Many prefer to keep breast-feeding private

After the flurry of attack letters on Donn Esmonde from irate female readers and experts on breast-feeding, I have a few things to say. Maybe he did make a few tongue-in-cheek comments that were bound to make a few people mad, but I and many others agree with the basic message.

I know that breast-feeding is a natural thing, and good for the baby, and that it's a supply-and-demand thing, and if the milk isn't expressed, the breasts become full and uncomfortable. But most people don't want to see it done in a public setting. I think the women who want to breast-feed in public should encourage malls and large stores to provide baby feeding areas that have a place to sit and are clean and quiet.

As for the comments that Esmonde should eat his lunch in the restroom, in one of the classes I took in college, we had to take swabs of five public places and see what organisms would grow. The ones taken from public restrooms did grow a few bad things, but the ones taken from the entry door handles at malls and grocery stores grew the worst and some very nasty organisms. So chow down, Donn, I think you will be safe.

Patrick Jensen



Sensitivity to feelings of others is required

I am a past leader in the pro-breast-feeding organization called La Leche League. I volunteered to help countless mothers with their efforts at nursing their babies. Personally, I breast-fed identical twin girls for the first year of their lives, both inside and outside the home. Never did I find the need to expose myself in so doing! It wasn't necessary; covering up in public is easy. I knew that some people were bothered by "in your face" nursing, and I considered their feelings.

Those who expose themselves are not doing the important cause of breast-feeding justice; they are simply exposing it (pun intended) to anger and ridicule. Sensitivity to the opinions and feelings of others is required here.

Helen Westover



Esmonde's column was right on target

I applaud Donn Esmonde for standing up to the "political correctness" bullies. Of course it is inappropriate to breast-feed your child in a department store. I'm a registered nurse, and even I don't want to watch that.

These women want you to turn the other cheek because there is a baby involved. These are the same women who want you to look the other way when their child runs amok in a grocery store or restaurant.

There is an appropriate time and place for everything. I'm quite sure that no infant will die of starvation if he has to wait a half an hour for mom to get home before she breast-feeds. Or better yet, plan ahead and feed before you leave, or use a breast pump. Seriously, ladies, enough with the excuses already. I was breast-fed and I know my mother didn't do it wherever she felt like it. Not everyone loves your baby the way you do.

Robin F. Blersch, R.N.



We must create more than high-tech jobs

Regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo's billion, the criteria should be to create basic jobs for the unemployed of the city and turn Buffalo's brownfields back to the job-producing areas that they once were. A basic job is a job that manufactures a product stamped "Made in the USA" and that the unemployed of Buffalo will qualify for. The high-tech, high-paying jobs will find their own way.

Let's use the billion to change the label of third-poorest city to what it used to be, a hard-working American industrial city where there are jobs for all, not just those in high-tech fields.

John Szczepaniec



Even with $1 billion, state can't compete

If insanity is defined as repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results, then what is to be made of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's magnanimous "Billion for Buffalo" incentive package? Interestingly, Cuomo heads a state that leads the nation in taxes, regulation, union membership and lavish social programs. Even with subsidies equivalent to $3 million per job, Verizon took its aborted billion-dollar Somerset data center elsewhere.

Cuomo is glibly hosting a party to which no one will come in a state that has lost 1.2 million residents and 2 congressional seats since 2000. Has he ever considered why residents and businesses flee his state? The unpleasant truth is that things seldom improve economically for Buffalo and upstate. From troopers to teachers, we blindly pay top dollar for a huge, extravagant government that consistently returns marginal results. In a state known for endless charity, taxpayers experience little mercy and even less respect. Was Eliot Spitzer's assessment of "Appalachia" really that unfounded?

As with every previous administration, Cuomo doesn't really own the upstate economic quagmire. Not unlike Santa Claus, Cuomo throws a pile of gifts at his adoring pols, wishes us well and abdicates any responsibility for success or failure. Like most liberals, he asks to be judged solely on his grand intentions rather than on hard results. If the governor seriously wishes to capture the national stage as the architect of "The New York Economic Miracle," he will have to lead and it must start in Western New York.

