Veteran teachers are valuable asset to city
Unfortunately, after the article, "A growing divide" in the Nov. 13 News, we feel that many people who say they want the best for the children of Buffalo have stopped listening. It's time to respond. We are proud Buffalo Public School teachers and members of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.
As teachers have become the enemy, it has been our union and union president who have stood by us. We are tired of the stones being thrown. We are tired of being disparaged because we are veteran teachers. Between the three of us, we have more than 50 years of experience. Why is that bad? Our love for teaching and our experience make us assets in our schools, not dinosaurs as some would have you believe.
Rather than throwing insults and trying to find scapegoats, we think it's time for those who yell the loudest to startlistening.
Six Sigma has helped manage Erie County
Erie County Executive Chris Collins instituted Six Sigma when he took office. Six Sigma is defined as a management method that seeks a measure of quality that strives for near perfection by eliminating mismanagement and reducing waste. Mark Poloncarz said that he would ditch Six Sigma when he takes office in January. I guess that means that the county will go back to the old way of doing business. No wonder the unions love this guy. After all, isn't that how we got the famous "red and green" budget?
Any reasonable person would look at the success of Six Sigma and conclude that this is a management style that should be embraced. Maybe Poloncarz feels the old "tax and spend" policy is the way to go. We will stay tuned to see how our new county executive stands up for the taxpayers. I know that the unions, libraries and the arts community are already standing in line with their hands out. In the meantime, I'll get my checkbook ready.
Public transportation could be the next target
As a retired Border Patrol agent, I would like to offer my perspective on some recent news items.
The current administration has halted deportation proceedings against most illegal aliens. Hundreds of thousands of unknown persons, with unknown intentions, are being allowed to remain in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security has halted all Border Patrol operations in transportation facilities in the interior. This minimally invasive monitoring of the traveling public has, historically, been one of the most productive operations for the Border Patrol in the enforcement of immigration laws.
The Transportation Security Administration director recently disclosed a very credible threat to interstate bus travel from terrorists looking for soft targets.
Does anyone else see an ominous trend for public transportation in this country when you remove the deterrent effect of a uniformed Border Patrol agent from an already soft target? And you want to replace the agents with more TSA intrusion?
Policies should benefit the many, not the few
My wife is a Big Sister. She started with then 7-year-old Tina 18 years ago, and to this day is one of the few positives in Tina's life. Tina is trying desperately to escape the cycle of poverty she has endured since birth. Along the way, she has taken public assistance, food stamps, health care and now college tuition help.
I listen to conservative friends and media who castigate the poor as slackers and takers. I listen to the GOP presidential candidates, but never do I hear anything that would help the thousands of Tinas out there who want a decent job and the chance to live a normal life.
I have a master's degree in economics from the University at Buffalo, and I cannot explain how the GOP rhetoric of the last 30 years: supply side, trickle down, tax cuts for the rich, vouchers, outsourcing, deregulation, tax holidays and the regressive 9-9-9 will help Tina or, worse yet, any of America's lower-income citizens. When will the right wing get a dose of reality and look to actually help people instead of proposals designed to benefit the wealthy few?
Every American deserves access to vital health care
Having recently had my eyesight restored through cataract surgery, I was especially appreciative of the "gift of sight" Dr. Kenneth Anthone performs annually for free through his Eyes on America program for the uninsured. The News article described the life-restoring benefit of the surgery for a local collegiate anthropologist and a self-employed construction worker. Thank God for Anthone.
It was disheartening, however, to realize that a college professor and a construction worker were uninsured and could have remained sightless without Anthone's generosity. As Americans, shouldn't we all have access to necessary health care?
Shopping locally can be a pleasure
The My View column by Julie Ottaway Schmit really hit home. She bemoans the loss of service she experiences everywhere she shops and now turns to online shopping as a remedy. It seems like all of her bad shopping encounters were happening at chain operations. Chains have their place, but if you really want to remember what a pleasure shopping can be, shop locally.
Shopping locally, whether for a gift or something for yourself or a family member, gives the consumer a wonderful personal experience. The small, locally owned businesses can exist only with local customers. Many times you deal directly with the store owner. They want your business and will perform services like gift wrapping and deliver warm personal service for free. They value every customer. Store profits and sales taxes remain in our community -- not out of town or overseas.
I am encouraging my friends and family to shop local this year for the holidays. Give it a try. Who wouldn't like a beautiful handmade special gift, an original piece of jewelry, a creative food or sweet item, a gift certificate for a favorite restaurant or a gift card for a massage or manicure? Think creatively and stop the big-box madness of no service and goods that do not benefit our community. Try shopping Main Street in your community. Take some of the stress out of your holiday season. You will love it!
Mary E. Lowther