The only way that politics and cronyism are going to be taken out of Delaware River Port Authority contracting and management is to eliminate the agency ("Something for everybody," April 28). Imagine if there were private operators of the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman Bridges and they had to compete against each other for our business. Rather than a single high fixed-rate toll, they might offer substantial off-peak discounts and other programs to encourage drivers to patronize one or the other crossing. The only losers would be the politicians and their cronies.
Andrew Terhune, Philadelphia
With political correctness driving grade inflation and a glorification of mediocrity, the planned changes to the SAT can only be interpreted as contributing to the ever-increasing dumbing down of American education. When we place 32d among countries in recent tests of math achievement, there should be an urgent call for more rigorous standards of accomplishment in high school. The traditional SATs have always been a reliable predictor of the best and brightest and should be nurtured, not eviscerated.
Ira Weinryb, Gwynedd Valley, IWeinryb@comcast.net
Power to the people
PSE&G chief Ralph Izzo expressed frustration over the Board of Public Utilities doing its due diligence on the company's "Energy Strong" proposal ("Grimacing over gridlock," April 23). Well, AARP members are similarly frustrated at a multibillion-dollar plan of as-yet unproven efficacy being rushed around processes in place to protect utility bill payers. AARP also wants safe, adequate, and reliable service, and recognizes that some infrastructure work may be necessary. However, this cannot occur under circumstances that circumvent the regulatory process. PSE&G wants a blank check - in utility parlance, "contemporaneous recovery" - which means it gets paid for work despite the fact that such expenses are not analyzed as part of a rate case. But rate cases are necessary to ensure that consumers are not paying more than necessary, as well as to ensure a company makes a reasonable profit. Izzo may be frustrated, but he's not the one who'll be paying the bills for this massive rate-hike proposal.
Ken Lindhorst, utilities advocate, AARP New Jersey, Princeton
The decision to overturn affirmative action as a remedy for past racial discrimination should not be left to a popular vote as Charles Krauthammer and a majority of the Supreme Court contend ("Court gets 'Schuette' right," April 28). Among the reasons the founders rejected direct democracy was that it could allow for a tyranny of the majority. Subjecting the rights and needs of minority groups to popular opinion is a recipe for persecution. Would desegregation and civil rights have happened in the South if voters had been given a say?
Bill Fanshel, Bryn Mawr, email@example.com
Papal pair honors
The commemorative section on the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II was both illuminating and inspiring (April 28). We will save that Inquirer as a special reminder of the day two saintly men were elevated to sainthood - two popes who urged us to live our faith by showing love for one another.
William Cooney, Philadelphia
In a nice restaurant, I observed a father and two young sons wearing hats at the table. It made me wonder what's happened to men who tipped their hats to women, and removed hats upon entering a building and even in elevators. Today's etiquette lapse could lead to wearing hats in courtrooms, places of worship, classical concerts, hospital patient rooms, and, who knows, maybe even in bed.