Rocky was a hero, highly intelligent

I am writing in reference to the Dec. 23 letter about Rocky, the sheriff's deputy K-9 that was killed on duty. I must take issue with the writer, who described him as a "non-thinking animal" that did not deserve the service he received.

I am a former dog handler who trained and handled sentry dogs for the U.S. Air Force for three and half years during the Vietnam War. I would like to point out that these dogs are highly intelligent and skillfully trained to do their job. They will protect, attack and even give up their life for their handlers on command, which Rocky did in the line of duty. And they will do it gladly for nothing more than a pat on the head or a treat. You can ask the remaining veterans -- 10,000 of whom were dog handlers -- from that 10-year conflict how valuable they were to to us. (Go to, it will enlighten many readers.)

My hat is off to the officers who attended that memorial service, whether they were paid or not. My hunch is that they were not. They did it out of respect for a fallen colleague. There are not enough words that I can express that will make that deputy feel any better about Rocky because I know exactly how he feels. And no service or memorial can take his place. Rocky was a real hero.

Bill Mindel



Esmonde's column is very disappointing

I am writing in response to Donn Esmonde's commentary, "Let's keep breast-feeding a private act." Although disappointing, it is not surprising that he is upset at seeing a breast being used for the sole purpose the breast was intended. Women carry their breasts around their whole life and for a few very precious months, they are able to use them to feed and nourish their child with the perfect food possible.

I challenge Esmonde to complain about objectifying the breast, which is done constantly by national chicken wing restaurants, women's undergarment stores and beer advertisers.

Perhaps Esmonde could think about eating his meal in the bathroom, next to a changing station, without a chair to sit on.

Mary Ellen Barone, R.N., B.S.N.



Democrats to blame for economic problems

The News editorial stance on the congressional compromise over extension of "tax relief" and unemployment benefits was not only incorrect, but the explanation of the "brinkmanship" being practiced was misleading at best. The fault here, and the brinkmanship being practiced, is entirely on the part of the Democrats in Congress, primarily in the Senate.

Many of the Republicans in the House were elected in 2010 to try to bring the Democrats' profligate spending under control. The Democrats cannot and will not accept that reality. The fact that the mainstream media have mindlessly reported the untrue propaganda stated by the president, his staff and the Senate Democratic leadership as fact is a national disgrace.

First, the payroll tax reduction should never have happened. It can't possibly make sense to reduce employees' payroll tax contributions by one-third when there is general concern over the fact that Social Security is being underfunded. (For anyone who understands math, 6.2 percent reduced to 4.2 percent is a 32 percent reduction, not the 2 percent the administration and media regularly report.)

The facts of the matter are these. Since Jan. 1, the House passed 27 bills dealing with stimulating the economy and creating jobs. The Senate voted on exactly zero of these, yet Obama and the Senate Democrats, along with their willing partners in the media, maintain that it is somehow House Republicans who are irresponsible. I can't reasonably expect the president and Senate Democrats to truthfully state where the problem is, since it would be political suicide, but it would be nice if the media would.

Chuck Godfrey



Schroeder will do fine as Buffalo comptroller

The Dec. 26 News editorial on Mark Schroeder's lack of experience and planned management changes was without merit. First let me state that while I lived in the City of Buffalo, I was a neighbor of Mark Schroeder and his family. I knew him as a successful businessman and community activist. After I moved outside the city, Schroeder entered politics. What I have read and heard about him since suggests he is more than qualified to assume the comptroller's position.

When Bob Whelan was Buffalo comptroller, with a degree in law, that was fine. His appointment of Joel Giambra as his deputy from the Council Chambers went without notice. When Whelan moved from the comptroller's office to State Supreme Court, that was all right. Giambra took over and seemed to serve well. Giambra moved on to county executive and, fortunately for the city, Andrew SanFilippo took over and won the comptroller's election. SanFilippo moved on to a state position, and now the city will have Schroeder, who is college educated, served on the Erie County Legislature, State Assembly and has a business background. Schroeder will do fine and the city will prevail.

Will McDonald

East Aurora


Be glad city is trying to improve its schools

In a Dec. 29 letter to the editor, the writer complains that in spite of his luck at being born with parents who provided for him and his good choices and successes in education, work and his suburban life, that he is not getting some of the benefits of a plan to increase school attendance and graduation rates in the city.

Like many people who have been successful, he never considers that luck, not his hard work, was primarily instrumental in that success. We are all lucky to have been born at this time in history, in this country, in a system that allowed the middle class to flourish. Our generation has also benefited from a good school system. Shouldn't we be glad that something is being done to improve the schools and, in so doing, improve our citizenry?

He goes on to state that his daughter works in the city (does she pay taxes here?) and rails against the Occupy movement, protesters of the 1 percent. He thinks that "at least the 1 percent work for their money" and he hopes that his children become part of that "elite club." That's a club that people are luckily born into. Seriously, does he consider living on dividends "work"? Maybe they work hard at thinking about starting jobs someday. His children would have to be born into fortunes to make it into that club. Get real!

Ben Perrone