ISSUE | RANDOM ACTS

Kind stranger in rain

Philadelphia was truly the city of brotherly love last week. My wife, 88, and I, 94, were walking to a medical appointment on 10th Street near Walnut when it began to rain. A young woman saw us and gave my wife her own umbrella, saying, "You better take this." My wife and I were shocked at such consideration from a stranger. When my wife demurred, the woman said that she could always replace the umbrella.

We may never see this kind soul again, but we hope she sees this message of gratitude.

|Joseph and Elva Diamond, Cherry Hill

ISSUE | CONVENTIONS

Baiting the hook

A recent letter writer suggested that cutting costs at the Convention Center was only good for the elite and not the working class, but cutting costs is good for everyone ("Whose ox?" March 25). It brings more shows, keeps admission prices low, and allows more people to see shows. In addition, it gives more work to union workers who are not so arrogant as to believe it's their way or the highway.

|Joe Orenstein, Philadephia, joe4189@verizon.net

ISSUE | CIVIL RIGHTS

Heroes in all hues

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Viola Liuzzo, who was killed as she drove black participants back home after marching from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. Liuzzo, a housewife and activist from the Midwest, joined other white victims of racial hatred during the 1960s whose names are forever imprinted on the nation's racial consciousness and conversation.

By contrast, black martyrs for the cause often go unsung. Elbert Williams (1940), Maceo Snipes (1946), Harry and Harriette Moore (1951), the Rev. George Lee (1955), Lamar Smith (1955), Jimmie Lee Jackson (1965), Samuel Leamon Younge Jr. (1966), and Vernon Dahmer (1966) are the names of some of the black men and women who died so that African Americans could secure the right to vote. We should know their stories, too.

|Paul L. Newman, Merion Station

ISSUE | CHRISTIE

WWJD? He'd pack heat, in governor's view

Gov. Christie has said some outrageous things during his years in office, but at one of his strictly orchestrated town-hall meetings this past week, he came out with his most jaw-dropping statement yet ("Christie: All rights given to us by God," March 25). Gun rights? They're heaven-sent, said Christie.

I'm curious what church or Bible he learned this from. Rather than "Thou shall not kill," we should all carry guns? Such blatant hypocrisy in an attempt to curry favor with the far right can only diminish Christie's appeal among thinking voters.

|Marlene Lieber, Medford

Unifinished business on ExxonMobil

Gov. Christie's explanation of the ExxonMobil settlement leaves many critical environmental questions unanswered ("This is unsettling," March 11). This is a disgrace, not only for the communities that were affected by the pollution, but also for the state, which loses billions in the deal. Even more alarming are the reports that the governor's office directly intervened in the settlement discussions. The lack of transparency casts a shadow on the Christie administration, already plagued with ethical and legal scandals.

By contrast, I applaud state Senate President Steve Sweeney for his apparent commitment to a safer, cleaner New Jersey, and I support the initiative launched by Sweeney and state Sen. Ray Lesniak to stop the Exxon settlement by taking legal action against the administration.

It is time that someone stood up to the governor. Taxpayers deserve to know how that deal was made, and the case cannot be considered settled until ExxonMobil pays its fair share and explains exactly how the contamination will be remediated.

|Michelle Shirey, East Greenwich

ISSUE | MANUFACTURING

Ex-Im Bank boosts firms big and small

Unlike a libertarian think tank in Washington, our small manufacturing business in Northwest Pennsylvania has direct experience creating jobs and supporting our local economy ("Export-Import Bank costly to Pa. businesses," March 25). Our business has grown to more than 350 employees since its start in 1985. While we receive no direct funding, the Ex-Im Bank has a big impact on our future success.

It's true that 75 percent of the bank's funding benefits 10 large companies, but the majority of that funding ends up going to companies like our firm that make up their supply chains. A significant portion of our business is supported indirectly by the Ex-Im Bank because we build products for customers like General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. Without Ex-Im support, these business opportunities will go to other countries that have their own export-import banks.

Last but not least, the Ex-Im Bank returned $675 million to the federal treasury last year. With all the wasteful spending that could be targeted, why focus on a program that actually helps create jobs and support American manufacturers? The uncertainty concerning the bank is already hurting these manufacturers. Congress should vote to continue the bank immediately.

|Scott J. Anderson, Liberty Electronics, Franklin