Letters to the Editor

A stand-up guy

By 1944, only five African Americans had ever enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy. Subjected to continual harassment, none lasted longer than a year. In 1945, African American Wesley A. Brown enrolled in Annapolis and was subjected to some of the same racism that had plagued his predecessors. During Brown’s first year, a midshipman first class, with a heavy Southern accent, stopped by his room. Brown might have legitimately wondered if this white Southerner was inviting him to some hazing ritual to get him to withdraw from school. Instead, the midshipman extended his hand in friendship and gave Brown some words of encouragement. Brown graduated in 1949 as Annapolis’ first Black graduate. Today, the Wesley A. Brown Field House at the U.S. Naval Academy bears his name. That midshipman was Jimmy Carter, our 39th president, who celebrated his 99th birthday on Oct. 1. Whatever you may think of Carter’s politics and policies, you can never disparage his morality, integrity, and sense of fairness.

Paul L. Newman, Merion Station

Bad call

Although I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I was disheartened and disgusted by that awful third-strike call on Bryce Harper Thursday night. Sure, I want my Bucs to defeat their dreaded cross-state rivals, but not by having one of the most exciting players in the game tossed out for arguing a terrible umpiring call. But I have an idea: Since Major League Baseball has people in New York with multiple TV monitors to review and possibly overturn calls on the field, why not also give them authority to review — and potentially eject — umpires who make such terribly wrong calls? A little accountability could go a long way. My (Pittsburgh-born) mother always said that even the worst things sometimes had hidden positive consequences: Perhaps that kid who got Harper’s batting helmet will be able to sell it in eight years for enough money to pay for his entire college education.

Jim Vespe, Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Promising district

In her recent column on the Bellwether District, Inga Saffron highlighted its redevelopment potential for Philadelphia. While comparing it to the Navy Yard, widely recognized as one of the most successful redevelopments in the country, it’s important to note that connectivity and transportation were not an “afterthought.” PIDC, which acquired the 1,200-acre campus in 2000, has consistently worked to connect people to its quality jobs and public amenities. This includes operating our own Navy Yard transit service, advocating for expanded SEPTA service, and introducing a pioneering zero-emissions automated shuttle.

When the naval base closed, it eliminated 10,000 jobs. PIDC has since transformed the site into a thriving — and connected — business destination, with 150 companies, 15,000 quality jobs, and 20 acres of parks, public art, and community events that bring people together. A new master plan with development partners Ensemble/Mosaic will bring over 12,000 additional jobs, 8.9 million square feet of space, and $6 billion in diverse and inclusive new investment over 20 years. While transportation challenges need to be addressed comprehensively, the Bellwether District’s ambitious plan is poised to deliver major investment and jobs, while continuing the transformation of South Philadelphia into a greener and more sustainable economic hub.

Kate McNamara, senior vice president, Navy Yard, PIDC, Philadelphia

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