Billboards would deface Parkway

One-hundred years after construction started on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway - Philadelphia's grand boulevard, modeled on Paris' Champs-Élysées - the Art Commission is being asked to approve a design scheme that is more Las Vegas than Parisian: graphic advertisements, the largest being 1,200 square feet, on the Municipal Services Building and its neighbor, One Parkway.

The Design Advocacy Group, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, and the Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition, a federation of 24 neighborhood organizations, oppose this project and urge the Art Commission to do likewise.

Commercial advertising has no place on our Champs-Élysées. The parkway vista from City Hall to Logan Square to the Museum of Art is iconic. The proposal is all the more disturbing because it creates a dangerous design precedent - one not in keeping with the country's first World Heritage City.

It is not as though the ad revenue would substantially impact the city budget. The guaranteed revenue stream is a bit more than $68,000 a year - 0.00166 percent of the city's $4.1 billion budget.

The Planning Commission has yet to publish limitations on sign size, height, and embellishments, or identify prohibited locations, as called for in the enabling legislation. It is premature for the city to support a contract when its guidelines remain unwritten.

Let the Art Commission (ArtCommission@phila.gov) know that you agree that advertising on these buildings would degrade the city.

|George L. Claflen Jr., vice chair, Design Advocacy Group; Stephen Huntington, chair, Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition; George Matysik, executive director, Philadelphia Parks Alliance; and Paul Steinke, executive director, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia

Giordano's tantrum

Along with taking a shot at local columnists covering Tuesdays with Toomey's weekly gatherings, columnist Dom Giordano sneers at the legitimate concerns being voiced ("Temper tantrums against Toomey," Friday). He flippantly wrote, "We've reached a point where the definition of Toomey listening to his constituents means going against the things he ran on . . . Many of my listeners voted for him because they trusted he would . . . repeal and replace Obamacare."

A few inconvenient facts: Toomey won reelection by a slim 1.7 percent margin. He has no mandate. Did voters endorse dismantling public education by someone with no education experience and a track record of failure, who bought her cabinet position? No, yet Toomey voted for Betsy DeVos. He also ran on a pledge not to be a rubber stamp for Trump, but that is exactly what he has been. Voters are right to expect, even demand, that he honor his pledge and represent all of us.

If or when the Affordable Care Act is replaced, and many of Giordano's listeners lose their insurance, can't get coverage because of preexisting conditions, and face lifetime caps or a voucherized, privatized Medicare, they may wish they'd been part of Tuesdays with Toomey.

|Rosalind Holtzman, Elkins Park

Meehan should vote against ACA

As a constituent of Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), I urge him to support the immediate repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is neither protecting patients nor affordable.

As a health insurance agent, I have seen the devastating results of the law. Almost all my clients have seen large rate increases, higher deductibles, and fewer choices. My premium has increased 360 percent from what it was before the law was enacted. I lost my plan twice, have a much higher deductible, and lost my doctor when he closed his practice.

The people who are showing up at town meetings will blame the Republicans regardless of whether Obamacare is repealed. If it is not, they will blame Meehan for not adequately funding it, even though tens of billions of our tax dollars have already been wasted on their scheme.

The repeal must lift the burden of mandated benefits and let people buy the insurance that is right for them. We are counting on Meehan to come through and not cave to the loudest voices.

|Ross Schriftman, Horshmam

Media is doing its job

A letter said the Inquirer "cherry picks facts" to delegitimize the president and his supporters ("Blatant bias against Trump," Thursday). The majority of the Inquirer's readership votes blue. If the letter writer wants his personal political philosophy to be catered to, there are lots of places to go, right or left.

I read the opinion and commentary pages every day, and if the Inquirer was so biased, why does it print conservative columnists? Why does it present side-by-side differing opinions on various issues?

I applaud the media for pointing out when President Trump gets the facts wrong, makes things up, or blatantly lies. It is the job of a free press to do this. Stifling the press or calling it the enemy is an obvious move toward dictatorial rule. It is how dictators have operated forever.

|Jack Freehoff, West Chester, jfreehoff@verizon.net

Crossword not puzzling enough

I know that the retirement of crossword puzzle writer Wayne Robert Williams was beyond your control. I miss him. Please retire his replacement, Jacqueline E. Mathews. Her puzzles are not challenging, and some of her clues are insultingly easy, seeming to be more suited for a subpar third-grader. The Philadelphia Inquirer is not the Weekly Reader. Please give us more mental rigor. There's already enough "dumbing down" plaguing our country.

|Kevin McGlinchey, Media