Flight attendant should sue Baldwin
Alec Baldwin may be a good entertainer, but he is a jackass ("War: Alec Baldwin vs. American Airlines," Thursday). He throws a childish tantrum, for which any toddler would be given a timeout, while inconveniencing his fellow travelers. He's a millionaire celebrity and he attempts to humiliate a working woman simply doing her job. Through his connections, he goes on Saturday Night Live, humorously trying to minimize his asinine behavior without really apologizing. What forum does the flight attendant have? I hope she sues him.
Richard McFadden Sr., Plymouth Meeting
Return to the spoils system
In his letter "Nominees sought for Dilworth Award" (Sunday), Mayor Nutter wrote about former Mayor Richardson Dilworth and his ally Joseph Clark: "They required civil-service exams for all employees - the death knell of the spoils system. The new system ensured that all residents had a fair shot at city jobs, including African Americans." Why, then, have we had a hiring quota system, enforced by a consent decree, for the last 35 years in the Fire Department? Why have we nearly returned to the spoils system, especially within the Fire Department?
Joseph P. McCool, retired captain, Philadelphia Fire Department, Feasterville, firstname.lastname@example.org
When will DRPA madness end?
I see that the elves at the Delaware River Port Authority have loaded up the sleigh once again, with gifts courtesy of bridge toll payers ("Like an addict, DRPA can't kick spending habit," Sunday). Four million dollars for a Cooper River canoeing course? Ho, ho, ho!
When I donate money to a food bank, I expect it to be used to buy food for the needy. When I pay my bridge toll, I expect the money to be used to maintain the bridge. I'm astounded that both Govs. Corbett and Christie, preachers of fiscal responsibility, have approved this. When will this madness end?
Ron Miller, Milmont Park, email@example.com
Extortion on behalf of one's district
Darrell L. Clarke's "opposing view" was so self-serving ("Council clout needed to help neighborhoods," Monday). Maybe we should bow down to the all-knowing Clarke, who states, "I know my district. I know its ... challenges ... the alliances - and tensions. ... I have a clear sense of the development needs within my district. And I am not different from the nine other district Council members."
Then he goes on to say how good projects become superior ones: Council extorts concessions out of developers for the privilege of doing business in the city.
It's still all about politics: serving friends and supporters with money. City Council should be fired.
David Krahn, Wynnewood
Support for Germantown Ave. project
The editorial "Must Council rule land use?" (Monday) got it wrong on several aspects of the proposed development for 8200 Germantown Ave.:
The project is five stories, not six.
The current proposal is less than 60 feet, which is consistent with typical commercial zoning districts along Germantown Avenue and is about the same height as the Chestnut Hill Hotel and the John Story Jenks Elementary School buildings, both within one block of the project.
After seven months of nearly 30 public and private meetings, the Chestnut Hill Community Association unanimously endorsed the project. The association's relevant committees had all voted to recommend it.
The developer is entering into a lengthy agreement with the association that addresses many of the concerns raised. Also, the project is subject to further design review before the association.
Remapping the site gets rid of the current zoning designation - essentially auto-intensive retail - and permits a transformational project.
Fifteen hundred "neighbors" did not sign a petition in opposition. The vast majority of the signers were from outside Chestnut Hill. The petition drive was organized primarily by a local competing grocer. The anchor of our commercial space is a highly acclaimed specialty grocer.
Not believing that this project is "casting a shadow on Chestnut Hill's quaint business district," the Board of the Chestnut Hill Business Association voted overwhelmingly to support it.
Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, her colleagues, and the City Planning Commission staff, among many others, have been diligent and demanding throughout this long process. We may not always be in agreement, but we have mutual respect for one another.
Seth Shapiro, project consultant, Bowman Properties, Philadelphia
Run Postal Service as a business
To suggest that e-mail has not affected the financial stability of the post office is ignoring reality ("The Postal Service plots its own demise," Monday). The Postal Service's financial problems are not the result of its required pension payment.
The problem is that Congress won't let Postal Service managers run this business as a business. By law, the Postal Service cannot lay off workers and must continue Saturday deliveries. Do we really need our junk mail delivered six days per week? Wouldn't it make sense to deliver mail on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule to one group of customers and Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday to the other? The very fact that the amount of first-class mail has been so substantially reduced suggests that daily service is an expensive luxury.
The Postal Service has one function: Deliver the mail. It is not a social agency or a public works project. The managers must be given the discretion to manage in the best interest of sustaining the Postal Service.
Michael E. Bail, Norristown
Some realities for the Postal Service
Recently at my local post office, the customer in front of me and the clerk were talking about the Postal Service's financial troubles. The clerk said the problems were mostly about politics, with Congress seeking to do more work with less staff. When I approached the counter, the clerk said, "I cannot handle your transaction since it involves cash." He sent me to the line for the other clerk.
I would suggest that the post office's troubles are more a factor of its 19th-century business model. Politics aside, the idle clerk should take note of some realities:
The 12 cards I was sending cost me $4, and the cost of stamps was $5.28.
A one-year membership with an e-card website is $12 (with virtually unlimited use).
Of the eight pieces of mail delivered to me today, two will be opened; six will go straight into the recycle bin.
Successful businesses remain that way through efficient operations (more reliance on technology equals less idle staffing).
The Postal Service's business is shrinking rapidly, and it is attempting to address the situation by shuttering offices, laying off employees, and no longer contributing to the pension system. In my view, the workers are not entirely at fault, but it is inevitable that the operation must adapt to survive. If not, they will soon be out of business.