ISSUE | TRADE DEALS

Job exporter

Trade deficits have been destroying jobs for 40 consecutive years, but Andrew Nuffer suggests Congress and President Obama reauthorize fast-track trade legislation ("Increased trade brings jobs, benefits to state, Phila.," March 6). Fast track limits negotiating to the president and a few handpicked cronies.

Trade deficits continue to ship jobs overseas. Congress should reject fast-track authority and fight to save our jobs and protect the middle class.

|Bud Naylor, Lansdale

ISSUE | WEAKER RUSSIA

Risky tactic

Sustained and increased sanctions by the United States and its allies that contribute to Russia's economic deterioration, and flooding markets with cheap oil with the intent of destabilizing the Russian economy, will be used by Vladimir Putin to stoke nationalistic fervor and, with popular support, increase the prospects for a more aggressive stance ("Energy takes center stage," March 9). Putin would benefit by any further overt action to undermine the Russian economy. Instead, let's provide the Ukrainians with the armaments they requested.

|Samuel J. Savitz, Bala Cynwyd

ISSUE | FEISTY DILWORTH

Addytood the city could use today

The new book about Richardson Dilworth by Peter and Jonathan Binzen, subtitled Last of the Bare-Knuckled Aristocrats, reminded me of my experience as an organizer of students for the Dilworth campaign.

As mayor, Dilworth proposed a solution for the growing parking problem in South Philly. He presented his plan in the auditorium of the George Washington Elementary School. I was there, and years before, had been a student. The plan was for the city to buy vacant houses and empty lots, turning them into parking. There would be a $10-a-year charge for a sticker, which would entitle holders to park on these lots.

The audience reacted with typical South Philly anger. (I'm from South Philly so I can say it.) Many had prepared by buying Ninth Street's end-of-the-day tomatoes, which they threw at Dilworth. When some came toward the stage, former Marine Dilworth did not retreat. He moved forward, meeting yell for yell.

His police escort rushed on stage. While the officers spoke to him, Dilworth shook his head and kept engaging the crowd. Four officers eventually picked him up, and carried him off stage, while Dilworth and the protesters continued yelling at each other.

Our city needs another bare-knuckled Dilworth.

|Hal Rosenthal, Philadelphia

ISSUE | LETTER TO IRAN

Undermined U.S.

With their warning letter to Iran, Republican senators embarrassed and undermined the efforts not only of President Obama but also our five partner nations in the nuclear-arms talks. With friends like that, who needs enemies? The GOP action was an ill-conceived, irresponsible stunt.

|Michael Frank, Doylestown

ISSUE | BIKE ACCIDENTS

Seeking extra safety margin on every spin

Bob Ford's article brought tears and vivid recollections of my mother's death in a cycling accident in Philadelphia in 1996 ("An unfinished ride," March 8). She was also a helmeted rider struck by a motor vehicle. I can only hope the article reminds both drivers and cyclists of the dangers on the road and the need to drive and ride with caution and show respect for each other.

Unfortunately, Ford only emphasized the risks to cyclists from bad drivers. The article did not mention what's seen daily in Center City - cyclists riding on busy streets and weaving through traffic within blocks of Pine, Spruce, and other streets with dedicated bicycle lanes.

Even worse, I still see many cyclists without helmets. I truly cannot fathom such a senseless decision in light of all we know about head injuries. Even though a helmet did not save the lives of Tom Palermo or my mother, Laurie, a helmet should be used by cyclists every ride.

|Robert Levicoff, Mount Laurel, rlevicoff1@comcast.net

Look forward to a time of no memorial rides

I participated for the last two years in the Ride of Silence, which features cyclists riding silently through Center City ("An unfinished ride," March 8). It is a very spiritual experience. I will be there again this year, but here's hoping the ride can be canceled one year - because no one will have been injured or died in an accident between a car and a bicycle.

|Harry Murphey, Newtown Square, harrymurphey@yahoo.com

ISSUE | PENSION PLANS

A half-century of kicking the can

My first job after college in 1955 was with the New York State Civil Service Department. At that time, many of the towns, cities, and counties in New York were in danger of financial collapse: They had pension obligations but had not put aside money to pay them. We have the same problem on both sides of the Delaware River 60 years later. When will elected officials learn that kicking the can down the road is bad policy, even though it looks good in the short run?

|Ernest B. Cohen, Upper Darby, ernest.cohen@ieee.org

ISSUE | SCHOOL PROSPECTS

Gov. Wolf offers city schools hope

My son will start kindergarten in the fall, and we have struggled with the decision whether to stay as he approaches school ("Phila. schools' fortunes may be looking up," March 6). But when Gov. Wolf's budget proposal had a big increase in school funding, we gave a sigh of relief. For the first time in a long time, we are optimistic about our future in this city where we've made our home.

Wolf wants to help schools and cut wage and property taxes by making natural-gas drillers pay a severance tax and reforming the tax system. He's right. It's fairer to everyone and we could reverse the devastation of our children's education.

Sadly, some legislators are balking at Wolf's proposed solution. These elected officials should stop playing politics and fearing change. They should prioritize the future of their districts. The solution is in front of them. They should take it - and let our family focus on the exciting parts of starting school.

|Sandra Telep, Philadelphia, pleasantlyfurious@gmail.com