Democracy is slow

The article "Records law is last to falter" (Inquirer, Dec. 12) berates the General Assembly for failing to pass even "one government reform bill" before the end of 2007. What you say is true, but there is good reason for it.

You and the public quite justifiably asked us to change our operational rules, so that every elected official had the opportunity to participate in the process. We did that: We stopped meeting after 11 p.m.; we ceased to strip bills of their meaningful language, substitute other words, and put them in a procedural position where none of us could amend them; and we gave members ample time to read and study all bills before we vote. But the corollary of those reforms is that the process is slowed. That is as it should be. Democracy is slow.

The real news here is that good-government issues are no longer being ignored in Harrisburg. Hearings on many of these proposals have been held and legislation has been advanced. Progress in this effort will resume in January.

Don't complain about the fact that we have become a better deliberating body; celebrate it.

State Rep. Babette Josephs

(D., Phila.)

Majority chair

State Government Committee

Harrisburg

CEO salaries

The Inquirer's coverage of the region's highest paid CEOs ("The Philly CEO difference: Cash," Dec. 10) draws attention to the vast disparity between the exorbitant compensation paid to corporate chairmen and to the salaries of the average workers in their employ.

Any Democratic candidate earnestly seeking his party's nomination for president would be smart to make this a campaign issue and to insist Congress pass legislation that would address this glaring sinful greed. How much better off would we all be if CEOs were only permitted - by law - to earn only seven times what their lowest-paid employees earned?

Any attempt to dissuade such legislation will only quicken the bloody revolution that surely awaits us if we do not act soon.

Charles Bauerlein

West Chester

» READ MORE: chuckdad69@aol.com

It's her turn

Dave Lindorff complains that "The Inquirer is failing in its duty to present both sides" of the Mumia Abu-Jamal story (Letters, Dec. 10). I find it amusing and offensive that somebody from the pro-Mumia camp would seriously make that claim. Mumia and his acolytes have been shouting from the rafters for a quarter of a century. Now, when Maureen Faulkner writes a book, Abu-Jamal's side of the story is being ignored? Mumia and his supporters are being silenced? Please. The only person in this case who was silenced was Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, with a high-velocity bullet to his brain.

Gabriel L. Nathan

Philadelphia

» READ MORE: gabenathan@yahoo.com

Gabriel L. Nathan is the author of "For a Tin Star: Honoring America's Slain and Living Police Officers."

Ban cluster bombs

I commend the terrific work done by Frank Lenik and members of Woodstown Friends Meeting to aid demining of cluster bombs in Tajikistan ("N.J. Quakers help save lives a world away," Dec. 8). Unexploded cluster bombs pose a grave threat to civilians in dozens of countries around the world.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to spurn international treaty negotiations that would prevent production, use and export of this indiscriminate weapon. Let's not undo the great humanitarian work done by Lenik and demining groups by using cluster bombs again.

Congress can take the first step toward preventing cluster-bomb use by passing the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act.

Daniel Allen

Legislative program assistant

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Washington

» READ MORE: dan.allen@fcnl.org

Stuck in seat belts

Seat belts for school buses ("Debating seat belts on school buses," Dec. 6)? Not a good idea.

The first time I drove a school bus, I looked over all of these children in my charge and thought, "If we get into a fiery crash, how will I ever get all of them out?"

With every auto accident you run the risk of fire. No, you don't want students strapped in their seats.

Frank Slattery

Eagleville

» READ MORE: slattery14@comcast.net