Where's the sting?
A reasonable person would conclude that when money is passed from lobbyists to legislators they are attempting to influence, government is up for sale to the highest and most influential bidder. Are the legislators who allegedly took cash and gifts from an undercover sting operative not going to be censured or reprimanded in any way by colleagues? Will any of them have the audacity to seek reelection, and will the public be sufficiently ill-informed and apathetic as to retain them? Smarmy behavior should trigger consequences. Those state House members who displayed a disgraceful lack of ethics have suffered no consequences to date. Pennsylvanians who value good, open, honest government are waiting.
Oren M. Spiegler, Upper St. Clair
Waiting to be wowed
The dropped sting operation got a professional con artist off the hook on serious criminal charges ("In filings, two views of Tyron Ali," April 13). While I generally support reporting on political corruption, I find myself asking what laws were broken. Even if state legislators make acceptance of gifts illegal, the fact remains that when the sting was run, it was perfectly legal for politicians to accept gifts. If a case could be made that votes were exchanged for gifts, that's an easy prosecution. But in this case, it is not possible to argue that votes were bought simply because the legislators would have voted the same way had they not received gifts.
Jim Bibber, Upper Darby, firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on 20 years of utilizing homeopathy with great results in my veterinary practice, I can assure Michael R. Cohen that homeopathy is both safe and effective ("Homeopathy should be taken with a grain of salt," April 13). How safe? Recently, an outspoken skeptic in Britain reviewed homeopathic treatment from 16 countries over 32 years and found a mere 1,159 adverse events. For perspective, consider that 4.5 million Americans visit physicians or emergency rooms annually due to medication problems, and 1.9 million were hospitalized in a year due to drug side effects or errors.
Shelley R. Epstein, Wallingford
Without a doubt, the city was intent on the demolition of both the Presser and Nugent buildings in Mount Airy ("City's makeover role," April 10). Only through activism by the neighboring Pomona-Cherokee Civic Council in requesting historic certification, and garnering community support in Germantown and Mount Airy, was the tide turned and a competitive process opened up that saved the properties. What city housing officials may have done when it became obvious the city needed to do damage control was long after citizen outrage won the day.
Jim Foster, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Faith in bargaining
The Jewish Social Policy Action Network supports Philadelphia teachers in opposing the School Reform Commission's attempt to gain court approval to unilaterally impose work rules. We call upon the courts to affirm teachers' right to collectively bargain, upon both sides to bargain in good faith, and upon the commonwealth to support public-school children with adequate and sustainable resources.
Rabbi George Stern, executive director, Jewish Social Policy Action Network, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
In step with Boston
As a Muslim American, I feel pain from the Boston bombings. But our history shows that we grow stronger after such attacks ("Struck down, stepping up," April 13). Islam condemns the killing of innocents. In honor of the victims, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community held a blood drive at Boston City Hall. I wish the participants and spectators a safe Boston Marathon Monday.
Ahmad Bhatti, Harrisburg, email@example.com