Upbeat region if taxes, regs eased

Philadelphia needs to step up its game to foster small-business growth. As a business owner and entrepreneur who chose to start and grow my business here, I was proud to see Young Entrepreneur magazine recently list Philadelphia among the top 10 nationwide start-up hubs. But I wasn't surprised to read that, despite this ranking, we get D's and F's in networking opportunities, and for burdensome regulations and policies.

A blasé business community paired with high taxes and strict regulation is at best unattractive. With dozens of universities in our midst, we are teeming with bright, motivated young talent, but the failure of these business-growth areas means we may lose this talent to cities like Detroit. Yes, Detroit - it's actually being called the next Silicon Valley, with billionaire businessmen practically handing young people a start-up guide.

Our region must deregulate and hold creative, inspiring events where business leaders of all generations can make a real impact. Do away with business-card-shuffle events and empty seats. Do real things to spark passion in young people to stay and invent, and rejuvenate established businesses. Small-business success is the American story. Let that story be ours.

David Bassion, DBA Technologies L.L.C., Doylestown davidb@dbatec.com

Schools make, break community

As a 13-year resident and homeowner in Queen Village, a Meredith School parent, and as a teacher, I am saddened, disgusted, and fearful of what's to come if Philadelphia school funding falls short.

Residents of my neighborhood, members of my community, and parents at Meredith have chosen to immerse ourselves in city living, to own homes, raise our children, clean the streets, improve our parks and playgrounds, fight crime, and pull together in both good times and bad. As dedicated citizens of this city and as the tireless activists that glue our neighborhoods together, we need our schools to support our children. Yet we cannot stay here, nor will we, if the opportunities to provide our children with a meaningful education are no longer available.

While I am more than happy to provide pencils, folders, notebooks, copy paper, scissors, glue, and books - both for my child and for others in need - I cannot provide a secretary, a nurse, counselor, or support staff. And without these integral pillars, a school cannot run or function in a way that supports students' needs.

Joanna Brown, Philadelphia, joannabrown333@gmail.com

Gang's immigration bill works

The bipartisan immigration reform bill recently introduced by the so-called gang of eight in the U.S. Senate represents long-awaited hope for the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) has long been a national leader in this fight to ensure opportunity and justice for those who seek nothing more than a chance for a better life in the greatest country on Earth, and I stand with him in this important effort as state assemblyman from Camden County's Fifth District.

Given the effects of our broken immigration system, we must do better than continue allowing good people to be exploited, separated from their loved ones, and denied a chance for a better life. Of course, there are those who will try to distort the meaning of this legislation. But the reality is that we don't have to choose between our own prosperity and the prosperity of those who aspire to live here legally.

We are a nation of immigrants and, throughout our history, immigration has made us stronger and more prosperous. Congress should follow through on this historic opportunity, and pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, Audubon

On Obamacare, just get over it

The commentary from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) about looming problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act struck me as a sad continuation of partisan obstructionism at the expense of the welfare of the American people ("Prepare people for Obamacare," May 2). The new law was passed by a duly elected Congress, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and endorsed by President Obama's reelection. More important, it represents an opportunity to deliver health-care services driven by patients instead of profit. Requiring that everyone carry insurance is rooted in a concept originally proffered by conservatives in the 1990s. Yet instead of putting their best minds to making the law work, Republicans persist in railing against it. But since it's the law, we should try to make it work for all of us.

Paul Steinke, Philadelphia

That's costly entertainment

My disappointment over the cancellation of the High School for Creative and Performing Arts spring musical was tempered upon learning that the tab runs $65,000 to $70,000 ("Dim the lights: No musical for CAPA," April 26). Seriously? I have been directing musicals and plays for more than 30 years, and never did a single show budget even remotely approach those figures.

Steve Arcidiacono, Havertown