" 'Cultural Understanding' Creates a No-Ticket Zone":

Columnist Harry Gross, responding to a disgruntled motorist who received a parking ticket "about five minutes after the meter expired," verifies that despite its illegality, cars are routinely parked in the center lane on Broad Street from Oregon to as far as Erie Avenue.

When Gross called the Philadelphia Parking Authority, he was referred to the Police Department. A spokesperson who declined to be identified stated: "This is a cultural understanding that was here long before I got here and will be here after I'm gone. We are told not to ticket those cars even though it is illegal."

That "cultural understanding" is not only a "loss of revenue" as Gross indicates (although strict enforcement may counteract any revenue gains) - it's also a flagrant example of discriminatory and selective enforcement that virtually any court would find clearly unconstitutional.

It's only a matter of time before some ticketed motorist, acting on principle, sues the PPA or Police Department for that selective enforcement of parking violations.

Albert Whitehead, Philadelphia

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'Christmas' takes the cake

What a shame the city backed off its intent to rename Christmas Village. I thought this was a good precedent, and was really looking forward to a few years from now when I had to explain to my children why we were eating White-Anglo Saxon-Protestant-Land owning-Male Apple Cake because someone complained that Jewish Apple Cake was. . . too religious.

Michael Popelak, Mount Ephraim, N.J.

After reading Byko's column on "City Hall's Nothing Village," I have to say that as long as there are journalists and citizens who can express the emotions he expressed with the sincerity he expressed them, then, Yes, Virginia, even in 2010 there's still hope - and still a Santa Claus!

Dave Eddis, Lindenwold, N.J.

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Bristol vs. the pro

I just read your article on Jennifer Grey winning "Dancing with the Stars."

Grey is a professional against two kids, one working for Disneyland and Bristol from Alaska. Neither kid ever danced professionally, while Grey's performing with Patrick Swayze in "Dirty Dancing" makes her a pro. (And if her back was so bad, how come she lifted the trophy over her head?)

In the dance-off, Bristol Palin recorded a 27 vs. Crybaby's 30. But as a pro, Grey should never have been in the show. Plus she's a great actress who can turn on the tears.

People recognized that and took the kids to their hearts. "Dancing with the Stars" should be more careful to select amateurs to compete in the future against glorified professionals.

Joseph Cirella, Philadelphia