Buffalo is the graveyard of failed economic "silver bullets" because of crushing taxes and draconian regulations such as the Wicks and Taylor laws. It is insanity to believe spendthrift, deficit-driven New York can be equally competitive with right-to-work states that provide dramatically smaller government at a lesser cost.

Marc Field

East Amherst


High time for Albany to get to work for us

Headline: "WNY told to 'work' for state's $1 billion." Heck, we thought Albany was just starting to work for the money Buffalo sent it during the century before Albany taxed our industry out of the state.

Douglas L. Townley



Let's try to expand tuition offer to all

Honestly, when I first read of the Buffalo Promise Scholarship, my eyes went a little moist. Here is a program almost too good to be true: do well in school, and we will pay for your college. Sounds like something that parents of financial means pledge to their children. Buffalo's pilot program funds the gap between state and federal aid, and requires students to meet the academic requirements of participating institutions.

Simple concept: remove the financial barrier that prevents an individual from realizing his or her potential through higher education. Everyone wins: individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, the country.

My question: Why the negative reaction to the program? One reader calls it "a joke" and "a slap in the face" to suburban students and their parents. Another claims that "for the vast majority who live with daily poverty and despair, simply holding out the carrot of free college tuition is too alien a notion to be grasped by more than a few" inner-city students.

One writer asks why his children should be subjected to student loans that effectively make them indentured servants for 20 years after college graduation. Excellent point. Why should they be? The free tuition program has figured out a better way to approach higher education financing. Let's work together to make the program available in every school district in the country. Every child who works hard, and achieves in school, deserves free school. Meanwhile, excuse parents and these children from accumulating a mountain of debt. Our children urgently need our help. We must affordably educate and train them to succeed.

Marty J. Walters



Program could hurt city's private schools

I am writing in regard to the free college tuition program in Buffalo. I do think this is a wonderful opportunity for city children. My concern is that as a taxpayer in Buffalo for nearly 20 years, my children, who have since graduated from private high schools in the city, would not be eligible for this program. As parents, we sacrificed to send our children to these schools because of the inferior state of the Buffalo Public School District, which has been well-documented. Why can't these families, who choose to sacrifice for their children's education, benefit from this program, and what will happen to these private institutions when they lose enrollment to the public schools? Who is going to help them?

Deborah Fay



Keep government out of cable negotiations

If State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman plans to allow representatives from his office to meet with officials of Time Warner Cable and MSG to resolve contract negotiations between the two private business entities, it should be done pro bono and not taxpayer paid. Contentious contract negotiations are nothing new in today's business environment and if the attorney general truly wants to solve problems and help consumers, perhaps his time would be better spent helping the majority of New Yorkers with true problems.

The inability to watch a hockey game by a specific provider does not reach the level of a problem, especially when there are other alternatives and providers to watch the game. The suggestion by leaders of city government that this dispute has the potential to cause significant fiscal harm is laughable and shortsighted, just like their leadership. It's time to stop the government intrusion into private business practices operating under the law for the sake of individuals with no stake in the bottom line.

Frank Grasso



Use part of Knox Farm for a veterans cemetery

Knox Farm would be a perfect location for a new national veterans cemetery. The Department of Veterans Affairs has been seeking a location in Western New York for a 200-acre cemetery for years. The 633-acre Knox Farm State Park is adjacent to East Aurora and close to the 400 Expressway. If the VA took over 200 acres of the farm for the cemetery, there would be plenty of acreage left for a possible convalescent home for disabled veterans returning from the wars and a pleasant nearby village of East Aurora for their families to stay when visiting.

There still would be plenty of land left for a more manageable park for hiking trails, picnics, etc. Using this land for a cemetery would guarantee that its beauty would remain the same in perpetuity. It would be a shame to let the beautiful estate deteriorate into disrepair. I feel it would be a win-win deal for both the veterans and the Village of East Aurora.

Donald Hamilton