What happened?

As insiders of the Bush administration respond to the book by a former press secretary ("McClellan book draws angry retort," May 29), some of the president's closest advisers tell us that Scott McClellan was simply "out of the loop." It's hardly comforting to think that the chief spokesperson for the president didn't know what was going on in the years that led up to the war in Iraq. But there's finally some satisfaction in having McClellan admit that we've been lied to.

John Wenderoth

Media

Providing shelter

Mayor Nutter's announcement of 700 housing units for homeless Philadelphians is good news ("City, PHA have plan to house homeless," May 29). However, announcing is one thing; implementation is quite another.

Subsidized housing units are so precious that determining who benefits is critical. While most would think that units should go to those most likely to succeed, research shows that you can't select for success. "Housing First" efforts - where housing comes before services such as substance abuse or mental-health issues - are producing housing stability success rates of 85 percent and higher.

Across the country, cities and counties of all sizes have seen the merit and value of the "Housing First" strategy. Through its adoption, communities spend less than in providing temporary relief, and the homeless get what they need: a home.

The fairest policy for providing safe, affordable places to call "home" might be by lottery.

Phyllis Ryan Jackson

Executive director

SafeHome Philadelphia

'Murky' coverage

The potential fall of Ehud Olmert's government makes the prospect of peace talks "murky" and threatens to "deny President Bush a peace accord" ("Israeli premier is given ultimatum," May 29)? Please.

What makes the prospect of peace "murky," and what would deny President Bush a peace accord (as if he would be the primary beneficiary, not Israel!), is the Arab world's refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state, with secure borders.

The day the Arab world accepts Israel and wants peace, there will be peace. Until then, it will not matter - as it has not mattered for the last 60 years - who governs Israel.

Mathieu Shapiro

Philadelphia

Scouting benefits

Philadelphia has given the Cradle of Liberty Council three choices: vacate by tomorrow, open the doors to gay members and staff, or pay $200,00 in annual rent ("The Boy Scouts need to wise up, or they'll lose out," May 29). The Scouts are suing for their right to assemble privately on public property as other organizations do without reproach. Other religious and civic groups use Philly facilities at minimal charge, so the Scouts argue rightly that they have been unfairly targeted for eviction.

It's ironic that the city is begging for millions of state dollars to combat urban problems while trying to force out one of the greatest crime deterrents in all of Philadelphia - a character-building youth program that serves 70,000 boys.

Larry L. Garber

Maytown

Well qualified

By describing my qualifications to represent New Jersey's First Congressional District as "shaky" ("Your name here," May 23), The Inquirer calls into question its own competency as a good and faithful manager of public opinion. The editors' knowledge of the Constitution is woefully lacking.

Here's what the Constitution requires as qualifications for this office: Over 25 and a U.S. citizen by birth. I am both. The newspaper's attempt to transcend this clear description of qualifications is itself "shaky," patently invalid, and borders on the ludicrous.

Moreover, after rightly taking Rob and Camille Andrews and the South Jersey Democratic bosses to task for allowing the Andrewses to play in two campaigns at once, the Senate and the House, The Inquirer describes Camille Andrews as an "ideal candidate" for her husband's abandoned seat. What a sorry and willful contradiction!

Hopefully, on Tuesday, First District voters will lay this double farce to rest.

Mahdi lbn-Ziyad

Camden