Gingrich is nothing a leader should be

Newt Gingrich's three marriages or his infidelity throughout those marriages are not the points of contention. What should concern voters is that he has broken two vows, and reneged on those vows while they were in effect.

Are we to believe that we can trust him to honor his oath of office if he were elected president? How many vows equal an oath?

Gingrich is everything a politician should be. He lies. He flip-flops. He cheats. He's for sale.

Gingrich is nothing a leader should be. We have seen that when it comes to Newt, given the choice of "for better or worse," he always chooses what's better for Newt.

One adjective that pertains to politicians of Gingrich's stature that separates them from the pack is cunning. Like a fox in the chicken coop or a snake in the grass, these soulless entities lie in wait and pounce on their unsuspecting prey.

The grandfather of gridlock, a man who was cited for ethics violations and basically thrown out of Congress, and a man with a half-million dollar tab at Tiffany's, Gingrich cannot possibly empathize with the middle class. He has no clue!

The sad part, my Republican friends, is that we are the prey and we too often offer ourselves willingly to predators like Gingrich.

Robert J. Wegrzynowski



Cain's short run was truly a joke

Well, here we go again. The candidates are out there luring in their constituents to have a run at the White House. And, sure enough, the skeletons lurking in their respective closets are bursting onto the political scene like pent-up chickens running wild out of the coop.

It's understandable that Herman Cain, who withdrew from the race last weekend, just forgot to tell his wife that he has been supporting another woman for the last 13 years -- of course, out of the sheer goodness of his most generous heart. It's completely understandable that he forgot to mention to his spouse the fact that this other woman has been his dear friend for so many years and he is simply helping her out during these difficult financial times -- over the past 13 years. Could you imagine the response the average guy would get from his wife after announcing this piece of news at the dinner table one enchanted evening? Are you kidding me?

Even more deeply aggravating is the fact that he decided to run for the most powerful office in the world thinking that his "over the top" adventures would never be revealed to the public. Are you kidding me?

If you ask the average taxpayer if character, honesty, commitment and loyalty are some of the descriptors that define true leadership, you will receive a resounding: You'd better believe it!

The job description of the president of the United States is so enormous, so exhausting, so sensitive that it takes an individual with impeccable personal credentials to even begin to consider running for the office.

To all those considering such a quest, take a long look under that "personal microscope" before diving into the pond. The average taxpayer knows the score and is not easily manipulated. Where is the common sense we demand from those whom we elect to represent us in Washington? You must be kidding me.

Tom Hoolihan



New York Works is smart initiative

The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) unequivocally supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo's New York Works Initiative as an excellent means to solve the state's ailing infrastructure, while simultaneously creating jobs and boosting the area's economy. This plan, which promotes public-private partnerships with business and labor, will afford the state a broader mechanism to finance much-needed repair and development of highways, bridges and major construction projects.

The need for infrastructure funding is well-documented. A recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers found that 42 percent of New York's bridges are now structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and nearly 1,500 bridges will become deficient over the next five years if proper maintenance and repair are not done; 46 percent of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition; and 45 percent of our highways are in need of expansion.

The job-creating potential of an infrastructure investment program is also undeniable. Conservatively, for every billion dollars spent on improvements to our roads and bridges, we can put 24,000 people to work, lowering the state's unemployment rolls and injecting money back into the economy as consumer spending grows.

Putting the New York Works Initiative into action will enhance safety, productivity and New York's ability to compete. It will create tens of thousands of jobs. And by promoting smart government funding in conjunction with private-sector investment, it will expand available resources and shift risk away from the state. Our only question is: What are we waiting for?

Jay Simson

President, ACEC New York


Governor is wrong to redistribute wealth

The notion of "fairness" in the context of taxation has been bandied about, notably from the White House but now most recently from the governor's office. I would assert that to cry fairness only within the scope of income tax is entirely arbitrary and to not impose a "fairness tax" within other areas is hypocritical.

