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Early learning is a smart move

ISSUE | EARLY LEARNING Smart move We applaud Mayor Nutter and the leadership at Shared Prosperity Philadelphia for developing a plan to reduce poverty in the city based on helping all children capitalize on their potential ("Nutter, Kenney trumpet new push for early-childhood learning," June 3).

ISSUE | EARLY LEARNING

Smart move

We applaud Mayor Nutter and the leadership at Shared Prosperity Philadelphia for developing a plan to reduce poverty in the city based on helping all children capitalize on their potential ("Nutter, Kenney trumpet new push for early-childhood learning," June 3).

We know what works. Abundant research has found that the preschool years are a critical time for brain development. Early learning efforts that focus not only on skill acquisition, but also on helping children develop positive beliefs about their own potential to succeed, have the power to change the trajectory of their lives. All children deserve access to these opportunities.

Let's all commit to the success of our youngest citizens. If they succeed, so does Philadelphia.

|Ann O'Brien, chief executive officer, Montgomery Early Learning Centers, Narberth

ISSUE | CANCER CARE

Value patients

Access to top cancer care in all countries is dependent on income ("Finding help for high cost of cancer care," June 8). If the world didn't revolve around marketing and reaping financial benefit, and instead focused on valuing the lives of patients, there would be a cure for the high cost of cancer care.

|Catherine M. Poole, president and founder, Melanoma International Foundation, Glenmoore, cmp11@comcast.net

ISSUE | BANKING

Bible studies

I bank at Wells Fargo, not because I actually chose the bank, but because my bank was taken over by Wells Fargo and I went along for the ride. But today I could not be happier ("TV ad brings call for a boycott," June 9).

Rather than boycott the bank, I plan to celebrate its recognition of same-sex couples as ordinary people. Perhaps boycott leader Franklin Graham of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ought to read Genesis again - the part that says that all of us are made in the image and likeness of God.

|Marie Conn, Hatboro, mconn56@yahoo.com

ISSUE | CLIMATE

Moral indeed

Climate action is a growing moral imperative for people of faith ("A moral and Christian duty to defend the planet," June 8). While a shrinking few deny the scientific reality of climate change, here and overseas people already are suffering from the changes to our warming world. Tragically, many of those now being hit by the effects of climate change are children and the world's least fortunate.

Christians of all traditions have a biblical imperative to take on global warming by supporting clean energy, ending fossil-fuel subsidies, and investing in sensible climate policies. The costs of warming being felt now will hit future generations with much more devastating force unless we take responsible and moral action today.

|Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, president, Evangelical Environmental Network, New Freedom, mitch@creationcare.org

ISSUE | SPEED TRAPS

Pa. motorists, surrender your wallets

In an instructive example of bad government, State Rep. Kurt A. Masser (R., Northumberland) is trying to buy votes by introducing legislation to unfairly tax reasonable and prudent motorists using radar, and adding a further tax disguised as a boon to law enforcement with a new slush fund he calls the Municipal Law Enforcement Accreditation Fund.

Radar is universally used as a revenue tool. If safety had anything to do with enhanced policing of speeders, then speed limits would not be artificially low. Limits are low to make it easy to ticket motorists for driving at a normal, safe speed.

Masser, along with the rest of Pennsylvania's transportation lobby, cleverly manipulates the public by disguising the legislation as a safety measure that also benefits law enforcement.

|Tom McCarey, Berwyn

ISSUE | JEWISH EXPONENT

Tough choices will save a community asset

As a longtime reader of the Jewish Exponent, I applaud its leadership for taking decisive action to keep the nation's second-oldest Jewish newspaper in business ("Change means survival for newspaper," June 7). The Exponent was losing money. Ignoring the problem surely would have been a death sentence.

No one likes to see anyone lose a job. But if the paper folded, the entire staff would have been lost, not to mention a community treasure.

|Michael C. Troped, Bala Cynwyd

ISSUE | WIND POWER

Bird-friendly turbines are the answer

Bird lovers should get behind the movement to stop installing huge, bird-killing machines and switch to helical-bladed devices like the Linc's ("Wind turbines don't have to kill so many birds," June 3).

|Richard S. Greeley, St. Davids, greelrslb@verizon.net

ISSUE | MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Better alternative to potent pills

I was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition that causes intractable nerve pain throughout one's body in 2011, after seven major surgeries, countless procedures, and cocktails of medication. And yes, I'm one of those people, callously referred to by commentator Ed Gogek, who would like access to medical marijuana ("Medical pot laws harmful, unnecessary," June 4).

Gogek would prefer I remain on my current regimen of powerful narcotics. But while he believes I should stick to these doctor-prescribed medications - medications that kill someone every 19 minutes - I'd really love the opportunity to access one that has never resulted in a fatal overdose.

|Timothy G. Keller, Philadelphia, timothygkeller@gmail.com

Health groups advocate easing restrictions

As a person suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic neuropathy, I was disturbed by Ed Gogek's claim that medical marijuana laws are unnecessary and harmful, despite all the experience to the contrary from around the country ("Medical pot laws harmful, unnecessary," June 4). There are 23 states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam, with effective medical marijuana laws, which have helped treat and comfort suffering patients.

Gogek claims that no medical organizations are pushing for medical marijuana; in fact, numerous health groups are vocal proponents of regulated medical marijuana. As for the alternative medications Gogek mentions, they are more expensive and have been found by many patients to be far less effective.

|Jennifer Tatta, Greenville

ISSUE | FUNDING SCHOOLS

The sin is in not levying sin taxes

Philadelphia deserves better than poverty, drugs, and crime. Mayor Nutter twice attempted to implement a soda tax. He failed. That failure was a huge success for lobbyists, stockholders, and businessmen more concerned about maintaining revenue streams than the health and well-being of Philadelphians.

The soda tax was intended to raise money for the public schools, just as the tax on cigarettes helps now. Taxing fast food, gasoline, and other American addictions could do likewise. The revenue could be contributing something positive. If it goes to support the public schools, Philadelphians may see a decline not only in obesity, diabetes, and air pollution, but also in poverty and crime.

|William Verdeur, Villanova

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