Mascia has fine record of civic involvement
I respectfully request that The Buffalo News review its endorsement for District 1 of the Erie County Legislature. The editorial did not mention Conservative Party candidate Joe Mascia. He has been elected three times as a public official by voters within the district. He is a zone chairman of the Democratic Party. Mascia is endorsed or supported by the Police Benevolent Association, Service Employees International Union Local 200, Buffalo Building Trades, elected officials and organizations in the Broadway/Fillmore, Allentown, Hispanic and African-American communities.
Mascia's record of civic involvement is extensive. The day the editorial ran, The News had a story about his role as chairman of the Police Reorganization Commission. News archives are replete with reportage on Mascia's advocacy on the Kensington Heights asbestos debacle, opposition to a proposed waterfront parking garage, his role as Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority commissioner and countless other matters.
The omission of Mascia from the editorial is an affront to the voters of the district. His exclusion from the process is an insignificant error only if the endorsements themselves are insignificant. I begin to suspect Mascia's candidacy faces head-winds unrelated to his suitability as a candidate.
Terrence A. Robinson
Collins is correct about rat control
In response to "The candidates and the issues: Rodent control," I agree 100 percent with Chris Collins that the rat problem should not be a taxpayer problem. If citizens kept garbage cans covered, abandoned vehicles cleared and pride to keep a clean neighborhood, it should help to reduce rat problems. We have a responsibility to keep our neighborhoods clean.
I take exception to Mark Poloncarz's absurd statement regarding rat control, "if we're not going to do it, who will?" This is so typical of the thinking of Poloncarz's affiliation -- let the government do it. If he opens the phone book yellow pages, he will find out there are plenty of companies that will do it. Those same companies will also employ someone, pay taxes and benefits and get the job done professionally.
Bill Yeates Sr.
Poloncarz understands fiscal responsibility
County Executive Chris Collins is quick to gloat about the hundreds of jobs he has eliminated from county government. What he fails to mention is that many of these positions were funded by state and federal grants. As a result, Erie County has lost a substantial number of services at a paltry savings. Under Collins, we have lost vital environmental, health and social services in Western New York.
Who turns away free money? In fact, the state and federal grant money also comes from our taxes. By refusing to accept the grant funding, it is merely spent downstate or out of state instead. We are, in effect, taxed for services we never receive. As my grandmother would have said, "penny wise and pound foolish." It's time to elect someone who understands fiscal responsibility -- Mark Poloncarz.
Citizens can make a huge difference
Have you ever wondered if your vote matters? Even just three people can make a difference. Last week, I attended the Clarence Fire District information meeting regarding the Fire Department request for a $6 million bond. No Town Board members were present; the taxpayers were on their own.
The pitch was to get citizen approval for firehouse renovations and improvements -- including nicer lockers, a clock tower, more truck bays, more parking. The general impression by the taxpayers seemed to be that this request was way over the top, and particularly bold at this time of widespread economic struggle and uncertainty.
The next morning, I received a flyer put together by a concerned citizen. I had a few thousand made and paid to distribute them to district households. Another brave fellow put a big "Vote No" sign on his pickup and parked it across from the fire hall.
One week later, the motion was defeated by a more than 2-to-1 margin. This is despite only a one-week learning period, a very slim three-hour voting window, crowded conditions and no signage or help from the firemen. Many voters left due to the chaos and long wait, yet it's clear that just a few citizens can make a tremendous difference.
Power to the people.
Joseph N. Weiss
Collins sits on surplus while cutting services
I was pleasantly surprised to read of The News endorsement of Mark Poloncarz for county executive. I believe The News has sensed the growing support behind the fledgling 99 percent or Occupy movement. I only wish the paper had been more enthusiastic in its endorsement.
Without a doubt our current county executive is Mr. 1 Percent himself. Chris Collins sits on a massive surplus while putting people out of work and reducing funding for theaters, libraries, medical clinics and day care centers.
Hopefully, the suburban denizens who continue to shout the fallacy that Collins has cut taxes (as if that is the only mark of good local governance) will see the truth. The truth is that Collins raised taxes in order to increase the salary of one of his 1 percent club appointees.
Come on, Erie County, let's send the second strong message in as many elections. Let's can Mr. 1 Percent.
Affordable health care for everyone is essential
Here we go again. It's that time of the year when we have to pick out our health insurance. A recent News article reported that the local health insurance companies are going to raise the rates almost 6 percent. It's bad enough that people out of work can't afford insurance for their families, but now the average worker has to put up with rate increases and his deductible increasing by a large amount.
In the meantime, paychecks remain the same and people are afraid to go to their doctor because of the increasing fees that we have to pay up front. I know my family has cut back on going to the doctor because of these high deductibles that we have to meet. When will Congress realize that health insurance for everyone should be a top priority in this country?