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Election dysfunction is hurting our nation

I will readily admit that I am confused. I have participated in many elections after attaining the legal right to do so. The longer I am subjected to the process, the less I understand the goals of either major party.

Each appearance leading up to the nomination is filled with lies, unsupported allegations and rhetoric about the candidates. They all portray each other as incapable, flawed and unworthy to hold the office of the presidency. This hypocrisy is not confined to presidential elections, and neither party is immune from the use of slanderous innuendo.

What becomes more perplexing is the lack of unity within the parties and then the subsequent rallying cries by Republicans and Democrats for us to vote for the nominee of either party. After months of describing each other in the most degrading terms, we as voters, are expected to rally around the flag bearer for his respective affiliations. President Obama and Hillary Clinton waged a war of words in the last election. Then, even though lacking all of the qualities of leadership used to describe Clinton, he made her his choice for secretary of state.

My hope is that my children and grandchildren may see the evolution of an election process that allows them to vote "for" someone rather than voting "against" the other candidate.

James Monteleone

Williamsville

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Paul supporters trying to get the message out

I am writing in response to a Jan. 12 letter concerning an "appropriate time for politicking." I was one of those holding a sign and sincerely apologize if that disrupted what I thought was a wonderful night for all. Please understand the enthusiasm for Ron Paul and his message. It is borne in part out of frustration because he is not being treated fairly in the media. He is either ridiculed or ignored by the liberal mainstream media and the neo-conservative talk show hosts.

Sometimes we feel desperate for the message to get out regarding multiple unsustainable wars and an economic system that is bankrupting America. There is an alternative out there and few seem to listen. The sad truth is that few people care, and there is more concern about recreation and fun than the destruction of our great republic. Nero would be proud.

James H. Loos

Williamsville

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Congress should repeal Internet Gambling Act

As a taxpaying voter, I wish to make clear to my representatives how I, and those like me, have been wronged. I am sole proprietor of a business, working outside eight months of the year. I am proud of what I do.

The four months that I am not working outside, I used to be just as proud to throw a little money into an investment account, and try to turn a profit. I was not investing in commodities or stocks, or bingo or lotteries, but betting sports on the Internet. I did this with legal companies that were licensed in their respective countries.

That was until 2006, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act was pushed through Congress, attached to the Port Authority bill. Suddenly, money could no longer legally flow from my offshore account to my credit union to my creditors.

There was no threat to national security. Just a guy in Great Valley trying to survive a Buffalo winter, make a few bucks, shovel his drive and walk his dogs. Basically, the American Dream -- pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

For the past five years, those "boots" have been on the shelf collecting dust. The interest I pay to my creditors those four months doesn't stop because it's cold in Buffalo. I'm not asking the government for a bailout. It's been five years; make this right. Let me and those like me put our "boots" back on. We'll do our own work. We'll make our own money. America can't be the land of opportunity if you take away legal, prosperous opportunity.

When I was 6 years old, I mistook the last line of the national anthem to be "The land of the free, and the home of Bob Ray." I apologize for that, but for a brief time, really thought it. Soon enough I learned it was "the home of the brave." But when it comes to my winter business, I question whether I had that other part wrong, too.

Eugene V. Smith Jr.

Great Valley

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Reward money might be inviting more crime

In regard to the dognapping that occurred recently in the Elmwood Village, a red flag is popping up. I am thrilled for the couple that had a happy ending to a very shocking scenario. I live in the Allentown neighborhood, minutes away from where this incident occurred. I had a similar experience with one of our automobiles several years ago. It was stolen from in front of our house. One week later, we received a call that it had been found on the East Side. We retrieved the car and paid a small sum as a thank you to theindividual who contacted us.

Our lovely Elmwood Village/Allentown community falls victim to repeated crime. Car windows are smashed and items are stolen. Our neighbors have been robbed at gunpoint on their front porches, in front of their homes, as they got out of vehicles.

The dognapping incident becomes sketchy when the individual received a $2,000 reward for the return of stolen property he purchased off the street. I'm hoping the anonymous Good Samaritan has been interviewed by the police. There is a good chance this individual can identify the culprits. Is this reward money an open invitation for others with nefarious intent to invade our neighborhood, terrorize us and then reap financial gain? An increased police patrol on foot could be a deterrent to these frightening incidents.

Laura Abbott

Buffalo

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Collins' cuts pushed necessary workers out

I would like to comment on a statement that was made in a Jan. 8 letter: "County department heads are now coming out of the woodwork to say they are understaffed." The writer surmised County Executive Mark Poloncarz would now be able to justify adding union jobs.

I am responding as a former county employee (and victim of Chris Collins' ineffective staff cuts). I can tell you that it was well-known that if a department head or deputy head were to disagree with any of the edicts that Collins made, then he or she would lose his or her job. Now some of these individuals held to their principles by going against King Collins, but most, and I make no judgment with this statement, kept quiet and kept their jobs.

As someone who has dealt with being pushed onto the unemployment line by an unreasonable employer, I am not sure I could voluntarily give up my job in this current economy. I do not believe there was any true consideration given to the impact that the loss of staff would have on the work to be done. It was all about removing bodies for a better head count of employees.

Gary C. Carrel

Buffalo