ISSUE | IMMIGRATION
Popular with most
Despite the election, most Americans favor the type of immigration reform President Obama proposes and the Senate agreed to a year ago ("Region's delegates split on speech," Nov. 21). As a constitutional scholar, Obama would know that executive powers are quite broad - as the history of the presidency shows. Richard Nixon used one in 1971 to enact a price and wage freeze. If the Republican-run Congress does not like the executive action, it has the power to overturn it by passing appropriate legislation.
|George Magakis Jr., Norristown
ISSUE | HOT SPOTS
Trudy Rubin lobbies for some action on the problem in Ukraine, "the heart of Europe" ("The invasion that dare not say its name," Nov. 20). But it seems to me that terrorists who are beheading Americans and planning the destruction of Western societies are a more urgent problem.
|I. Milton Karabell, Philadelphia
ISSUE | SECOND CASINO
What a great disappointment that the state Gaming Control Board chose South Philadelphia for the city's second casino license ("Cards on the table," Nov. 21). We could have had a beautiful casino downtown that rivaled a Las Vegas property (The Provence) or an action-oriented, transit-accessible hub by the Convention Center (Market8), but instead we got an add-on to the stadium farm. Sadly, this means that instead of drawing out-of-towners to gamble, eat, and drink at the casino, we'll simply have a place for nearby residents who used to go to SugarHouse. This is the problem with letting gaming board members make decisions about the city's future when they so clearly don't understand urban realities.
|Joe Garecht, Wynnewood
ISSUE | POTHOLE SEASON (AGAIN)
Drivers looking for a break from bumpy roads
Last winter, I had to replace a tire and two wheels due to road damage, at a total cost of $1,400. My insurance wouldn't cover it, nor would my township. Now the worst of this winter is yet to come. Where I travel, there are major tire-busting potholes opening up already. I find myself swerving to avoid the holes. But I don't see any borough, township, state, or other entity out patching these holes.
I wonder whether tire companies pay not to have potholes fixed. Or maybe elected officials are too lazy to get things done right? Area roads are not much more than a collection of patches in many places - patches that pop out each winter and have to be replaced. Meanwhile, motorists are paying for replacement tires and wheels. In fact, my tire dealer told me last year he had trouble keeping up.
I certainly don't want to have to put out $1,000-plus this winter to fix the damage to my car because of government inaction. There are no excuses. I pay a lot in taxes to get things like this fixed, so where is that money going?
|Jim Grealy, Cherry Hill
ISSUE | PLASTIC BAGS
Inflated grocery bills, a region less green
ShopRite customers like me may have noticed they are no longer asked at the checkout if they have reusable bags. That's because ShopRite ended its reusable-bag rebate program, which provided customers 5 cents off their bill for each bag. According to ShopRite, its goal regarding education and encouraging bag reuse has been met.
Unfortunately, billions of plastic bags are still used and discarded every year, polluting the environment, and threatening wildlife. Until New Jersey joins other states like California in banning plastic bags or placing a fee on plastic bags, incentives like the ShopRite rebate are still needed.
Merchants like ShopRite provide customers with bags, yet those costs are passed on in shopping bills. The average consumer spends $15 to $30 per year on bags through such hidden costs. Additionally, we all pay to have plastic bags properly disposed. Customers should urge ShopRite to restore its resusable-bag rebate program.
|Nicole Dallara, outreach coordinator, New Jersey Sierra Club, Trenton
ISSUE | JUVENILE JUSTICE
No fond memories of Pa. detention
I found it offensive that Keith B. Snyder, the executive director of the Juvenile Court Judges Commission, suggests Pennsylvania's non-secure juvenile facilities are "more like college campuses with cafeterias" than lockups ("Pa. lags in reducing juvenile detention," Nov. 16).
At 15, I was ripped from my family and sent to a wilderness camp for having posted a fake MySpace page. I bunked with girls who were violent, and went to an alternative school where students snorted various substances off their desks. I was treated poorly by counselors who told me to give up my dreams of college because I was a delinquent. These same facilities are the ones Snyder refers to as more treatment-oriented and campus-like.
I later graduated from college - where professors encouraged me to do my best, and I was free from threats of harm and permitted to visit my family whenever I chose. Rather than campuses, the juvenile facility I experienced was synonymous with prison for any child unfortunate enough to be placed there - particularly the 95 percent of teens locked up who are there for nonviolent offenses.
|Hillary Transue, Ashley, email@example.com