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LETTERS - Jan. 1

ISSUE | CONGRESS To-do list doesn't match endorsements The Editorial Board decries gutting Dodd-Frank provisions that would otherwise limit speculation, having earlier suggested that Congress pass minimum-wage increases, and then suggests Congress do something about the wealth gap ("The other class war," Dec. 26).


To-do list doesn't match endorsements

The Editorial Board decries gutting Dodd-Frank provisions that would otherwise limit speculation, having earlier suggested that Congress pass minimum-wage increases, and then suggests Congress do something about the wealth gap ("The other class war," Dec. 26).

Good luck with that given a Congress that is increasingly right of right. And yet the board supported six Republicans out of eight running for Congress in November - three of whom are incumbents who slavishly follow a party line that will make the rich richer and the middle class poorer.

|Bruce Endy, Wynnewood

No way up

President Obama's wealth redistribution policies, which The Inquirer has strongly supported, have increased government debt, spending, and regulation ("The other class war," Dec. 26). The result is 2 percent economic growth, condemning millions of Americans to unemployment or part-time work, thus increasing economic inequality. Ronald Reagan's policies of lower taxes, spending, and regulation produced 4 to 5 percent economic growth and created millions of jobs. Progressive policies are an economic and social disaster.

|Frederick Willis, Haddonfield


Facing daily danger, grave risk as officers

As police officers, we know we can never predict what will happen when we put on our uniform each day. This simple fact was made apparent with the brutal execution of two New York City police officers before Christmas. It was a scene that hit close to home for Pennsylvanians, who continue to mourn the fatal shooting of one officer and wounding of another at their barracks in Blooming Glen in September.

Now more than ever, we need to rally around our brave men and women in uniform. It's the job of all police officers to rush into danger to help those in need, regardless of personal risk, and they fully accept that risk every day. They face the worst criminals imaginable, and all too often those criminals use violence against police officers.

Nationally, more than 100 police officers have been killed in the line of duty this year alone; four in Pennsylvania. Each of these courageous officers took a solemn oath to protect and serve. They should be remembered as heroic and humble public servants who laid down their lives to serve and protect us all.

|Les Neri, president, Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge, Harrisburg


Long-ago visit

In December 1958, my husband and I and another couple vacationed in Cuba. We flew from Philadelphia to Miami, then took another plane to Cuba, which took an hour.

We stayed in Havana and did a lot of sightseeing. All the people could talk about was Fidel Castro taking over in 1959; they hated Batista. We saw some lovely sights, and some not as lovely. We attended an open-air nightclub, where Nat King Cole was the entertainer.

|Selma Hirshberg, Elkins Park


Different approach, same shortcomings?

The dead zone east of City Hall, mainly between 11th and 12th Streets, Market to Chestnut, has been a tough area to urbanize or comfortably refashion into a meaningful and lasting reflection of a prosperous new Philadelphia ("The Anti-Gallery," Dec. 26). But the only fix anyone can envision seems to be centered around more commercial - as if Center City doesn't have enough.

As a former city planner, I don't believe that glitzy walks through vertical malls of brand-name stores and trendy outdoor bistros will invite the sort of civic enlightenment that perhaps integrating a downtown art museum would, or a Center City college campus that could employ thousands of otherwise disenfranchised workers and provide additional revenue for a city crying out for more of both revenue and jobs.

The pretty renderings of the East Market project also disguise the inefficiency of a plan that appears to regard parking as an afterthought and the wander-by concept as sufficient for accessibility of a far-flung proposal.

|Scott Cameron, Philadelphia,


Federal rules working to keep patients safe

In a recent blog post, commentators Hooman Noorchashm and Amy Reed failed to account for the stringency of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's process for clearing low- and moderate-risk medical devices - known as a 510(k) review-and the scientific evidence required to support the agency's decisions ("Check Up: When the law fails," Dec. 23). Far from being a process of "relative ease," it can take years for a manufacturer to compile the data required for a 510(k) submission, and it is common for submissions to include hundreds or thousands of pages of documentation, based on bench testing, animal studies, batteries of non-clinical tests (biocompatibility, shelf life, shock and vibration, and the like); tests demonstrating conformance with national and international standards; and any additional requirements specified by the FDA.

The FDA has total authority to require whatever evidence is necessary to assure a product's safety and effectiveness, and can ask for clinical studies when necessary. Studies have shown that the 510(k) process is overwhelmingly safe, with only 0.16 to 0.45 percent of 510(k)-cleared products having been recalled for a serious safety issue. That's a tremendous track record of safety.

|Stephen J. Ubl, Advanced Medical Technology Association, Washington


School oversight still needs to be tightened

Once again, students and parents have had their lives disrupted because a charter school has declared itself financially insolvent ("Palmer students scrambling for schools," Dec. 29). In the middle of the school year, students will have to adapt to new surroundings and different teachers. Some student transcripts are missing. Parents will have to alter schedules and deal with work and transportation issues. Teachers at the school are now unemployed and owed back pay.

The School District and the state Department of Education are coconspirators in this debacle. The charter school owes the district $1.5 million. Where is the oversight? Where is the accountability?

|Hal Kessler, Elkins Park


No faith in plan to look beyond township aid

I was horrified to learn that Middletown Township officials in Monmouth County plan to direct residents to utilize faith-based organizations when seeking assistance with what they describe as "everything from storm recovery, to substance-abuse services, to household finance." Given the high property taxes that my family pays on its home in Middletown, I am offended that the all-Republican Township Committee is not willing to allocate funds to help the most vulnerable members of our community. Government has a responsibility to provide for the social welfare of its people.

|Justin Cooke, Middletown


Having a puff is no way to chill out

In response to a recent letter writer who commented on the cigarette tax, saying that smokers need nicotine when stressed or withdrawn to help them get through the stress, this is a fallacy believed by all smokers ("Smokers need less stress, not more taxes," Dec. 28). Nicotine is a stimulant, not a relaxant, and the stress relief comes from the step back while the cigarette is smoked. Anything, taxes included, that will deter someone from continuing to smoke is a step in the right direction

|Deanna Tropea, Quakertown,