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Great things happening along the waterfront

I am very excited about all of Buffalo's new downtown development, especially the Lafayette Hotel and the Statler Towers. They will be the crowning jewels of the city. I applaud Mayor Byron Brown for the great job he is doing in providing an atmosphere that allows so many great entrepreneurs to reinvest in this city. I agree that Mark Croce should receive the $5.3 million needed to secure the outside of that amazing structure. What's the alternative? A parking lot? You've got to be kidding. Anyone who's ever been in that beautiful building would agree. That hotel ties our rich past with our future. Everyone in Buffalo should read "City of Light" by Lauren Belfer to appreciate how great this city was and can be again.

I love the way the waterfront development is evolving. I think it's wonderful that the public is involved in making so many decisions. People are doing a great job. Remember that being so close to the lake makes it very seasonal, which is wonderful in itself. I was just there for the Ultimate Dance Party at the Central Wharf and it was magical. It was a hot, muggy night and there were tons of people enjoying it. The Pride of Baltimore was docked at its side. A crescent moon was out. Music was playing. People were laughing and dancing to the oldies all over the boardwalk. Now I call that a great success. My friend was in from San Diego for two weeks and she said next year she wants to spend the whole summer here because "there's so much to see and do in Buffalo."

Now that summer is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to Curtain Up! and the theater season. I have season tickets to Shea's. If it were up to the pessimistic anti-preservationist, Shea's would be gone, too. I live in the suburbs but I love the energy of the city.

Haline Waliger

Lancaster

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Random boat stops don't benefit anyone

As a boater in Western New York for more than 50 years, I've witnessed the increased patrolling of our waters and have the same questions as mentioned in the Aug. 27 News article. I understand that the world has changed and there is an increased need for protection, but I also question if we're getting a good value for our money.

It would be interesting to see what has actually resulted from all these patrols. How many infractions, rescues, alien captures, threats, etc., have been logged? At what cost? Do we need six-plus separate jurisdictions to achieve this? I would expect this level of performance would be celebrated if it were justified, yet none of the jurisdictions has offered anything of substance.

Randomly stopping boaters (some multiple times a day) does not benefit anyone -- it only increases our cost and has a negative effect on the boating community. It's time to look at this process and adjust it to whatever benefits us best. I'm sure we can improve it while lowering the costs for everyone.

Eric Glassman

Clarence

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How can Collins proclaim roads are in good shape?

Chris Collins has a lot of nerve saying Erie County's roads are in good shape. Evidently he hasn't been in southern Erie County. Pot holes aren't filled yet. Some roads were never mowed. Brush is so thick that you can't see the fields. Since the highway barn was shut down, the roads are in terrible shape. Very rough.

Cora Trumpore

Lawtons

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Save heaps of praise for returning veterans

My, how attitudes have changed. I was a Marine in the early years of the Vietnam War. Ten men in my outfit came home in coffins. The remains of two others weren't even recovered until a decade or so ago. We did our jobs in the heat and the dust and the monsoon rains and the mud, slept under mosquito netting in old tile-roofed barracks abandoned by the French a decade earlier, and prayed for a two-week-old letter from home.

Nobody called us heroes. Far from it. In fact, I consider myself fortunate that I got back to the states before some of our fellow citizens started spitting and calling us baby killers. I do not think I could have handled that very well at all.

But, like I said, attitudes have changed. In Amherst recently, the Town Board saw fit to honor one of its own, Council Member Jay Anderson, with a proclamation, because his U.S. Navy Reserve unit had been called to active duty in the Persian Gulf. People attending the event used superlatives like "sacrifice" and "courage" and "bravery" in praising the departing councilman for his service.

Wow, the pendulum has swung from spitting on returning vets to honoring them before they even leave. I'd say that's progress -- but maybe a little too much. Please don't get me wrong. I commend Anderson for serving his country in an era when most other young men seem interested only in how their country can serve them. God willing, he will encounter no hostile fire and return safely to his loved ones. But I can't stop thinking that maybe we might want to save those proclamations and superlatives for the men and women in uniform who know from hands-on experience what words like sacrifice, bravery and courage actually mean. If we send them off with our highest praise, what words are left to use when they've actually earned it?

Richard W. Dawson

West Seneca

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Social programs helped create our middle class

Once again, a pro-tea party letter appeared in this column accusing our American-born president of being a communist. I think the tea party needs to think big. Here are some other things it can do after it eliminates Obamacare and reinstates the pre-existing condition clause in our health care policies.

Go back to 1970 and eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, which comrade Nixon created in response to growing public demand for clean air, water and land. After all, this is big, intrusive government we don't need. I remember those days of pesticides and birds hatched with no wings and two heads. Expectant moms, don't drink tap water anymore.

Next, go back to the '60s and eliminate those big safety-net programs comrade Johnson created. You know, Medicare, Medicaid and civil rights.

After that, revisit the '50s and dismantle the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 created by comrade Eisenhower, and reverse Brown v. the Board of Education. Your crowd vehemently opposes any federal interference in states rights.

Finally, the 1930s. Here are just a few things comrade Roosevelt gave us: Social Security, the FDIC, a national minimum wage, working hours legislation, legalization of labor unions and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which ended child labor nationwide.

Maybe tea partyer Sarah Palin can use her vast knowledge of American history to explain why the things listed here did not create a strong middle class. Sarah, begin with Paul Revere.

Jay Surman

Cheektowaga