IT WAS amusing to read Christine Flowers' op-ed contending that Sen. Vince Fumo doesn't understand the rest of the state very well and that his hyperbolic comment about the legislature passing a slavery bill was another case of Philadelphia officials hurting the city's cause in Harrisburg.

This came, ironically, as he successfully achieved his goal of halting in its tracks the constitutional amendment denying rights to same-sex couples, which had been rolling with considerable momentum toward Senate passage until he became involved.

He received favorable editorials and columns in many parts of the state from people who recognized his positive impact. They understood, as Ms. Flowers apparently failed to, that his exaggerated slavery reference was an effort to point out that discrimination is always wrong, against any group at any point in history.

During his 30 years in the Senate, he has learned pretty well how to make state government work for Philadelphians.

That's how he was able to enhance state funding to southeastern Pennsylvania by more than $8 billion. How he convinced the legislature to appropriate $5 million annually for a Philadelphia-only task force on illegal guns. How he gained a reputation as one of the most effective Senators in the state, and how he achieved benefits for the city and region that are too numerous to mention here, despite being in the minority for all but three of his years at the Capitol.

Gary Tuma, Press Secretary

Senate Dem. Appropriations Comm.

Michelle Obama's flaws

Re Fatimah Ali's May 13 op-ed on Michelle Obama:

Mrs. Obama's fashion sense is the last thing that she should work on. She comes off as abrasive, obnoxious, unpatriotic, rude and, above all, racist at times. Michelle Obama is compared to Jackie Kennedy? Jackie must be rolling in her grave!

Pat Coggins, Philadelphia