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Councils must listen to community needs

New York State's new Regional Economic Development Councils present an opportunity to refocus our economic development efforts on projects and strategies that pave the way for the creation of long-term, sustainable, middle-class jobs for the 21st century.

There is an opportunity for Regional Councils to prove one thing -- a model based on social, economic and environmental sustainability can work. We currently spend $8 billion per year in the name of economic development, yet unemployment is high and our communities are struggling more than ever. If the Regional Councils address the failure of our existing economic development programs and are successful at creating the good jobs we need, and are accountable and transparent to taxpayers, they could be good for our communities.

Economic development should be about alleviating poverty and increasing opportunity and living standards by creating good jobs for local residents. Public subsidies should also be about building what people want and need in their neighborhoods, including fostering a more equitable, green and prosperous economy in our state.

It is time to engage diverse stakeholders, listen to community needs and rein in wasteful corporate subsidies. Will Regional Councils do this? The devil will be in the details.

Ina Ferguson-Downing

Member, Coalition of Economic Justice

Member, Voice Buffalo

Board Member, Citizen Action of WNY

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People go to the fair to eat specialty foods

To the letter writers bemoaning the abundance of unhealthy, deep-fried food at the Erie County Fair, two words: "demand" and "supply." If tofu burgers and spinach salads were big sellers, there would be no shortage of vendors offering these items. People go to the fair and other festivals for food not available at home. Lighten up and eat a doughnut burger once a year.

Alan R. Bojarski

North Tonawanda

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Liberals should stop whining about Bush

I'm so tired of seeing the liberal lies being printed in The News opinion column. The so-called surplus that draft dodger, pot smoker, adulterer and impeached Bill Clinton left was from raiding the Social Security trust fund. George Bush came into office with a Clinton recession, a burst dot-com bubble and a serious Muslim terrorist problem that Clinton failed to address despite chances to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

Yes, Bush did spend money on Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind and two wars, one after we were attacked by Muslim terrorists on 9/1 1. That might not have happened at all had Clinton done something about the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 1996 and 1998 embassy bombings that killed our troops and many innocent civilians and the 2000 USS Cole attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Bush has added $5 trillion to the deficit, not $7 trillion, as one writer posted. President Obama's stimulus was $787 billion, which went to $862 billion with added expenses, like more money for unemployed Americans. Yet unemployment still went to 10.2 percent instead of the lower 8 percent that he promised us.

Past policies by Jimmy Carter and Clinton made banks lend money to low-income home buyers who did not understand their mortgages and could not pay for them, which led to the 2008 economic meltdown. Since then, Obama has spent trillions of dollars with nothing to show for it except a 9.1 percent unemployment rate and an ever dropping stock market.

Obama has failed to present a budget after 800 days. He'd rather go on vacation and play golf than handle America's economic problems and the serious problems in Libya, Syria and Iran. Obama has been president for two and a half years. Have him take responsibility, instead of pointing fingers and whining about Bush and the tea party.

Christine Ziolkowski

Buffalo

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Article highlights need for immigration reform

Four beautiful faces in Emma Sapong's report about her nephews humanize the story of our twisted and punitive immigration laws. Can it be that the same nation worthy of the gift of the Statue of Liberty would rip 10-month-old twins from their mother's bosom and deport both mother and father to a land where they faced mortal danger?

Yes, we do need immigration reform. We need humane laws that recognize global poverty and conflict. We need laws that keep faith with our values as a nation of opportunity. We need laws that return to the sentiments engraved on that plaque inside the Grand Lady standing in New York's harbor: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free "

Jack Norton

Program Development

The Belle Center, Buffalo

Tonawanda

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'Price Lock Guarantee' for cable is meaningless

I just received my August billing from Time Warner Cable and discovered that a 15.9 percent price increase for service is included in my bill. Having signed up for the aggressively marketed "Price Lock Guarantee" program last year, wasn't I surprised to find out that "Price Lock" was just a fancy marketing scam and didn't really mean anything to the folks at Time Warner?

Being one who lives on Social Security, my income has been "Price Locked" for at least the last two years. Apparently Time Warner feels that its 15.9 percent increase is justified in a stagnant economy where people are struggling to make ends meet. I guess I'd like to hear just what "Price Lock" means to Time Warner while I patiently wait for Verizon FIOS to come to my area.

Fred Domanski

Angola

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Nice to see politicians involved in good cause

I attended the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis walk in Delaware Park on Aug. 6, and I must say it was a great turnout for a great cause. However, one thing that stood out to me was the lack of local elected officials. The only representative I did see there was Sen. Mark Grisanti from Buffalo. He was walking with his family to support ALS. I even had a chance to meet and talk with him and I could grasp from our conversation that he was very interested in charitable work and has genuine concern for the people.

It is refreshing to see that all politicians are not out for themselves, and that some take time out of their very busy schedules to support such a great cause. I wish more public officials would follow Grisanti's lead, and not show up only for ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking ceremonies.

Michael Dantonio

Buffalo