Promote job creation with green technologies

Is the "green jobs" era over? The sudden rise of the tea party seemingly ushered in a new era of "green skepticism." This skepticism pushes for less investment in green technologies and the jobs they produce. If it is allowed to fester, it will do a great disservice to both Buffalo and the nation as a whole.

Right-wing bloggers barely contained their glee when Solyndra, a solar panel company that received federal subsidies from the 2009 stimulus bill, filed for bankruptcy in August. Solyndra executives cited a number of reasons for the business's failure: aggressive competition from China; the high manufacturing cost of its innovative solar panels; and depressed demand for expensive solar panels during a recession.

When it was revealed that a billionaire Obama campaign contributor, George Kaiser, had invested in Solyndra, Republicans were quick to hail the bankruptcy a defeat of "crony capitalism." But if connections between Kaiser's contributions and investments are deemed "crony capitalism," what should we call the billions of dollars Big Oil dishes out to its Republican allies every election cycle in exchange for favorable subsidies and tax breaks?

The Buffalo area is already benefiting from investment in green jobs. Steel Winds in Lackawanna brought jobs to our region (with the help of government subsidies) and currently provides enough energy to power 6,000 homes. Those subsidies were not misplaced: as the fourth-windiest city in the nation, Buffalo has real wind energy potential. We should promote job creation by embracing green technologies, instead of playing politics while our economy falters.

Rick Ahrens



Funding cuts will hurt efforts to curb asthma

After my brother's passing a year ago, I was appalled to hear that the president wants to change the 2012 budget, and merge the National Asthma Control Program with the Healthy Homes/Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and recommends cuts to their combined budgets by more than 50 percent. An estimated 25 million Americans have asthma and out of that number, 7.1 million are children.

The president's budget request proposes to reduce the number of states funded by the National Asthma Control Program from 36 to 15. This would be a significant setback in the progress in managing the disease. In addition, at least half of the school-based asthma program will be eliminated. Please ask your senator to do what is right and help people of all ages with this deadly disease.

Emily Speranza



Lackawanna memorial falls pathetically short

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word memorial as "serving to preserve remembrance" and "something designed to keep remembrance alive."

The USS Arizona Memorial, the USS The Sullivans, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and the 9/1 1 Memorial all represent and afford a venue to remember and honor those who lost their lives during a time of war or tragic event.

The misguided Veterans Memorial Wall at the entrance to Veterans Stadium in Lackawanna falls pathetically short as a memorial serving to preserve remembrance. Aside from the names of Medal of Honor recipients engraved on two columns protruding from the wall, along with a handful of names inscribed on the wall who actually warrant the intended honor, it is a grotesque display of narcissism consisting of a list of names of individuals, albeit citizens of the city who honorably served in a branch of the U.S. military, who contributed monetarily on their own behalf or that of a relative for the privilege to grandiloquently showcase their egos in an open forum. Having one's name inscribed on a memorial while not yet deceased is not only a sordid, morally repugnant expression of self, it shamefully dishonors and disrespects those truly deserving of the unpretentious recognition unfortunately laid upon them by virtue of their tragic death.

The very essence of constructing a memorial designed to keep remembrance alive is predicated on honoring and remembering, not a paid-for privilege.

John V. Hari

U.S. Marine Corps veteran



Parents need to teach kindness, compassion

Is there anyone out there teaching kindness and compassion to his children? If there were, there would be absolutely no bullying. This problem has reached a point where the nation, local police and even Lady Gaga have taken up the cause. Good for her. Bullying has gone on far too long, and it is time that school bullies pay a severe price for what they have done.

In my opinion, in the case of Jamey Rodemeyer, the maximum punishment should be administered, and stricter laws should be enacted for the future. Children should not have to live in fear of riding the school bus, being in a classroom or lunchroom or targeted on their computers. Parents and guardians, do your job -- teach kindness and compassion.

Judith Manka

East Amherst


Food trucks provide welcome competition

The current controversy regarding allowing food trucks to embark on city streets partially strikes me as funny. Having been a food manager for Tops Markets for years in Rochester, as a team we never reacted to Wegmans by whining, weeping and offering up excuses.

Where is the unfairness in business competition? Downtown restaurants ought to place more stake on their product and abilities, rather than their adversaries. As for rents and taxes, we all know the old saying about taxes. So why not give your tenants a rent break during this sagging economy?

I hope the legislation that's on the horizon doesn't strangle itself in the process. Creativity is one asset the City of Buffalo can't afford to lose.

Janice Schlau



Too many businesses fail to return calls

One of the conveniences brought to our lives was "voice mail." How fantastic -- we can leave a message and someone will respond to us. Well, maybe. Why have voice mail if you have no intention of calling back?

Working in direct sales, I find I deal with unreturned calls on a regular basis. It doesn't make me happy, but I deal with it. But a line has to be drawn when it comes to business, whether large companies, hospitals, schools or even your local pharmacy. If you have to leave a message -- with a machine, customer service, human resources or even a real person -- shouldn't your call be returned?

What ever happened to old-world manners? It only takes a minute to call back. Let's hope that 911 doesn't ever resort to voice mail.

Debra Mausteller