No one is questioning Anderson's service
I was saddened to read what Julia Anderson wrote about me in her Aug. 10 letter, so I wanted the public to know the facts. Neither I nor my board colleagues has ever questioned Jay Anderson's service. For anyone to imply this is simply a cheap shot, and the readers know it. In fact, I was quoted in this paper on Aug. 2 stating, "I support Jay, I pray for Jay." I feel the same now as I did then.
The entire Amherst Town Board has questioned how Chapter 11 of the town code is interpreted. We feel we are right to question whether a law written during the Cold War suits the needs of the town in the 21st century. I have heard from dozens of residents, many of them veterans and their families, about how this law is unfair.
An Aug. 4 News article reported, "Anderson's four council member colleagues all expressed varying degrees of surprise and skepticism this week about whether the town's emergency succession law was meant to apply in the case of a veteran called to active duty."
On Aug. 5, The News editorial board called this local law "absurd" and said it "needs updating." I fail to see where anyone was "attacked."
I have asked for a Continuity of Government Code Commission to be formed to review this outdated code and rewrite it so it better fits the modern times in which we live. The commission will seek the guidance of the Amherst Veterans Committee, Government Studies Committee and the League of Women Voters.
Like many Amherst residents, I am proud to have family members who have served in the armed forces. Those who serve provide us all with the gift of democracy. As an elected official, I feel my gift back should be the practice of it.
Mark A. Manna
Amherst Council Member
Saving Woodlawn Beach was an excellent decision
My hope is that the Hamburg town supervisor and board members will ignore the few nay-sayers who are opposed to the town taking over the operation of Woodlawn Beach State Park. I view the town's action as a great opportunity to show the area that local elected officials, private business and volunteers can be much more effective than the Albany bureaucracy. Supervisor Steven Walters should be congratulated for his vision, learn as the project evolves and not listen to the pessimists.
John C. Travers Jr.
Ombudsman Program is a great way to help others
For more than 20 years, I have continued a family tradition by volunteering with the American Red Cross. As the years went by, I could no longer handle the late-night phone calls to help at a disaster locally or nationally, but I wanted to continue serving this amazing organization. I found that opportunity through the Ombudsman Program, and it's been an extremely rewarding experience.
For three years, I have been visiting the Delaware Nursing and Rehab Center in Buffalo each week, going room to room and talking with residents and their families. My role as an ombudsman is to act as their advocate, working with the facility to alleviate any concerns they may have. I have a good relationship with the staff members, and they have been quick to resolve any issues that arise. It's rewarding to know you're making a difference in the lives of these residents, even when it's as simple as making sure the food is good, which it is.
As an ombudsman, you become more than just an advocate for the residents, you become their friend. After I returned from a vacation, many of the residents told me they missed me. It made me feel good to know I was making an impact in their lives.
The Ombudsman Program is one that can work for everyone. Volunteers can decide when they visit their facility each week, so it fits into anyone's schedule. The American Red Cross provides us with all the training and support we need to be successful.
Training for new ombudsman volunteers begins soon, and I would encourage you to visit www.buffaloredcross.org or call 878-2351 for more information. I have truly enjoyed the experience, and I am sure you will do the same.
Don't the tea partyers see what's going on in Britain?
George Will, in his Aug. 11 column in The News, notes approvingly Britain's wager that it "can simultaneously shrink the state and stimulate the economy." He fails to note the widely held view that Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's cuts are having the opposite effect, as demonstrated by slowing or negative growth in the past three quarters. Will also fails to note that the country is on fire.
Anybody who doubts the destructive impact of budget cuts at a time when the American economy desperately needs stimulus had better pay attention to the news from the streets of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.
If we permit tea-party policies of punishing spending cuts against the poor and middle class and rewarding tax cuts for the rich to go ahead, we can look forward to the same on our streets, and we will deserve what we get.
Calls for elementary economic justice are derided as "class warfare" by Will and his Republican friends, who evidently count on us not to notice the warfare they have waged against us for three decades. The British rioters have noticed.
Chris and Toni Wilson
Let non-partisan panel decide economic issues
An Aug. 5 letter on Americans' poor understanding of economics is right on, but I would carry his argument much further: The debt ceiling nightmare and the downgrading of America's credit rating are the result of allowing politicians to make economic decisions. Even apparently well-educated politicians might ignore their training for political ends; the most disastrous recent example is George W. Bush, Harvard MBA, who took us into two wars and cut taxes at the same time.
Every administration should have a non-partisan panel of economics experts that weighs situations and options for action, and, as with the Supreme Court, the majority opinion should rule.
The same suggestion should be made for natural science. The vast majority of reputable scientists around the world are convinced of a human role in global warming, what causes it, the implications of it and how it can be turned around. But politicians will sift and select and deny and falsify science to satisfy their own agendas, and the results may be global calamity, far worse than anything we have experienced thus far.
We should restore dignity, credibility and trust to the scientific method, and let the conclusions of experimental science, not politicians, make scientific decisions.
Phillips Stevens Jr.