Build Shore dunes in off-season

It is shocking to learn that the dunes construction for Ventnor and Margate is scheduled for the height of the tourist season ("Towns get bad news on dunes," Wednesday). All year long, merchants and vacationers look forward to summer months at the Shore. Surely the planners should care about people and the impact that construction will have on their lives and livelihoods.

There are enough off-season months when the building could take place without creating financial hardships, limited access to beaches, and constant loud noise. Let's hope that logic will prevail and the timing will be adjusted.

|Janet Zolot, Bala Cynwyd

Trump flunks American history

President Trump's ignorance is mind-blowing. Hearing him say, "People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?" I am tempted to throw up my hands and surrender, because if he really, seriously thinks no one asks why there was a Civil War, he's hopeless ("Trump muses on Civil War cause," Tuesday).

Every American - especially the president - needs to know, at the very least, the fundamentals of American history. What could possibly be the excuse for his embarrassing lack of knowledge of the Civil War?

All American students study the Civil War in elementary school through high school. How could Trump be so ignorant about basic American history?

So, while I'm tempted to surrender, I can't. I will keep calling out this president's ignorance. It's my only hope.

|Claire Gawinowicz, Oreland

Kenney standing up for democracy

A commentary's misplaced criticism of Mayor Kenney's position on sanctuary cities and its demand that the mayor begin "that discussion" is relatively meaningless ("Kenney must offer details on Sanctuary City policy," Sunday).

The City Charter outlines the parameters for a "strong mayor" form of government, and, thankfully, we have a strong mayor who doesn't take polls to make moral choices. The Pew Charitable Trusts found that 58 percent of Philadelphians polled supported the mayor's position.

Kenney has stated repeatedly that the administration is closely monitoring how to respond to any actions taken by Harrisburg and Washington to withhold funding. The city is in a high state of preparedness, along with pretty much the rest of the world. If we lose the basic values that sustain our democracy, starting here in Philadelphia, who will speak for us?

|Donna Gentile O'Donnell, Philadelphia,

Black votes matter

When Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Mo., three years ago, the city had a white mayor, a white police chief, a predominately white police force, and only one African American councilman. There were many factors that contributed to Brown's death, the subsequent rioting, and the genesis of the Black Lives Matter Movement ("D.A. race crucial for blacks," Monday).

It is critical to remember, however, that without input from African American voters, Ferguson's government was allowed to run roughshod over its citizenry. Philadelphia is not Ferguson, but if community members want their government to respond to their needs, they need to show politicians, prosecutors, and judges that Black Votes Matter.

|Paul L. Newman, Merion Station

Schools should support free speech

The confrontation between a Downingtown STEM Academy administrator and two teenage antiabortion protesters outside of his school is the latest example of what is experienced when conservative students decide to speak up about their beliefs in academic settings ("Official on leave after video rant," Tuesday).

The same political biases that are blatantly rampant among the faculty and staff at colleges and universities now appear to be leaking into our nation's high schools. This incident is eerily reminiscent of a professor who confronted two pro-life protesters on the University of California Santa Barbara campus in 2014.

Preventing free speech is something that you expect these educators to fight against, not encourage through their words and actions. I hope this assistant principal is using his time on paid leave to reflect on why free speech is a cornerstone of our society - even speech that does not fit into his particular worldview.

|Ryan Navarro, Carnegie, Pa.,

Legalize pot for public safety

Wasting the time of our police officers, lawyers, and judges by trying to arrest marijuana out of communities is like trying to put handcuffs on a ghost ("Following Colorado's lead on pot is a bad idea," April 27).

The relative safety of marijuana and alcohol shouldn't have a bearing on whether they're legal. Drunk driving causes 28 deaths a day in this country, but I would never advocate that we make alcohol illegal again. We tried that in the 1920s, and the devastating increase in violence and corruption made us realize prohibiting a desirable substance is ineffective. It's only the result of sensible regulation that there's no such thing as a beer cartel today.

Almost 20,000 Pennsylvanians are charged with minor marijuana possession every year. That's 20,000 times an officer could have been chasing down a dangerous criminal, and 20,000 cases clogging the workflow of overburdened prosecutors, who should be able to focus on legitimate crimes against people and property. Pennsylvania and every other state should regulate marijuana for adult use so law enforcement and the justice system can focus on serious crimes that actually hurt people and communities.

|Patrick K. Nightingale, speaker, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Pittsburgh,