A corner of Bucks forever Abbie

Reading about Abbie Hoffman took me back 25 years to when I was working on the construction of the Point Pleasant pumping station ("A radical life," April 13). With the TV cameras gone, Hoffman and the protesters chaining themselves to the main gate was but a distant memory on the day word of his death came to the nearly completed project. I was doing a concrete patch in a dark corner of the basement, and in the wet cement I etched "RIP Abbie Hoffman" with the date and crossed out the "PUMP" logo. It might be comforting to some aging Yippie out there to know that, deep in the bowels of the Point Pleasant pump, Abbie Hoffman is still up against the wall.

James vonW. Price, West Chester

Fittingly prized columnist

Congratulations to Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron for her Pulitzer Prize for criticism. It is well-deserved recognition of her focused, insightful critical observations and her enjoyable writing style. I have long believed her work represents a sorely needed voice of reason and civic pride raised in counterpoint to a development culture that is so often concerned too much about money and too little about history and legacy. Saffron's column is the thing I look forward to most in The Inquirer each week. I hope the prize encourages her to continue it for a long time to come, entertaining readers and holding Philadelphia-area developers, architects, and city planners to the highest possible standard. This city deserves no less.

Peter H. Atherton, Philadelphia, ahertop@uphs.upenn.edu

Real-world view of the Mideast

A small wire story recently reported that an Israeli man was killed and his wife and son injured in the West Bank on their way to a seder. This cowardly act was greeted by the prime minister of the Gaza Strip with the exhortation that it "brought back life to the path of resistance" to Israel as he warned of more such attacks. Where are the responses from those decrying Israel's settlements and wall-building when this is the common mentality of the Palestinian leadership? It's astonishing that naive politicians continue to push Israel into further concessions in order to effectuate a two-state solution when even Israel's right to exist is brazenly denied.

Stephen Hanover, Doylestown

Getting out the word on achievers

Bartram High School freshman Gionna Hawkins shows the kind of character that creates the foundation for future leaders regardless of ethnicity ("How one hardworking student thrives at Bartram," April 14). Her mother, Dawn Hawkins, exemplifies the kind of parent that every child should have. It would be beneficial if there were also a responsible father helping to push for a child to succeed despite turbulent school environments. Although one pushy parent can suffice, two parents working together would be much better.

Dominic J. Cinaglia, Blue Bell, dom911jc@verizon.net

Bring in new political players

The only way we can make a dent in the corruption in Philadelphia is when we elect all new officials ("Stop ignoring ethical failures," April 13). A day does not go by when a new abuse of power isn't revealed. If it's not accepting gifts, it's property deals, moving at whim to set up residence in a new area, and on and on. It will not end until citizens speak up and take action. Enough is enough.

Carol L. Smith, Philadelphia

Leveraging upgrade savings

There is a perfectly reasonable plan afoot in Chicago that, in one case, will provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in savings by applying an energy upgrade to a 1970s building that is wasting $20 million on electricity each year. And the kicker is that this will be accomplished without tax money or bond funds. Following the Chicago plan, Philadelphia could identify crumbling infrastructure that is costing millions to maintain or identify energy-wasting buildings. The city would offer these buildings to private companies that would, with their own capital, construct or upgrade infrastructure and be repaid by the savings these upgrades generate. This is not pie in the sky, since projects such as these are underway in Chicago. Jobs would be created, new or refurbished infrastructure built, and energy use would decline, and all without the city coming up with one cent.

Paul Jay Fink, M.D., Philadelphia