RE COUNCILWOMAN Marian Tasco's op-ed,

"Dwight Evans' 'Friends & Cronies' are Really Just Us,"

a touching tale about her visit to the Fresh Grocer in Germantown:

I don't make any excuses about why I voted against Evans, I was up front about it, and I'll state it again: I voted against Evans because he cut funding in my district.

As to Tasco's assertion that Evans got $1 million for the Maria Santos Medical Office, you've been sadly misinformed. Gov. Rendell was the one who helped me secure the $1 million for my district. I was elected by my constituents to look after all the interests of the 180th District and that's my prime responsibility.

Year after year, Evans cut funding to my district, then I find out he spent $17 million on Ogontz Avenue, $1.2 million for the West Oak Lane Charter School, $500,000 for Main Development, $493,000 for Haines Eastburn Stenton Corp. and $15,000 for West Oak Lane Development Corp. Not to mention his Harrisburg office with 19 workers and a $1,410,270 payroll and a Philadelphia office with 12 people ($822,141 in salaries).

I have four people in my Philadelphia office, with the highest paid making less than any Evans' workers by at least $10,000. He had someone handling PennDOT matters getting $64,000 a year - that's a job my office manager handles along with all his other responsibilities.

As to Tasco's charge of old-fashioned strong-arming of Evans, I beg to differ. If he'd treated all the members of the caucus equally instead of only taking care of his lapdogs, he'd still be the Democratic appropriations chairman.

A word of advice to Tasco: Since you're in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, do your constituents a favor, take the money and retire. Don't be like Marge Tartaglione and the other Council members who took the DROP money and went back to work the next day.

State Rep. Angel Cruz, Philadelphia

nolead begins

Union DROP-ins

Re your Dec. 6 editorial on DROP:

How about we also pass a law that bans union officials from going through DROP and coming back to serve with their unions?

I believe Pete Matthews of District Council 33 and Cathy Scott, Mike Walsh and Rita Urwitz of District Council 47 all went through DROP and stayed on as union officials.

That shouldn't be allowed.

Anthony Tomassetti, Philadelphia

nolead begins

Camden cop-out

Camden, the second most violent city in America, is laying off cops.

Go figure that one out. Was our mayor talking to their mayor?

Walt Van Horn, Philadelphia

nolead begins

Good compromise

I'm with you on the tax deal, Mr. Bykofsky. If Obama fought the "good fight," taxes would be higher and the unemployed would be having a cruddier Christmas. Some of us get it, some don't - and some want it all.

Mark F. Walker, Philadelphia