Governor deserves respect
I must heartily disagree with the perspective of the writer of "Governor's behavior shameful" (Tuesday). I wonder if the letter writer heard the exchange between Gov. Christie and William Brown? Brown gave an editorial of his own before asking a question, and when the governor attempted to answer, Brown repeatedly interrupted Christie. Brown was not interested in an answer to his question. He was there to further an agenda and try to shout over any reasonable explanation the governor had to offer.
At a town-hall meeting, both parties get to speak. When someone asks a question, one should expect to get an answer.
Are we supposed to excuse Brown's behavior just because he is a former Navy SEAL? One should be able to challenge an elected official. However, one should respect the office, and allow that official to answer the question.
Brown may not agree with Christie, but he should have given him the respect that he is demanding for himself.
Mary Beth Reinhold, Fountainville
Christie can learn from teachers
In his town-hall meeting, Gov. Christie experienced what thousands of teachers experience daily: a person who wants to distract the speaker and "put on a show." However, Christie's response was less than professional. In fact, a teacher who made the same responses to a student would face consequences.
For raising his voice, he would have had a disciplinary letter put in his personnel file. For saying, "I am the governor, so just shut up," he would have been assigned an anger-management course. And for calling a student an "idiot," he would have been fired.
Christie needs to observe some good teachers and learn how to be more patient and understanding. He should be held to the same standard of conduct as the professionals he criticizes so much.
John Best, Rose Valley
Students asked to help save schools
Monica Yant Kinney's portrayal of the archdiocese's call for student involvement is disappointing ("So, students, for extra credit, save a school," Sunday).
More and more, Catholic school education is valued and sought after by families who have no other connection with the archdiocese, as they are often non-Catholic. Over the years, it could be said that these schools have been kept a secret, sold only with once-a-year speeches by current students and an extra collection at parish Masses.
Maybe it's time this alternative education was promoted. What's wrong with current students talking up their school to friends? And isn't giving incentives just a creative way of rewarding good performance in this important endeavor?
The archdiocese faces criticism no matter what it does. If it continues the same fund-raising strategies and falls short, it's "abandoning loyal parish families." If it tries something different, it is met with sarcasm.
Larry Blankemeyer, Richboro
Articulate, reasoned political debate
I really enjoyed the commentary "Primaries can do a party good" (Tuesday). Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney are knowledgeable and credible enough to get the attention of both parties' adherents. More importantly in this election year, however, the article demonstrates that political discussion can be just that: discussion. The Inquirer has shown that the print media can provide an articulate, reasoned debate that, so far, the electronic media have failed to do. Keep 'em coming.
Ben LaGarde, Glenmoore
Blocking access to justice
Legislation that would require all voters to produce photo identification each time they vote will instantly block access to justice for thousands of Pennsylvanians ("Voter ID bill is necessary" Sunday). The impact would be disproportionately felt by many of our most vulnerable citizens.
That's why the Philadelphia Bar Association last week urged our members to oppose the voter ID bill that recently passed the state Senate. Far from forwarding a particular political agenda, our public opposition to voter ID laws, which began 10 years ago, is grounded in our very mission to foster equal access to justice for all.
It is easy to think that everyone has a valid and accessible photo ID, but studies show that simply is not the case. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University found that as many as 11 percent of U.S. citizens - more than 21 million individuals - do not have government-issued photo ID. Of this 11 percent, the elderly, disabled, minorities, youth, and women are disproportionately represented. Eighteen percent of Americans ages 65 and up, and 25 percent of voting-age African Americans, report that they do not have a government-issued photo ID. The center also found that individual voter fraud targeted by legislative efforts such as voter ID laws "is exceedingly rare; one is more likely to be struck by lightning."
For Americans, our vote is our voice and any attempt to restrict that most vital tenet of democracy should concern all of us.
Speculation abounds as to the effect these proposed laws will have on the elective process. However, for the Philadelphia Bar Association and our public-interest partners, it is clear who the losers will be: those in underserved populations who are denied the right to vote.
John E. Savoth, chancellor, Philadelphia Bar Association
Call to duty over battleship
The USS New Jersey does not belong to North Jersey or South Jersey ("USS New Jersey's battle now is to stay in Camden," Monday). The vessel belongs to the people of New Jersey. Her heritage is the birthright of Camden's citizens.
If people are so concerned about the vessel, why can't they raise the $15 million and turn it over to the vessel under specific stipulations?
Let's remember how people in the region welcomed her to Camden. We embraced her from the time she was launched. It is not the people's fault that the vessel is being used as a toy for people in North Jersey.
We in the lower decks who have screamed the loudest over the unpolished ship's bell stand forth and say to those who place egos over New Jersey's heritage, Crawl away or stand forth to your civic duty.
John Anderson, Mount Holly
Build world-class maritime museum
The most recent battle over the USS New Jersey is two-fold: a financial one here on the river, and another one by a foundation that wants to move it to North Jersey.
First, the money. If New York City can make a success of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the Hudson, why can't Philadelphia do the same at Penn's Landing? On the Delaware we have the ingredients for a world-class maritime museum: the only surviving Spanish-American War warship; a World War II submarine; the last remaining four-masted, steel-hulled sailing ship; the rusting SS United States; and the USS New Jersey. We need leaders with a vision of what a maritime museum with these components would entail.
Second, the proposal to move the USS New Jersey is nothing more than a dog-and-cat fight between two organizations, each claiming to be able to do a better job than the other. Moving the battleship would be a waste of money, and probably spell the death knell for Penn's Landing.
We need someone with political, financial, and social clout to drive the development of a world-class maritime museum to replace what is there now.