IWALK THE city's streets looking at abandoned buildings not properly secured (L&I), craters in the streets not properly filled (Streets Department), libraries closed due to staff shortages (the budget issues), schools with no librarians, pools and rec centers that have limited resources.

And I get stopped and asked to produce my credentials occasionally by some of Philly's "finest," a direct result of Mayor Nutter's overzealous yet under-thought-out approach to curbing crime.

Did I mention that over the last few years there's been an infestation of possums in my neighborhood, but now the possums are being chased by raccoons, who, by the way, are also chasing cats, small dogs and children.

All of this going on in my beautiful city while the mayor wants to address the issue of an immigration law in Arizona.

Mayor Nutter, pay attention to Philadelphia, and if you have opinions about some other part of the country, which you should, don't weigh in so publicly. It makes me and other Philadelphians wonder if you're paying enough attention to the situation at hand.

One of the rogue officers on a recent front page accosted me three years ago, and there was nothing I could do about it. I applaud Commissioner Ramsey for the forthcoming changes and continue to pray each night for the men and women of the Police Department.

We all should.

It's going to be a long, hot, summer.

I just hope a child doesn't get attacked by a possum or raccoon while playing in an unsecured abandoned building because the child may stumble into a sinkhole as a result of not being able to read the "Hazard" sign, while our mayor has his focus on Arizona.

Joe Mannings, Philadelphia

Loved Byko's recent column on the Philly "Silly" Council Arizona vote.

I grew up in Tucson. My parents now live in Sierra Vista. It would take me a great deal of time to accurately describe what's been going on there for years.

Stu did a great job of describing the law. City Council hasn't a clue.

Wayne Johnson, West Chester

nolead begins

The mayor's BRT sham

Mr. Mayor, you got the voters to abolish the BRT because of patronage and the way they did assessments and appeals.

But what difference did you make by doing that - you and your apostles on Council did the same thing by giving us a 9.9 percent property-tax hike?

Oh, you're elected, so you can get away with it. How about DROP - why don't you put that on the ballot and ask the voters how they feel?

Almost every department in the city has patronage jobs, and there's nothing wrong if they can do the work.

Now you want two departments to do the work of the BRT. How many patronage jobs will come from this?

And how about the e-mail that went out via the city Web site urging all to vote yes on the BRT question - who authorized a city employee on city time to do this?

We'll remember all of this when it's time for re-election. You backed Arlen Specter, didn't you?

Mario Marchetti