City shouldn't meddle in ECC's education
The last time I looked Erie County owns all of Erie Community College's buildings and grounds, not the City of Buffalo. The last time I looked Erie County, New York State and student tuition funds Erie Community College, not one penny comes from the City of Buffalo budget.
I find it insulting that the City of Buffalo and its politicians want to drive their economic engine on the backs of community college students. Students have enough to worry about. Plus students are taken advantage of by the ripoff parking attendants anytime there is a major event downtown. Parking normally $3 a day was $20 when the World Junior Hockey Championship was in town this past December and some students did not go to class because they could not afford to pay to park.
The last time King Joel Giambra meddled in ECC's affairs as county executive he almost lost the college its Middle States Accreditation to grant degrees. All the politicians who represent the City of Buffalo are doing it for their own selfish political agenda. Every day in the fall and spring semester I see Metro buses loaded with city residents coming where to the North Campus, to take the same classes offered at City. These students don't even want to go to the City Campus. Leave ECC alone; the board of trustees and the administration of ECC have a plan in place to consolidate classes and offices to fit uniquely with all three campuses and to benefit the students, not someone's personal political agenda.
In my opinion, to get it right, ECC should sell all three campuses, make its half-billion and build a new modern updated campus with dorms where it belongs, in the middle of Erie County. Then no one should have a complaint.
For years, Gaughan has given us choices
Regarding Kevin Gaughan's July 10 Viewpoints piece, "While WNY stands still, the world passes us by: Downsizing can get us moving again and help revitalize our region," I have a serious question.
With all of the intense rhetoric locally (Rus Thompson, Carl Paladino, tea party affiliates and other ideologues), as well as the drumbeat nationally for less government, why is it that so few are ready, willing, and able to buy into Gaughan's vision for the future?
Gaughan has been presenting this vision for over a decade now and is still, at best, getting a lukewarm reception.
Reforming 'money' will improve our system
The July 3 reviews of "Age of Greed" by Jeff Madrick and "The Wizard of Lies" by Diana B. Henriques are spectacularly relevant in the continuing financial system breakdowns showing since 2007. I only wish every student of the times and the ending of this era would keep this page handy. While both authors finger greed as a rampant factor, the reviewers admirably critique the missing key to the problem in each work.
Madrick can only see a fail-safe in "more regulation," while Henriques "stops short of any psychological speculation" regarding Madoff-type behavior.
Philosophy has always known the real problem is money itself. Niall Ferguson has studies that show there is always a downside to the use of fiat currencies. It allows both persons of ill-character as well as governments to "game the system." Unless money is reformed, and fiat currencies ended, the spectacular examples profiled in both books will be exceeded, for greed knows no bounds.
How that will happen is going to be the story of this century. Being prepared means reading these two reviews and the books they cover, then studying the masters. Today's economists accept as facts that which are only economic theories, and treat as theories that which is known fact. In the financial laboratory of money and derivatives, it is a terrible mistake with an awful price to eventually pay.
David R. Conners, M.B.A.
The public has no idea what corrections jobs are like
Although I agree on parts of the July 9 editorial, "Good move on prisons," there are others that I cannot agree with.
The fact that the 132-bed Buffalo Work Release Facility in Alden is closing should not bother most people, it's a minor blip on the radar screen. Unless you work there. I have 15 years in the department, now as a supervisor.
Most, if not all, of the general public have no idea what corrections is all about. They think that the prisoners are all in cells away from staff and we carry weapons inside the facilities. This is not true. The majority of the facilities in this state are medium security, which means we are bumping elbows with rapists, murderers, robbers and any other criminal you can think of in a dormitory setting. No bars or walls between us with a 60-1 ratio most of the time. We carry no weapons inside the facility.
Twenty years ago, prisons were over-filled and violence-prone, so the state expanded the system to accommodate. Now they are releasing more and more violent offenders back into our neighborhoods without regard for public safety. Look at the sex offender registry and tell me that I am wrong.
The fact is simple, the inmates being released on parole now are violating their terms before they are even released and nothing is done about it. If the public wants to be outraged, they should look at that indisputable fact. New York State does not want to keep these inmates in prison and will do anything to release them because of money.
Finally, I also understand that the public is under the assumption that our pensions are draining the state taxpayers, but they aren't. Our pensions are paid into by members for the first 10 years for more senior employees and new employees will pay into theirs their entire career. We are being lumped in with all the other unions and this is unfair.
So the next time you hear people complaining about state workers, ask them if they want to walk beside 300 of the most violent people in the state in a yard with three to four other staff. No? Enough said.
Donald C. Lockwood
Work together to keep American jobs secure
Recently I noticed enthusiastic interest in an outlet retailer advertising products made in the United States. Why can't government, business, investors or whomever work together to find the many products that can be made in the United States? Imports might make it a bit more expensive to do so, but the concept would create jobs. Perhaps some manufacturers currently relying on imports would consider moving some production here.
We seem to be waiting for that new concept to push us forward while there are thousands and thousands of products waiting to be made in the United States. Government, business and the people should join together for the good of our great country. We can do it. Let's do it.