Rittenhouse Square's wall for all

How shocked I was to learn that in our city - with high rates of crime, poor education, poverty, and failing health systems - our civic attention was focused on a park wall ("A wall of shame for some at Rittenhouse Square," Saturday).

Why prohibit people from sitting on a wall? What better place is there to sit and dangle feet while watching the world go by, to exchange stories with other wall sitters?

It's a place where youngsters congregate, along with older folks, where new friendships can be established, and new respect found for people of all ages, races, and genders.

Rather than prohibit the letter writer with the "aged body" from sitting on the wall, let's help her climb up so she can dangle her feet with the youngsters. They might even learn something from one another. If that means the wall will crumble, let's all sit on it, united as one, until it comes crumbling down, and then build a new one, not to separate people, but to bring them together in the true spirit of brotherly and sisterly love.

|Richard Molish, Ambler, rjmolish@molishinc.net

Don't like it, ignore it

Mayor Kenney is showing a poor example of leadership when he tweets that signs in Rittenhouse Square prohibiting sitting on the wall should be ignored. He also ignores federal law-enforcement efforts regarding illegal immigrants by designating Philadelphia as a sanctuary city.

A true leader is supposed to support rules and laws even when he or she doesn't like them, and then work to get them changed.

Are we all supposed to pick and choose the laws we will obey? How about when I don't like "No parking" signs or paying the soda tax? I can just ignore them. Add this to the list of anti-American values that liberals embrace and that contributed to the Democrats resounding defeat in the presidential election.

|Rick Wozniak, Collegeville

N.J.-bound to skirt beverage tax

My wife and I have shopped at our local ShopRite store in Port Richmond since it was built, but Sunday they lost a sale of $74.39 due solely to the tax on sweetened beverages, and this will be only the beginning. Had we paid the tax, our bill would have been $88.71, but we opted to cross into New Jersey and use another ShopRite. We had to pay a bridge toll, but with E-ZPass, the fare was just $2.50.

Whenever we need groceries and sweetened beverages, we will simply cross over to New Jersey. If this tax was strictly on sodas, we would probably live with it, but including all other sweetened beverages is ridiculous, regardless of what our mayor thinks.

|William O'Brien, Philadelphia

Mixed feelings about the Big Top

At 76 years of age, this is truly a puzzlement ("News of circus closing brings mixed reaction," Monday). I grew up in an age when the circus was magic, wondrous, and of what dreams were made (when you were younger than 14). As I matured (or at least grew up), I became much more sensitive to the treatment (or lack thereof) of the wonderful creatures that have shared and continue to share our planet. One of my special loves is elephants.

So, as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus decides to call it a day, I am dealing with mixed emotions, but I find that the gentle and appropriate care of our sweet neighbors is the answer.

A "thank you" to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey for the joy.

|Frannie Rink, Lansdowne

Trump hypocritical about Lewis

Donald Trump, our thin-skinned demagogue-to-be, has exhibited his best lunacy to date. His attacks on civil rights hero U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.) because of his questioning the legitimacy of Trump's presidency is the height of hypocrisy ("Trump attacks revered civil rights icon," Sunday).

After spending five-plus years questioning President Obama's citizenship, Trump should be ashamed of himself. He would do well if had an ounce of Lewis' courage, decency, and compassion.

|Richard Cohen, Plymouth Meeting

Health care is key to fight opioids

As a physician committed to treating addicted individuals, I am deeply concerned about the impact of wholesale dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, which the new Congress seems to be rushing to do ("ACA repeal gains; so do nerves," Friday). In particular, the loss of expanded Medicaid will damage our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Repeal of the ACA should only be considered if an adequate replacement is implemented at the same time.

When we take opioid addicts off the street and into treatment programs, society benefits through reductions in crime, homelessness, infectious-disease spread, morbidity and mortality, and by converting resource-draining individuals into productive members.

A substantial amount of resources comes from public funds, specifically Medical Assistance. Expanded assistance under the ACA has increased the pool of individuals eligible for care. We are treating hundreds of opioid-addicted people every month at Kirkbride Center.

As our elected officials rush to dismantle Obamacare, it is imperative that they consider the consequences for individuals, families, and communities in this area and nationwide.

|Frederic M. Baurer, M.D., president, Pennsylvania Society of Addiction Medicine, Philadelphia, fbaurer@corecare.com

Women to march in Philly, too

A story referenced the Women's March on Washington this Saturday ("Rallies for Rights," Sunday), but your readers should be aware that the Women's March on Philadelphia will occur the same day, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The focus of this march is more about moving forward together and less about opposing Donald Trump the day after his inauguration.

For more information,go to www.wmow-phila.com.

|Bonnie Coll, Ambler

Can't negotiate with Palestinians

Once again we hear the Palestinian president calling on "all the countries of the world to recognize the state of Palestine, because this recognition will bring us closer to the peace process." What peace process? Neither Hamas in Gaza nor the Palestinian Authority recognize the right of Israel to exist, and so the "two-state solution" is not an option for them. That made the Mideast peace conference that closed Sunday in Paris a farce, and exposes the willful ignorance of many of the world's leaders.

If Pope Francis is really concerned about safeguarding the holy sites in Jerusalem, he should visit and see that Israel is looking after them very well. Let us move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and stop playing games with murderers and terrorists who reject living with Israel within any borders.

|Rev. Dr. Kenneth C. Larter, Elmer, N.J.