Unfair to unions

The Inquirer's editorial writers seem to be under the impression that the building trades unions have unlimited power over contractors and city government ("Diversity in the Unions: No fairness, no jobs," Dec. 13).

The unions really have very little input about who gets hired by a particular company. Contractors hire whom they want and keep whom they want. The unions' only role is to send out temporary help when the company needs it. When the company calls, should the union send out only minority craftsworkers or should it be allowed to consider how long a person has been out of work or if he or she may be running out of health-care benefits?

If the city wants to achieve diversity and fairness goals, it should make that part of the contracts with the contractors. It can then send compliance officers to the job site or check certified payroll records, which are supplied on all publicly funded construction.

To threaten union workers and their families is unfair when the power to control diversity is clearly in the hands of the city government.

Thomas Murphy

Feasterville

Same old excuse

How sad it is to read George Curry's column "Homicide economics: Making jobs available is a key to curbing killings" (Inquirer, Dec. 13). This mantra has proven to be a harmful message to poor young people, especially young black men in urban areas. Opinion leaders like Curry have offered this excuse when the unemployment rate was high and economic growth was slow, and continue to do so when economic growth has been relatively strong.

It is about time we level with the youth of today. Unless citizens are willing to create a vision and then exert the discipline of learning how to do something, they will never have the opportunity to be meaningfully employed, become un-poor, and enjoy the privileges and good fortunes of being an American citizen.

Stew Bolno

Mt. Laurel

Party in Pa.

I read "Pols' N.Y. Party: Pa. loses" (Editorial, Dec. 11) and have never been so ashamed. This is the type of thing that feeds the notion of Philadelphia being a second-rate city.

There are plenty of fancy locations in Philadelphia for this kind of party. Add in Pittsburgh and there is simply no excuse for going to New York.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are bouncing back, and it's time the state's leaders accepted that these two great cities are part of Pennsylvania.

Phil Petrucci 3d

Malvern

Cable needs limits

The Inquirer is misguided in its opposition to limits on cable ownership ("FCC proposal to cap growth: Big step backward," Dec. 12).

The vast majority of consumers have no choice among video service providers. While satellite is an option for some, it's out of the question for many renters, high-rise dwellers, or those in regions without a clear signal. The recent entrance of phone companies into the video market with fiber cables is welcome, but has yet to lead to competitive video services in all but a few places. In fact, not one consumer in Philadelphia has access to those services. Even if more meaningful competition from the phone companies materializes, a duopoly consisting of two big cable and phone companies is hardly "robust competition."

Comcast is big enough. Sensible limits to keep the cable behemoth's market power in check - and spur more competition in the video market - are past due.

Beth McConnell

Executive director

Media and Democracy Coalition

Philadelphia