Managing city debt
The article "Phila-debt-ia" was incorrect in saying the city had "borrowed an additional $200 million" (Inquirer, Dec. 4). In fact, the city was refinancing $200 million in existing debt.
We regularly monitor opportunities in the financial markets to help mitigate our debt burden, and are in the process of refinancing about $500 million of general obligation debt, which will save taxpayers about $30.7 million.
Let me mention some other quotes from rating agency reports that didn't make your article:
"Standard & Poor's considers Philadelphia's management practices 'strong' under its financial management assessment methodology."
"Moody's stable outlook reflects the expectation that financial operations will remain stable going forward, as reflected in the city's five-year plan."
"Fitch notes that the city performed better than its financial multiyear plan projections in each of fiscal years 2005-2007 as several tax sources performed at above-budgeted levels, leading to a favorable increase in reserves."
The city has challenges to its financial resources, but it also has an unaudited $297.9 million general fund balance as of June 30, the largest balance since the charter went into effect.
Acting secretary of financial oversight
and director of finance
City of Philadelphia
I'm glad Janet Bruner is happy with the decision to eliminate the death penalty in New Jersey (Letters, Dec. 18). I guarantee she would be singing a different tune if her 7-year-old daughter was kidnapped from her home, raped and then choked to death by one of these "fellow human beings," as she calls them.
People who commit horrendous acts of violence, especially against an innocent, helpless child, should not be classified as "human beings," nor should they be allowed to breathe the same air as me. I would gladly serve as executioner.
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Kudos to New Jersey lawmakers for recognizing that revenge isn't justice, and that it makes no sense to kill someone who killed someone in order to show that killing is wrong (Inquirer, Dec. 18). Enough killing.
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Disregard for law
City Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. said this about the possible breaking of the state's Sunshine Law: "I don't care about the Sunshine Law. I don't know who cares about the Sunshine Law, and I'm not sure whether it was broken or not" ("Convention Center compromise brokered in secret," Dec. 15).
Such indifference to the law permeates the ideals of many politicians, business executives, and society in general. This attitude leads to the lawlessness that helps create the criminal conditions in the city and elsewhere, especially when such thoughts are expressed by those who should be role models and mentors.
It is a disgrace that a city councilman should show such disregard for the laws.
When the Ben Franklin Bridge was built, the tolls were going to be used for bridge maintenance and repairs ("DRPA's spending binge," Dec. 16). What went wrong?
The Delaware River Port Authority should be abolished. The "port" benefits all in the Delaware Valley, thus should be funded equally by all of us who benefit from living in this region, not just those who must use the four area bridges.
Pat Van Cleve