Collins is throwing people out of work
As a taxpayer, I am taking a keen interest in the race for Erie County executive. I read the relevant stories in the paper, I watch the news on the local TV stations and I made sure to watch the televised debate between Mark Poloncarz and County Executive Chris Collins. I also examined the proposed Erie County budget for 2012 on the county website.
During the debate, Collins claimed that he created jobs in Erie County since he took office four years ago; then he bragged that he eliminated 940 jobs from the Erie County payroll. I'm wondering if he created more jobs than he eliminated, or if the ones he created only cost as much as the ones he eliminated from the county payroll.
He also claimed in a press release about the 2012 budget that he is eliminating an additional 308 jobs from the county, the majority of which are in the Department of Social Services. What he failed to mention is that there is an article in the civil service law (55-a) that provides positions in municipal government service for people with handicaps who are able to do the work. There are 20 such positions in the department, and Collins is eliminating all but eight of those positions and putting handicapped workers out on disability or welfare.
I wonder what Collins has against handicapped people working for a living. Does he not want them in the Rath Building? Wouldn't it be better for these people to be self-supporting rather than be on the public dole? What is Collins thinking?
Ronald J. Paul
Collins earns votes for using Six Sigma
The televised debate between Chris Collins and Mark Poloncarz went about as anyone would guess. Toward the end, Collins made mention of Six Sigma and how his application of these principles has saved Erie County taxpayers a considerable amount of money by identifying everything from overstaffing to proper inventory control. Six Sigma is most often used in manufacturing, Collins' home court, where zero waste of any type can be tolerated because of competition.
As in the fortunate case for Erie County, Collins is savvy enough to apply Six Sigma and the result has been lower taxes and more efficient government. Poloncarz, with a bit of disdain, shrugged off Six Sigma as if it were some type of smoke-and-mirror thing and proudly assured those carefully listening that he would end it once in office. Further, Poloncarz stated he, too, like Collins came from the private sector in as much as he was a private practicing attorney.
A lawyer provides a service, not a product. No wealth is created by someone lawyering, wealth is only moved around. In manufacturing, goods are created from raw materials and value is added. All along the manufacturing chain, wealth is created. Manufacturing is a "meat grinder" that chews up the inefficient and bloated, and rewards the well-managed with success. I'll go with Collins.
Collins should return to the private sector
As Election Day draws ever closer, Erie County Executive Chris Collins is showing his true colors as part of that 1 percent of the population that controls 99 percent of the wealth.
In his televised debate with Mark Poloncarz, Collins made it clear that paying overtime for longer shifts to already overworked sheriff's deputies is, in his anything-to-save-a-dollar, pro-business, anti-worker, anti-union world, preferable to hiring new union employees.
Add this stance to his beaming pride in reducing the county work force by nearly 1,000 working-class, taxpaying employees in fewer than four years and it becomes clear that Collins is all about money. But then again, his cronies don't work for Erie County or require the services that county offices provide. They don't use the libraries that Collins has cut funding to, or patronize the small cultural groups that are also apparently not worthy of our tax dollars.
Collins stated, "I don't believe government plays a role in those smaller organizations." Government, King Collins, is our tax dollars. The taxpayers he so often claims to be watching out for want their money spent to help support those groups.
Business, as Collins so aptly epitomizes, exists to make a profit. Government exists to provide services. He should take his "my way or the highway" style and go back to running his multimillion-dollar businesses and making a profit. The hard-working taxpayers of Erie County see right through the king's new clothes and we, the people, don't like what we see.
Let's join, energize the new 'we' party
George Will defines America's premise: "Government -- including such public goods as roads, schools and police -- is instituted to facilitate individual striving, aka the pursuit of happiness." Will favors individual sovereignty, as measured by the ability to control one's destiny by amassing and controlling money, independent of an obligation to contribute anything more than a bare minimum to pay for said public goods.
He writes about "the liberal intelligentsia, that herd of independent minds," who, as self-proclaimed protectors of the masses, recognize that Americans exhibit a "false consciousness" imposed by corporate America.
