Don't pour scarce resources into a Route 219 extension
I am responding to the article in The News about the proposed extension of Route 219 to Salamanca. According to the article, this expensive roadway will provide a better route to Washington and points south, as well as facilitate development and create jobs. I dispute both statements.
Completing Route 219 will not speed the trip from Buffalo to Washington. Once you get to Salamanca, you will still either need to turn west to catch Route 79 at Erie, or east to catch Route 15 at Corning. No saving in time over existing routes, either way.
To speed the trip to Washington, finish Route 15 through Pennsylvania. It's almost finished to Harrisburg, and completing it would really help.
As far as the development and jobs that purportedly would result from this Route 219 extension, I am skeptical. The $130 million, three-mile extension to Peters Road has thus far had a negative effect on Springville, just as the Welland Canal did on Buffalo. Can it help Ellicottville, as Dennis Eshbaugh of Holiday Valley says? It will shorten the trip by a few minutes, but ultimately, I think the resort has just about maxed out its capacity to hold skiers. How about the casino? I'm sorry, I have never been able to see casinos as part of the solution; just places where poor people get poorer.
The proposed Route 219 is just another make-work project backed by the unions. The jobs it makes will be temporary, lasting only as long as it takes to build the road. Let's put our scarce money into something that really helps our suffering state.
Occupy protests take advantage of taxpayers
I am most inspired by the Occupy protests because they have taught me a valuable lesson. I have learned that if I am short on cash for vacation next year, I can take the family camping on any public property instead of paying a state park $25 a night. All I need to do is find a cause to protest; there are no shortage of issues there. Really, how do they get away with it?
Those charged with abuse are exceptions to a fine staff
I am chairman of the Family Committee of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York and parent of Craig, a young adult with Down syndrome. I am proud to help represent the 40-plus voluntary agencies that provide excellent services to our loved ones. Disturbed by recent media stories, I am compelled to state publicly that in my experience, the majority of staff who work with individuals with developmental disabilities are talented, committed and caring individuals who have chosen to seek a profession that generally pays less than others. Instead, they have chosen in favor of increasing the quality of life for our more vulnerable citizens. Granted, most do get the satisfaction of a smile or experience a remarkable achievement with someone they serve and it is part of why they went into this profession.
It is sad to hear that the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has suspended 120 state workers on charges of serious abuse. It is a concern that these alleged serious crimes can happen today. So many of these individuals with disabilities can achieve when supported by people who really believe in them. Our Craig has benefited from many of these noble staff from DDAWNY. These people are our unsung heroes who deserve our recognition and support, and should not be painted with the broad brush of those who take advantage of our children's innocence. I salute these wonderful professionals.
Both parties disappoint the American people
Growing up, I have to confess to being very naive. I believed that the good guys always won, justice prevailed and that the people elected to office cared. Finally, in my eighth decade, I have shed my naivete and understand that justice does not always triumph. Look around you.
I have been a liberal all my life and voted that way starting with a very proud vote for Harry Truman, that gutsy warrior. I echo Shakespeare's Mercutio as he cries out to Romeo, "a plague on both your houses!" That's how I feel about the two political parties today. The once-proud GOP has generated a clutch of buffoons instead of legitimate candidates for the presidency. The once respected party of Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln has generated a scary gang of papier-mache figures. Is that all there is?
Let me not neglect the Democrats. They and their Republican colleagues speak of caring about the electorate, but they accept money from banks, corporations, pharmaceutical companies and insurance giants. They have been in collusion for years. They are bought and paid for. How can the powerless compete?
I truly believe in our young president, even though he also has been naive enough to try to change how things are done in Washington. I know he is trying to help those of us at the bottom without much help from either party. His is a voice crying in the wilderness. He is our last great hope. If we let him down now, we will descend into a night of darkness the like of which we have never seen in this country. Mark my words.
Instead of school cuts, cut top officials' salaries
Nothing upsets me more than school budget cuts. I am a mother of two, and it affects both of my children. My daughter is a high school junior and has been a cheerleader since seventh grade. In addition to cutting all modified and certain junior varsity sports, junior varsity and varsity cheerleading were cut at our school. Luckily, a generous donation from a parent and fundraising has brought back varsity cheerleading, at least for this year.
My son, who has special needs, has had transportation from his school to his after-school program provided by our home school for the past nine years. This year, transportation is not in the budget since the program is not in our district. Our district is very small and has no special-needs after-school programs. The program he is enrolled in is less than 10 minutes from our house and the district will not pay to bus him. I am currently working with an attorney to resolve this issue. Why must a special-needs child have to do without something that is so beneficial to his well being?
Not only have cheerleading, several sports and certain transportation been cut, but some of our music programs as well. These programs help children build character and leadership skills that will be beneficial to them later in life. I am sure there are reasons why these cuts were made, but it seems like certain extracurriculars were singled out. If our school is so poor, why are our administrators being paid six-figure salaries? Will they take a pay cut? I think not.
Mary Jo Dalton