Time to rally against

hurtful budget cuts

Senate Bill 850, which makes drastic cuts in programs and services that provide a vital safety net to Philadelphia's most vulnerable populations, was defeated on a party-line vote in the House Appropriations Committee. But Pennsylvania doesn't have a budget yet; we need to stay vigilant.

The Programs Not Prisons Committee represents nonprofits and grassroots organizations throughout Philadelphia. We understand the tough choices, given the current economic crisis and the fact that the state is facing a $3 billion deficit. However, cutting funds for education, violence prevention, job training, health care, and many other vital services is shortsighted and will be more costly in the longterm.

On Wednesday, many grassroots organizations and hundreds of citizens, families, and youths will rally at 2 p.m. at LOVE Park to show our elected officials in Harrisburg that our voice is loud and it counts.

Sharmain Matlock-Turner

Programs Not Prisons Committee

President and CEO

Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition

Obama must speak

louder on Iran

Of course, we cannot protest Iran's choice of president and its voting practices. But we can certainly protest its shooting protesters and killing many.

President Obama must protest this outrageous behavior by Iran's police. They can arrest protesters, prosecute them, punish them, but not kill them! Obama must speak out about this.

Ruth Gordon

Elkins Park

Jailing Fumo

is a bad decision

Re: "Fumo, Arnao are denied new trial," Thursday:

What advantage to me specifically, and to society in general, is there in putting former State Sen. Vince Fumo in prison? He is not a threat to anyone, has never harmed me, and is in no position to repeat his crimes.

It makes much more sense to punish him financially rather than physically. Take his government pensions away, fine him the millions of which he defrauded us, confiscate his mansion, and make him suffer monetarily.

Instead, he may go to a federal prison, possibly for the rest of his life, at enormous cost to taxpayers. What logic is there to that when we hear repeatedly about prison overcrowding, failure of the penal system, and the fiscal crisis?

Gov. Rendell says there are "no good choices" in trying to achieve a balanced budget. How about not spending the money it will take to incarcerate prisoners like Fumo for life? How about releasing all non-violent and white-collar criminals, and saving the millions of dollars spent to warehouse them?

Steven Barrer

Huntingdon Valley

Procedures set

to protect buildings

As a member of Friends of the Boyd, I thought it was heartwarming to see City Council pass a bill to legally protect historic public interiors. Special kudos to Councilmen Bill Green and Darrell Clarke. Now the bill is awaiting Mayor Nutter's signature.

Passage of this law, however, does not mean that the theater's interior is automatically protected. Interiors must be nominated and designated. The Historical Commission will weigh various factors.

As someone with fond memories of being taken to the Boyd Theater by her father, a man who loved history and dedicated much of his life to seeing that historic places were preserved, I think this proves that with determination, diligence, and people who believe in a cause, good things can come about.

Beth Leary Hegedus

Lansdale

Taking a life should

mean more

In Thursday's paper we read that two students in Schuylkill County were sentenced to all of six months in jail for brutally beating and savagely killing a Hispanic immigrant. On the same page was a story noting that a teacher was sentenced to 57 months in the federal penitentiary and five years of probation for possessing and sharing images of child pornography on his computer.

Is this proportional justice? Comparing prison sentences would indicate that in our society committing a murder is only a tenth as heinous a crime. It would seem we have lost our moral compass.

Leon Lakritz

Sewell

Authority needed

to buy car company

I triple-checked the Constitution, and for the life of me I cannot find one sentence that mentions the federal government has the authority to purchase 60 percent of an automobile corporation.

I know what you are going to say. Automobiles weren't invented when the Constitution was completed. So, how about if Congress, in due haste, adds another amendment?

It would read something like this: "The federal government, at its pleasure, can purchase the controlling interest of any publicly held corporation." Like I always say, it's better late than never.

David M. Levin

Vineland

Don't bet on tax hike

being 'temporary'

Gov. Rendell says he wants a temporary income-tax increase. We've heard that before. In 1936, Pennsylvania instituted a tax on alcohol to pay for the cleanup and recovery after the Johnstown flood. It, too, was a temporary tax. It is still on the books, and now goes to the general fund. Slow down Fast Eddie, we've been down this road.

Jeff Lavin

Hulmeville