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Home-based businesses are unfair to neighbors

The Sept. 12 News article detailing procedures for starting a home-based day care business should raise a number of questions and concerns for residential property owners.

When is a single-family residential neighborhood not a single-family residential neighborhood? When is a business run out of a single-family residence not a business? When are local zoning codes created to protect single-family residential neighborhoods not enforceable? When do our federal due-process rights and privileges to be heard not exist? The answer to each of the questions above is when New York State law and regulations say so.

While the desire to provide adequate child day care is a fine goal, existing state law and policy to achieve that goal fail to consider the impact on the integrity, character and safety of existing single-family residential neighborhoods. This is precisely where such day care centers would be located.

When the state uses its "pre-emption" powers, it should not lose sight of what it is pre- empting; in this case, local laws created to protect the needs and reasonable expectations of residential property owners. The current policy needs to be reviewed in an effort to better balance the needs identified by the state and the needs and expectations of those property owners.

Charles Holden

Amherst

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Vogel offers good advice on how to reach potential

I really hope that The News' readers continued on past the 9/1 1 tributes last Sunday. If they had proceeded to the Viewpoints article written by Mike Vogel, they would have read some of the most important words relating to the future of Western New York. Coordinating layers of government and bureaucracies, making policies more important than politics, and creating governance for the good of the community are essential for us to reach our full potential. New York State, as a whole, would also benefit from these changes.

Elizabeth Grady

West Seneca

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Banks must act boldly to jump-start economy

Corporate America is sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars in the form of uninvested profits. The banks are holding those dollars, plus hundreds of billions more that they have borrowed from the federal government at less than 1 percent, while lending to retail consumers at high interest and making mortgages available only to A customers with 20 percent down. Taking no responsibility themselves, they blame the government for the lack of economic growth.

While it is true that government is too big and too intrusive, the primary reason the government's effort to stimulate the economy is failing is that private-sector capitalists are not acting like traditional capitalists. They are acting timidly, putting corporate profits, consumer savings and stimulus funds "under the mattress," rather than allowing the monies to circulate.

In a role-reversal, government has become the risk-taker, pouring billions into the economy in the hope that the return on investment will come in the form of jobs and tax revenues. That hope is thwarted when money stagnates in bank vaults. Corporations are "waiting to see what happens." Banks hope that tight lending practices will enable them to recoup losses for their bad investment decisions that created the mortgage crisis. Both need to step away from fear. They need to learn from past mistakes and move on. Now is not the time for timidity. It is time for boldness, a return to the traditional capitalism that made this country great. Dolly Levi said it best, "Money is like manure. You need to spread it around to make things grow."

Gabriel J. Ferber

Amherst

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Fire commissioner has no clue what's going on

On the 10th anniversary of 9/1 1, Mayor Byron Brown and Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield dedicated new firefighting rigs for the fire service. All of the firefighters and families at the dedication were utterly stunned to see the mayor's signature on the doors of the new rigs.

This latest act of disrespect to Buffalo firefighters is the last straw. Names that are put on fire apparatus and over firehouse doors are reserved for firefighters who have died in the line of duty or have contributed to the fire service in some unique way. Our clueless fire commissioner presided over the ceremony, oblivious to the disrespect taking place. As Whitfield walked around shaking hands, firefighters stared at him and the mayor in disbelief. The next day, Brown decided to have his name removed.

This fire commissioner is like a fish out of water. Whether he is curbside at a three-alarm fire or at a Fire Department ceremony, he seems to have no clue as to what is going on. To all Buffalo firefighters, stay safe and watch your backs, because no one else is.

Phil Ryan

Retired Buffalo fire lieutenant

West Seneca

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War-like statements make peace in Mideast unlikely

Look no further than the statements by the PLO's ambassador to the United States that there is no room for Jews in any future Palestinian state as proof positive that peace in the Middle East will not be achieved simply by a declaration of independence, but requires a genuine acceptance of the right of all people there to live in peace.

However, the dream for a democratic movement and true change in the hearts and minds of people in the region occasioned by the Arab Spring seems far-fetched when measured against the war-like statements of the Turkish prime minister and the president of Iran, and the rise of anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Israel statements by revolutionary governments in Egypt and Libya.

Rather than pandering to a Turkish dream of re-establishing its hegemony in the area by an unceasing criticism of Israel, the Turkish prime minister would be better served to advance human dignity by recognizing the inalienable rights of his own Kurdish minority, cease their persecution and work for Kurdish independence. Based on what we plainly see and read, however, any hope for true change is a fantasy.

Lawrence M. Ross

Williamsville

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State needs to cap spending, not taxes

I just received my first property tax bill since the "2 percent cap" began. The total tax levy increased by 2.5 percent (I think there were some provisions for that), the tax rate increased 4.6 percent and the only thing that was "capped" at 2 percent was the amount of the STAR savings. That's some "cap"! Nothing is going to control our taxes until we cap spending.

Donald R. Barber

Fillmore