On prayer in Galloway:

Respect all beliefs

Regarding the Aug. 21 story, "Pastors to Galloway Township Council: 'Muscle up' on prayer":

This country was founded on the principal of religious freedom. When I attend a public meeting, any prayer presented should either include my religious belief, or no prayer should be presented. I believe that everybody in this country is so entitled.

So, I say, yes, "muscle up" and do the right thing and respect everybody's right to their religious belief.

ALBERT MERRILL

Galloway Township

Residents must support

B.L. England plan

Regarding the conversion of the B.L. England generating station from coal to natural gas:

As part of this project, a gas line would run from Millville to Upper Township. My understanding is that the pipe has been rerouted several times to satisfy environmemtal concerns. Converting this plant to natural gas will remove particulates from the air and greatly reduce emissions.

Environmentalists have shown up at Pinelands Commission meetings to oppose the pipeline plan. I do not believe their concerns are valid when you consider the benefits of reducing the contaminants thrown out by the current coal furnace. People in Atlantic and Cape May counties are all affected by these emissions.

It makes no sense to me how anybody could find fault with converting to natural gas. It is much cleaner and more environmentally friendly than burning coal or oil.

If we want this plant converted to clean energy, it is absolutely necessary that we get our representatives and ourselves to these meetings and not let a small group take away the benefits of cleaner emissions.

A Pinelands Commission meeting will be held 9:30 a.m. Sept. 13 at the Richard J. Sullivan Center for Environmental Policy and Education, 15C Springfield Road, New Lisbon.

Signed comments can be submitted to Nancy Wittenberg, executive director of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, PO Box 359, 15 Springfield Road, New Lisbon, N.J. 08064 or faxed to 609-894-7330.

RALPH CLAYTON

Egg Harbor Township

If E-ZPass saves money,

give users a price break

Regarding the Aug. 22 story, "Toll privatization saves X'way millions":

If so much money is being saved through E-ZPass tolls, then give the E-ZPass holders a price break. This would further encourage drivers to switch to E-ZPass. We currently pay a $1 a month "penalty" for having

E-ZPass. Where's the logic in that?

Also, I recently returned from Italy, where I drove a rental car on the autostrada, Italy's equivalent of the turnpike. They had a version of

E-ZPass, which I did not possess. For the rest of us, they had automated toll collection, which involved inserting cash (paper and coins) after a computer screen told us how much to pay. Need change? No problem, change was given in the slot. The downside to this was that it was time-consuming.

SUSANNE DiVINCENZO

Linwood

Not every judge

should be reappointed

Regarding the Aug. 20 letter, "Christie threatens judicial independence":

The state constitution gives the governor the right to appoint judges and Supreme Court justices upon the advice and consent of the Senate for a probationary period of seven years. The governor in office when the seven-year term expires has the right to reappoint or not without any stated reason. During the first seven years a judge or justice produces evidence of qualification in the form of written opinions and demeanor toward litigants that the governor can use to assess whether to reappoint.

This is an important check on judicial power, because reappointment is for life or to age 70. History tells us that judicial rulings are not always fair and just, as a review of reversals by appeal will disclose. In each such case, some judge or justice is wrong. The same is true of split decisions, where there are dissenting opinions by the judges or justices.

Nonetheless, there are numerous attorneys statewide who are qualified to serve, if asked, so failure to reappoint a sitting judge or justice is not a terrible thing.

FREDERICK W. SCHMIDT JR.

Cape May Court House

Common Core another

bad bureaucratic idea

Regarding the Aug. 22 letter, "Common Core marks takeover of education":

Common Core is just another step in the wrong direction. Proponents are trying to create another solution to counter the inability of the existing educational system to raise the standards in some of our schools.

Throughout our educational system in the past 50 years we have been saddled with one creative program after another - students teaching students, No Child Left Behind and countless others that have diluted fundamental standards and saddled the teacher in the classroom with the need to raise standardized test scores and file endless paperwork to document "progress."

Clearly, our educational system is in a crisis. Inner-city schools are failing students and spending too much money. Teachers are burdened with bureaucratic mandates that divert them from their fundamental tasks.

Common Core is another well-meaning effort to restructure things with a standardized system that will hobble schools with more bureaucracy that will not have the flexibility to adjust to local needs.

The foundation of our country has always been competition. Well-run businesses flourish and others fail. Schools are no different. Common Core adds more "top down" management and a level of inflexibility.

Why not simply permit more school choice? This will produce local competition that will allow parents to select the best performing schools for their children and will allow the best teachers be recognized for their accomplishments.

PETER P. KARABASHIAN

Ventnor

Ventnor recall effort

missing the obvious

Regarding the people who wish to recall Ventnor Mayor Michael Bagnell:

Do they not realize that the elected commissioners, not the citizens of Ventnor, are the ones who chose him to be mayor? So do they want to recall all three - including the former mayor?

CHUCK JEFFRIES

ANGELA JEFFRIES

Ventnor