Scaffold Law needed to protect workers

A Nov. 27 Viewpoints story called the Scaffold Law "obsolete" and "a burden for all New Yorkers." The byline said this story was a "Special to The News" from Laura Zaepfel. This was misleading. Zaepfel states facts without citing any sources for them. For instance, she states that "the rate of occupational fatalities among construction workers in New York far exceeds the national average." And she argues we don't need the Scaffold Law. It's obviously not doing any good. Workers are still falling from scaffolds. (Maybe we should get rid of the DWI laws. I mean, people are still driving drunk!)

Zaepfel says that under the Scaffold Law, a worker "was awarded $23.4 million" in the case of Bissell v. Town of Amherst. Being suspicious, I checked out the Bissell case. The actual compensation granted was less than half that amount. The worker involved broke his spine and will suffer "paralysis, incontinence of bowel and bladder, and sexual dysfunction" for the rest of his life. The facts are at Bissell v. Town of Amherst, 56 AD3d 1144, 876 NYS2d 582 (2008).

Zaepfel apparently thinks Bissell and his wife should be satisfied with the payments from Workers' Compensation that provide only a fraction of the worker's average wage, and nothing for pain and suffering.

Zaepfel works for a huge property developer. This is just another example of the rich and powerful trying to stomp on the rights of the rest of us.

Robert E. Dwyer

Attorney at law (retired)

Orchard Park


Legislators ought to obey all laws

Wow, the STOCK Act! What a gold mine just at a time when Congress could use a sprinkling of gold dust. What eyewash for the rest of us.

Just imagine a bill sitting under the sludge of Washington, D.C., "for years" and then suddenly being discovered by the "60 Minutes" reporters. Who were those in Congress who "for years had no interest" in the bill? Oh well, never mind.

Perchance the CBS "60 Minutes" show might cast its curious eye upon the 20 jobs bills passed by the House of Representatives. These are now sitting in plain sight on a shelf in the Senate, which refuses to take them up.

By the way, since Congress itself is now saying it should treat itself under some of the laws the rest of us must observe, it might want to expand that to include all laws. This is known on the Internet as the proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution.

Margaret Kearney

Lake View


City goes overboard with parking tickets

I'm tired of having to deal with the Elmwood Village "tax." This tax refers to the parking tickets that appear to supersede any rational thought within the confines of the city. The other day, I was ticketed for parking too close to a crosswalk. No signs are posted to state, "No Parking From Here To Corner." The city just assumes that anyone living within the confines of the area will know this as fact.

I pay taxes, I use my recycling and I clean up around my street because I want to be a good citizen of Buffalo. However, to incur additional fees just because I'm parking on the street in Elmwood Village makes me sick. If the city has signs posted everywhere else on which side of the street to park, can it not afford to inform us also of how close we can park to a crosswalk without getting fined for it?

I'll pay my ticket because to appeal a $30 fine would be more wasteful of my time due to the court's scheduling appeals only during some work days at some inconvenient hours.

It frustrates me that the city is attempting to increase revenue by taxing those who live here by writing parking tickets for negligible items. Perhaps all of the fines that are being levied against those who live within Elmwood Village are being used to purchase signs to help inform those who are unaware of the laws. But I feel that the city is using this income to justify other expenditures in the budget.

Thomas Goergen



Cuomo is set to waste more of state's money

Once again, New York State faces a multimillion-dollar deficit in its proposed budget, and its midyear report has missed its deadline. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he chose not to meet that deadline in order to get more details on our financial situation, which literally means New York State has a serious debt problem.

One good reason for this is that we are the most generous state in our nation when it comes to entitlement programs. It seems only logical to concentrate on funding what we already have. We should not add any more unnecessary programs that will only put us deeper into a sea of red ink.

A case in point is the governor's recent signing of an executive order providing official documents and forms in six languages, which he says will help non-English-speaking people better communicate with the government and "will only cost our state $1.5 million" annually. His five words, "will only cost our state," were so heartwarming that my whole body tingled and chills ran down my spine.

These forms will be written in Spanish, Italian, Russian, French, French Creole and Chinese. This seems to be slightly discriminatory when you leave out Polish, German and Greek, not to mention a host of others. I would think that providing the challenge of learning the language of your adopted country would be an encouragement, using tools like Literacy Volunteers and Google Translate. That would "only cost our state" zero dollars.

I wish our elected officials would take seriously reducing our deficit spending, and look up the terms "fiscal responsibility" and "fiduciary responsibility."

Norman Machynski



Occupy protesters should redirect ire

In light of the recent focus on the unrest of the supposed 99 percent, this is what I think the Occupy Wall Street protesters should do:

First, they should go to their high schools and complain to their school boards for the second-rate public education they received. This is a system more intent on implementing social promotion and teaching political correctness than implementing a core competency syllabus, true and correct foundational principles in American history and government, and expecting personal responsibility.

They should then go to their liberal-leaning institutes of higher education that sold them a diploma based on socialist propaganda, which is a perversion of our basic freedoms, property rights and free enterprise. These are the people who left the Occupy Wall Street crowd steeped in debt, aimlessly wandering, and ill-prepared for the real world.

Mark Kostrzewski