Convention tension

Why would anyone want to have a convention in Philadelphia? The Convention Center unions' reputation for being difficult to work with has preceded them for many years ("New Convention Center rules divide unions," May 6).

Why can't they act like grown-ups? They are concerned about getting their piece of the pie, but wouldn't having more conventions mean more pay? The hotel and hospitality industry's livelihood depends on more visitors who don't have trouble dealing with the unions.

JoAnn Williams, Media, jwsewn@gmail.com

Be our guests

During this National Travel and Tourism Week, let's thank the 40 million people who visited Greater Philadelphia in 2013, adding $10 billion to the region's economy. They generated $636 million in tax revenues and supported 90,000 jobs, according to the research firm Tourism Economics.

Overnight guests in Philadelphia hotels (as in most other cities) pay a hotel tax that funds promotion to attract visitors. On a $150-per-night room, for example, the hotel tax would be $12.75. In 2013, overnight visitors paid for more than three million room nights and generated $50 million in hotel-tax revenue.

The city of Philadelphia supports two agencies - Visit Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau - with millions of dollars from the hotel tax and city grants to attract visitors and spending. This tourism marketing brings in far more than it costs and continues to increase Philadelphia's recognition as a premier destination.

Thanks again to all the visitors whose overnight stays support the marketing of this city. Our museums, shops, restaurants, and parks make it a better place not only to visit, but to live.

Michael Nutter, mayor, city of Philadelphia; Greg Stafford, president, Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association; Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, Visit Philadelphia; Jack Ferguson, president and CEO, PHLCVB

Obscene, un-Islamic

Muslim Americans condemn in the strongest possible way the kidnapping of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram ("Rescue plan needed," May 8).

The national headquarters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has noted: "It is almost impossible to express the level of disgust felt by American Muslims at the un-Islamic and obscene actions of the terrorist group Boko Haram for the kidnapping and threat to 'sell' hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls."

Muslims in Philadelphia join their fellow Americans in urging the government of Nigeria to do everything it can to immediately return the abducted girls safely to their families and eliminate the threat posed by Boko Haram.

Jacob Bender, executive director, Philadelphia chapter, CAIR, info@pa.cair.com

Strange sociology

The Inquirer reported that sociologist Alice Goffman was so immersed in her study of Philadelphia fugitives that she "spent long nights driving around with them as they sought to avenge a friend's death" ("Sociologist chronicles tenuous lives of fugitives," May 5). If they were seeking the eye-for-an-eye, life-for-a-life kind of vengeance, I think she crossed a line that she shouldn't have.

Louise Kopena, Philadelphia

McGinty sparkles

I respectfully disagree with The Inquirer's endorsement of Rob McCord ("McCord best of a fine field," May 4). I have met three of the four Democratic candidates for governor, and I am voting for Katie McGinty. She has the personality and skills to make the state an economic leader again.

I believe she will move us into the fast-growing clean-energy sector, impose a natural-gas extraction fee, invest in education, and clean up that snake pit of corruption, Harrisburg's "hands-out committee." But the final and most important factor is how effective her sparkling personality has been in getting results in a tough environment.

James H. Smith, Spring House. jashsmith@verizon.net

Art of learning

While I agree wholeheartedly that a child's education has to include the arts ("Team up with schools for arts education," April 25), there is also a critical need for the arts in adult education programs. Many adults dropped out of school because their learning styles weren't compatible with the prevailing schooling model - namely, the "three R's" and no arts. Including the arts in adult education would bridge the gap to success for these adults and their families.

Norman Simmons, Center for Social Policy and Community Development, Temple University, norman.simmons@temple.edu

Old bones' reward

Regarding proper commemoration of the Bethel Burial Ground beneath Weccacoe Playground in Queen Village, a burial ground and a playground can coexist. Old bones rejoice at the sound of children's footsteps and laughter above.

Peter Tobia, Philadelphia petertobia@verizon.net