Regarding the Feb. 26 letter, "Revel can't counter the city's negatives":

Atlantic City, like many small towns, is struggling to find a way to survive. It has big-city issues condensed into a few square miles. Agreed, roads could be better. But this seems to be a problem throughout the county.

"Boarded-up homes" are not just a city issue. Since the housing bubble, they are dotted throughout the county. The writer refers to "dirty little stores." What makes them dirty? Location? Owners? The letter writer may not realize that not everyone can shop at Wegmans Department Store or even Macy's. Low-end shops provide a needed service for folks in the lower income strata. As far as "strip clubs," if men did not patronize these businesses they would no longer be there. "Ladies of the night?" See above statement.

Blaming the city is disingenuous. Have you ever walked down the Las Vegas strip? On the sidewalks, in the light of day, there are cards advertising every crazy need or want or desire.

The writer criticized youth in low-riding pants. Do I want my son to keep his belt around his waist? Yes, but he's a teenager. I'm looking to win the war into manhood, not the battles.

The letter writer also criticized AIDS screenings and programs to provide free meals. Thank God for Sister Jean's Kitchen and the Rescue Mission. They take care of people, including families, who have fallen on hard times. How can you begrudge someone who is hungry and those willing and able to feed them? And how does the letter writer feel about the bus that gives mammogram screenings throughout the county? Cancer is a disease, as is AIDS. Early detection benefits the people concerned and those they love.

I'm curious, what is the writer doing to help change perceptions of Atlantic City? Help where you can. If you can't or are unwilling, please do not denigrate where my family earns a living. Times are hard enough.

GWENN VARTANIAN

Egg Harbor Township