Meals program

wrongly targeted

Re: "Food for thought," Saturday:

That Philadelphia's Universal Feeding Program has dramatically boosted meal participation among low-income children is not in question. What federal bureaucrats seem unable to countenance is that other school districts want the right to adopt this time-tested model. Is that not the purpose of pilot programs? And in this case, the pilot has undergone a rigorous vetting by the very agency that now wants to pull the plug.

We now read that an Obama appointee, Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Janey Thornton, is ordering a return to paper applications, with their fine print and boxed information fields (think standardized-test answer forms from the 1970s). This is hardly what the nation expects from its 21st-century president.

Sydelle Zove

Conshohocken

Teach alternatives

to abstinence

Teenagers aren't the only ones who need better sex education. Young women, ages 20-24, experience the highest numbers of unintended pregnancies, followed by women ages 25-29. Legislators have an opportunity to address the issue in a meaningful way.

State Rep. Chelsa Wagner (D., Allegheny) is sponsoring a bill that would pave the way for all Pennsylvania schoolchildren to receive health education that stresses abstinence while providing needed, realistic information about how to avoid sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

We urge all area representatives to vigorously support the Healthy Youth Act (House Bill 1163). It will provide a lifetime of protection. Our youth deserve nothing less.

Carol Petraitis

Director

Clara Bell Duvall

Reproductive Freedom Project

ACLU of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

No time left

for BRT members

Re: "BRT needs real reform, not 'gotcha' journalism," May 21:

Although the Inquirer's investigation already has resulted in one member of the city's Board of Revision of Taxes being fired for serious abuses, BRT chairwoman Charlesretta Meade suggests that its other four members are blameless, and begs for more time to fix the system.

These politically appointed overseers had ample time to "reform" and to "reexamine" those already documented questionable property values. Suddenly, now it is a priority?

With this economy, we have no time for stalling tactics, which serve only to let a problem blow over. The politically connected should be paying their taxes now. A new broom sweeps clean. We deserve five new brooms!

Edwin H. Smith

Philadelphia

Sotomayor

deserves support

What is the problem that conservative Republicans are now having with President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court?

Are they afraid that it will become apparent how inflexible and limited so much of their understanding and interpretation has been?

Don't we need, especially in difficult times, and regardless of ethnicity or gender, the most intelligent, capable, and qualified leadership possible?

David W. Long

West Chester

Justice is best

when served blind

Re: "Court role is still evolving," Thursday:

Linda E. Johnson, CEO of the National Constitution Center, ended her article with a reference to "our dedication to the founders' call to 'establish Justice' and 'secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.' "

Laws should be general, fair, and abstract. In order to apply laws fairly, with no regard to the race, color, gender, appearance, or religious status of those who come before "Lady Justice," it is essential that her eyes be covered.

Olga Pitcairn

New Hope

Libraries fear

state budget cuts

Pennsylvanians face the possibility of severe shortages in library service as the legislature develops its 2009-2010 budget.

Budget cuts will reduce library services for those very people who need libraries the most - people out of work, families experiencing tight budgets, and retirees who are grappling with shrinking savings.

While the Chester County Library System has received flat funding from the state for the last several years, library use in Chester County has increased dramatically.

The worst-case scenario for Chester County's 18 libraries is a loss of a half-million dollars in state aid. Cuts of this magnitude will force our libraries to drastically decrease spending for books and materials, slash programs, and cause library doors to close.

Write or call your legislator and support full funding for libraries.

Earl Baker

President

Board of Trustees

Chester County Library System