Rash of crashes highlights need for harsher punishment

In the wake of the numerous elderly driver accidents in the area, I believe it is time for major changes to how these cases are treated. First, I have the utmost respect for the generations that have come before me. The thing that really baffles and frustrates me is that when elderly drivers cause thousands of dollars of damage to a business, or more tragically, kill innocent people because of disorientation brought on by old age or other medical reasons, they are not charged or even fined. The keys are just happily given back, the car is repaired and they are back on the road again. How can this be?

It reminds me of another dangerous group on our roads -- drunken drivers. We all know how selfish and foolish drinking and driving is, and the laws and penalties for doing so have rightfully been intensified in the past 20 years. I firmly believe that people who drink and drive and elderly people who get behind the wheel knowing that their senses aren't what they used to be exercise the very same element of selfishness.

My solution is not a popular one, but it is one that can make our roads safer and hold people accountable. I think that people who mistakenly step on the gas pedal instead of the brake and do damage to a business or, even worse, hurt or kill an innocent person, should be treated the same as if they did so while under the influence of alcohol. Whether it is suspending their license, fining them or putting them behind bars, it would make the elderly think twice about getting behind the wheel if the consequences were more severe. This is an idea that will be viewed as harsh, but I think if it was one of your loved ones killed in one of these accidents, that opinion would quickly change.

James Vickers



Buffalo voters need to show up en masse

Good for The News for articulating the bad politics of Republican County Executive Chris Collins. In order to help influence a large city voter turnout, I would like to reiterate some of the points that should motivate city residents to get out in large numbers and vote on Nov. 8.

The Erie County Republican Party is purposely not running candidates for the Common Council, City Court or County Legislature positions in order to discourage city voters from voting. If there is no competition, why vote? When city votes are vital to the health of the city, as in electing Mark Poloncarz, voters just might not get to the polls. Putting the party's money in the suburbs and playing dirty politics should be enough for city residents to accelerate their numbers on Election Day and defeat Collins.

Collins has pulled out of deals to run city parks. He also shuns regionalism and thus the city by cutting day care for working parents, and decreasing funding for the arts, which help to keep the city vibrant and attractive to suburbanites.

By cutting day care, Collins affects the language development of inner-city children who receive additional useful language development through day care. Language development is the foundation for learning to read. Our youngest residents deserve as many opportunities for language development as possible in order to become good readers.

City residents, please get yourself and a friend or two to the polls on Election Day and overturn the prediction that the Republican candidate is hoping for -- low voter turnout in the city.

Marguerite Battaglia



Republican hypocrisy is truly mind-boggling

I find it ironic that Republicans are now accusing President Obama of campaigning for election rather than trying to solve the country's problems. That is exactly what they have been doing since he took office. A little less than a year ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

More important than turning around a sluggish economy? More important than reducing the painfully high levels of unemployment? More important than providing affordable health care for millions of Americans? More important than seeking compromise and negotiated solutions to difficult problems? More than a little political self-interest there, I think. Nor do I recall many of his fellow Republicans repudiating McConnell's priorities since then.

To paraphrase a childhood ditty, Republicans might as well be chanting: "I'm rubber, you're glue; whatever I do, I'll project onto you." The level of hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

Eileen T. Brown



Shale drilling, fracking will reduce energy costs

It was good to read "National Fuel says price to heat homes could fall slightly" on the front page of the Oct. 13 News.

Lower fuel cost is one example of how Marcellus Shale gas drilling and high volume hydraulic fracturing will have positive impacts on consumers' wallets. As industry continues to increase domestic gas production, clean-burning natural gas becomes an even more cost-efficient option for consumers in Western New York and beyond.

Even though Western New York is outside of the Marcellus Shale footprint for active drilling, Western New Yorkers will benefit even more from industry's commitment to explore and extract natural gas safely, economically and with no threat to our environment.

John Holko


Lenape Resources



WBFO should keep on playing the blues

It has been brought to WBFO listeners' attention that WNED may have plans to stop bringing live, local blues radio to Buffalo. What does Buffalo stand to lose if this happens? I believe this can be answered by describing what the blues is. Blues is the existential identity of the everyman. Yes, everyman has the blues. This form of musical identity was given to us by African-Americans overcoming their struggles as a people. By doing so, they have taught a nation to overcome its own struggles. The blues is a distinctly American heritage.

Buffalo has a vibrant family of blues musicians and fans who gather together on weekends around WBFO's local blues shows like seekers to their mecca. The DJs are world class and share the insight, the history and the hope of the blues for people here and as far off as the United Kingdom and France. The blues is a goodwill ambassador.

The good book claims that the good news goes to those who hear. How can one hear without a messenger? Will WNED silence the preachers? Public radio is for the public, and the Buffalo public wants its live, local blues radio.

Timothy Heath

Orchard Park