that neck for security. There are about 300,000 Arabs living in that area, dubbed the Arab Triangle. They are citizens of Israel, with representatives in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. So it is interesting that when Secretary of State John Kerry proposes that Israel cede that area to the proposed Palestinian Arab state as part of a land exchange, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas firmly rejects the idea. Apparently, he does not want 300,000 Arabs spoiled by Israeli democracy and society in his new state.

Arthur Rabin, Havertown

Read more letters on the Editorial Board's blog at inquirer.com/saywhat

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