Don't forget Leslie Richards

Larry Platt's column on the new amity among the Montgomery County commissioners lauds Chairman Josh Shapiro and minority commissioner Bruce Castor ("Functionality restored on Montco board," Sunday). However, Platt completely overlooks Leslie Richards, vice chairman of the commissioners, who has brought a strong background in civil engineering to the board, which is especially important with all the infrastructure problems the county faces. Also ignored was Richards' adept leadership of the Whitemarsh Township commissioners. Neither Shapiro nor Castor could have achieved their lauded accomplishments without Richards' able contributions.

Nancy Mortimer O'Brien, Lafayette Hill, nancymobrien@comcast.net

End the LCB monopoly

I didn't know whether to laugh or scream. As I approached my local wine and spirits shop on Saturday I saw a sign on the door that said, "Sorry Cash Only." Imagine that. On one of the biggest sales days of the year, the State Store's debit- and credit-card processing system was down.

This has happened to me several times at State Stores, never at any other retailer. And this would not be a big deal in the great majority of states. I would just turn around and go to another retailer, even a supermarket. But not in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

What if, in the holiday shopping season, you saw such a sign on a Macy's or Target store? First off, it wouldn't happen but, if it did, would you enter the store? No, you would go to another retailer.

When is the Liquor Control Board (a great name for a wine and spirits seller) going to invest in 21st-century fault-tolerant payment processing systems, with backups if necessary? If the LCB is going to keep its 1980s technology, the least it could do is install automatic teller machines in all its stores.

Enough is enough! It's time to end this publicly reviled state monopoly and sell the businesses to private entrepreneurs. The increased efficiency, selection, service, and, yes, sales, would be a sight to behold and rejoice in.

Tom O'Brien, Drexel Hill

Lament for Robin's Books

I was sorry to see Robin's Books close in his newer location on South 13th Street ("After 76 years, finis for bookstore," Sunday). All through high school and college I attended their many poetry readings, political discussions, and introductions to new writers at the original shop on South 11th. It was a down-to-earth place where ideas were exchanged, friendships forged, and the literary community bonded in a way that now does not exist.

Fast forward to Kindles, Nooks and e-books, technology that has driven the small-business owner out of business. Hardest hit of all has been the neighborhood bookstore. I can only hope, in the not-so-distant future, that small bookstores appear again to cement that real-life bond between a neighborhood, its patrons, and the arts.

Linda Book, Philadelphia, Bugh1234@hotmail.com