RE THE RECENT letter about City Council members having unnecessary cars:

The Police Department has the same thing going on. Why do the rank of captain and above have take-home vehicles? Why can't captains, inspectors, staff inspectors, chief inspectors and deputy commissioners drive to work like any other employee in the city? The deputy commissioners all have two vehicles, marked and unmarked.

The department could probably save many thousands on gas, insurance, maintenance. And why do all lieutenants and above have BlackBerry phones? The department never before had cell phones given to every supervisor.

If an emergency happens in the middle of the night, I'm sure the police commissioner could get a ride from the sector vehicle working that night.

Kim Barns, Philadelphia

In light of the upcoming closings of libraries, pools and fire companies, I'm amused to see the city roll out the new 311 nonemergency system.

I envision the phone calls:

"I'm looking for my fire engine" - you don't have one. "OK, my library" - you don't have one. "So who will plow my street?" - no one.

Similar to Alaska's "Bridge to nowhere," Philadelphia will have the "Phone to nowhere."

David Krain, Philadelphia

While the closing and consolidation of pools, libraries and fire stations is bad enough, the Mummers have been singled out as the whipping boy for Philly's slate of annual parades.

Besides cutting prize money, the city wants them to pay for police and street cleanup. If that's the case, then every annual parade Philadelphia hosts should be made to do the same - with no exceptions. This is fair, since times are hard!

Otherwise, this is discrimination, and maybe the Mummers should look elsewhere for another host city to hold the parade, and the city can think about the tourism money it loses by doing so.

Fair is fair as the budget cuts go. Either all parades or none!

Thomas G. Lutek

Philadelphia