ISSUE | SPECIAL ELECTION

Democrats rebuffed

What a great win for Martina White in the state House race in Northeast Philadelphia. And what a message about the legacy left by now-Congressman Brendan Boyle and a wake-up call for those voting Democratic. Finally, some union members are realizing that Democrats don't have their interests at heart unless they're donating plenty of money.

|Stephen Dreher, Philadelphia

ISSUE | PA. BUDGET

Bold is best

Gov. Wolf's budget proposal is right on the money: It is time to go big ("Senator: If no pension fix - no deal," March 24). Wolf's plan fixes a series of devastating budget decisions of the past four years and provides a blueprint for moving forward with fundamental change to the tax structure.

It is time to close, once and for all, corporate tax loopholes. It is time for Marcellus Shale drillers to pay the kind of excise tax that every other major gas-producing state imposes. The governor's plan also calls for restoring devastating budget cuts to education. Finally, after decades of debate, Wolf has outlined a plan to roll back the state's reliance on property taxes to fund schools - a system that's punitive to seniors.

|Alana Bennett, Folcroft

ISSUE | LOVE PARK

Bench these plans

That sound is legendary planner Ed Bacon rolling (and ranting) in his grave ("LOVE Park redesign plans are unveiled," March 25). JFK Plaza is one of the most popular and iconic public spaces in the city, so why would Mayor Nutter's administration pursue a renovation that obliterates any trace of the original design?

From my perspective as an urban planner, if city officials cared at all about getting it right, they'd tell their designers to go back to the drawing board. The current proposals do Bacon's memory and legacy, and the people of Philadelphia, a great disservice.

|Nicholas Baker, Philadelphia, nicbakerxvx@gmail.com

Clearing the record

An editorial Thursday incorrectly referred to Mayor Nutter as a former mayor.

ISSUE | 'NOVA MUSICIAN

Making a statement with a piccolo

I was deeply touched by Villanova senior Roxanne Chalifoux playing the piccolo at the end of Villanova's loss in the NCAA tournament (" 'Nova's tearful Internet star," March 25). Her dedication and spirit as she continued to play in the band with tears running down her cheeks made me so proud of her and what she represents.

I was on the Cardinal Dougherty High School championship drill team in the late 1960s, which called for hard work and perseverance. We were taught to continue marching in parades or a competition no matter what the situation and to never break cadence. We had performances where fellow teammates would pass out from heat and we would continue to march while waiting for assistance. What we learned then has stayed with us for life: Winners never quit.

|Kathy Gallagher, King of Prussia

ISSUE | FREE SPEECH

Lost emergency aid the price of expression?

Charles Slack wrote eloquently of the need for a free society to accept unpopular speech ("Passing the free-speech test," March 22). In the same edition, it was reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will withhold funding from states whose governors are branded climate-change deniers. I find this to be an enigma.

|Steve Wagg, Chester Springs, Steve.wagg@gmail.com

ISSUE | FULL DISCLOSURE

Wolf administration critic could set example

If the issue of transparency in Gov. Wolf's administration moves Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation, his organization should set an example by making its own donor list public ("How open and transparent?" March 23).

|Beverly Hahn, Blue Bell

ISSUE | PICKING JUDGES

Set the bar, then shift to merit appointment

, but the state should not rush to abandon its method for an appointment system without adopting commonsense reforms ("20-Month Term for Singletary," March 20).

Such reforms should include a requirement that candidates for trial courts possess a minimum 25 years of civil or criminal practice experience. Appellate candidates should be legal scholars, including those who have served with distinction on trial courts.

While many honorable and knowledgeable nonlawyers aspire to become magisterial district judges, these positions require specialized knowledge and deep understanding of the law, rights, and legal ethics. On-the-job training can never be an option; without exception, all judges should be lawyers.

Candidates for county courts should be vetted by local bipartisan commissions charged with recommending only the best, most qualified candidates to the governor for appointment, subject to state Senate confirmation. A similar statewide system should be established for appointment and confirmation of appellate judges.

|Richard N. Lipow, Malvern