ISSUE | ED RENDELL

What about Paris?

In the wake of 196 countries acknowledging that we need to move away from fossil fuels as a source of energy, it is a bitter pill to read Ed Rendell praising the spoils of fracking in the Marcellus region ("Time is right to develop Phila. energy, container hub," Monday).

The climate agreement reached in Paris on Dec. 12 is a much-needed landmark on the road to a sustainable future, but there is much work to be done, and we cannot afford to backslide. Any construction on the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority's Southport property needs to look toward the future - green jobs and fossil-free energy.

A container port is one thing. A fossil-fuel energy hub is something entirely different and incompatible with the greenhouse gas emission levels the city must achieve by 2050.

The reinvigorated former Sunoco refineries that Rendell is so pleased about are not Philadelphia's finest. Look at the asthma epidemic in this city. Solar panels on the flat rooftops of North Philadelphia - that idea makes sense.

Let the creative minds get to work on envisioning a city that goes beyond 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050, the stated goal of Mayor-elect Jim Kenney.

|Moon Smith, Philadelphia, saxesmith@earthlink.net

Jobs - at what cost?

How is one to make sense of Monday's front-page headline, "Climate accord is just a start," when, a few pages later, former Gov. Ed Rendell's op-ed piece calls on Philadelphia to develop a world-class, fossil-fuel energy hub?

Rendell's rationale for a crude oil and natural gas energy hub is jobs. Is it not common knowledge that clean-energy development employs similar numbers of people?

We are being called on to change our thinking and our energy planning if we are to have both jobs and a livable world.

|Eloise Chevrier, Philadelphia, eechevrier@Hotmail.com

Grooming leaders of tomorrow

Former Gov. Ed Rendell had two messages when he and federal appellate Judge Marjorie Rendell received the Pennsylvania Society's Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement at the 117th Annual Dinner on Dec. 12 ("Rendell: Open your wallets," Dec. 13).

During his acceptance speech, the former Philadelphia mayor reminded the audience of the high poverty rate in our cities and suggested that jobs and education would be possible remedies.

He also endorsed the society's $800,000 scholarship program. The new program is supported by a match from the Maguire Foundation, started by Frances and James Maguire more than 10 years ago to promote education. Scholarships will go to deserving and needy Pennsylvania students who attend a college or university in the state. Course work preferably will concentrate on civics, history, and political science, so we can educate future leaders in government, nonprofits, and the business community.

|Nicholas DeBenedictis, president, Pennsylvania Society, Erdenheim

Pre-K is a public responsibility

It is a sad day when Mayor-elect Jim Kenney and former Mayor Ed Rendell advocate the demise of public education for a form of education that we know is desirable for all youngsters, but essential for youngsters from the poorest homes ("Rendell: Open your wallets," Dec. 13).

Asking for private contributions to support the $60 million needed for prekindergarten education is an explicit statement that it is not public education. It will be supported by the generosity of individuals, which can vary from year to year - and apparently will be derived from deductions of in-lieu-of taxes. I see no discussion of the effects of those deductions on tax revenue.

In-lieu-of taxes are supposed to be based on the public services these entities provide, not on the public services the city provides. Why is it that most European countries have supported pre-K education and we can't? Research shows how vital the early years are in training the brain and generating the quest for learning. The results are definitive. Why would we leave that benefit to the randomness of private donations?

Said another way: It has been decided that one of the most essential contributions to learning for children in our poorest homes is not a public responsibility.

|Anita A. Summers, professor emeritus, Wharton School, Gladwyne