I cannot believe that Loresha Gaines has such a lack of shame ("Canvassing for clues to find son's killer," Nov. 22). A normal mother of a 12-year-old boy checks his homework nightly, helps him to study, urges him daily to eat nutritious foods, lays out clean clothing for him on school nights, kisses him goodnight before he goes to bed, and packs him a lunch for school the next morning.

In the summer, she arranges activities for him and makes snacks for his friends. If the mom has a job, she enrolls her son in day camp, still tucking him in at night and packing lunch in the morning.

Gaines had her son living on the street, eating handouts from the neighbors, and sleeping in an abandoned car. We are supposed to give her credit because she had "planned to bring him" to live with her. Are you kidding?

Why has she not been prosecuted for child endangerment and neglect? Does our society truly have such different standards for the care of poor children that, to be politically correct and sensitive to the hardships of poor inner-city adults, we must expect them to raise their children with indifference and neglect? To refer to Loresha Gaines as a normal grieving mother is an insult to all of the actual good mothers caring for their children in Camden.

Glynnis Gradwell

Philadelphia

DROP this tactic

As I read the Nov. 17 article, "A big pay for one-day retirement," I seethed.

I was employed by the Philadelphia Water Department for more than 30 years. I participated in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) and retired on March 31, 2006. Since the position I vacated when I left the Water Department (as instrument technician) was never filled, I was asked to return as an independent contractor. However, my retirement status had to last one year before returning. Due to the usual bureaucratic red tape, I'm still waiting.

If I was forced to wait one year before returning to my job, why doesn't that same rule apply to City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski and City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione? They both plan to retire for one day, collect their hefty DROP payouts, then return to work immediately.

I sincerely hope that our future mayor is successful in his quest to exclude elected officials from DROP or, at least, holds them to the same standards as other city employees.

Nicholas Vicoli
Philadelphia

Sun, wind, water ...

It is extremely nearsighted that Gov. Corzine is determined to correct some of the financial damage committed by our elected officials by selling our state's assets - especially an asset that is dependent on income from our moribund fossil-fueled economy ("Corzine: Toll plan is worth billions," Nov. 16).

If the state would use its technological and manufacturing ability to develop renewable energy sources, New Jersey could hope to realize a profit that could be used for debt service and tax relief. We have sunshine, wind and water. The only thing missing is the will to use it.

John Roach
Westampton

202 barrier needed

I am a longtime resident of the Tredyffrin Township area and I wonder how many people must die before the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spends a few bucks to erect barrier walls between the opposing lanes of traffic along the entire stretch of Route 202 between King of Prussia and West Chester?

The Nov. 15 death of two people is just more in a long list of deaths that are preventable ("Police name 1 of 2 drivers killed in Route 202 crash," Nov. 16). With the massive budget that PennDot has, I have to believe that this corridor could be improved dramatically with concrete barrier walls.

How can we measure in dollars and cents what these people meant to their families? Someone in authority at PennDot needs to make this project a priority.

Michael Brown
Wayne