Elusive peace and quiet in city

While the Center City District's Paul R. Levy praises downtown growth, he should be concerned that one of the city's most venerable sites, Rittenhouse Square, is being eroded by noise pollution ("21st-century Center City," April 30). Loud brass bands, thundering drummers, amplified rappers, and pep rallies all are driving people away from the park. Quiet musicians are leaving. Neighbors must close their windows, and still the sound breaks through. Rules must be put in place barring amplified sound and limiting the hours of play in this mostly residential neighborhood. Rittenhouse Square should not be an entertainment venue for musicians to play as loud and as long as they want. Rather, it's a beautiful garden for everyone to enjoy, and it should be restored as a welcoming, quiet place - while growth occurs around us.

Carol Hellman, Philadelphia

Fairness in school funding

A recent Inquirer editorial proposed that the state use a formula that was developed in 2006 to allocate funds to school districts across Pennsylvania ("For schools, money matters," April 20). That formula allocated basic-education funds based on each district's enrollment, poverty level, number of students learning to speak English, and local tax levy. It's an excellent approach, especially in our region, where many districts are experiencing growth. Elsewhere in the state, districts seeing decreases in student populations are held harmless and continue to receive level funding. This is patently unfair and should be reformed - even more so when you consider that the Philadelphia region is a net exporter of state tax dollars to Harrisburg.

State Sen. Edwin B. Erickson (R., Delaware), majority policy chairman, Harrisburg

Cry, the African nation torn

On behalf of the St. Peter's Church Justice Group, we deplore the ongoing violence in the Central African Republic and cry out against the slaughter of non-Christians by the Christian majority. Although we recognize that the conflict between Muslims and Christians in that country has a complicated history, this kind of horrific violence and the expressed desire to kill or drive out every Muslim in the country are simply wicked. We add our voices to those of Christians who have cried out against the violence and call on religious leaders of all faiths to do everything to stop it.

N. Adelmann, Rev. J.T. Beck, G. Cowell, R. Francis, B. Grabias, S. Hedgis, Rev. L.I. Laughlin, Rev. C. Nevin-Field, D. Wilkerson, and H. Kent, Philadelphia

Many faiths, shared cause

Touched by the recent commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the city's Holocaust memorial, I recalled a visit many years ago to Dachau ("Marking 50th anniversary of Holocaust memorial," April 28). There, in Germany, I witnessed memorials not only to the Jews who perished, but also to Protestants and Catholics murdered by the Nazis. Many of them were priests and are considered "the Righteous" for hiding and saving Jews. Let us remember those of every faith and, perhaps, some of none.

Hannah Dougherty Campbell, Havertown

Get states out of killing business

I hold little remorse for Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, who suffered a botched execution, but whose crimes were of the most heinous nature ("No more executions," May 1). However, my opinion of capital punishment remains immutable: It's an oxymoron that our government can murder while condemning murder. We must stand on higher moral ground and not emulate the killer by endorsing the act of state homicide.

Anthony J. Frascino, Swedesboro artgardenr@aol.com

Seeing both sides of sting

When The Inquirer finally gave both sides of the fight instigated by Frank G. Fina, a former deputy to the state attorney general - reporting that Fina unilaterally removed files and materials prior to Kathleen Kane's taking over - I thought that at last the newspaper realized it had been suckered by the Fina crowd ("Sting dispute erupts into public battle," April 27). But the next day, the paper was back to the same old patting itself on the back for breaking and running for weeks with a story that always assumed Kane was in the wrong.

Mary Ann Holloway, Philadelphia, maholloway@aol.com