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Drexel, Penn are partners with University City community

ISSUE | UNIVERSITY CITY Community partners In Friday's column, Inga Saffron reached an inescapable conclusion: Universities were complicit in postwar urban-renewal programs that failed to sustain strong, diverse neighborhoods. She suggested that requiring payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) by nonprofit institutions is the logical form of redress.


Community partners

In Friday's column, Inga Saffron reached an inescapable conclusion: Universities were complicit in postwar urban-renewal programs that failed to sustain strong, diverse neighborhoods. She suggested that requiring payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) by nonprofit institutions is the logical form of redress.

But that narrative fails to account for 20 years of successful efforts in University City. And the conclusion is shortsighted - no program of PILOTs could match the impact that anchor institutions make today.

Drexel spends more than $40 million a year to benefit city neighborhoods, including 250 full-tuition scholarships for city students, partnerships with public schools, and a police force.

Adding 3,200 student beds on campus over the past three years brought nearly $300 million in private investment to the city.

Drexel provides more than $7 million in uncompensated and community-based health care yearly in North and West Philadelphia.

Drexel has been the conduit for more than $27 million in donations over the past five years that support our ability to serve the community.

This mix of services, economic development, and philanthropic support is the goal of the nonprofit tax exemption. To diminish such a successful model because of university policies that were reversed two decades ago would be counterproductive.

|John A. Fry, president, Drexel University, Philadelphia


No, thanks

The Inquirer editors have treated us to yet another "heavy-on-the-left" batch of letters to the editor. It's getting almost comical.

On Thanksgiving, not only did we get lectured on Obamacare ("Longer, healthier lives with Obamacare"), regardless of the dire warnings about premiums going up and insurance companies dropping out, but we got to read that pesticides were lurking in the holiday dinner we were getting ready to eat, and we were urged to eat organic ("Opt for natural flavors"). I guess they don't realize that many people can't afford to roam the aisles of Whole Foods.

We also were told that our holiday dinner would be essentially "tasteless."

And let's not forget that we should be "like Obama" and pardon all the turkeys that would find themselves part of our meal ("Let turkeys live").

There was the "Thankful for rejection of pipeline" letter, which is self-explanatory.

Last but not least, a proclamation from President Obama doing what he does best, lecturing us on what we should think, feel, and do to get the most out of our enjoyment of Thanksgiving ("President's message"). Seriously?

Once again, The Inquirer shows itself to be only interested in the feelings and interests of the left, for which I am certainly not thankful.

|Patricia A. Perrone, Swarthmore,

Your section called Dialogue should be Idealogue. It seems a bit early to be in full Democratic Party campaign mode, but maybe The Inquirer feels it is necessary to prop up a failing president.

|Charles D. Sutton, West Goshen Township


Stop the hate speech

The right wing's call to arms against Planned Parenthood is one of the most evil acts of political chicanery in my lifetime. It has led to multiple homicides, arsons, and bombings. The most recent example, Friday in Colorado, resulted in three deaths and was directly caused by a debunked attack on Planned Parenthood ("Official: Suspect said 'no more baby parts,' " Sunday).

The rhetoric of hate has even snagged the field of Republican presidential candidates, represented by the unforgettable diatribe by Carly Fiorina in a televised debate. Even with the Planned Parenthood "baby parts" video shown to have been doctored, those candidates have yet to disavow it.

The hate speech of the so-called pro-life movement must stop immediately. The media should stop publicizing it, and law enforcement should crack down on its practitioners.

If pro-lifers have reasonable and true arguments, they should be free to present them. There is room to debate abortion in our pluralistic society, and civil debate must continue. But there should be no room for hate speech that is an incitement to murder.

|Dr. Kenneth Gorelick, Newtown Square

Clinics offer vital services

Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive services for women belonging to all socioeconomic and ethnic groups. When I taught at a small college in northeastern Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood was the place our young women could go for any of their medical needs, for honest discussions about sexuality, and for any other kinds of advice the clinic offered. And all of that was offered with kindness, with professionalism, and with deep understanding.

Yes, Planned Parenthood provides abortions - legal abortions - but not before explaining all options and exploring the woman's psychological as well as physical status.

|Marie Conn, Hatboro

Violence as a pro-life strategy

On Friday, an armed man killed three people, including a police officer, at the Colorado Springs office of Planned Parenthood. In 2009, Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller was murdered in his church. In 1998, a New York abortion provider was shot and killed while sleeping in his home.

There have been at least 73 successful attacks on American abortion clinics and providers since 1997, according to the National Abortion Federation.

These fanatics remind us of other fanatical groups, such as the Islamic State, that will not tolerate any belief other than their own. Some abortion opponents truly believe their actions are going to prevent abortions. Women of financial means will always find a doctor or clinic willing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. So the people who suffer most are the poor, who have no choice but to get a back-alley abortion - risking their health and even survival.

Shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics - which provide many necessary services other than abortion to girls and women - is in antiabortionists' minds a pro-life strategy.

|Dave Savage, Collingswood

'Every life is precious'

I mourn the people who were shot and killed on Friday, as well as the numerous lives ended in abortions at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Every life is precious. Gun violence is never the answer, especially for a pro-life advocate. The act of an extremist can change the discussion, but not the truth of the situation.

|Jo-Ann Maguire, Norristown

No matter what, it's terrorism

Is it necessary that terrorists be foreigners? It seems to make little difference where a person is from when a member of the community murders schoolchildren or attacks a Planned Parenthood facility. If we call these domestic killers "terrorists," do we fear offending the National Rifle Association?

|John Wenderoth, Wilmington