Tax cap endangers community services

I am writing in response to the June 29 editorial, "Two cheers for tax caps." Every time The News says the property tax cap is good, it is showing its callous feeling toward everyone who relies on public services and those who bear the brunt of the unfair tax burden.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the cap supporters argued that seniors with fixed incomes especially needed the property tax cap, but their taxes will not be decreased by one cent because of the measure. Nobody else's will, either. If your property taxes are high now, they can go up only 2 percent every year, but nothing in the cap makes property taxes go down.

In the meantime, critical community services are under attack, including our schools, which rely on funding from property taxes to educate our future work force. Why do lawmakers insist on taking the path of least resistance through students, seniors and the sick?

What advocates of the property tax cap don't seem to understand is that payroll is not the only cost of running a town. Take a bad winter, for example. In addition to rising costs of snow- and ice-melting materials such as salt or sand, there is also the added cost of renting equipment to remove downed trees after large storms. Small municipalities have small budgets, and they don't have room for unforeseen expenditures.

When Cuomo and The News endorse these wrongheaded proposals, they are attacking the people who rely on public services the most. There are a select few New Yorkers who have cause to thank Cuomo. The rest of us will hold off our gratitude until our elected officials make a decision that truly helps the majority and makes a decision all New Yorkers can be proud of.

Dennis McNamara



Bisons do a great job of celebrating Fourth

The 17th annual Independence Day celebration at Coca-Cola Field on July 3 was a fabulous and memorable Buffalo event. Our Buffalo Bisons organization knows just how to make the day fun for families of all ages.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as usual, offered a wonderful array of selections from past movies played meticulously. Especially inspiring was the portion of the program that is reserved each year to honor all of the branches of our armed forces. I am a veteran (Marines) and was amazed and appreciative of all the patriotic recognition the crowd offered as each branch of our armed forces was introduced. Buffalo fans are the best.

From the ball game to the fireworks, this event is a must for everyone. Get your calendars out and mark down July 3, 2012, at Coca-Cola Field. We'll be there.

Tom Hoolihan



ECC is working to keep City Campus safe for all

Recently, a local radio show devoted air time to discuss the threat by former county executive Joel Giambra to sue Erie Community College if it proceeds with a plan to erect a new academic building at North Campus. During the show, several callers voiced their concerns about safety at ECC City Campus. After listening to their fears, I feel obliged to set the record straight.

In 2009, ECC hired an associate vice president for safety and security who has developed a safety plan for the college. Under his direction, additional security employees have been appointed, some of whom have completed peace officer training. He co-chairs a Campus Safety and Security Committee, which meets on a regular basis to discuss and resolve safety issues affecting the college community.

ECC has also been proactive in dealing with the important issue of mental health on campus. A comprehensive crisis and non-crisis response plan has been developed; there is ongoing education and training for administrators, faculty and staff on recognizing and dealing with at-risk behavior in students; as well as stress management and suicide education and training for students. A Mental Health Task Force and Case Management Team meet regularly to communicate concerns and manage individual cases.

The ECC board of trustees just approved a transportation fee that will be used to provide students with a parking or bus pass, safety education and training, and subsidize a program that provides attendants to accompany students to their vehicles upon request.

Bearing in mind all college campuses have safety issues, I am writing to reassure prospective students and their parents that ECC's administration and board of trustees are committed to providing students and employees with a safe environment in which to learn and work.

Julianne Fusani



Time for inept mayor to get out of the way

Once again Rep. Brian Higgins has shown why he's a leader, while Mayor Byron Brown has proven beyond a doubt that he's a visionless hack. A restaurant, proposed by two reputable local restaurateurs, which could have opened in time for this summer season, was squashed by the mayor over a minor financial snag. Higgins' anger and frustration because of the mayor's shortsighted action is well-founded.

Having served as an officer in Vietnam on the Little Rock's sister ship, the USS Providence, I often visit the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park and surrounding attractions. I see the area improving little by little and am encouraged by what I see, as well as by the words I hear from first-time visitors to our excellent Navy ship exhibits and beautiful waterfront. But where to eat? Oh, right, the Hatch for a hot dog. So long, tourists!

Buffalo's new slogan -- or at least Brown's -- should be: "Two steps forward, one step back."

Jim Koelmel



Moral matters rank above economic ones

It is with great concern that I reply to a recent letter regarding the "bedroom views" of Catholics. As a self-proclaimed non-Catholic, the writer is clearly unable to grasp that many of us cast our votes for reasons other than "economic matters."

What possible benefit is there in gaining economic security by forfeiting our right to a morally affluent society? As a Catholic, I would much sooner see my family penniless in a society with Catholic "bedroom views" than to fatten my wallet by surrendering to depravity.

Chris Buchholz

West Seneca

Peace Bridge news doesn't surprise us

Is anyone really surprised at the July 1 headline "Plan for new Peace Bridge abandoned"? Let's see -- no new Peace Bridge, no new restaurant at the waterfront, graduation rates down again in the Buffalo Public Schools, etc. Last one out, turn off the lights!

Kathleen M. Rog