Poloncarz's victory comes as no surprise
This is not rocket science. For those in County Executive Chris Collins' camp who wonder why he lost, take a look at the numbers in Buffalo, plain and simple. Better than 3-to-1 in favor of Mark Poloncarz, versus Collins winning in the suburbs. Run the county like a business and that's what you get -- a loss on Election Day. Whether Poloncarz is better for our county remains to be seen, but kudos to him and the brain trust in his camp. They played Collins like a fiddle. You see, when you step on the little people, especially in Buffalo, they don't forget.
Yes, business is business, and it has its place (taxes, trimming the fat, streamlining government). But what Collins forgot was that the little folks -- who enjoy the theater, cultural and youth groups and their needed funding -- vote. Oh boy, did they vote, especially in Buffalo, where Collins did the most damage in his budget cuts. It was not a big year election-wise for Buffalo, but just take a look at the Nov. 12 News for a breakdown of the vote. There were big numbers for Poloncarz across the board in every Council district. Buffalo residents could have sat home, but they didn't. The people who felt stepped on reacted.
For a business-savvy guy, hopefully Collins learned a life lesson if he plans to run again. It's more than just a business. It is politics within something known as democracy.
Rush to rehire staff is cause for concern
It is with much disdain I read that County Executive-elect Mark Poloncarz is already suggesting he should hire seven people for his comptroller's office. If the office has been able to conduct business without these seven positions, why would he automatically hire them back? What are they controlling that requires so many people?
If the current employees are working so much overtime that shows you need additional employees, why not consider one position, or two, to see if that is sufficient? Please do not start spending like a drunken sailor because Erie County needs to continue to cut spending, not increase it.
Susan Burzynski Maher
Ride the bus and see those who elected you
We will soon have a new county executive. I am offering a bit of advice to not only our county executive-elect, but to our mayor and the head of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Ride the bus every three months. See and hear the people who elected you, the people whose lives you affect, the people who are the reason you have your positions. See the children, the college students, the individuals struggling with their demons. See the elderly who live with the decisions you implement. We aren't Los Angeles, Seattle or even Atlanta. We are a city and a county struggling with the unwelcome label of third-poorest large city in the United States.
You have employment here; others are not as fortunate. They are the ones who ride the bus, who go to the food pantries, who need the social services the county provides. You will see pride on their faces; you will also see sadness. Their stories will astound you and sometimes frighten you. You will get off the bus and go to your home, your office, your family. If, however, you have some degree of compassion and a desire to remember who you serve, you will not forget them. You will remember them as you make decisions that can help them or add to the struggles they face every day.
Polar bear habitat worthy of funding
It is well-known that the Buffalo Zoo has been searching for the funds to continue its renovation projects. Erie County is willing to put up $100 million to improve Ralph Wilson Stadium, to support a for-profit company which, to the fans, has been a miserable failure for more than a decade.
The Buffalo Zoo, a non-profit organization, is looking for a small stipend in comparison. However, some disgruntled folks who complain about everything The News writes about are at it again in trying to destroy the zoo.
Some concerns are valid. I would like to see the plans for the polar bear habitat, as well as the new entry way. The fact of the matter is, losing the polar bears would be a devastating blow to the newly revived zoo. Attendance has increase by more than 100,000 people over the past few years and is bringing much-needed support to Buffalo and the Delaware Park area.
Close exhibit and send bears to better facility
I am writing in regard to the Nov. 18 News editorial, "Fund the zoo." Here is a cost-effective and simple way to solve the financing issue at the Buffalo Zoo: Close the polar bear display altogether and send the bears to an existing facility that can give these animals the space, water and enrichment they need to thrive.
Polar bears are considered marine mammals since they spend most of their time swimming the vast Arctic oceans. They establish territories measuring in hundreds of square miles. Since four polar bears have already perished in the tiny concrete cell at the Buffalo Zoo -- which has not been renovated since the 1930s -- it's clear that moving Nanuq and Anana is the best decision for cash-strapped Erie County and the bears.
Courthouse should be named for Jackson
Concerning the current controversy about whether the new federal courthouse should be named to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson or Gen. William J. Donovan, I side with the opinion that this honor should go to Jackson. However, given the significant and distinguished lifetime accomplishments of "Wild Bill" Donovan, I suggest the Buffalo Niagara International Airport be named in his honor. If that is not possible, then perhaps the airport terminal could carry his name.
There are many great naming opportunities in Buffalo. Everyone should use their imagination.
Philip J. Brunskill
Add Donovan's name to the Buffalo airport
The News supports the naming of the new federal courthouse for Gen. William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan, the legendary native of South Buffalo. Among other things, he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, founded the OSS, forerunner of the CIA, and was a famous intelligence operative, serving presidents during both war and peace.
I disagree. His varied career was so astonishing that he deserves a higher-profile honor. I suggest that action be taken to name the airport the Buffalo Niagara International William J. Donovan Airport.
We are familiar with named destinations like LaGuardia, Kennedy, Logan, Reagan, Dulles and O'Hare, but there are others that are less well-known like John Wayne, Will Rogers and Eddie Rickenbacker. Donovan would be a fitting choice to add some character to the airport. Some might claim that the potential name is too long. In response, I would cite the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, which is even longer, but fits very well on all the signage there.
This suggestion should in no way diminish my respect for Justice Robert H. Jackson, whose career as an attorney and member of the U.S. Supreme Court was remarkable, perhaps surpassed by his role as the chief prosector of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. Another illustrious native of Western New York, Jackson should be memorialized in a most appropriate location, the U.S. courthouse.
What on earth are politicians thinking?
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wants to do away with child labor laws. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to cut taxes on the wealthiest in the state. In Washington, Congress wants to continue tax cuts for the rich, but wants to cut benefits for military veterans. Defense contractors have been caught using inferior-quality parts made in China for high-tech equipment they are selling to our military, it seems without any consequences.
The U.S. Postal Service is being destroyed by a bill passed by the Republican Congress forcing it to fund benefits for 75 years in 10 years. Wealthy talk show host Rush Limbaugh, leader of the Republican Party, thinks teachers, cops and firemen make too much money. This is a pretty odd comment from someone making $50 million or so annually.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich calls a cop an "idiot" at a public event for giving him a ticket after he broke the law. Oh, and good old Mitt Romney wants the market to take its course, courtesy of the banking fiasco, and let all of the people underwater lose their homes and let investors buy them and rent them back. Happy holidays!
Lift the moratorium on hydrofracturing
The economy in our area is in the toilet. Many -- too many -- New Yorkers are out of work. By lifting the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, we can put a lot of our citizens back to work, earning paychecks.
Without a doubt, we have to follow safety standards and conservation guidelines, but the Marcellus Shale region is ripe with natural gas for our use. It is essential to our economy in New York and across the surrounding states that we tap into abundant, less-expensive energy sources and stop relying so heavily on the importation of foreign oil.
With Niagara Falls just up the road, a ton of electricity is generated, and the price should be dirt cheap for us. The truth of the matter is that because the state charges to produce the electricity, plus levies an additional fee to ship the energy to New York City, I pay more for electricity than for natural gas in heating my home. We need clean, responsibly produced natural gas energy, and the employment stimulus that will come from exploration of the Marcellus Shale.