Why should city kids get a free college education?
As I read The News article regarding a free college education being offered for children in an inner-city neighborhood, I couldn't help but feel frustrated. Many of those same individuals will now be born, raised, fed, housed and offered a free college education on taxpayer and charity dollars.
The reason for this frustration, you may ask? I was born, raised and provided for by my parents. I am raising and providing for my three children. I have taken out a mortgage, paid off my and my wife's student loans and we pay our taxes. For this my children and I will be rewarded with massive student loans for my children's college education. My wife and I will save for our retirement and maybe, through the grace of God, enjoy our senior years.
So, as I drop off my 15-year-old daughter at work in downtown Buffalo (she's saving for her education), I have to pass by tents in front of City Hall where people are supposedly "protesting" the wealthy 1 percent. All I have to say is at least that 1 percent is working for its money. I can only hope that my children become part of that elite club.
Douglas D. Kozuch
Let's hope Poloncarz focuses on needs of all
First of all, kudos to County Executive Chris Collins for his time and efforts. One can only hope Mark Poloncarz and his administration will carry on with some awareness of the needs of the entire county, not just the urban Democrats.
We live in the Southtowns and drive county roads in those areas that are in poor condition due to lack of any minimal long-term maintenance. We have seen many county governments come and go. Some would recognize the need; others would do nothing, and the results are apparent. We see the same thing happen on state-maintained roads.
It's not just about maintaining civil service jobs, with workers just putting their time in and collecting benefits. It is about efficiency, getting more results for every dollar spent.
Enact federal legislation to regulate hydrofracking
The recent article, "Colorado will require gas drillers to disclose chemicals for fracking," brings to light the importance of natural gas drilling regulations across the country. While I was encouraged to see that Colorado will require disclosure of all chemicals used during the hydraulic fracturing process, I believe that state-by-state regulations do not offer sufficient environmental or health protection, particularly for those of us who live in the Marcellus Shale region.
By deferring to states to set regulatory frameworks, the federal government is abandoning states to the manipulation of massive and economically powerful drilling companies. Gas companies can leverage their economic power and use the threat of relocation to drive competition between states to create the best business climate for drilling and the most lax regulations at the expense of public health and environmental protection.
Furthermore, contamination of aquifers in one state has far-reaching effects for other states. Aquifers do not end at the state line. Rivers don't stop flowing once they cross a state border. Regulations cannot differ from state to state if our water resources are to be adequately protected.
We know that the potential economic benefit of natural gas drilling is tremendous and that drilling in New York could bring unprecedented economic growth to counties across the state that have been struggling since long before the "Great Recession" began. But we must not allow short-term economic growth to come at the expense of our natural resources and our public health. Federal legislation, like the FRAC Act, would require drilling companies to disclose all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process at a national level and is a positive step toward responsible natural gas drilling.
It is Rumore's job to protect teachers
Why is it that when a union uses contract language to point out a problem, the public is informed that the union is creating the problem? Case noted is Rod Watson's Dec. 22 column claiming the Buffalo Teachers Federation and Phil Rumore are using a negotiated union contract clause against the Buffalo schoolchildren.
Rumore would be wrong if he doesn't do everything possible to protect his teachers' rights. That is his job! If something is wrong in their contract, then a new contract has to be negotiated. That is the difference between having a union or not. Because unions have been "bending" and doing the "right" thing over the last few decades, unions have become weak. Guess what? The middle class has been becoming even weaker.
If the BTF has to sue to protect its teachers' contract language, then it must be done. If they could ever get a new contract with the Buffalo School District, maybe there would be no problem. Who is at fault now?
Adjust bus schedules and keep routes open
One of the main concerns of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority cutbacks is people getting to work and back. Rather than eliminating certain routes, a common-sense solution would be to have a split shift run on certain routes.
For example, a borderline route, scheduled to be eliminated, could be available from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. People would be able to get to work on these routes and return home on the same bus route.
Many times I have seen empty buses, in the middle of the day, just wasting fuel on various routes.
Give us a straight answer on the high price of gas
I can't remember how many times I have read that someone is conducting an investigation on why the cost of gasoline is at least 30 cents per gallon higher in this region than the entire rest of the country. Then there is nothing heard for months, until another complaint is made, resulting in the same tired response.
Is nothing being done because the state really likes collecting the sales taxes on these higher costs? Will someone honest and not self-serving please give us a straight answer, even if the powers that be will not give us back fair gasoline prices?
Charles C. Chimera