Taxpayers receive? plenty in return

To reach a letter writer's conclusion, one must be totally blind to the services provided by all levels of government. I challenge him and other like-minded citizens to provide their own streets, roads, bridges, safe water supply, policing, military, education facilities, public parks, financial support after disabling illness or accident and oversight of utilities, banks and health care, just to name a few. If people should try such herculean tasks on their own, they would soon find that banding together, designating some individuals to carry out each task and sharing the costs is the only way to live in a successful society.

A tax is defined as a sum of money levied on income, property or sales, by a government for services it provides. The taxpayer gets plenty of value in return. That is not theft. If the writer, as he suggests, demanded 15 percent of the neighbor's income and he provided the neighbor with all the services he needed, his "tax" would be justified. There is nothing inherently immoral about requiring payment for services. Furthermore, the Bible has no place in the governmental policy questions of this nation of immigrants of all faiths from all over the world. And I'm not addressing whether his interpretation is well-supported or not.

I would like to add a comment on a related battle-cry issue: that government is too big and smaller is automatically better. The important question is to first determine what services the public needs and then determine the numbers of people and agencies necessary to fill those needs.

Lucy Ryan



Don't blame police ?for driver's actions

What if the police shot the tires of the alleged drunk who should not have been driving? The driver may have hit the woman anyway. What if police chased the driver and he hit someone and killed her? We need to put the blame where it belongs – on the driver who used deadly force in not obeying the officers' command and put his life in danger.

How many of you citizens would put your life on the line as these officers do in dealing with people who refuse to obey the law?

There are way too many people driving drunk, and these people need to be dealt with more severely. Stop blaming the good officers who are only doing their job and making our society better.

David N. Wendt



Right-to-work law ?is seriously flawed

The question arises after recent events in Michigan. The House and Senate are Republican controlled. They, in a lame duck session, voted affirmatively on "right-to-work" legislation. It might be said it was their right, they were elected, it's the democratic way. Not so. The bill was not given proper time for input and debate, voted on prior to next session, knowing that next session this bill likely would not pass as Republicans were being replaced by Democrats.

The bill allows all workers in union shops the right to "choose" to belong to the union. Sounds good. But this would only work if the employees who "choose" not to join the union would then not enjoy the benefits that the union had fought for, negotiated and won for all employees. The "chosen" non-members then should have to negotiate their own wages, benefits, safety protections and disciplinary procedures, hopefully then understanding the benefits of joining the union instead of merely reaping the benefits.

Unfortunately that is not how it works. My 30 years of experience as a federal sector local union president where the right-to-work situation exists shows that much of my work (as required by law) was done for employees who "chose" not to join. The first place they called when an issue or proposed discipline arose was the union office. This bill encourages freeloading. If the "chosen" non-members addressed the many facets the union does, then the legislation would at least be fairer. Now it only decreases wages, puts more power in the hands of management and diminishes workplace safety.

Let's make sure that New York legislators are on notice that this law is detrimental to working families and will not be tolerated.

Ann Converso, R.N.

CWA HCCC political/legislative coordinator


Salvatore's generosity ?benefits the community

Russell J. Salvatore is an exceptional citizen we should all be proud of. A successful businessman, he has always shown his generosity to the community. It's not just the money he spends, it's the way that he shares his success so that others may benefit.

The list of his support includes the Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality and Business, Trocaire College, Erie Community College and scholarship awards. Recently he bought unsold tickets for the Bills game so that it would not be blacked out. This is just a partial list of his generosity. It's obvious that he enjoys doing things for our community and has helped so many people.

Bruce Godfryd



Poloncarz and Ryan? right to rein in IDAs

The Nov. 22 News carried an Another Voice by Iskalo Development's David Chiazza, who apparently objects to efforts by County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Assemblyman Sean Ryan to rein in the conduct of our industrial development agencies. Chiazza prattles on about the value of "adaptive reuse," the slogan recently coined by the IDAs to justify taxpayer contributions for commercial projects that do not provide new jobs. Notable among such foolishness are the Amherst IDA's $500,000 contribution to move a Premier Liquor store from Kenmore to Amherst, and a huge Erie County IDA contribution to help relocate the Kenney Shelton law firm from one downtown building to another.

In assessing Chiazza's sentiments, it should be remembered that after Iskalo Development bought the Niagara Mohawk Building for about $2.5 million, it promptly went to the ECIDA for taxpayer contributions, claiming that otherwise it could not afford needed renovations. Over the objections of several downtown competitors, the ECIDA provided that assistance.

David Sweet

Main Seneca Corp., Buffalo


UB is wrong to accept ?so many foreign students

Last week in The Buffalo News there was an article listing how many students from foreign countries were accepted to the University at Buffalo Medical School. I think it is a shame that foreigners are accepted and then return to their home countries while locally we are short of doctors.

A local man who aced the entrance exam was refused again and would stay here after he graduated. Although accepted to other out-of-town schools, his dream was to attend UB. He is now a paramedic and still hoping to attend school here.

Anne Szczepanski