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Lack of leadership is the region's problem

How typical of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a project of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, to blame high taxes for the "graying" of the state. Upstate may be on the decline, but New York City continues to attract young people.
New York City is not immune from high taxes and it is not graying. From the center's own report: "New York City was a magnet for young people, attracting 300,000 new residents in the 20- to 34-year-old bracket between 2000 and 2010 ." and although the Empire report goes on to say that once in middle age, residents tend to leave the city, population projections continue to show rising births and the influx of creative young people.
The report "New York City Population Projections by Age/Sex/and Boroughs 2000-2030" is a detailed analysis of the largest city in the country showing continued growth, something the Empire Center fails to acknowledge.
For the Buffalo Niagara region, why not blame for negative growth: patronage politics, myopic developers, insular public authority and foundation boards, far too many industrial development agencies,and narrow-minded bigotry pervading the area that saw a county executive call a member of the State Assembly the "antiChrist," families harassed by bricks and bats (Ann Cooper in the Lovejoy neighborhood), alleged hate crimes investigated (South Buffalo First Ward arson), and a young interracial couple savagely attacked (Brian Milligan Jr. and Nicola Fletcher)?
Taxes support schools, libraries, the arts, police and fire protection, hospitals, roads, public transportation - all quality of life factors that make New York State livable and New York City desirable. Perhaps the problem for upstate, including the Buffalo Niagara region, is the waste of tax dollars by dull, corrupt, provincial so-called leaders.
Lorna Peterson
Buffalo

Two judgments that seem so different and unfair

Federal prosecutors are seeking a two-year sentence for former Ellicott Council Member Brian C. Davis for stealing $48,000 in public funds. James G. Corasanti got a year in jail - the maximum punishment for misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. A jury had acquitted the doctor of manslaughter (in relation to the death of Alix Rice) and leaving the scene charges with his car that probably cost $48,000.
Corasanti has his medical degree still intact with some provisions. I don't know what aftershock Davis will experience, but I do know that you can go out and kill someone and almost get off scot-free.
So I guess the rule of our land is stealing versus killing is the worse of the two evils!
Maryann Job
Corfu

Josefiak has integrity, despite bad portrayal

Knowing Mary Josefiak and being a lifelong friend allows me to say that she carries out her duties as director of recreation, youth and senior services professionally, honestly and with a personal integrity and energy the Town of West Seneca should be happy to have.
The Aug. 18 News article attempted to legitimize the Town Board's undermining of her integrity. It cast an innuendo that the money paid in salary was excessive and the overtime payments were "dirty." The fact that her salary was negotiated after the town combined the duties and responsibilities of three director positions into one, saving the town $129,000 in salary alone, was secondary at best. The article failed to mention how the former positions came with a town car and a cell phone, which are not now included in the director's position and would further increase the current savings realized by the taxpayers. (Let's not forget the retirement and health care cost savings as well).
The dollar amount of the overtime payments is shocking at face value, but it is a condition of her employment and is driven by program demands.
The Town Board's reluctance to provide requested staff contributed to the overtime payments. I know the dollar per hour amount is alarming, but I also know Mary didn't submit the full total number of hours spent ensuring programs ran as expected, especially the after-hour programs and weekend events.
The Town Board wants to get public sentiment on its side, but all it did was highlight mistakes in leadership. I would think that giving the long-requested, adequate help to provide services and run programs, which have increased under Mary's leadership, would result in no further overtime submissions from her and give her some well-deserved personal down time.
Michelle McMahon
Colden

Women deserve honor, not denigration by men

Around the world, there is an overwhelming denigration of women. There is the immolation of brides in India; the rape of the women in African countries; the repressive shariah law in the Middle East, which smothers the freedom of its women with large and small humiliations, some even leading to death or dismemberment.
Lest we feel superior to all the foreign instances of abuse of women, be advised of our own homegrown ultra-conservative politicians in their never-ending quest to deprive women of their right to equal wages for equal work and the ongoing campaign to deprive them of their right to decide just how they will live their reproductive lives.
And let us not forget the many cases of harassment of women in the military. And now, alas, the valiant nuns have come under the gun. It is disgraceful.
Historically, women, according to the law, were nothing more than chattel, they could not own property or money in their own right and, shockingly, they were refused the vote until 1920. Imagine that!
Taken as a whole, the irony of it is overwhelming. Women are the best part of life.
They are the mothers who bear us and nurture us into adulthood, imbuing us with love and a value system that enables us to survive in the world; the teachers who inculcate us with the finest ideals; the wives and daughters who add the color and texture to the fabric of life. And this is their reward.
Our society in its wisdom and compassion sets up safe houses to protect women from abuse. On Super Bowl Sunday, the battering of women reaches a statistical high.
Men are and have been the transgressors. It's as though the possession of the Y chromosome entitles us to a position of privilege. Women are more than our equals and they give more than they get.
Joseph Spina
Amherst