ISSUE | MARKETING

A grande win-win

After Starbucks Coffee was criticized as being opportunistic for having baristas write race together on coffee cups, the company discontinued the practice ("Starbucks ends cup messages," March 23). But virtually all capitalist enterprise is inherently opportunistic.

The green movement in marketing is one example. Companies employing the strategy are at least partly attempting to take advantage of customers' current environmental values to increase sales.

Knowing that there's a degree of cynicism behind value-driven marketing doesn't make green advertising a bad thing. If a company can do something that stimulates dialogue, promotes the public good, and increases sales at the same time, where is the problem?

|Jack Stanton, Broomall

ISSUE | OBAMACARE

Coverage, at a price

Obviously, it is good that 16 million Americans now have health insurance ("Happy birthday?" March 23). But our health-insurance premiums (as self-employed parents) last year totaled $17,600 for a family of three, with no subsidies. Why is the United States the only developed country that does not have universal health care? The birthday I look forward to is my 65th, when Medicare kicks in.

|Peter Tobia, Philadelphia, petertobia1@verizon.net

ISSUE | SPORTSMANSHIP

More from Mo'ne

While I am certain that Taney Dragons star pitcher Mo'ne Davis will enjoy all sorts of success in the world of sports, I am even more certain that her strength of character, and her ability to forgive a rude tweeter, are what we shall really know her for in the future ("Davis asks university to reinstate player," March 24). Her caring about the future of the young man who slandered her should be a lesson to us all.

|Dolly Constable, Gradyville

Coaching for one

While there are great coaches who see the big picture that B.G. Kelley describes, sadly, many - especially at the Division I level - see only the small, egocentric picture . . . where they are the center of the universe ("Coaches see the big picture," March 24). The players are mere pawns in these coaches' never-ending search for the next big job.

A coach's wife once told me how sad it was that her husband was at the mercy of 18-year-olds. It wasn't about the athletes; it was about his chase for the big bucks.

Athletes who survive and even thrive under these coaches do so because of their own strengths, the strengths that got them there in the first place.

|Christopher J. Dean, Wyncote, Idyinc55@gmail.com

ISSUE | SENATE RACE

A better choice

I'm very disappointed in the votes by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) against the underserved, like his support for reducing food stamps. I'm glad former Congressman Joe Sestak is running next year.

|Mary Cellucci, Broomall

ISSUE | HIGHWAY DANGERS

Casino traffic adds to crossing's fearful rep

A young woman pedestrian was killed at the intersection of Knights and Street Roads in Bensalem early Tuesday, the same intersection that Time magazine recently named the nation's most dangerous. For me, the tragedy hits home: My medical office is located nearby.

This tragedy should draw attention to the factors that have transformed a suburban road into the nation's most dangerous, and it should spur elected officials to action. One reason the intersection is so deadly stands out above the rest: increased traffic. Traffic has skyrocketed since the opening of Parx Casino. While crime and traffic have increased, the economic benefits to the community have not lived up to expectations. Nor has the official response been robust.

When asked about Time's ranking, a Bensalem official disputed the designation and spoke of "people . . . too lazy to cross at the intersection crosswalk." A recognition of the problem is essential, and it is time to act before the next tragedy strikes.

|Umar Farooq, M.D., Bensalem

ISSUE | CITY INSPECTIONS

Close review due for L&I survey practices

The reported action of Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections officials conducting 600 inspections in one week while signing off under one name at least has the appearance of a fraud ("Still learning," March 24). L&I should be investigated by the district attorney, and Mayor Nutter should determine whether it is appropriate to make a change in L&I leadership. At a minimum, the activities at L&I are grossly disturbing and warrant substantial reform - not mere window dressing.

|E.J. Rafferty, Levittown

ISSUE | BUDGETS

Credit GOP for an open process

Lefties like E.J. Dionne didn't raise a whisper about budgets while the Democrats controlled the Senate under Harry Reid, because Reid and his colleagues never passed one ("GOP's budget hypocrisy," March 24). Instead, Democrats played high-stakes poker with continuing resolutions, with huge increases in spending across the board without any debate. At least, the Republicans have shown Democrats the courtesy of allowing debate on the budget and all it contains.

|Fran Steffler, Philadelphia

Gov. Wolf should do as businessman Wolf

As a cost-saving measure, businessman Tom Wolf instituted a 401(k) plan at his company. But to aid his run for governor, he promised the public unions that he wouldn't do the same to them. What a difference it makes when it's other people's money.

|Stephen Hanover, Doylestown

ISSUE | NEXT MAYOR

A retooling in order for candidate's platform?

Readers should appreciate the irony of Tom Ferrick's meticulously documented commentary on Nelson Diaz's pledges in his campaign for mayor ("Diaz's proposals have zero chance," March 23). Here is a journalist lecturing a retired city judge on the limits that state law and the Pennsylvania constitution impose on local officeholders.

That raises the question of which is worse: An uninformed politician who proposes changes, unaware that they are beyond his authority? Or someone supposedly steeped in the law who puts forth grandiose plans, knowing full well that he can't do what he promises?

After his comeuppance, I wonder whether Diaz will continue to tout these ideas. Or whether he will relegate them to the trash heap of what Ferrick calls "half-baked, unrealistic, silly ideas" and not utter them again.

|Bob Martin, Havertown, inkwire86@verizon.net

Aid from the other side of City Avenue

Like Joel Greenberg, I agree that the Susquehanna International Group partners in Bala Cynwyd won't benefit financially by backing the school-choice candidacy of State Sen. Anthony H. Williams ("Execs pool funds for Williams," March 23). Yet I cannot help but feel that a paternalistic streak motivates them.

After all, these people neither live nor work in the city yet feel compelled to influence the mayoral election. Their children, I would imagine, have attended schools that neither look nor perform like the schools (public or charter) in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's students should not be used as lab rats so that some deep-pocketed philanthropists can test their educational theories.

|Coleman Poses, Philadelphia, cposes@verizon.net