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PSC offers no help on crazy utility fees

I am totally amazed that the state Public Service Commission can call itself that with a straight face. I had cause to call this group on June 2 after receiving an electric bill from National Grid for $41. The problem? I used only $6 worth of electricity!

Seriously, I got billed $6 for electric, $21 for delivery of electric (this is the convenience of having a meter on the premises, like I specially ordered it), $7 in various taxes and fees and a $7 up-charge because my bill wasn't high enough (although it was called an adjustment).

When I called to complain, the "customer service" person transferred me to a supervisor because he was bothered by my being upset. The supervisor said that if I didn't like it I could call the PSC because he "cannot adjust the bill." When I pointed out that National Grid did adjust it up, there was dead air on the line.

So, I followed his suggestion and called the PSC. After holding for 15 minutes, the representative there dismissively explained to me why the charges were reasonable and an electric monopoly is so good for the consumer. I guess if I had a lobotomy, I may have followed her logic better.

I don't know why people are so blindly accepting of 500 percent in fees on a bill. Something needs to change, and soon. I feel like I am totally alone in this battle when the state department that receives my tax dollars specifically to protect the consumer against poor business practices of utility companies fails to do so. Citizens need to pay more attention to their bills and all the ridiculous fees we are expected to pay without questioning. I guess if I were just another one of the sheep, it would be much easier to be led off to slaughter.

Wayne Brown

Buffalo

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Move Over should cover construction workers, too

The new Move Over Law is ridiculous. It applies only if you are a cop or an EMT. I am a highway construction worker; nobody moves over for us. I have not seen or heard of any such law for our workers. The cops and EMTs are on the roadway for about a half hour a day. Try being in the sights of these drivers for 12 hours. A little more help would be appreciated, because our lives are valuable also.

Thomas J. Leone

Orchard Park

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Many gays don't feel welcomed by Church

Bishop Joseph Sullivan's Another Voice column, "Catholics are reaching out to LGBT community," in the June 2 News would have been less misleading had it been written with at least a nod to the Catholic Church's official teaching regarding lesbian and gay people.

While he pats himself and fellow Catholics on the back for an admittedly admirable view that we should not be discriminated against in the job market or in the adoption of children, he neatly passes over the fact that his superiors in Rome still cling to and teach their doctrine that we in the lesbian and gay community are "intrinsically disordered." For this Canisius High School and Marquette University cradle Catholic, I'm hoping you can understand the years it took to overcome the resulting self-loathing.

Sullivan writes that readers "would probably be surprised to learn that Catholics are reaching out pastorally to the LGBT community." But what I feel readers would be shocked to learn is that LGBT groups are not allowed to hold meetings on church property. This policy belies the "attitude of welcoming" he writes about. How does Sullivan reconcile this prohibition with his statement that Catholic teachings "compel us to work toward the elimination of unjust structures and to treat people with dignity"?

I plead with Sullivan and his followers to try to understand that the dialogue he writes about can sometimes be known as "lip service" when it goes on for decades. His news that "Catholics are increasingly reaching out pastorally" may be good news to him, but when there is such little substance at the end of their reach, we fear that we are being treated like Galileo. We only hope that it will not take 400 years to apologize to us.

Dennis C. Stuart

Buffalo

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City Hall needs to get its priorities in order

The Brown administration has some nerve fining Buffalo residents for overgrown lawns and standing in the way of residents trying to beautify unsightly lots in their neighborhoods.

At least twice a day during the work week for many years, I have used the sidewalk on the south side of Clinton Street between Ellicott and Washington streets. The accumulated trash and crumbling sidewalks are unsightly and unsafe for pedestrians, some of whom are blind or disabled. The temporary cinder sidewalk is eroded from months of weather and the storm sewer creates a lake of rain or slush because it doesn't function properly. My phone calls to City Hall were an exercise in futility, unless I could supply an address they could not address the problems, even though they encompass an entire block.

The bus stop at the corner of Clinton and Ellicott streets has become a filthy dump and malodorous open-air public restroom. Do any of the bus drivers who service this stop observe this filth and report it? Why must paying passengers endure this? Again, my phone calls to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority were futile. What a miserable first impression for people coming downtown who use the parking meters along this block.

Jeanne Pinto

Buffalo

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Milstein is a good choice to lead Thruway Authority

I feel compelled to comment on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's nomination of Howard Milstein as chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority. In the interest of full disclosure, I have brokered many properties to Milstein's company, NFR, but we have never met.

As the owner of one of the largest real estate firms in Niagara Falls with knowledge of the marketplace, let me assure you, Milstein has taken on a monumental task. The reality is, before NFR no one was buying any of the properties Milstein has acquired. I gladly sold my own portfolio in the designated area.

The assemblage makes Milstein one of the largest taxpayers in the Falls. In just a few short years, he has cleaned up and now maintains close to 100 acres.

Where others like the Ghermezian brothers, Benderson and now Cordish have left the market, Milstein's group perseveres in an environment in which it is tough to do business. It is interesting to note that these developers, including Milstein, have been successful elsewhere.

Milstein has given generously to many community events and charitable organizations and it's my belief that Western New York should embrace him. He is a successful businessman who pays his taxes. New York State is fortunate that Milstein has been tapped by Cuomo to head up the Thruway Authority.

Bruce J. Andrews

Lewiston