We cannot neglect

water infrastructure

Regarding the June 9 story, "Aging infrastructure/Replacing region's pipes could drive up water bills":

We in the water and wastewater business work to replace mains that are approaching the end of their life expectancy. Unfortunately, it is only when catastrophic breaks grab headlines that most people pay attention.

The conversation about restoring our crumbling infrastructure usually focuses on roads and bridges, which we see every day. Water is out of sight - and generally out of mind. Yet, it's nearly always there when you turn on your faucet. And, more important, it's the one part of the infrastructure we cannot live without.

Experts agree that restoring the water infrastructure will cost us billions of dollars. That inevitably will translate into higher costs in what has historically been the lowest of a family's utility bills. This will not be popular. But the alternative of waiting until something breaks before fixing it is much more expensive and, since this issue impacts public health and safety, is unacceptable.

Accelerating the pace of renewing our systems is a priority for us. But it is also among our biggest challenges. So let's expand the conversation. The next time you drive over a freshly-paved road, ask yourself: "What's the condition of the water mains buried below?"

DAVID BAKER

President

New Jersey American Water

Voorhees

Lawmakers must push

for same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court's ruling invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act is the perfect time for state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, D-Essex and Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature to put pressure on Gov. Chris Christie and Republican lawmakers to recognize the will of the people and support marriage equality.

In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: "The principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution."

Republicans love tossing around the word "liberty" when it suits their purposes on issues such as the Second Amendment, but they have no problem preventing liberty and denying civil rights on the issue of marriage equality. Sweeney and Oliver have fought the good fight on this issue, and now is the time to put pressure on Christie and the Republicans.

MIKE MURPHY

Lindenwold

Remember to tip

restroom attendants

We just got back from an overnight stay at an Atlantic City casino. I was impressed with the bathroom attendants, who were always there cleaning. Many people also came in from the Boardwalk to use the restrooms.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone left a tip, like maybe 50 cents, to show the attendants you appreciate their work? Imagine how much they would make in tips at the end of the day. They have families, too.

PHYLLIS DIXON

Little Egg Harbor Township

Changing the date

hurt airshow crowds

Regarding the June 27 story, "Atlantic City Airshow/Smaller crowd watches sky":

What do you expect? First, President Barack Obama caused budget cuts in the military so that military groups that were expected to give the same performances they do each year could not attend. Second, the airshow was moved from August to June with very little notice.

It doesn't matter to me. I've seen airshows for 20 years in the military, so you can't impress me much with the airshow. But others look forward to it and make plans to attend. Expecting the airshow to be in August, they took their vacation time accordingly. Oops, they moved the airshow to June. Now maybe the boss won't let them change their days off. Even if they can change, they may not have planned for a trip in their June budget. So they take their money elsewhere.

Atlantic City, you shot yourself in the foot and have nobody else to blame on this one.

PATRICK M. MATTHEWS

Galloway Township

Many skipped airshow

with no military planes

Regarding the June 27 story, "Atlantic City Airshow/Smaller crowd watches sky":

The Atlantic City Airshow is a reflection of the times we live in. What was missing ? The opening act, for starters. There were no precision sky divers, no C-130 flight, no C-17 flight, no F-16 demonstration flight and no B-2 bomber. Also missing was the main attraction of previous airshows, the United State Air Force Thunderbirds.

Showgoers just love the roar of the Thunderbirds. Without them, people stay home. You simply can't have an airshow without these major attractions. If the 2014 show is this light on quality performers, you can expect the same abysmal results.

STEVE KRUGER

Brigantine

We've become addicted

to our smartphones

When it comes to the power of the iPhone versus the iFamily, it isn't even close. The iPhone wins in a first-round KO.

Ever been to a family restaurant, a McDonald's, a pizza joint or even a little upscale place with the family? About 10 seconds after you are seated, the phones come out on the table. In another few minutes, the kids are on them talking, texting or whatever.

Mom and Dad probably get three or four calls during dinner and are totally engrossed. Nobody talks to nobody, and nobody is interested in what nobody is not saying.

I really thought it would take a few generations to get to this point, but I was wrong. It is here now. Everyone from 8-year-olds to teens, Mom, Dad and even grandmoms are totally consumed, even addicted to the iThing. I have no idea where we go from here. It is actually a little scary.

I guess if you need to talk to your kids or even your spouse you will probably have to text them. The iMonster has taken over civilization.

LEW BRATSPIS

Northfield