Amphitheater is the answer for Philly events

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A rendering of the Grace Kelly Memorial Amphitheater , which could hold 3,000 to 4,000 spectators. A stage could be added on top of it.

Eakins Oval amphitheater

is the answer for events

The dark and foreboding temporary structure that obscures the main facade of the most beautiful building in America and clogs the artery of our fair city's grand boulevard is a disgraceful display of tasteless and greedy interests that put the priorities of a for-profit, private monopoly (the NFL) over the public domain ("Mega events mar Art Museum area," Friday). Aside from the inconvenience of weeks of snarled traffic, the waste and inefficiency of setting up and dismantling such a structure is considerable.

A more graceful, elegant, and sustainable way of hosting large-scale events on the Ben Franklin Parkway can be facilitated by constructing architect Alvin Holm's proposed Grace Kelly Memorial Amphitheater. It was proposed in the early 1980s and would easily accommodate 3,000 to 4,000 spectators for a variety of events, including concerts, festivals, dance performances - even the NFL draft.

The design makes use of space that was constructed under Eakins Oval to accommodate a trolley station. Additional capacity can be realized by using the area atop the arcade as a raised stage, affording great visibility without blocking the main facade of the Art Museum. Restrooms could be built into the two flanking pavilions, avoiding the expense and effort of providing temporary facilities.

With the increasing frequency of large events on the Parkway, it is time to build this beautiful, economical, and sustainable design that would enable our city to host these events in true Philadelphia style.

|Cameron J. Mactavish, principal, Voith & Mactavish Architects, Philadelphia

Paid leave benefits small firms

As a small business owner and a new dad, I have unique insight into paid family and medical leave. It's considered common sense that new parents are in favor of paid leave, but a majority of small business owners also support these programs.

President Trump has said he supports a paid leave policy, and implementing one at the national level would immensely benefit small businesses. According to a recent poll for Small Business Majority, 70 percent of small employers support a national paid family medical leave program. Additionally, 61 percent of small businesses, myself included, support setting up a similar program at the state level. I personally would have benefitted from such a policy - as I was unable to take unpaid time off from my business when my son was born last fall.

It makes good business sense to take care of our employees - it's crucial to maintaining a healthy work environment. That's why establishing paid leave programs at the state and national levels would lessen the burden on small businesses that might not be able to provide those benefits on their own.

|Joseph Gidjunis, Philadelphia, jpg@jpgphotography.com

Wage hike won't cause layoffs

Gov. Wolf, Democrats, and even some Republicans love fighting for a higher minimum wage because they believe that someone working full-time should not be living in poverty ("Minimum wage hikes a way to buy union votes," April 9). They believe that someone working full-time should be able to buy the necessities of life: food, clothes, a roof over his or her head. Just to make rent on an apartment in this state, someone would need to work 89 hours a week at $7.25 an hour. That's why many lawmakers support paying employees fair, family-sustaining wages.

As of January, every state bordering Pennsylvania has increased the minimum wage above the federal rate. Those states have not seen the layoffs that the commentary predicted for Pennsylvania, and there's no reason to believe we would see them here. It has not happened with any increase of the federal minimum wage.

An increase in Pennsylvania's minimum wage should not be a political football for academics to kick around while workers struggle to survive.

|Patrick J. Eiding, president, Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, Philadelphia

MacArthur should heed voters

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R., Burlington) must be between a rock and a hard place when he labels people he has never made an effort to meet as outside agitators and paid protesters ("MacArthur defends standing with Trump," Thursday).

I have lived in Evesham Township for 38 years. I taught in the Lenape Regional High School District for 27 years, and since retiring I have been a volunteer with the Evesham Historical Society.

The thousands of people MacArthur said he has met in our Third District did not include the 500 or so who attended a town hall in Marlton in February that he declined to attend. I greeted everyone who came through the doors - I saw my neighbors, fellow teachers, past students, and old friends. They came in groups of twos and threes; they were young, middle-aged, and seniors, of many ethnic backgrounds. Some brought children; some were in wheelchairs. It was pretty much a cross section of his constituents. They were concerned about his decisions and wanted to talk to him.

Since he sees no need to hear us, I and many others will continue to be at his office on Wednesday afternoons.

|Janet Rolnick, Marlton

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