A different perspective sees not a false consciousness, but rather, a physical parallel universe, imposed upon the masses. Because of its unconscionable disregard for the good of the country, evidenced by ongoing, self-centered, direct and indirect purchase and prevention of legislation, corporate America curtails individual sovereignty.
This mandated universe of corporate-imposed misdirected energy causes the loss of individual resources and freedom cherished by all Americans. One major example: since universal health care is not composed by "we the people," a much more expensive universe is imposed by "free market" corporate America.
Will concedes that resources need to be voluntarily and cooperatively committed to build the societal framework to achieve individual sovereignty. Fine. Then let the government function to establish and maintain a health care, education and Social Security system that will enable "we the people" to have greater personal freedom to control our resources, more chance of individual success in a free market and grant us financial security in old age.
Say goodbye to the self-absorbed tea party. We have a new, national, spontaneous and fast-growing mutual support network calling for greater equity. Let's join and energize the we party. There is no "tea" in "we."
Marty J. Walters
Make life more livable for the other 99 percent
I support the Oct. 15 News editorial, "Occupy Wall Street is an inevitable response." What the 1 percent doesn't understand is after 30 years of class warfare, 14 million people are unemployed with lots of free time on their hands.
An analogous situation is a prison where the inmates outnumber the guards 400 to one. Prison management works only because inmates cooperate in the administration. In fact, trusties assist the authorities in managing this difficult task. If the prison administration makes life too onerous, we have rioting, causing death and destruction to both guards and inmates.
At the present time, the inmates are asking the 1 percent to pressure their paid politicians to make life more livable for the 99 percent. The inmates are still being polite. They're saying, "please share the wealth so the economy can grow and lift all boats."
However, if the 1 percent really wants another 13 months of conspicuous consumption while people are losing their homes and jobs, electing a Republican president might be the least of their problems.
Sense of humor helps one deal with bullies
Bullying or discrimination can be based on race, religion, nationality, economic circumstances, physical or mental disabilities, scholastic or athletic ability, physical looks and characteristics, sex and sexual orientation. Often a particular group will be targeted. The sad anomaly can happen when members of a particular minority, who are usually discriminated against, become the majority. Sometimes they will forget their painful past and harass other groups.
Donn Esmonde's article in the Oct. 9 News described a phone conversation with a San Francisco therapist and author about bullying. The article triggered a memory of my own. I knew a high school student who actually had a good self-image. When he was teased about his poor grades, he would respond with a smile, "Jealous?" Somehow, his remark would defuse the situation and they would laugh together.
A sense of humor is a gift that can heal. When it becomes sarcasm, it can also hurt. There's the healing story of this Irishman who scribbled on a sign that read, "No Irish need apply." Underneath he wrote, "The one who wrote this, wrote it well. The same is written on the gates of hell."
The Rev. John Mergenhagen
Congress, lobbyists are the real problem
Campaign finance and lobbying of members of Congress are at the root of our economic problems. Members of Congress represent the special interests and not the people.
Endless wars, outsourcing of factories and office work, importing of illegal alien workers, trade treaties that are allowed to be unfair and huge bailouts and stimulus schemes are the result. The protesters, right and left and all in between, should be demonstrating on the National Mall.
Leonard R. Kaszuba
NFTA must do better or people won't ride
I started taking the subway again last Monday, having not used it since June. The first day, neither of the two up escalators was working at the LaSalle Station. On Tuesday, the 5:03 p.m. train at Church Street never came. The next train, at 5:15 p.m., had two cars, not the three we were promised when the time between trains was lengthened. The train already had people standing on it when it got to Church Street, which meant anyone waiting at a further stop for the earlier train would not be able to get on the later one.
When the train pulled into Allen Street, we were informed it was now an express train and we must get off and board a new train if we were getting off before the University at Buffalo. Consequently, I arrived home one hour after leaving work, instead of the half hour or less it takes if I drive. Why are the fares going up? It is situations like this that are causing people to abandon the NFTA and drive.