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More police are needed to help revive Chippewa

The News article regarding the decline of Chippewa Street appears to be based on the "broken window" theory, which in essence states that if you repair the broken windows, remove the graffiti, cut the weeds and tidy up the street, you will be able to re-establish a productive environment. The business owners on Chippewa feel that this will help bring back the over-25 crowd that made this area socially vibrant and financially lucrative.

Sorry. Although these are necessary for the aesthetics of a successful commercial area, the most important element is missing. First and foremost, people need to feel safe and secure.

What turned Chippewa Street around in the late '90s was the fact that then-Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske followed a model set by the New York Police Department. This required saturating the problem area with highly visible police officers on foot patrol. Citizens felt a sense of security, realizing that because the police were on every corner, the chances of criminal activity were substantially reduced. Consequently, people who would normally spend their money in the suburbs after an event at Shea's or Studio Arena were now willing to venture up to Chippewa Street. As a result, they had a new and wonderful experience in downtown Buffalo. The word spread and Chippewa and its businesses thrived through the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, that was then. Budgetary cuts and police manpower reductions have impacted the city in many areas. The magic of the Chippewa experience is gone. The loss of a continuous and dedicated police presence has taken away that sense of security and has most certainly led to the demise of this once-great party venue. It will take more than brooms and paint to bring it back.

Larry Ramunno

Chief of Patrol, Retired

Clarence

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Norway shooting highlights value of right to bear arms

If there ever was an example of the mayhem that can result when the right to own and carry a legal gun is taken away from the honest citizens and even the police, look no further than the bloody carnage in Norway.

The criminal will always find a way to obtain a gun illegally and a totally unarmed public is a sitting duck when this type of individual goes on a rampage. To those who would gut and revise the Second Amendment, taking away your personal protection, think of a world where only criminals have guns, knowing full well that your family and your household have no defense against lawlessness.

Carmon Becker

Arcade

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Hit-and-run drivers have no conscience

On July 9, in the early hours, my 22-year-old son was walking home from the Queen of Heaven lawn fete and was hit by a car on Center Road in West Seneca. The driver didn't stop. I received a call from my son telling me he was brought by ambulance to the hospital. My immediate reaction was panic. This is that phone call a parent never wants to get.

His sister and I arrived at Mercy Hospital's ER and found my son with a broken arm, possible concussion, possible broken foot and cuts all over. He was extremely grateful and felt lucky to be alive and alert. Because he was hit from behind, he had no recollection of the impact and not much memory of the ambulance ride. Our emotions were all over the place. We were extremely grateful that my son was going to be OK. However, I am angry and bitter that the driver didn't stop to see if he or she had killed my son. Instead, he was left on the ground. A witness called 911 and stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. I am assuming a drunken driver hit my son. A sober driver knows when he has hit something as small as a squirrel and would certainly notice hitting a 22-year-old man. This happened on the same night that a girl was killed in Amherst by a man charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a fatal incident.

What goes through the mind of people who strike a pedestrian and keep driving? Where is their conscience? Do their lives go on normally? Ours don't. I am lucky; my son will heal. Other families are not so lucky. Leaving someone to possibly die is unforgivable. We are paying the price for their actions. Come forward and admit your guilt. Victims of hit and run carry this with them forever. You should, too!

Patricia A. Cunningham

Orchard Park

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NFL able to compromise, so why can't politicians?

Now that the most important issue to a vast majority of the American people appears to be settled, we can exhale with a sigh of relief: there will be football this season and for many more to come. Now attention can be focused on other less essential issues: the debt ceiling and the budget crisis.

I am sure that a solution will be reached just before the country tumbles over the precipice into economic chaos and default. Political brinkmanship is similar to the NFL crisis. Government leaders will cobble together a budget and raise the debt ceiling at the last moment. All sides, Republican, Democratic and tea party members, will claim that it is their plan that carried the day and saved us from the abyss. Six weeks later, when the plan fails and we are still in the morass, each side will claim it wasn't really their plan after all or it was subverted by partisan politics from the other parties.

Perhaps then NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the representatives of the players' union will come to the rescue to show government officials how to work together for the best interests of the American people. Why not just tie budget problems in with the football settlement and save the bickering? That's smart business and politics, and it will save time. Then we can get back to more serious issues, like saving the NBA and creating more millionaire basketball players.

Ronald J. Cohen

East Amherst

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Focus on facts and logic, ignore emotional rhetoric

Many would like to see the downfall of the United States of America -- from extremist right-wing conservative groups to those with economic rather than ideological goals. One way to achieve their goal is to ruin our economy. This is a good time for such a ploy, with our economy still working to be strong. This makes one wonder why the tea party is so willing to gamble with our future and to allow the country to default on its loans.

Responsible people take pride in paying their debt. Who is guiding the strategy of the tea party? Who is funding its effort? Do we know what its ultimate goals are? The tea party does not appear to have the rational values of the traditional Republican Party. At this crucial moment of U.S. history, we need people who use facts and logic as a basis for their decisions. The tea party appears to rely on emotion without reason, meaningless rhetoric and fanaticism. We can only hope that their misguided actions do not destroy what is left of the country.

Patricia M. Costanzo

Elma