Bush had a role

in subprime debacle

I can't argue with Rick Santorum that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac present a very large problem, which is not being addressed by Congress or the administration ("Fannie, Freddie get a pass," Wednesday).

He correctly says that in the '90s, the Clinton administration pushed the mortgage giants to take on new debt to accomplish the Democrats' affordable-housing goals.

However, Santorum skipped one huge program that contributed to Fannie and Freddie's debt: The Bush administration passed the American Dream Downpayment Act in 2003 as part of its "ownership society," and then put pressure on Fannie and Freddie to increase their funding of mortgage loans to lower-income groups, particularly minorities. It was this pressure, not the Community Reinvestment Act, that pushed Fannie and Freddie to purchase subprime loans.

J. Creighton


BP will sell

to the highest bidder

If, as is quite possible, the Loop Current sends crude oil along the gulf shoreline, around the Florida peninsula, and into the Gulf Stream, the East Coast will get a lesson in ecological disaster as tenacious as the tar balls we shall be struggling to remove from everything it touches on the coast, including tourists.

But it is not a question of ecology alone; it is one of pure honesty. There are no doubt people who truly believe offshore drilling will free us from dependence on foreign petroleum, but if they knew the facts, they might change their minds. BP and the other oil lords intend to sell what they extract on the world market, and to the highest bidders. When those who champion this taxpayer-subsidized looting of our own natural resources demand that U.S. crude be sold, refined, and resold in the United States, their arguments might be a bit more justified. But even then, only a bit.

John Sultzbaugh



Principals should

have pay docked

Re: "16 city principals lack credentials," Wednesday:

First, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman hires someone and then never checks to see if the certification is in place. Now it seems that she was totally unaware that 16 other administrators are illegally holding such important positions.

Explain to us why Ackerman received a $65,000 bonus from the district for superior leadership. The total lack of accountability astounds. We hear from the head of the administrators' association that it's "too complex" for them to take the time and effort to make sure they have the qualifications for their jobs. Yet this same district is vigilant in rooting out teachers who are unqualified for the same reason - firing 47 last year. Why not fire the illegal principals, as well?

Two things should happen:

1) The uncertified principals should take unpaid leave and go to Harrisburg and stand in line themselves to get the paperwork.

2) Their pay should be docked back to the point when they began to break the law.

Ron Stoloff


A poor example

for schoolchildren

Sixteen city principals, who ignored the need for proper certification, are going to be allowed to continue in their jobs without any sanctions. How can this be OK? They are responsible for shaping the values of the most vulnerable members of society, our children. Can they make a case for their students to follow rules or expect to suffer consequences?

Paula Spiegel

Bala Cynwyd

A new weapon

against crowded jails

It's refreshing to see Mayor Nutter and Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison address prison overcrowding and day-reporting centers. ("Thinking outside the prison cell," April 21). We know from our experience that a city can reduce the prison population, close satellite prison facilities, and save taxpayers money, all while improving public safety.

Many incarcerated nonviolent offenders are better served in day-reporting centers, which offer job training, drug testing, and counseling. Since 1998, Volunteers of America Delaware Valley has been helping offenders make the transition from prison to the community.

Our success is based on individualized treatment plans. Participants get to practice their skills in the real world while being supported and monitored by staff.

The idea of day-reporting centers is a smart one.

Donna Siminski

Co-vice president of public policy

Volunteers of America

Delaware Valley