Adding insult to injury

If you needed any further proof that the compensation policies of the City of Philadelphia are seriously out of line, former Parking Authority executive director Vincent Fenerty Jr.'s claim for unused vacation, sick time and - can you believe this? - comp time is evidence enough ("Seeking $200k in unused time," Wednesday). Couple this with the fact that he is receiving an annual pension of $158,628, and you get a good picture of a city government that is clueless when it comes to sound human resources policies.

How many private-industry companies provide benefits like these? None.

The fact that Fenerty was allowed to retire rather than be terminated for cause after a sexual harassment scandal should be compensation enough.

|Kenneth R. Garrett, Ambler, kgarrett9013@gmail.com

Don't condemn entire groups

In response to the letter, "Are we safe from Muslims?" (Thursday), are we safe from white people? Considering white supremacist Dylann Roof's murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and countless crimes committed every day by white people, how safe do you feel about white police officers protecting you? How about white people running nuclear power plants or water treatment plants?

Perhaps you believe white people are not all bad - which ones are and which ones are not? The letter's logic regarding Muslims can be applied just as easily to white people; maybe framing the argument in these terms will make the writer realize how faulty it is. Judgments about a group should not be based on a small minority's actions.

|Ben Gibbons, Devon

Should we throw out all of those sharing the same cultural and societal backgrounds as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, or Dylann Roof, the South Carolina shooter? That group is pretty easy to identify. Or perhaps we should bar all Koreans from coming to the United States because of the cold-blooded Virginia Tech murders committed by Seung-Hui Cho, a South Korean national.

Of course not. The pain for family and friends of any person being murdered is incalculable, but it cannot form the basis for blind prejudice and discrimination against a whole religion, race, culture, or socioeconomic group.

|Tom Taft, Ambler

A way to go back to college

Pennsylvania Treasurer Timothy Reese's commentary ("Pa. offers families two options to help them save for college," Dec. 27) brought up some salient points about affording a college education. With the cost of attending college and the amount of college debt both going up, it's important to have a plan for how you are going to pay for your education.

PA 529 college-savings plans are a smart investment, especially for parents and grandparents who can put away money for their kids and grandkids. Others who can benefit are adults who have some college credit and no degree. The Lumina Foundation reports there are more than 1.1 million such adults in Pennsylvania. Whether the 529 fund is initially set up in their name or they transfer unused funds from their child's account, adults can spend these funds for tuition, textbooks, and fees.

Graduate! Philadelphia works with comebackers - adults who have some college credit and are ready to acquire their degree. Our services are free, and our advisers help comebackers with financing and choosing the best academic program to fit their needs. To get started, call 215-498-1504 or email advisor@graduatephiladelphia.org.

|Barbara Mattleman, executive director, Graduate! Philadelphia, Barbara.Mattleman@graduatephiladelphia.org

A hero in space, on Earth

One of my heroes, NASA astronaut and climate scientist Piers Sellers, has died ("Piers Sellers, former astronaut, 61," Dec. 25). When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Sellers reflected on what he wanted to do with his remaining time. He chose being with people he loved and speaking out on climate change for the sake of future generations.

I wish that every global-warming skeptic who believes that climate change is a ruse to usher in socialism or obtain research grant money could learn about Sellers' selfless work to preserve a livable world for our children and grandchildren. The way he lived his life will continue to be an inspiration to me and many others.

|Terry Hansen, Oak Creek, Wis., terrylp7@gmail.com