IN 2004, when elimination of Ladder 11 from the station at 12th and Reed was first proposed, I was deeply angered that City Hall couldn't recognize the importance of this unit.

The elimination was still in negotiation when a building my family owned was partially destroyed by arson. It reminded me of the California wildfires and what could have been if not for Ladder 11. They were first on the scene and explained that everyone made it out safely, and the fire didn't spread to adjoining properties.

Because Engine 10 and Ladder 11 were only a couple of blocks away, swift action saved my neighborhood from a catastrophe.

To think that the city believes there is another ladder truck within the six-minute time frame is a joke. Has Mayor Nutter, or the police or fire commissioners tried to negotiate the narrow streets down here, with double parking and delivery trucks jutting out at corner intersections with a ladder truck? It would take much longer than the six minutes in the national guidelines.

Remember, there is selective enforcement of parking regulations in South Philly and the local politicians look the other way so that they don't have to listen to complaints.

To Mayor Nutter and all other elected officials, leave the stations and ladder trucks where they are, and let's not give the insurance industry another reason to raise rates.

Gloria J. Inverso, Philadelphia

Solution for a nutty city

The city has no money, yet they won't let the casino build on the waterfront? I can't believe this city and the way they do business.

You have a piece of land on Delaware Avenue that's been vacant for more than 20 years - it's a mess, but the mayor, who I thought had some brains, doesn't want this to happen.

The people who are in his ear with this nonsense, well, they just maybe don't want any type of money to flow to the city. If it did, maybe the libraries and the pools won't have to close or, most upsetting, the firehouses.

I just don't get it.

Here is my plan to get money:

Start by getting the deadbeats who don't pay taxes on their rundown properties and next start ticketing those people in South Philly who double-park. You can't even get in the street.

Next, start giving tickets to homeowners who make no attempt to clean up their properties - trash everywhere.

And these people who don't want the casino, how many of them go to Atlantic City, Bensalem, Pocono Downs, Chester? How could you put a casino in Center City? Where would you park? Believe me, the people of Chinatown won't go for this, and it won't happen.

Stop being stupid, and let's get some jobs going in this broke-down palace.

Harriet B. Brown, Philadelphia

Blowin' smoke

I noticed that Barack Obama wasn't able to give Tom Brokaw a straight yes-or-no answer on whether he's stopped smoking.

I still don't know if he stopped smoking. Don't really care either.

This must be the change that the Democrats voted for.

Charles Patrick Reilly Jr.