YOUR April 23 editorial ("Is local better?") echoes the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' ongoing message about the main crisis facing our public schools: a dire lack of education funding from Harrisburg. The need to establish a statewide funding formula for public education should be the No. 1 priority for every voter, parent and elected official in Pennsylvania.

Because of our school district's funding crisis, Philadelphia parents have spent several years witnessing the elimination of our children's nurses, counselors, librarians, programs and services.

Clearly the lack of resources in our schools is the biggest threat to our children's future.

For 13 years, the School Reform Commission has had control of the district's purse strings. While today's fiscal crisis may be the worst, it is not the first triple-digit deficit to occur on their watch. Only a body that lacks accountability to Philadelphia's taxpayers would allow over a decade of financial mismanagement and failure.

While a locally elected or appointed board won't solve our schools' money woes, it would give Philadelphia's citizens more of a voice in education decisions. More importantly, school board officials from our own neighborhoods would give communities a needed ally in the fight for sustainable funding. That's far preferable to what we have now - a rubber stamp for Gov. Corbett's anti-public-school agenda.

Jerry Jordan

President

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Bullets and bullies

I was the staffer who gun activist Kim Stolfer encountered on his "visit" to CeaseFirePA's private, business office - an office that is not open to the general public. I am the staffer who was filmed, and continued to be filmed, after clearly stating that I did not consent, and I am the staffer who apparently was ridiculed by Mr. Stolfer at a private meeting of a pro-gun group, where he sought fit to show this video and even made light of the fact that he kept filming even after I requested that he stop.

Let's be perfectly clear: I was bullied. I was made to feel unsafe at my place of work by a visit of three strangers whose agenda was not clear, and it caused me immediate and lasting concern. And the most troubling part is: Mr. Stolfer, the figurehead for a regional pro-gun movement, is OK with it. OK with invading a private office. OK with being asked to leave several times but leaving only when he chose to. OK with intimating that my treatment of him was the real cause for concern but absolving himself and his associates of any blame and of all responsibility for their actions.

It was not a "friendly visit," but it clearly seems to be something Mr. Stolfer is comfortable with. That is the real cause for concern.

Fred Kaplan-Mayer

Director of Development

CeaseFirePA

This city stinks

With regards to Helen Ubiñas' article about Philly's litter, I am so disgusted with how filthy our city has become! If everyone would just clean in front of their own house and if people stopped littering, our city would be not only clean but outsiders would get to see just how beautiful Philadelphia really is!

But besides a bag of trash I pick up every day in front of my home and in the street, it's the dog walker I can't take anymore! Whether they pick up the mess or not, I still have to go out at least three times a day to wash the pavement with bleach, because if I don't I can't open my windows because of the foul smells of mess and urine.

I had dogs mostly all of my life. They did their business in my private yard! When I took them for a walk I not only picked up after them, I carried a spray bottle of water and bleach to make sure I totally cleaned up after them! My neighborhood has become the bathroom for every dog in the city and the trash is so bad I can't even see some parts of the pavements and street!

Stop making our city stink. Clean up after yourself and your animals! I'm getting tired of picking up your s---!

Janice Di Joseph

Philadelphia

The wrong track

It appears that SEPTA will in fact experiment with restoring all-night subway service on summer weekends.

But is that a true barometer of those who may use the system?

I'm not a rocket scientist, but I would assume that many people will be on vacation during these summer weekends, and those that are indeed in town (locals and tourists) may choose to walk if weather is nice. (Thus, lower numbers on SEPTA.)

I would think the true numbers of those that would use the weekend system would be better reflected in the colder months when not only is the vacation season over but, obviously, users don't want to be outside waiting long for buses, especially in the brutal cold and snow like this past winter. Don't invest (waste?) some of the $571.8 million in a project that might be set up to fail because of bad timing.

On a side note: Any updates on SEPTA contract talks? It's been awful quiet of late.

Joe "Jake" Dunphy

Philadelphia