Stronger than floods

A recent field trip run by the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, city and state agencies, and civic groups surveyed various green storm-water infrastructure practices designed to help curtail flooding, water contamination, sewer overflows, blight, and groundwater depletion. We saw depaving projects, sizable planters, tree trenches, porous concrete, and extensive garden rain-filtration efforts, in addition to underground holding tanks among other best practices. Engineers translated technicalities; designers described other features. Costs, funding sources, challenges, and benefits were part of the discussions.

Heavy downpours drenched us on the field trip, but these storm-water projects showed us how effective such practices can be. So, the next time you curse having to mow the grass, or watch rivers of wasted water flowing down your street, stop to consider that brilliant alternatives exist. We need to start implementing them.

Ann L. Rappoport, Wyncote

Hold the applause

In voting against the Senate debt-ceiling and budget deal that ended the government shutdown, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) sided with the worst of his party, risking the nation's full faith and credit for some magic-bean austerity that has never generated a single job and has held back the economy for the past 30 years ("Toomey votes no to more debt," Oct. 17).

As for the Republican congressmen The Inquirer praised for constructive support and common sense, they have waffled, at best, in dragging out this latest manufactured crisis ("Not very representative," Oct. 18). Please have the region's GOP delegation explain why this president has been held hostage with short-term debt limits - after reducing the deficit faster and better than George W. Bush increased it. Have the members explain why social spending is always at fault, defense spending and wars are never discretionary, and Bush's tax cuts (that never worked) have been sacrosanct. They are retreating in the face of public outrage and should not receive special credit for recognizing their party's defeat.

Ben Burrows, Elkins Park

People, not pillars

If America is going to reduce its government debt, it needs to do so in a carefully planned manner that doesn't harm citizens through overly zealous cutting. The fact that tea-party folks were terribly upset and exercised over the government's cutting off access to cold, lifeless, stone monuments during the shutdown - but apparently couldn't care less about families with children who couldn't get food stamps and the like - shows that tea-party Republicans simply can't be trusted to make good choices for the rest of us.

Richmond L. Gardner, Horsham,

Rare, yet so familiar

The other day, I observed a Philadelphia driver come to a complete stop at a stop sign. A block later, he also stopped completely before turning right on a red light. It pleased me so much that I caught up, intending to congratulate him. Before I was able to holler to him, he looked over, rhythmically waved his largest finger, and immediately sped away. For just a moment, I had forgotten where I was.

Edwin E. Scully, Philadelphia,

Critic, yet still a fan

A new and improved Inquirer? That's your opinion, not mine. As a subscriber for nearly 35 years, I generally disagree with your editorial board because of its blatant support for the Democratic Party. But I still buy and read. Now, however, The Inquirer has embarked on a dumbing-down venture that will not gain long-term readers. Specifically, I object to dropping the Saturday opinion section and publishing only one opinion page daily. It is tough running a newspaper; don't run it into the ground.

Andy Anderson, Blackwood