Voters should give credit where credit is due

Mitt Romney does not care about the poor because there is "a safety net in place," yet instead of reinforcing it, he wants to make it even more porous. As if Rep. Paul Ryan's plan were not sufficiently unfair to the poor, Romney wants to further eviscerate Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps -- all programs helping the working poor, some of whom have three jobs and are still unable to make ends meet. And when Romney declares that he does not care about the rich, he has a very strange way of demonstrating his lack of concern as he rewards them with tax benefits the rest of us can only dream about.

Romney also tells us that while President Obama did inherit a crisis, "he made it worse." Obama saved General Motors and Chrysler and 1 million jobs. On Feb. 3, we learned that the economy added almost a quarter of a million jobs, bringing unemployment down to the lowest rate in years. I am confident in the Republicans' biological inability to admit that Obama has some responsibility for the economic recovery. I hope the American people will give credit where credit is due and, come November, will not elect an individual who, on the positive side stands for nothing and, on the negative, will make our lives more difficult.

Andre Toth



Here's some career advice for Chris Collins

It was laughable to hear that our just-defeated county executive, Chris Collins, may want to run for Congress. I guess because he did such an outstanding job for Erie County, he wants to treat the nation to his amazing leadership skills. Just as these small-government conservatives want to reduce the size of the federal work force, they cannot resist joining that very work force.

Here is some career advice for Collins: Take your wonderful business skills and build some terrific job-producing company right here in Western New York. We already have enough "small-government conservatives" increasing the size of the federal work force in Washington and staying there ad infinitum. (See Rep. Ron Paul).

Joseph M. Yonder



Chorus hides behind cloak of confidentiality

As a former six-year member and officer of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus board of directors and 23-year member of the chorus, I am appalled at the board's firing of our esteemed music director, Doreen Rao. The board took this action right in the middle of our season, with no warning, and no explanation to either Rao or the chorus membership. It gave no regard to the consequences for the chorus membership, the BPO or the cultural community of Western New York.

For us to be able to even attract a leader of Rao's caliber to Buffalo -- remarkable. To retain her for more than three years -- incredible. To summarily dismiss her, let alone before her contract was even up -- inconceivable! The obvious improvement in this chorus's artistry, number of members, diversity and professionalism has been well-documented. Our relationship with the BPO has never been better. And Rao wanted to remain here for several more years.

As a member of two previous music director search committees, our number one goal was to find someone who could "take us to the next level." That is precisely what Rao did for the chorus. And now she is fired. The board hides its true motives for the firing behind the oh so convenient cloak of "confidentiality." The board's secret vote to not negotiate a new contract with Rao passed 11 to 7. If the reasons for terminating were so grave, why did seven board members vote no? The incredible hubris of this board majority is astounding. These members have greatly underestimated the repercussions of their actions. The internal criticism of them is strong, and the public condemnation is growing by the day.

Patrick B. Barrett

West Seneca


Obama's HHS decision will have consequences

President Obama's Health and Human Services plan has certainly stirred up a hornet's nest, one that could certainly "sting" in the upcoming presidential race. The Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the 'right' of the people to alter or abolish it " Whether they were Christian or not, all the writers of the Declaration signed it.

Forcing people to buy into a plan that goes against the teachings of their faith is unconstitutional and will cause grave consequences. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act ensures that those who participate in the health care system will retain the right to provide health care coverage that is consistent with their religious and moral beliefs.

Can we really afford more division in this country? People are angry with Wall Street, they are angry with the government and now sacred religious beliefs are being trampled. Whoever would lead the nation differently than what is stated in the Declaration of Independence, with total disregard for what is held sacred, brings revolution and disaster upon himself and those who support those misguided efforts.

Dawn Curazzato



State continues history of broken treaties

In the late 1800s, as the curtain was coming down on the Western Plains Indians, the Sioux chief, Red Cloud, said of the U.S. government: "They made us many promises, more than I can remember, and they never kept but one: They said they would take our land and they took it." The government saw fit to break treaty after treaty in its never-ending quest for more.

In 1960, President John Kennedy broke the Treaty of Canandaigua, which was signed by George Washington in 1794, and the Kinzua Dam was built, flooding 10,000 acres of reservation land and forcing the relocation 600 Senecas.

Today the greed of Albany is endeavoring to brush aside the 2002 Gambling Compact, which guaranteed the tribes of New York State the exclusive right to build casinos, and is moving ahead to build its own. The state's generous share of gambling proceeds, apparently, was not enough to feed the insatiable beast that is Albany. It doesn't just want more, it wants it all. After all, if Kennedy can break a treaty that is more than 200 years old, a simple compact won't stand in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's way.

Sadly, as history once again repeats itself, I can hear the words of Red Cloud echoing in the wind: "They made us many promises and they never kept but one."

Paul Weslow