Saving the Main Line

While it's very nice for the well-to-do patrons of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, this $2.5 million grant to restore the group's theater is an affront to all other Pennsylvania taxpayers ("Boost for final stage of theater's renewal," Wednesday).

Your article seems to applaud this use of taxpayer money as a good thing while, in essence, it subsidizes only wealthy patrons of the arts.

The BMFI president was quoted as saying that it hosts 2,500 people a week (about 130,000 annually). That means that the Pennsylvania grant is a subsidy of more than $192 per theater admission if counted over the first year only, and would still represent more than $32 per admission ticket if spread out over the next six years.

It's no wonder Juliet Goodfriend thinks the Film Institute will be "quite sustainable" with all this taxpayer money being funneled toward helping the poor citizens of the Main Line with their basic necessities.

Paul Price

Chadds Ford

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Meter vultures are circling

For the last three or four Saturdays I've had the occasion to go to Second and South Streets for some business about 10 a.m., not long after the starting time for metered parking. On my first Saturday, I immediately noticed a Philadelphia Parking Authority employee dutifully checking each car to ensure that the required kiosk ticket was in place. A few unlucky vehicle owners got tickets. A few minutes later, two other PPA officers went through the same area, followed by what seemed to be an unending stream of them.

A few things occurred to me as I watched this same show on successive Saturdays. First, starting enforcement that early in the morning doesn't really serve the purpose of why meters exist in the first place. Enforcement is supposed to help businesses by aiding in customer turnover. Writing tickets was clearly aimed at soaking money from the unwary visitor who would never imagine that enforcement would start that early in the morning.

Second, the image of vultures circling the unwary victim kept coming to mind. In the time I spent outside at Second and South, I don't think I saw as much as a 10-minute interval between one PPA officer and another one (or two together) traveling through the same area. How many employees does this agency have, anyway?

Charles Brennan

Philadelphia

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In a tough year, WHYY is strong

In view of our nation's economy over the last two years, the fact that WHYY had a deficit last year ("WHYY ends fiscal year with a deficit," Tuesday) hardly seems worthy of the ink or space used for the article. There are very few organizations, including The Inquirer and Daily News, that have not had a tough time during the recession.

Financial success and stability are important to WHYY as the means to continue to bring high- quality information, knowledge, and entertainment to the Delaware Valley.

As a member of WHYY's Community Advisory Board, I've seen the challenges faced by WHYY management, and how it has successfully responded to each one. WHYY is a great organization with a bright future. I'm happy to be a viewer and a listener, and I will continue to be a supporter.

William J. Blount

Merion

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Pa. needs a severance tax

Re: "The gas tax debate," May 26:

The natural resources of Pennsylvania belong to its citizens. A severance tax on natural gas is only right and fair, not just to fund infrastructure repair made necessary by drilling and related activities, and pay for increased law enforcement, but to compensate the citizens for the lasting impact on our woods and wildlife habitat that results from natural-gas drilling. Water quality is also a major concern, since the gas industry has not developed a feasible method to treat salt and metals in the flowback water and water produced from drilling wells.

The Sierra Club believes that a gas-extraction tax is a proper tool for compensating the commonwealth and local governments for the long-term damage done by gas exploration and drilling, and calls upon the Pennsylvania legislature to pass the severance tax.

Pat Beaudet

Chairwoman

Southeastern PA Group

of the Sierra Club

Philadelphia

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No escape from ticket-fixing crime

It seems to me that Clorise Wynn has committed a crime by trading the removal of $50,000 in parking fines for personal gifts ("Six fixed tickets, says city report," Wednesday). The fact that she retired from her $101,596 job before she could be fired has no bearing on the criminal behavior. District Attorney Seth Williams should vigorously pursue an investigation.

I would hope that the city would freeze her retirement payments (The Inquirer should publish the annual amount) until such time as the case is settled.

Carl Witonsky

Bryn Mawr

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Another source of nonrevenue

City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. has proposed fines on people who intimidate witnesses ("Council pushes fines so witness intimidators pay," June 3).

Once levied, will we just pile those fines on top of the $1 billion in uncollected bail, or will they go in a separate pile to remain uncollected?

Jonathan Goldstein

Narberth