Letters: Put an end to the Philadelphia Parking Authority

Put an end to the PPA

The actions of the Philadelphia Parking Authority executive director in the hiring her daughter's housemate show that the PPA is beyond reform ("PPA boss can do better," Tuesday). The only real solution is dissolution, which is easily accomplished. Operation of the PPA's parking facilities can be bid out among the city's many parking operators or sold outright. Its parking-ticket writers can become part of the Streets Department, and taxi regulation can return to the state Public Utility Commission.

The only reason for the PPA's continued existence, as we have seen time and again, is to provide patronage. It is high time that it be abolished.

|Andrew Terhune, Philadelphia

Telling message in Spanier case

Buried in paragraph 26 of Sunday's excellent article on ex-Penn State president Graham B. Spanier ("Plea deals could alter Spanier trial") is everything you need to know about his role in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse cover-up: "The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' or acted upon. We then become vulnerable for not having reporting it." I'd say you're all looking pretty vulnerable right now.

|James Shanahan, Wilmington

Rockin' heaven and Earth

When the Voyager spacecraft were launched into deep space in 1977, they carried golden records containing sounds, images, and messages - including the rock-and-roll hit song, "Johnny B. Goode." A joke at the time assumed the response from someone out there might be: "Send more Chuck Berry."

Those four words underscore the greatness of the man who did as much as anyone to establish rock-and-roll as a musical genre ("Father of rock-and-roll dies at 90," Sunday). Berry was one of the first inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and rightly so. Whatever his personal life might have been like, and regardless of whether one is a fan of his work, none can argue his mark on that universal language all humans share and love: music. So here's my humble prayer in appreciation: "Long live Chuck Berry."

|K.B. Kofoed, Drexel Hill

Jury duty calls - why not serve?

The commentary, "On jury duty, a position of influence" (March 12) offered compelling reasons for people to show up and perform their civic duty. Of particular note was the gratification of connecting with and learning from other citizens while engaged in an act that is the essence of a participatory democracy.

But what can be done to communicate the shared benefits of jury service and its critical importance to those who fail to show up?

Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas has formed a blue-ribbon Juror Participation Initiative Committee to recommend ways to increase the number of potential jurors who respond to their summons. It is looking at impediments including childcare, financial strain, apathy, and fear.

The court's Jury Commission has focused on convenience and technology. In 2014, a new civil jury room was built in City Hall. A new procedure will enable jurors to respond to their summons and questionnaire online, where they can also receive alerts about court closings and juror call-offs. And coffee and cake is once again being provided.

The committee welcomes ideas on ways to improve the juror experience and increase participation. Please email ideas and suggestions to Jury Commissioner Daniel Rendine at daniel.rendine@courts.phila.gov.

|Jacqueline F. Allen, administrative judge, Trial Division, Court of Common Pleas; Sheila Woods-Skipper, president judge, Court of Common Pleas; and Lynn A. Marks, chair, Juror Participation Initiative, Philadelphia

Fight Alzheimer's now

Alzheimer's disease is the most expensive disease in the country. The more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's cost our nation an estimated $259 billion, including $175 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. If we fail to make a difference now, the number of sufferers could soar to 16 million in 2050, costing a projected $20 trillion.

As the sixth-leading cause of death, Alzheimer's is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed. There are no Alzheimer's survivors.

We must urge our members of Congress to support a $414 million increase for research funding for Alzheimer's disease at the National Institutes of Health for fiscal year 2018.

Next week, concerned citizens from across the country will engage with Congress at the Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum. We need you to bring your voice. The association is providing buses to Capitol Hill next Wednesday for Day on the Hill. For information and to register, call the association's 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 or visit act.alz.org/dayonthehill.

|Shirley M. Dash, Alzheimer's Association ambassador to U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, Southwest Philadelphia

SEPTA should deal with homeless

Is SEPTA going to continue to ignore the homeless issue in Suburban Station? Saturday at about 5 p.m., there were no police present, and the people taking up space on the benches but not taking a train definitely outnumbered train riders.

I have always felt the Center City train stations were safe, but Suburban (and, to some extent, Jefferson) have become a haven for Philadelphia's homeless. SEPTA seems to be making believe it's not happening.

|Marianne Ham, Huntingdon Valley