To avoid soda tax: Road trip!

I would like to thank Mayor Kenney for helping me reconnect with many of my friends, family, and schoolmates from Roxborough, Manayunk, and East Falls. Since the new soda tax has been enacted, almost every time I go to the Giant supermarket, Target, or BJ's Wholesale Club in Plymouth Meeting, I see more people from my old Philadelphia neighborhood shopping in Montgomery County to cut costs by avoiding Philadelphia nuisance taxes ("Opponents of soda tax urge Council to repeal it," Friday). A friend who has four children ages 9 to 17 and a wife who smokes says he saves $50 to $65 per week by shopping in Montco.

When the soda tax is outlawed or produces diminishing returns, as the cigarette tax is now doing, I wonder what Philly Democrats will tax next: candy, cookies, crackers, cereals, baked goods, barbeque sauce, salad dressings, salsa, and soft pretzels? How about $1 per cheesesteak and hoagie?

It's only a matter of time before the Philadelphia Democrats will tax you for something else. But there is a remedy - move to the suburbs, as I did 30 years ago. The money you save will surprise you.

|Joe Mazur, Plymouth Meeting

Paycheck deception

The Pennsylvania Senate has passed Bill 166, which it euphemistically calls "paycheck protection" but is an assault on the democratic rights of public employees and school teachers ("Pa. Senate passes 'paycheck protection' measure," Philly.com, Feb. 8). The intent of this legislation is to limit the speech of these employees through their democratically elected unions to advocate for their jobs and communities. Public-employee unions have long championed programs that benefit everyone, from a higher minimum wage to smaller class sizes for our schoolchildren.

The Philadelphia Unemployment Project urges state House members to oppose this bill.

Proponents of this bill insist that they are protecting workers' paychecks from union leaders. There already is a remedy for that. When members are unhappy about how their money is being spent by their elected leaders, they can vote them out.

Our organization is proud to stand with the unions that have stood with the most-disadvantaged members of our community. We urge House members to educate themselves on the real value that Pennsylvania's labor movement brings to our commonwealth.

|John Dodds, director, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Philadelphia, jdoddspup@aol.com

By lying, Flynn broke his bond

When I was in the Army in the mid-1960s, three things were drummed into me: First, complete the mission. Second, bring as many troops back safely as possible. The third was simplest of all: An officer's word is his bond. It was not just about honor; it was critical because soldiers up and down the chain of command needed to count on your word. Otherwise, the mission and soldiers' lives could be at risk. There were times when I was tempted to report things to make me look better than the truth, but I could never talk myself around that maxim. For four years overseas as a lieutenant and captain, my word was my bond. It still is.

Now I learn that Michael Flynn, a retired Army general advising President Trump as national security adviser, could not be counted on to tell the truth ("Real reason Flynn was fired," Wednesday). Apparently others knew that Flynn had a loose way with facts as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency before he was fired from that post.

What happened to, "An officer's word is his bond?"

|Joseph W. McGuire, Mount Laurel

True patriotism

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired for refusing to enforce President Trump's immigration order, which she saw as unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the White House was in a quandary about her notification that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Russia ("Trump knew Flynn misled Pence," Wednesday).

Being a brave and dedicated civil servant brings no glory, recognition, or rewards, other than the satisfaction that one has done for their country what he or she was asked.

|James Hohmann, Langhorne, jimhohmann@comcast.net

'Who needs Christie'

So Gov. Christie thinks Philly fans are angry and bitter and our teams "suck" ("Christie definitely not believing in 'awful' Phils," Friday).

I have a suggestion. Instead of Pennsylvanians spending their vacation dollars at the Jersey Shore, go to Ocean City, Md. It's a far-superior beach experience at a lower price.

Who needs Christie, anyway? Not New Jersey, and certainly not Pennsylvania.

|David Godshall, Hatfield