AS A STUDENT at St. Joseph's pursuing a degree in legal studies/political science, I'm wondering when "politician" and "public servant" became synonymous. A "politician" runs for office serving an agenda related to business or personal gain. A "public servant" looks after the interests and rights of the common citizen with little regard to self.

Sadly, we elect more politicians than we ever have public servants.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the average salary of a City Council member is $121,107, surprisingly high when a member of Congress earns $174,000.

If we took the 541 members of Congress and cut their salaries in half for one year, it would generate $47,067,000. A five-year freeze on those members alone would generate $235,335,000 to be diverted into education or deficit recovery. If we cut the salaries of our 17-member City Council by half, that would generate $1,029,410 a year, over five years adding a little over $5 million into our own budget.

When did "the public interest" become less about our good fortune and more about acquiring an interest in what little fortune we have? Perhaps the corruption comes from the exorbitant amounts of money being thrown into politics and nothing coming out - the means not justifying the ends.

If politics is a game, then the citizens are the ones losing.

The saying is "You pay the cost to be the boss" not "Pay the cost TO the boss."

It's time for some change.

Terrance Barnes, Philadelphia

nolead begins

Border wars

To letter-writer Maryann Zindell:

It's common knowledge that physical borders define a neighborhood, not a ZIP code.

I've lived in Bridesburg my entire life (I'm 72) and the 5300 block of Eadom Street is not and never has been "Bridesburg."

Richard Kadelski

(The real) Bridesburg