Preserve Society Hill's essence

Society Hill has been in the news lately regarding resistance of neighbors to replacing our community supermarket with an out-of-scale, 65-unit apartment building. Our concern, representing more than 600 residents and supporters, is the impact on the historic character and functionality of our neighborhood.

Society Hill, one of the largest concentrations of 18th- and early-19th-century buildings in the country, is a major tourist attraction. The proposed building is two blocks from Independence Hall, a World Heritage site in the country's only World Heritage City. The pedestrian-accessible supermarket, especially important for senior residents, was part of the historic Philadelphia Redevelopment Plan, designed to convert these colonial-era houses into a functional community. The plan's success was recognized by the American Planning Association's 2008 "Great Neighborhoods" award.

Once again, a developer's financial interests threaten to override a community's quality of life and Philadelphia's historic preservation. Will Philadelphia once again fail to protect its citizens and its heritage?

|Patricia Dowden, Gail Hearn, and the Rev. James A. Trimble, rector emeritus, Christ Church Philadelphia, Philadelphia, societyhill5thst@gmail.com

Game-changer for special-ed kids

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that a child's "educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances" and that "every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives even if the child is not fully integrated into regular classrooms" ("Court raises standard for special education," Thursday).

As head of school at Orchard Friends School, I find it frustrating that the ruling is referred to as "raising the bar on educational benefits." "Benefit" suggests something extra that's given with largesse. Children with special-education needs deserve a rigorous and challenging education, just like children who do not have such needs.

Parents too often tell us that the individualized education program they have with their public school is inadequate and often not being followed. Children who have communication, processing, executive function, and social needs that keep them frustrated and not progressing at a traditional school often fall through the cracks. The Supreme Court has changed the rules.

Now, for students in South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware who have special-education needs that can't be met in their public school, a free and appropriate public education is more readily available in a specialized school such as Orchard Friends.

|Beth Donnelly, Riverton, bdonnelly@orchardfriends.org

My Dallas Green moment

I first met former Phillies pitcher, manager, and executive Dallas Green in 1962 when I was 12 ("Blunt, imposing manager pushed Phils to new heights," Thursday). He was a guest at our Little League banquet in Flourtown. What a thrill.

Fast-forward to 1964 at Connie Mack Stadium. After Phillies games, there was always a crowd of fans hanging outside the locker room, waiting for a glimpse of their favorite player. The players would come out and head for their cars. You could talk to them, and they would generally talk back.

When Dallas came out, I told him about seeing him at the banquet. He was friendly and asked my name.

Weeks later, I was outside the stadium with another group of fans. All of a sudden, Dallas exited. He spotted me, and, with a big smile and a wave, shouted, "Hi, Brian!" I was stunned, as all eyes turned to me. I guess they thought I was Dallas Green's best buddy. Anyway, that's the way he made me feel.

|Brian Reisman, Philadelphia

Self-injection sites needed

I read with interest the article on the idea of opening special facilities in Philadelphia where heroin users could inject drugs safely ("Safe-injection sites draw criticism," Thursday). "I don't see much good coming out of it," was the response of Deputy Police Commissioner Myron Patterson.

If your child or family member was caught in the desperate grip of drug addiction, I can bet with certainty that you would be on your knees pleading for a safe place where heroin users could inject themselves.

Where is the outrage at 910 overdose deaths last year in our city?

Addiction is no longer a "them" problem. It has come to "us" as a national scourge that no longer allows us to look the other way.

It is my hope that Mayor Kenney's opioid task force will consider the idea with openness and compassion.

|Leslie Wise, Erdenheim

Innovation, but at what cost?

The goal of every chief executive officer is to increase the profits for his or her shareholders. President Trump has formed the new Office of American Innovation, to be chaired by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and staffed by business executives ("Kushner to head overhaul initiative," Monday). Their aim is to improve the government so that it runs like a successful business.

I worry whether these individuals will serve the interests of their businesses or of the American people. One member has complained of the "friction" that inhibits the growth of the economy. By friction, he appears to mean the regulations put in place to protect our citizens, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Dodd- Frank. With the drastic cuts proposed by the president in his budget, and chief strategist Steve Bannon's call for the "deconstruction of the administrative state," is this an attempt to justify stripping the nation of those departments - the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy, and Education - that have been despised and threatened by this administration.

Our president, with his numerous bankruptcies and lawsuits, has not proven himself to be such a huge business success, nor lately, much of a deal maker.

|Marlene Lieber, Medford