After the last two,

ready for new president

Regarding the Feb. 26 letter, "Sad state of presidency? Which president is that?":

George W. Bush allowed the national debt to reach $10.4 trillion. Barack Obama has pushed it to $17.4 trillion.

Obama topped Bush's "too big to fail" policy. He bailed out Chrysler and General Motors. Now the former is owned by Fiat. The Treasury sold off its 61 percent of the latter at a $10.5 billion loss to taxpayers.

Hurricane Katrina was Bush's Waterloo. Obama's was the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Obama wasted $500 million on Solyndra, which produced solar cells for cars, despite no market for them.

Obama has had his problems with numbers, but given he was in the dark on the GSA, IRS, DOJ, NSA and HHS scandals, he also can't keep track of his ABCs. As for Bush, he just struggled with saying them.

Hillary, come on down.


Galloway Township

Forcing confrontation

rarely works out well

Regarding the Arizona law that would have allowed business owners, based on their religious beliefs, to refuse to serve certain customers:

You cannot deny services to people because they are gay or lesbian. You may not accept certain lifestyle choices, but that has nothing to do with people's right to exist or their freedom to practice their preferences.

Having said that, I do believe that individuals still reserve God-given rights of choice over whom to serve with their time, skills and resources. However, this choice must be practiced discretely and with decorum.

There are many different ways to decline to perform services for a prospective customer, which can be done without making anyone feel bad about themselves.

This is where people get it wrong and create unnecessary social crises.

Political and religious leaders should exercise more wisdom in dealing with such issues. Forcing a legal decision can result in requirements people regret down the road.


Egg Harbor Township

Average state workers

aren't pension problem

Regarding the Feb. 26 editorial, "N.J.'s $100K club/A broken system," about public employees whose pensions exceed $100,000 annually:

Thank you for finally pointing out the most important aspect, which has been obscured or misrepresented by politicians who have used public employees as a scapegoat for the financial crisis they have largely created themselves. That is, it is not the rank-and-file clerks, teachers and police officers who are members of the so-called 100K club.

In fact, the average public-employee pension is less than half of that, and we now pay more into the system as well as toward health care. Raises are scarce and limited by the 2 percent cap. The retirement age has been raised, as have the work years required to earn a full pension.

It is the administrators and high-ranking officials, many of whom are political appointees, who benefit from this system. Many of them run large organizations and are the equivalent of chief executive officers in the private sector, so I cannot judge their worthiness. But the animus that has been created and directed toward the rank-and-file employee is misplaced.


North Cape May

Pinelands Commission

right to bar pipeline

Regarding the Feb. 27 editorial, "Natural gas and the pinelands/ Revive pipeline":

The Pinelands Commission did not approve a memorandum of agreement that would have allowed a natural gas pipeline to be constructed through the Forest Management Area. There are more reasons to object to this plan than the two categories you mentioned.

The memorandum of agreement would have been an unlawful violation of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan's process. The plan expressly limits such memorandums to public development carried out by a public agency. The Board of Public Utilities, which applied for the MOA, would not be building this pipeline. It would be built by South Jersey Gas - a privately owned company. Ratepayers were to be saddled with paying 40 percent of the cost, and the pinelands were to be sacrificed to make all that possible.

You are right that it is not the commission's business to create jobs or boost Cape May County's economy. Its role is to protect, preserve and enhance the Pine Barrens. The pipeline project would not do any of these things. That's why in 1980 such projects were written out of the Comprehensive Management Plan.

Those who wrote the plan knew that linear development by big private companies would endanger the pinelands ecology and promote inappropriate development. They also knew that if they enforced a clear set of rules, businesses could plan accordingly and prosper in and around the pinelands.

Seven commissioners voted, in my view, to protect and preserve the pinelands. I thank them.


Pinelands Preservation Alliance