Let's hope new bishop? refuses to be silenced

Welcome, Bishop Richard Malone! Do you hear it? It's the sound of silence. I hope that you take notice. There seems to be a silence all over the Diocese of Buffalo. Some of the silence, I believe, is caused by fear or lack of courage. Maybe it is ignorance. Some of the silence is arrogant, defiant. Some of the silence unfortunately comes from the pulpit, from the classroom, the faithful.

Some members of the clergy are silenced by the not-so-silent powers that want silence concerning issues such as marriage, abortion, religious freedom, the culture. If you speak candidly from the church pulpit or the classroom, you may be silenced, even transferred to a lesser parish.

More often we have Catholics migrating to parishes that are less "noisy," more politically correct – silent. We have all seen it. No one really talks about it, above a whisper. Yes, we have our silent "Respect Life" signs on our church lawns. We tiptoe carefully, mentioning an issue for a Sunday or two. Careful, don't offend! Don't preach right from wrong. Silence seems a safe haven. Remember, silence was a main culprit in previous church problems.

I'm concerned about our young Catholics. They don't hear the consistency, the verve, the passion. They don't understand what makes Catholicism exceptional. We need to break the silence for their benefit. The confessionals sit in silence because who can really say what is good or evil anymore, when there is silence? We pray for Malone, and we can't wait to hear from him.

Jay Prendergast



Raising Thruway tolls? won't attract businesses

I find it ironic that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to hike truck tolls on the Thruway by 45 percent on one hand and on the other hand is spending $50 million on a marketing campaign to attract businesses to New York. It appears the "anti-competitive mindset" of the state of New York never occurs to the governor or Albany in general.

Roy T. Lindberg



Voters in 27th District?only interested in facts

The big media discussion in the new 27th Congressional District race appears to be the release of income tax returns as opposed to the real issues that affect the average voter – the economy, taxes, home ownership and jobs. What have we learned from these releases? That the family of the wealthy, private businessman earned more and paid a higher tax rate for each year from 2009 to 2011 than the government-employed family, who earned about a quarter-million of our tax dollars per year and paid a lower annual tax rate during the same period. The majority of us do not care what each earned between 2009 and 2011. That is only water over the dam.

If we must discuss these incomes as part of the campaign, then we should be told that the private businessman must make his own provisions for retirement and health care over and above Social Security and Medicare, while the elected federal politician and political appointee are exempt from Social Security and Medicare. These individuals are covered by special packages for retirement and health care that guarantee them no decrease in income upon retirement.

Other questions arise from these releases. Is the businessman's income based solely on his ability to succeed in the private sector or did he inherit his wealth? Where does ability enter into public sector employment? Is the individuals' public sector employment based on membership, "who you know" or winning a personality contest for elected office?

As a resident of the new congressional district, I really want to know how much influence the winner will have in creating new jobs and improving the economy for my family. The candidates should be articulating how they can help the district residents as a member of a political polarized and stalemated Congress.

Most of us want to know the facts – just the facts – not past history.

William Christen



Clarence welcomes? newcomers to town

Bruce Andriatch's Aug. 7 commentary, "Clarence continues its insular ways," was riddled with inaccurate assumptions and false innuendos. We moved to Clarence in 1998 from a neighboring town. One of the main reasons for our decision to move was because, compared to many surrounding communities, Clarence was the most economically diverse, and still is.

Andriatch suggests that in Clarence, we don't want "poor" people here. Had he done his research he would know that statistics show that in 2010 in ZIP code 14031, (Clarence), 10.7 percent of the population had an income below poverty level. Compare that to the 14221 ZIP code, (Williamsville), which in 2010 had 6.6 percent of its population living below poverty level. So, no, we are not all economically wealthy families living in huge homes.

Moving to Clarence was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We raised our family on one income and sacrificed many things so that we could do so. We know of many families in Clarence that have done the same.

Why is it so hard for Andriatch to believe that the reason that the town is considering a moratorium on apartment construction is because of zoning, density and infrastructure issues? Is it really fair to suggest that the residents of Clarence have an "insular" attitude just because we do not want our community overdeveloped and congested with traffic?

I have lived in Kenmore, Town of Tonawanda and Amherst. In my experience, Clarence has been the most welcoming and caring of all of these communities.

Kendra Eck



People have become ?slaves to technology

On Sept. 21, Apple will be releasing its new and improved version of its iPhone. I can't help but have this mental picture of people pitching tents and camping outside retailers to be the first ones to own one of those precious apparatuses. I can't help but have an even more macabre mental picture: That of people stampeding over each other, injuring or perhaps causing unintentional death to others.

As technology continues its voracious appetite for advancement at a record pace, we have become enslaved to it. So enslaved, that we have our priorities on backward. Our "needs" have taken a back seat to our "wants." Call me an old-fashioned sentimentalist (I grew up during the era of rotary phones, mimeographs and typewriters that will announce with a ringing of a bell that we ran out of space) but during those days, a phone was just that, a phone – with one purpose and one purpose only, to verbally communicate with one person at a time.

During my days, we carried photos of loved ones in our wallets, and interchange of verbal communication and exchange of ideas had that personal touch. I believe that technology must advance in order to improve our quality of life; however, those advances are turning us into a subculture of humanoids unknown to each other.

Jose Figueroa