Pa. must step up on city schools

The city schools' financial troubles are not new, yet reactions to the School District's latest request for aid - $60 million more from the city, $120 million from the state - were met with surprise. While I expected an emergency funding request, I did not anticipate - and will not accept - the continued absence of a commitment from state officials to address the plight of Philadelphia's schools.

Philadelphia's state delegation has long fought for our schools, but this isn't about just us. As the state's greatest economic engine, the fates of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are linked.

Three years ago, the state showed commitment by helping schools keep pace with rising costs. The state-city funding ratio was 63 percent to 37 percent. But this school year, the estimated state-city funding ratio is 58 percent to 42 percent. So it's time for Harrisburg to step up.

Years of draconian budget cuts from the state helped get us to the current $242 million budget shortfall. City Council stands ready to engage in a process of establishing long-term fiscal solvency for the School District. But, in order for any last-minute aid from the city to mean anything, it must be met with a substantive state contribution.

Darrell L. Clarke, president, City Council, Fifth District

Raising Boy Scouts' overhead

Now that the Boy Scouts' Cradle of Liberty Council has decided to vacate its Parkway headquarters, everyone seeking to punish the scouts over their First Amendment rights should be proud. Instead of wasting money on serving teens, the scouts can now spend it on more important things - like paying rent.

Richard Barnard, Downingtown

Comcast's customers care

With cable installations in a suburban home, a city condo, a beach house, and now my daughter's apartment, I am quite familiar with Comcast service. At every opportunity, they fail miserably. For instance, a recent order required a follow-up call for scheduling. It never came. When I called, there was no record of the order and I was told no service could be initiated until the previous tenant terminated service. Contacting the old tenant, I was informed service ended one month earlier, prior to their own request. Then I discovered that the previous cable package was no longer available and, naturally, I was sold a more expensive plan that a sales rep failed to explain accurately. Given Comcast's monopoly, it seems nobody cares because nobody has to care.

Marion Immerman, Philadelphia

Plaintiff lawyers' field day

While public comment on a zip line in Fairmount Park seems focused on damage to the trees and other ecological issues, there are issues of safety, vandalism, and the city's liability for any injuries. In a cash-strapped city that can't properly support its schools, we don't need a recreational attraction that subjects the city to potential financial liability.

Andrew A. Borek, Philadelphia, nullandvoidmm@aol.com

Obama deserves kudos on Dow

A President Mitt Romney would be the toast of the town if the Dow climbed over 15,000 under his watch. President Obama, not so much. Go figure.

Roy Lehman, Woolwich Township