Keep post office open for Broadway Fillmore
Could someone explain why the Postal Service is the only business required by Congress to prepay health care benefits for future retirees? This requirement is causing the post office to consider closing some locations that have proven profitable. One of them is located in the Market Square on Broadway next to the Broadway Market.
This is a very old community. Most residents rely on public transportation. Being a less desirable neighborhood, mostly low-income people live here. Like most communities, we deal with criminals who prey on the weak and elderly. The post office tells us to use the main office on William Street, which is not a practical solution. It would take two buses and $3.50 bus fare for me to check on my mail in my post office box. And even that location is part of planned closings.
Many of our older residents remember the Great Depression and don't trust banks. Having a post office box allows them to receive their check, in their hands, instead of direct deposit in a bank. They purchase money orders to pay their bills and mail them -- all at the post office. They don't have to worry about their check being stolen from their mailbox on the house.
The post office should also take into consideration its carriers, who slog through unshoveled sidewalks and past vacant buildings, drug dealers and aggressive dogs. The more mail being put into the post office boxes, the less likely a carrier will be injured in a fall or endangered in some other way.
I appreciate the dilemma the post office is in, but the potential damage to our community is much too great to allow the Broadway Fillmore Station to close. I urge people to attend a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Matt Urban Center on Broadway and voice their concerns about this proposed loss of service.
UB North Campus feels like one big parking lot
The train from downtown Buffalo should be extended to the University at Buffalo North Campus. Next, I would rip out a lot of the parking lots at UB North and create urban parks. The campus, as currently constituted, feels like one large parking lot. It needs to be redesigned to a much more walkable, bikeable, communal human scale.
Setting foot on campus made me pine for my alma mater, Portland State University, which offered very little parking for cars and was a very social, communal environment. Students would congregate in the Park Blocks, a strip of urban parkway, after class. UB could become a dramatically improved campus if they were to undergo a major transformation.
Ruling in Bordeleau case is bad news for taxpayers
The anti-corporate welfare lawsuit, which was filed by Lockport financial planner Lee Bordeleau and 49 other taxpayers and extended over several years, has finally been adjudicated by the Court of Appeals, as published in The News on Nov. 22. The purpose was to publicize and verify the people's law of the state constitution. Article VII, Section 8, clearly prohibits public monies being granted to private enterprises. The subject Section 8 was positively voted in place by New York's citizens in 1938, 1951, 1961, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1985 and 2001, as provided in the state publication of January 2008.
The court, by split decision, has repealed that section of our constitution, and has thereby created its own version of constitutional law. Our tax dollars may now continue to flow unchallenged, from the ever-more-powerless people, to whoever can spin any economic development story. The court has given legitimacy to a tax system that basically takes earned income from citizens and gives it to any politically favored entity.
For whatever solace we may find in this decision, at least two justices were vehement in their opinions for the people.
Will the published text of our state constitution be revised to reflect the court's change? In the future, when elected officials submit their oath of office, they need to be asked which version of the constitution they ascribe to.
Donald G. Hobel
Insurers should require co-pays on birth control
The Nov. 22 Another Voice column by Christine Kemp puts an unbelievable spin on subsidized health benefits. Somehow she equates the use of birth control with life-saving drugs like insulin or heart meds. If she were so concerned about public health, perhaps she would realize that the promiscuity that birth control promotes causes more health problems than it prevents. Eliminating birth control co-pays does nothing to improve the well-being of young, unmarried women, while forcing those who buy insurance for legitimate reasons to further subsidize an immoral and unhealthy lifestyle.
Public Library needs more county support
The League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara strongly urges Erie County to increase support for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System in the 2012 budget. Since 1997, the league has promoted regional support for various services, including libraries. However, we observe substantial reduction of public access to library services due to reduced county support.
For example, fallout related to the 2005 red budget resulted in the closing of 15 libraries and drastic reductions in hours, staffing, services and programs. Bookmobiles were taken off the road for the first time since 1947. This was done in spite of huge turnouts of library supporters at four budget hearings. If adopted, the 2012 library operating budget would show a drop of 24 percent in county financial support since 2008. Records show the 2011 library property tax levy is less than in 1993, in actual dollars without an inflation adjustment.
How does this compare with nearby Monroe County, the Rochester metro area? Monroe County has 80 percent of our population but has a similar number of libraries. It has a similar library governing system. However, its 2011 library budget is more than double the 2012 library budget proposed by the Erie County executive.
Dedicated library staff and board members have been improving efficiencies and leveraging new technologies for Erie County libraries. However, with higher demand for library services due to high unemployment and recession impacts, our library system cannot adequately serve our people. Citizens need to know that our library system is operating in the red. The library's financial outlook is very grim indeed. It needs substantially increased support from Erie County.
Joan T. Parks
President, League of Women
Voters of Buffalo/Niagara