Perfecting justice

Vince Fumo's options certainly contrast with those of other ex-cons ("Still the life of the party?" Dec. 11). Incarceration has become our method of choice to deal with insufficiencies in education and enriched day-care options. Fumo has resources that can see him through to house arrest in a sumptuous, historic mansion. Many convicts have little to look forward to but homeless life on the streets - where a return to the comforts of a life behind bars might actually be preferable to sleeping on a steam vent.

As a society, we are obsessed with engineering vicious circles that assure the continued affluence of a few. Instead, we need to be less concerned about punishment, and more with creating benign cycles that keep people on a good path - with decent, family-supporting wages, with enough food, and with public amenities like roads, bridges, mass transit, and convenient voting. All that will require money and attention that tax-cut pledges and heartlessness will not mend.

Ben Burrows, Elkins Park

Moon-shot moment

A recent walk convinced me that the two Philadelphias are growing further apart. Walking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was a breathtakingly beautiful experience for me, as it is for downtown residents, workers, and tourists alike. Heading west to Penn Park, I encountered an inflatable building rising over a soccer field so that Ivy League students could play indoors all winter. But within a mile or two of these spare-no-expense sites were schools without counselors, librarians, or copy paper because, it is alleged, we can't afford them. Clearly, if we can afford lush landscaping and inflatable soccer buildings, we can afford basic staff and materials in public schools.

Debra Weiner, Quakertown

For the love of Boyd

It would be ironic to lose such an arts space as the Boyd Theater, considering the booming arts scene in Philadelphia. Simply saving the theater façade would be a travesty. Just look at the old theater at 19th and Chestnut Streets that now houses a drugstore - yes, a beautiful façade, but what a loss.

Small towns and large cities have rallied to save their old theaters; this is an opportunity to do the same for the Boyd. For the cost of an expensive condo, this Art Deco gem could be acquired by a foundation and protected. A multiplex can be located elsewhere, perhaps at the new casino. A group organized as the Friends of the Boyd ( is dedicated to saving this landmark building. Join us, and pray that local foundations and civic leaders step up before it's too late.

Henry Hauptfuhrer, Philadelphia,

Senatorial tweets

It was a pleasant surprise to see Senate President Steve Sweeney conducting town-hall meetings over Twitter this month. Despite his claim to be a technology dinosaur, he was funny and smart, and handled the discussions like a pro. It is important that politicians keep in touch with technologies like Twitter, as they get to talk to a crowd that's younger and more broad than the usual audience. For many young people, politicians seem out of reach, perhaps explaining their low voter turnout rate. By reaching out via new media, leaders like Sweeney, or Cory Booker, are building new connections.

Emily Kerr, Maple Shade

Reliable sources

While reading a Sunday edition, I actually uttered out loud how much I love The Inquirer. There's all the information we'd never know if it weren't for the newspaper, reported with integrity.

Doris Dengler, West Chester

Clearing the record

An editorial in the Sunday Inquirer mischaracterized Pennsylvania's participation in a petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce air pollution from states to the west. The state joined the petition on Tuesday, a day after it was filed by eight other states.