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Public transit systems need government help

Affordable public transportation is as important to a region's quality of life as the cost of housing, the record of public safety, first-rate education and cultural opportunities. In fact, affordable public transportation is essential to a community. It is a necessity; not a luxury.

No urban area in the United States can flourish without affordable public transportation.

The problem, however, is not the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Public transit systems are guaranteed to lose money. The most successful bus route in the NFTA system, which runs along Grant Street to and from Buffalo State College, loses twice as much money as it costs to operate. The NFTA measures financial success by how little the bus or train ride loses.

Why is this so? It is not because of mismanagement, I assure you. Public transportation must be subsidized by local, state and federal government dollars. Public transportation is not a for-profit business. It is a necessary public service.

Instead of complaining about possible fare increases to the NFTA, direct your calls, letters and newspaper articles to the people who can do something about the cost of affordable public transportation. Call or write to your county, state and federal officials. Tell them to properly fund the buses and trains. Tell them to take the burden off your shoulders and off your pocketbooks.

Gregory Stamm

Former Chairman, NFTA

Williamsville

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President must focus on free-market society

The Oct. 2 News editorial "Put America to work" says President Obama needs to learn from the past how to create jobs and put Americans back to work. It mentions the Great Depression of the 1930s and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Now, let's face the reality.

When the editorial board decides to compare the historical facts with the social and economic issues, why not mention the true facts and what led to the Depression before the American economy prospered after World War II in the late '40s, '50s and '60s when it was rebuilding Europe? Why not mention the Cold War era and the competition it created between capitalist and socialist societies while putting America to work?

Obama's administration must definitely and, as soon as possible, take private lessons on the free-market society with focus on import and export; what works, when, where, why and how.

Let's all go back to school and learn how to solve unemployment problems by investing in research and development. Let's put the basics of the free-market society system back to work, instead of focusing on creating more government jobs that will lead to creation of socialism.

Zanna Vaida

Lackawanna

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Adding barriers fails to address real issue

In the past few weeks, we've seen tragic deaths, injuries and property damage in Western New York caused by apparently distracted/careless drivers. Immediately, someone gets the bright idea that we can prevent all future deaths and injuries by enacting another law that will require barriers around all commercial buildings where people congregate to save us from ourselves.

Let's be careful what we ask for. Has anyone bothered to consider the number of lives this law will save compared to the cost to implement this requirement? Maybe while we're at it, we should go all the way, and pass a law that requires guardrails along every residential roadway and side street. We've had distracted drivers crash into residential homes recently, too. Maybe all roads should have a center rail like the old-time cars at Darien Lake so we can't possibly drift out of our lane. Then we can require all the car manufacturers to add a costly rudder to the bottom of each car. Where does the insanity end?

Larry Staszak

West Seneca

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Postal Service should honor heroes on stamps

A recent News article stated that the U.S. Postal Service is seeking some nominations for an upcoming series of new stamps that will hopefully stimulate some revenue for the service. While I am all for paying tribute to live honorees, which would generate some much-needed revenue, I would caution the government to choose carefully. Being a veteran of the World War II era, I have seen many stamps unveiled. We've all seen the simple flowers and animated characters, not to mention lots of "love" stamps.

Shouldn't we ask ourselves who really deserves such an honor? Does a celebrity like Charlie Sheen, whose only real contribution to the world has been his brazenly drunken attitude, deserve to be publicized on such a national level? What's next, a series of stamps depicting all of the "Real Housewives"? Wait a minute, just think, there could be a mountain of money to be made!

The Postal Service should get back to basics like honoring heroes and real contributors to society. What about a stamp honoring Congressional Medal of Honor recipients? We could teach adults and children about these real-life heroes, like Matthew Urban, most highly decorated World War II combat hero who is even in the Guinness Book of World Records, by having his picture placed on a stamp. The series could have deceased as well as living honorees. There could be different series for different wars. What a great way to make money and inform the public about the real heroes who deserve some real credit in society.

Leonard Mazur

Cheektowaga

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It's time to abolish use of death penalty

The suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer at the young age of 14 was provoked by students who evidently have no regard for the welfare and even the life of their fellows. The messages sent to Jamey taunted him to kill himself and told him that his persecutors enjoyed the idea that he would die. This leads us to conclude that there are some among us who have no conscience and no sympathy for their fellow man.

Likewise, the prison guards who earn a paycheck for killing prisoners in the 35 states that continue to hold on to the so-called "death penalty," despite the evidence that utterly innocent people such as Troy Davis are killed, are also examples of psychopaths without a conscience. The excuse that these state-paid killers are "only doing their job" is as obnoxious as the argument of the Nazi killers that they were told to do so by higher authority.

There is absolute evidence that killing people does not prevent murder. Therefore, those who continue to hold to that practice are either deluded or sadists who enjoy the idea of killing prisoners.

Gerhard Falk

Buffalo