Ushers there to assist, ?not to see a free show

I am writing in response to the commentary in the Sept. 9 paper about the volunteer policy at Shea's theater. I was an usher for 15 years at Shea's. I understand the two volunteers were unhappy to not be invited back, but some misconceptions about the role of the volunteer need to be pointed out.

First of all, ushers are there to assist patrons who have paid to see the production; ushers are not there to see the show for free. Ushers have a job to do before and during the production – assisting patrons, directing them to the end doors to leave the theater during the show, returning to their posts at the stage doors before intermission and before the end of the show – all of which can be distracting to the patrons watching the show.

Often ushers need to communicate with each other as well, and talking to your fellow usher is not appreciated by the patron who has paid for his or her seat. This is one of the main reasons ushers cannot sit in the same row or in front of patrons. It is important to note that there are always places to sit during the production – outside in the lobby. Therefore, any ushers who are elderly or who have health problems do not need to stand throughout the show; they just might not be able to watch it.

All of this is made clear during the opening meeting by Anthony Conte. These rules have been in place for quite a long time. If these two ladies were unhappy with their situation and received no support from their usher captain, why didn't they contact Conte? Colin Dabkowski was unfair in his depiction of Shea's as unfeeling and lacking in compassion. The policy makes sense to ensure the paying public has a satisfactory theater experience, and volunteers need to remember that they are there to assist the public, not to see Broadway shows for free.

Carol S. Kimmerle



Citizens should be able ?to vote close to home

Our family has lived in our home almost 25 years and voted in elections two-tenths of a mile away. We have been "redistricted" and now have to drive three miles to vote. That's right – three miles one way. No other notification but one week before, when our new voter registration cards arrived in the mail. When contacting the town clerk's office about it, officials said they were not even notified by the county Board of Elections. Nice move.

It is no wonder the populace of this country is totally disappointed in elected officials who do nothing but pander to themselves. It is terrible what they are doing to the country and its citizens.

John T. Swarbrick

Orchard Park


Buffalo firm is leader ?in museum lighting

I surely enjoyed the timely "LEDs put new life in lighting" in your MoneySmart section in the Sept. 10 News. The writer is spot on: LEDs and OLEDs are the future of designer and household lighting and the future has arrived.

On every business front and architect's drafting board, LEDs are focal in the advancement of contemporary design. The green movement could not be happier. LED lamps can last up to 15 to 20 years, far outlasting traditional fluorescents, halogens and incandescents. Wattage draw is lower, which saves electricity, and LEDs are cooler, which makes them easier to handle but also creates a significantly lower secondary heat load that can save measurable cooling costs for any business. It is a win-win.

Color rendering was the early knock on LEDs, as primary colors pop (think of the red numbers on your bedside alarm clock or the green display on the microwave) but the light is much warmer now and even. It is no longer jarring but pleasant and daring. The fixtures are more versatile and designers have a new frontier.

I found the article ironic as I read it on the plane as I was departing Buffalo. I had just met with executives at LiteLab on Elm Street in downtown Buffalo. Centered in your city, you have one of the international leaders in retail and museum lighting. LiteLab touts an impressive list of long-term clients, including Louis Vuitton and Gucci, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and MoMA and now is burgeoning in Shanghai and Sao Paulo. It spins steel, runs assembly lines, builds custom light fixtures and ships them worldwide from its Elm Street HQ. Embracing technology, LEDs are now and happening right in Buffalo. True story, bright future – no pun intended.

Peter J. Atkinson

Director of Facilities and Capital Planning, Harvard Art Museums

Cambridge, Mass.


We must face reality ?and increase taxes

Being the record-keeping junkie that I am, and with all the political dialogue regarding tax levels, I pulled out my 1998 and 2010 federal tax schedules and compared required tax payments using the "married-filing-jointly" figures.

For a taxable income of $25,000, the 1998 federal tax was $3,754, while the 2010 federal tax was $2,916 – a tax reduction of $838. For an income of $50,000, the 1998 tax was $8,502; while the 2010 tax was $6,666 – a tax reduction of $1,836. For an income of $100,000, the 1998 tax was $22,488, while the 2010 tax was $17,356 – a reduction of $5,132. For an income of $300,000, the 1998 tax was $92,404, while the 2010 tax was $77,781 – a tax reduction of $14,623.

Is it any wonder that our debt has increased so dramatically to more than $15 trillion since the Bush tax cuts? I firmly believe that we need to reduce federal spending, but anyone who thinks we do not need to raise taxes at least back to the Clinton levels has his head where the sun doesn't shine. It is not pleasant to face the need to not only reduce our debt but to keep our spending in line with our income. But face it we must. When?

David F. Baker



Romney made money,?but didn't create jobs

A friend once told me, "If you want a happy marriage, don't ask a guy who's been divorced five times for advice. Ask someone who actually has one."

There's been a lot of talk about "Romney the businessman." Some say, "He's made money, he can fix unemployment." These people either forgot or refuse to pay attention to what Romney's business actually was. Bain Capital took over companies and stripped the cost to the barest minimum, usually by outsourcing or cutting living wages into part-time minimum wages. And if that wasn't enough, it closed the company and sold off the resources. Bain made unemployment and underemployment. True, its first goal was to make cash, but the byproduct was unemployment and underemployment. Romney knows how to kill jobs. He knows nothing about how to make them.

If you doubt it, think about how many Romney ads have featured communities or community leaders talking about how glad they were that Bain Capital took over a local factory or how much better off their community was because of it. There are none.

Larry Schultz