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Hire best candidates for police and fire jobs

Cheektowaga, Lancaster and many other towns throughout Western New York hire the best and the brightest. Recently in Lancaster and Cheektowaga, they were comparing candidates who all scored in the top 1 percent on a recent police exam. Candidates then go through a thorough background check and character evaluation. No matter who they choose, they are getting a top candidate for years to come.
So why are the citizens of Buffalo being shortchanged when it comes to police and fire candidates? Why should the city be forced to select inferior candidates? Why do the Police and Fire Departments accept candidates with scores in the 70s? Then when these applicants struggle to maintain a passing grade at their respective academies, they are sometimes passed through.
Recently two fire candidates failed and the fire commissioner refused to terminate them. We're not talking about a clerical position here, we're talking about potential firefighters who will someday make decisions that could mean the difference between life or death. Decisions that could save a citizen's life or a firefighter's life. All citizens and firefighters deserve candidates they can depend on if their lives are on the line.
If needed, have civil service exams every two years instead of every four years. Let the commissioner hire the secretaries and clerical staff, that's where his strengths are. And leave the training and evaluations up to the chief of training, who sees these candidates every day for two months. Why not expect the best and brightest when it comes to life-and-death situations? To all of Buffalo's bravest, stay safe.
Phil Ryan
Retired Buffalo fire lieutenant
West Seneca

More respect needed to solve our problems

Thanks to Michelle Boorstein for her Viewpoints article pointing out the reality of one of our most challenging issues today, religious freedom. Being founded on democratic principles of the individual's right to freedom of religious and political beliefs, our society has become so complex we're on overload. I just hope and pray that people in our country with whatever heritage and belief systems can take a step back from the conflicts.
I believe that respect for each other as human beings has to come into play to solve our challenges. This means respect for each other's needs, thoughts and rights. The arguments are all about how people as much as possible can achieve some kind of contentment and security in their lives. If we don't start finding common ground and respect for each other, the individual freedoms don't have a chance!
Gaylynn Long
Youngstown

Energy project will bring low-cost power to state

The Aug. 11 News story, "Energy plan may raise upstate cost," nearly exclusively aired the opposition. The Champlain Hudson Power Express project, an innovative, underwater 333-mile transmission line, will bring clean, low-cost power to New York State, and will not raise upstate power prices, according to economic studies conducted by London Economics International.
The Champlain Hudson Power Express will lower costs to energy consumers across the state by an estimated $650 million annually. The New York Public Service Commission estimates these savings may be as high as $720 million. While it is true that these cost savings would mainly occur in the Hudson Valley, the New York metro area and Long Island, upstate power prices will remain stable.
The clean hydro power that will be transported on this line will come from new generation sources now being developed and will not take any low-cost power from Canada that is currently going into upstate and Western New York. Furthermore, since this project is being financed 100 percent by the private sector, ratepayers and taxpayers will not be responsible for any of the costs associated with the development, construction or commercialization of the line. By relying on private sources of funding, the Champlain Hudson Power Express will free up scarce resources needed to upgrade existing transmission systems in Western New York and other areas of the state.
We agree that New York needs many new projects to address its long-term energy future, and this project is only one piece of a larger puzzle. That said, with this project, New York has an opportunity to bring this low-cost power to the state and with it cut energy rates, create jobs and deliver cleaner air without the need for an overhead transmission line running down state.
Donald Jessome
President and CEO, TDI

Fudoli has insulted workers and veterans

On Aug. 20, Erie County employees gathered outside of the Lancaster Town Hall in protest of remarks made by Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli. It seems he believes that government is the enemy and all government employees are lazy. If that's what he thinks, then that's what he thinks. The folks who assembled wanted to be certain that Fudoli understands that they are not all like their fellow government employee Dino Fudoli.
This came about at the same time that Fudoli is trying to nix a veterans cemetery from being established in Lancaster. Right now, the closest veterans cemetery to Erie County is in Bath. Some of the people in the crowd were U.S. veterans and they felt insulted by Fudoli. It seems he would rather see a hamburger served than a place that honors those who served their country. I'm sure most of the people in Lancaster feel differently than Fudoli. Fudoli is excelling at giving Lancaster a black eye, but not much else. Bob Giza, where are you?
Bob Farmer
Lancaster

Amherst must integrate nature with community

Amherst residents are hearing that we need to "swap" the Westwood Country Club for the Audubon Golf Course so that it can be used for a massive development complex. This move is being touted as necessary to fully integrate the University at Buffalo with the community. In reality, we have been integrating UB for decades and have done it well. A more pressing issue for Amherst, however, is integrating nature with the community. The preservation of green space and the integration of nature has always been a significant part of the appeal of Amherst and a reason many chose to live here.
It is both sad and embarrassing that Amherst now has the reputation of being a haven for mindless overdevelopment. A condition and portrayal other communities work diligently to avoid.
Critical thinking and logical consequences inextricably link the pattern of developing green space with the destruction of wildlife and their habitats. If we continue along the road of developing our remaining green spaces, even though existing developed spaces remain vacant, we can expect more of our "nuisance" wildlife being displaced and eliminated. Unfortunately, it is the inhumane killing of Amherst beavers that brought to the forefront the importance of our responsibility in balancing and integrating nature within the community.
Judy Ferraro
Amherst