Walter's experience makes him best choice
I disagree with The News editorial board that Craig Bucki should be elected to the Assembly.
I think we should elect Ray Walter because we have seen him passionately represent the people in his county legislative district, while at the same time representing his elderly law clients at the downtown law firm of Magavern Magavern Grimm with compassion and dedication.
I won't vote for someone who simply has impressive collegiate credentials, as pointed out by The News, but I will vote for someone who has a real record of hard work and honesty, someone we have watched in the County Legislature, someone who passionately espoused the cause of downsizing to save taxpayer dollars.
And I certainly won't vote for someone who will join the Democratic majority in the Assembly, the same majority that muzzled Jim Hayes during all his years of representing us so well in Albany.
We have a choice: promises from Bucki or a record of experience and accomplishments from Walter. As a professional colleague of Walter, I know of his dedication and sincerity. I know of his service to the community, as well. As a member of the board of the Amherst Senior Citizens Foundation, Walter demonstrates that he believes in giving back to his community and has done so with deeds, not words.
I hope the majority of voters will join me in sending Walter to Albany to represent us. You won't regret it.
Laurence H. Woodward
Fire worker who released court surveillance video
After reading The News articles and editorial about Paul Piotrowski's behavior caught on surveillance video in Cheektowaga Town Court, and knowing The News does not have to tell us how it came to possess the official town security camera footage and unsigned sexual harassment document, I believe the release of this information is more than a violation of town policy.
Since the incident happened more than a year and a half ago, and court administrator Stephanie Lewandowski could lose her appointed job if Judge Thomas Kolbert is not re-elected, the sudden release appears to be clearly for political purposes. That would be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits public employees from conducting political activities while at work. Furthermore, whether it was politically motivated or not, I would hope the town feels that whichever employee released these items be immediately terminated for such egregious conduct.
Poloncarz could politicize county executive's office
In the editorial endorsing Mark Poloncarz for Erie County executive, The News observes: "Poloncarz, meanwhile, politicized the comptroller's office in ways that were unhelpful to its mission." If elected as Erie County's next county executive, there is reason to fear that Poloncarz will also politicize that office. Perhaps, that is one reason why Chris Collins engineered "his financial assault on the comptroller's office," which The News criticizes in its editorial.
I agree with the assessment that Collins has exercised "razor-sharp fiscal discipline," thereby removing Erie County from the danger of financial collapse. As a result of that fiscal discipline, Erie County no longer needed the control board mandated as a result of Joel Giambra's disastrous eight-year tenure as Erie County executive.
My fear is that if Poloncarz is elected, he will be more like Giambra than like Collins. Based on some of the observations in the editorial, there is reason to fear that as county executive, Poloncarz may well turn out to be a "Giambra lite."
Richard H. Escobales Jr.
Collins is out of touch with majority of citizens
Chris Collins has demonstrated he is out of touch with most taxpayers. He cut funding for cultural groups, libraries and agencies that serve low-income families. His reasoning -- that these culturals don't bring enough revenue to the community, that he doesn't use the library and that low-income families can be serviced by other agencies -- demonstrates his ignorance of the facts.
Families enjoy the entertainment these venues offer for an affordable price or donation. Libraries provide programs enriching the lives of children, access to computers, study materials and books. Decimating the Social Services Department through layoffs, closing clinics providing neighborhood services to low-income families and saying, "anyone can afford eyeglasses and dental care" only reinforce the fact that he does not represent most taxpayers.
Stating he has brought thousands of jobs to the area while cutting county payroll by 900 positions doesn't add up. These people are entitled to unemployment insurance, costing taxpayers. Many of those laid off are eligible for food stamps and Medicaid. His beloved Six Sigma has no place in county government. Laying off clerical people doing the majority of the work doesn't streamline services, it creates havoc. How much does Six Sigma cost to implement?
Cutting services won't make the needy go away. Laying off the lowest-paid employees creates more need. Cutting funding for culturals is taking enjoyment from our lives. If you enjoy the libraries, Philharmonic, zoo, Shakespeare in the Park and the theater, make your wishes known. Vote for Mark Poloncarz. Send Collins back to the private sector where he can do the least damage.
ECC's admissions policies may be hurting enrollment
As I was reading the article about the decrease in community college enrollment, I couldn't help but think about the enrollment process, specifically at Erie Community College.
When I was interested in a specific program that the college offered, I saw that official high school transcripts were required. As stated on ECC's website, "Until the admissions office is in receipt of the official high school transcripts, you will be held in an incomplete status and will not be able to register."
When I contacted ECC and told the office that I had my bachelor's and master's degrees, both in education that led to New York State teacher certification, (which would have been evidenced by copies of degrees) I was told that it didn't matter and that ECC needed my official transcripts from high school. Requesting transcripts that are more than 30 years old seemed irrelevant when I have two advanced degrees already.
Needless to say, I chose not to attend ECC because of the irrationality of this process and could only imagine that I would encounter other similar illogical thinking along the way.