Great progress is being made on our waterfront

I'm looking back upon the summer of 2011 and am doing so with tremendous appreciation. At long last, Buffalo's long-neglected waterfront is on the move.

From improvements along Canalside, to the concerts and activities scheduled there, to the continued addition of new public amenities at that space, this is really incredible progress that has been made. Next year, I'm confident that we'll see even more progress, with more choices for refreshments and recreation along the water's edge.

I've followed the efforts to improve these areas for years, and each has one common denominator: the hard work of Rep. Brian Higgins. Instead of the pie-in-the-sky, one-shot quick fix we've seen so often in the past, he works on achievable, realistic goals -- and gets them done. To use a baseball metaphor, Higgins isn't always just looking for the three-run homer; he knows that when you hit singles, you will eventually score runs.

My wife and I are eagerly looking forward to the progress we're sure to see in 2012, when more of Buffalo's waterfront areas will become open and accessible to more Western New Yorkers.

Kerry Zelazny



Over-regulation makes any recovery impossible

Most people have heard of the free-enterprise system. Today we have the over-regulated enterprise system. In effect, by over-regulating businesses and corporations, the Democrats have not only prevented an economic recovery, they have made it impossible. When you handcuff businesses with regulation, the free-enterprise system ceases to function.

The most successful time in the history of the United States was when regulation was justifiably needed. Today, we have local, state and federal regulations that actually curtail business and expansion. We could have full employment in a year or two if the government bureaucrats would disappear for a while. This present Democratic government has thrown up too many roadblocks to economic recovery.

Starting with the Environmental Protection Agency, which should be eliminated completely, there should be a review of duplicate regulations that drive businesses to other countries. When Americans cry about businesses relocating in other countries, think about the "do-gooders" in this country who drive good businesses out with paper work, harassment and regulations.

John Ott



Writer has no clue how to create jobs

Rarely have I read an article where the writer so deftly pulls the rug out from under his own feet as "Can the jobs come back?" in the Sept. 4 Viewpoints. After painting an ugly picture of the decline of manufacturing, Patrick Reddy suggests three ways we can rebuild this capacity:

Incentives for technology advances. As an example, he suggests giving a bonus for the design of an engine that gets 100 mpg. Well, if we could build one of those, so could Honda and Toyota, so what would stop Americans from continuing to buy cars from overseas?

Ask organized labor to accept significant wage cuts in exchange for a guarantee of no layoffs. Why should businessmen do this, when they can just wait for organized labor to go extinct? And anyway, this idea came only a few paragraphs after Reddy said that one of the serious problems with American business leaders was their "uncontrollable appetite for cheap labor." How do we get them to go through rehab for this?

Increase exports of our popular culture and natural resources. If "popular culture" means movies, video games and music (which is only about a $10 billion industry), doubling it (a tremendous task) would cut our trade deficit about 2 percent. Small potatoes. How about natural resources? Are we talking about water? We're already running out of that in the Southwest and elsewhere. Timber? That's a raw material; not much value-added work there for American manufacturing. Corn? We're going to need that for the 15 percent ethanol gasoline that the EPA just OK'd. Oil and gas? We don't have any to spare.

When the "solutions" part of an article is only 6 percent of the whole thing, it means the writer hasn't a clue how to really fix the problem.

David Irvin



Why don't Americans utilize right to vote?

Last weekend, Americans in every city, town and village across the nation rightfully reflected upon the terrorist attacks of 10 years ago in tribute to
the victims and their families of the 9/1 1 tragedy. At ceremonies at ground zero, in town squares and sports venues, Americans rallied together in a show of solidarity and patriotism, not only honoring the victims, but also publicly displaying appreciation for the rights, opportunities and freedom that we all share in this country.

Why is it then, two days after an outpouring of gratitude for and celebration of America's freedoms, the citizens of Erie and Niagara counties ignored the most basic of freedoms -- the right to vote -- by staying away in droves in the primary election? When will people in this community realize that primaries are as important as the general election, and by not voting in September, they may not have the opportunity to vote for several candidates whom they were planning to support in November?

Peter J. Savage Jr.



True D/M/WBE firms are few and far between

I am writing in response to The News article, "Contractor in scam gets a year of probation." It said Oscar Rayford was "one of Buffalo's most prominent African-American contractors." Prominent because of his community involvement, maybe. But as a contractor, I don't think so. He was no more than a broker, using his minority business enterprises to make $3 to $5 on a cubic yard of concrete, 3 percent on shuffling paperwork that identified him as the supplier on material, etc.

Yes, he did fulfill a need in the construction business that is rampant with "quotas and goals." The agencies that set the quotas and goals for construction projects do not like to hear the words, "We can't find a D/M/WBE [Disadvantaged/Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprise] to perform this type of work." We were required to send out notices requesting quotes from firms as far away as Albany for a job in Olean because we could not meet our "goal" for the contract.

There are legitimate D/M/WBE firms that perform services in the construction industry, but they are few and far between and usually have a heavy backlog of work. Very seldom will you find a supplier that is no more than a broker. The system of granting status to these firms needs to be changed by conducting a more extensive research by the agency of the firm requesting this status.

James M. Wright