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Endorsing Swanick is a step backward

Upon reading that the Conservative Party has deemed it wise to back Chuck Swanick for state senator rather than Mark Grisanti, I sat down in amazement and began shaking my head in dismay. Swanick, as legislator, had one goal at heart -- getting re-elected. Change parties, change positions, change his tie, whatever would get him enough votes to continue at the public trough, he'd do it. Deeply pro-union, I can see my wallet being emptied even more by Swanick as he endears himself to those he hopes will pull the lever next to his name.

Looking at the state of Western New York, highly Democratic, the most unionized area in the country, governed by two control boards (which is not a coincidence), I had hoped the Conservative Party, or any party, would back a man with vision and see the realities around him. Instead, it seems a longtime professional politician possessing the vision of "buying" votes and elections by giving away taxpayer dollars to favorite sons seems to be the popular choice.

This area is home to some of the brightest, hardworking, honest people in the world and deserves leadership for the future, not rehashing the steps that got us where we are today. