ISSUE | UNION DUES

Free riders' law

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker just signed a law that prohibits requiring workers to pay union dues ("Wisconsin becomes right-to-work state," March 10). Such measures have become popular in states under Republican control. While the rhetoric on these measures focuses on freedom and a worker's rights, the reality is somewhat different.

Workers in unionized settings almost always have the option of not joining a union. However, they do have to pay representation fees - which typically equal union dues, since their salaries and benefits match those of union members and often are the hard-won products of collective bargaining. This eliminates free riders, and it's only fair, and fairness is another important American value.

That side of the issue, of course, is deliberately ignored by right-to-work advocates, whose real agenda is to hurt unions and stem the flow of union funds to Democrats. Concealment characterizes the Republican-led right-to-work movement as well as the party's voter-identification push.

|Gerald D. Klein, Elkins Park, kleinger@rider.edu

ISSUE | PHOENIXVILLE

Changing views

As a practicing real estate appraiser for more than 40 years, I've seen the scenario that's playing out in the Phoenixville Area School District, with neighborhood opposition to plans to acquire a golf course for a new school ("School growth hits resistance from neighbors," March 17).

No property owner can assume that any nearby property, even if it provides a so-called million-dollar view, will remain as it is forever.

Regarding golf courses, the trend for at least the past decade nationally has been that for each golf course opened, 10 close. In 2013, 14 new courses opened, while 157 closed. They simply are not profitable and do not meet the criteria of highest and best use. Fewer rounds of golf mean less income for the owners and a potential change of use.

So unless the golf course is part of a community association (like the one at Hershey's Mill), anyone who buys property adjacent to a golf course, park, farm, or the like needs to be wary and prepared to live next to something not as idyllic as he once expected.

|John S. Bowen, Newtown Square

ISSUE | THE BOYD

Losing much more than a movie palace

I watched the demolition taking place as the old Boyd Theater of my youth came down, and with it there would not be a trace left of what had meant so much in my hometown ("Demolition begins at Boyd," March 15). Art Deco in design, it was a gem that preservation groups had failed to save.

As each brick fell, my teardrops counted them with memories of movies I still crave. But more than that, this theater was my youth, with weekends spent in balconies so high that I would soar - as fantasy was truth projected on a screen. Now the curtain has come down upon the Boyd, and among the fallen bricks, there lies a void.

|Arthur R. Cohen, Philadelphia, cohesivebond@yahoo.com

ISSUE | JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE

A misstep by an otherwise stellar judge

Municipal Court Judge Dawn A. Segal's big mistake was not reporting or immediately recusing herself after being approached by Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. about his friend in a court case ("Case of corruption in discipline filing," March 17). That's it. Everything else she has done is procedural and what she believed to be the right and correct legal decision.

As a friend for years, I know Segal to be honest, trustworthy, reliable, credible, and accurate, with high expectations of herself and others. I also know her to be compassionate, patient, understanding, helpful, and dedicated to the process of bringing about positive change in the lives of people who appear before her. Isn't that what we want our judges to do?

|Kate Garza, Cheltenham, kate_garza@hotmail.com

ISSUE | NEXT MAYOR

No LGBT bandwagon for Jim Kenney

While we appreciate coverage of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community as a political force, we don't believe that this diverse community has banded en masse behind Jim Kenney ("Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, teachers' union, and LGBT leaders back Kenney," March 14). Several mayoral candidates have fought tirelessly for the LGBT community.

For example, State Sen. Anthony Williams sponsored legislation to protect individuals from discrimination, as well as bills to punish hate crimes and ban conversion therapy. Former District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham has been an advocate for enhanced hate-crime legislation. Furthermore, like other voters, we care about issues like fighting poverty and reducing gun violence, for which many candidates have taken strong positions.

We hope that others learn about the candidates and make an informed decision based on the issues, not the bandwagon effect.

|Wade Albert, Rafael Alvarez Febo, Terrell Green, and Malcolm Lazin, Philadephia

Abraham won't do unions' bidding

Her snub by the police union was a ringing endorsement of candidate Lynne M. Abraham, who answers to no one but citizens.

|SaraKay Smullens, Philadelphia