Surely it is not right, or fair, that middle-income New Yorkers have to pay the same sales tax percentage on their new Ford as do the wealthy buying their Rolls Royces? Is it fair that some $40,000-a-year household pays the same tax on ground chuck as the wealthy pay on imported Kobe? Is it fair that the guy walking into Walmart has to pay the same percentage as the buyer at Saks? Wherein lies the difference in rationale between sales and income tax? Is income tax fair game only because it is so easy to manipulate legislatively?

If one wants to argue fairness, it seems disingenuous to legislate one form of taxation under the aegis of "fairness" while allowing other, equally inequitable, forms of taxation to continue. The reality is that the liberal solution, i.e. higher taxes for higher earners, is what is not fair. Unfortunately, it is easier for the left to claim it is legislating fairness than it is to confess to little more than wealth redistribution.

Clinton Eliason

Clarence Center


State should begin hydrofracking now

When I was growing up, natural gas was as common as an old shoe. During the 1950s and 1960s, my family was knee-deep in the business of gas well drilling off the shores of Lake Erie. The property where I lived had a gas well that provided free energy for my family's needs. Even now, the hills all around me are loaded with gas. Tapping into and producing that fuel is as basic as it gets.

When did Americans stop doing what makes the most sense? I don't remember the marking of a point in time that the ridiculous became the rule, yet it has. We must change things back to what works best to be self-sufficient with our energy resources, be efficient with our efforts, and cut costs to the American people in the process. It is a shame that we are paying through the nose for energy, especially now when so many of us can't afford to pay the gas bills to heat our homes. America has incredible energy resources, and we go about our business every day when right beneath us are substantial deposits of natural gas that our governor is preventing us from pursuing.

From a safety and ecological perspective, fracking is not a problem. It has been time tested over decades to be safe then and now. Sadly, we have a huge problem with tree huggers in this part of the country, and their uneducated views have been able to curry favor with politicians. Pennsylvania is going full blast with the gas production; New York needs to follow suit.

Scott Fentzke

West Falls


Offering health care might slow turnover

Last week, George Will gave an example of a small business, CKE Restaurants, with 3,200 restaurants and 70,000 jobs, including Hardee's and Carl's Jr., and explained how the Affordable Care Act would stifle the growth of this business. In his explanation, Will noted that the restaurants turn over 95 percent of their employees annually and will have to increase their $12 million health care costs to $18 million to meet the requirements of the bill. Additionally, Will noted that the company annually spends $175 million on advertising along with $1 billion on food and paper products. The result of this new cost would have the effect of changing full-time employees to part time.

Perhaps if CKE Restaurants would offer the insurance called for by the Affordable Care Act, turnover would be reduced, and more full-time employees would be utilized. This could be accomplished by cutting 10 percent of the company's advertising budget to meet the anticipated rise in costs to comply with the act. The fact of a fast-food chain offering affordable health insurance and more full-time employment would be the best advertising in the business. This would more than offset the 10 percent reduction in the advertising budget and make CKE the Hallmark of the fast food industry.

Daniel Zwolinski



Postal employees are dedicated to job

Lately, any news of the Postal Service has been of the negative variety. It seems that weekly, we read about closings, service reductions and possible job eliminations. As distressing as these things are to the public, they are more so to postal workers, who are gearing up for a busy and stressful holiday season. Their job has become increasingly more difficult each year, as they try to do more to succeed in this electronic age. The American institution we have relied on, regardless of weather-related obstacles, is under siege and its dedicated employees could sure use a little pick-me-up.

To that end, I have just a couple of suggestions for everyone this Christmas. First, take the time to thank your letter carrier for his or her hard work this past year. He or she will appreciate any kind words. Second, mail someone a letter or card before the holiday. This will bring joy to whomever receives your warm wishes. Plus, if enough of you do this, you just might help save the gem we call the post office.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm a proud mailman, and have been one for the past 26 fabulous years.

Bill Gangloff

West Seneca