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Occupy movement welcomes all people

I write in contrast to a Nov. 21 letter that purports to define who can be part of the Occupy movement. It is a tenet of Occupy Buffalo and Occupy Wall Street that no one person speaks for the movement. Nor do I set myself up as a spokesperson. I only proffer my observations as someone who is at Niagara Square almost daily talking to occupants and supporters.

As the 99 percent, by definition Occupy supporters represent differing viewpoints. What unites us is knowing that something is wrong when so many suffer in the richest nation on earth. Now, thankfully, we have a platform to focus attention on economic injustice. To say to "pragmatists" that "this is not the movement for you" is a message of exclusion.

The Occupy movement is inclusive, not exclusive. Our message is that we welcome all people who see injustice in our system. Every day we discuss our ideas as we gather at the square. Our experiences differ! We talk to each other. This is the point. The occupiers and marchers command media attention, but supporters and those who work behind the scenes are crucial in bringing about the needed changes.

Some people feel that new legislation and the election of better candidates is the right path, and they work on that. Some seek a change to regulations governing banks and corporations, and they work on that. Some are passionate about a complete revamping of our form of government. And some, truly, are not quite sure how to fix things; they only know that they are hurting and something has to be done.

So all of us and all of you -- revolutionaries and pragmatists, idealists and cynics -- all are part of the 99 percent. What do we want? Justice, fairness; that is what we seek.

Nancy Fernandez

Buffalo

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Rocks aren't the problem at Hamburg roundabout

There is a lot of controversy over a roundabout in Hamburg, especially after the recent accidental death. However, as nearby residents who use this roundabout daily, we love the fact that we no longer have to wait for a signal when there is no traffic. While it may take some people time to adjust to a different traffic pattern, Hamburg residents should be used to the roundabouts as they continue all the way into the village.

We loved the look of the rocks and think a survey of nearby residents should be done before a decision is made on removing them completely. The rocks give a visible sight line for where the middle of the roundabout is -- especially once we get snow. Without the rocks, if you come through at night, you get the headlights from cars in all directions coming at you. The rocks blocked that and made it easier to maneuver this roundabout. Drivers need to focus more on what's coming from the left, not what is on the other side of the rocks.

However, we believe more focus should be put on the speed limit. It's 45 mph until you're almost at the roundabout, and then it lowers to 15 mph. If you're coming off Big Tree, the speed limit is 35 mph. That's a more reasonable speed coming in, and South Park should be lowered to 30 to 35 mph to warn drivers to slow down and then lowered to 15 mph as you come into the roundabout. The problem isn't the rocks, it's about using safe driving skills -- something many people do not practice.

Harris & Vicky Wienke

Hamburg

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Make airlines pay for corporate greed

Let's cut to the chase. Everyone who died in the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence Center died for one reason only, pilot error. Marvin Renslow should never have been in the captain's seat. He had a history of failed check rides.

I have a total of 10 hours of flight time, but I will tell you that every fixed-wing aircraft has a stall speed. If this speed is not maintained, the plane will simply fall out of the sky. This is something that is drilled into you from lesson one, and is clearly marked on the air speed indicator.

Neither Renslow nor the co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, noticed the air speed dropping as they casually chatted away. Airlines have simulators available to them to safely train pilots on the correct response to a near stall. But this costs money. All Renslow had to do was lower the nose, add power and, if necessary, declare an emergency go-around. He and Shaw did the exact opposite by pulling back on the stick.

The only thing that gets a corporation's attention is money. While no amount of money can ever bring these people back, I would like to see such a huge settlement to each family that Continental, Colgan and Pinnacle airlines are put out of business. Then maybe the remaining carriers would pay more attention to safety, and less to what it is now -- nothing but corporate greed.

Mark Schifferle

Wheatfield

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Liberal policies have caused a lot of damage

A recent letter writer attempted to berate conservative desires to restore fiscal responsibility to runaway government spending by completely ignoring the devastating damage done to our country by the social democratic policies of liberals and the Democratic Party.

The writer cites conservatives' support for reforming Social Security and Medicare as evidence that conservatives want to throw the elderly, sick and poor to the wolves. In reality, these reforms are designed to preserve the programs for current and future recipients using slight modifications to the programs that are implemented gradually over time.

The writer then goes on to cite the same vague class warfare talking-point criticisms of conservatives that have been used for decades. He adds new criticisms designed to discredit opposition to extending unemployment benefits to more than two years and a proposed jobs/infrastructure program that would be about as successful as President Obama's last "shovel ready" jobs program.

The writer may want to examine how the social engineering policies of the left have impacted the middle class and the poor. How about how welfare programs have led to the destruction of the nuclear family in inner-city communities where upward of 70 percent of all children are born out of wedlock. Or, perhaps how burdensome governmental regulation, taxation and labor policies have driven business overseas so that they can survive and remain competitive. How many jobs have been lost, lives ruined, because of the unintended consequences of liberal policies? Far, far more than those caused by free-market conservatism.

As the saying goes, and I paraphrase, "a government big enough to give you everything you need is also big enough to take everything you have."

Michael J. Beyer

Orchard Park