Dogs work in humans' interest
With all the indifference and negative publicity attending the incarcerated, the New Leash on Life program brings out the back story, and thus the humanity, of each of the inmates involved. Oddly, there's more human interest by adding the dogs - the idea that two lives are being saved.
As trustee chairman of the Philadelphia Prison System, I have struggled for more than six years with its intractable problems. Most news about the prisons is bad and, try as I might to evangelize the good, it's one step forward and many, many back.
New Leash founder Marian V. Marchese approached me with her idea years ago. I was skeptical, as were others in the prison administration. But today we're genuinely pleased with the progress for both dogs and inmates. Moreover, and we never anticipated this, Mod 3 has become one of the easiest units for our correctional officers to manage. It's a success and a feel-good story all around.
Stephen A. Madva, Philadelphia
Turnpike goes extra mile to save
The Inquirer's view of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's efforts to utilize an innovative federal program to finance an important construction project was off the mark - and riddled with inconsistencies ("Turnpike's global E-ZPass," May 15). While the newspaper calls for state officials to find ways to fund transportation improvements in Pennsylvania, the editors fail to recognize the significant impact of the turnpike's investment in our commonwealth's infrastructure. In addition, the paper raises a red flag about the commission's debt, while urging our agency to go back to the bond markets to seek financing for these projects. Such a move would only add to our debt.
You cannot have it both ways. The turnpike is pursuing this nontraditional option precisely because of our debt profile. As a result of this innovative transaction, we are advancing a major infrastructure project and we will save our agency - and, by extension, our customers - roughly $35 million in borrowing costs.
Several Philadelphia-area organizations have taken advantage of this program, securing more than $500 million in loans for the region. So the commission will continue to pursue innovative ways to ensure that the turnpike - and the state's transportation infrastructure - continue to serve the citizens.
Mark Compton, chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Seniors must flex political muscle
With so many older Americans under economic assault, we need to take action so that this year's 50th annual observance of Older Americans Month isn't just another Hallmark holiday. More than 10 million retirees are experiencing the cancellation or significant erosion of once-guaranteed benefits. So America's seniors need to flex their muscle and be a force on Capitol Hill to fight back. One way is through ProtectSeniors.Org.
Ronald Przybylowicz, Ridley Park
Eroding Clinton's fan base
It was a tearful scene watching Hillary Clinton at the flag-draped ceremony for the U.S. ambassador and the three other brave Americans killed defending our Benghazi embassy. But with what we now know, how could anyone with a clear conscience vote for Clinton?
Don Landry, Franconia, firstname.lastname@example.org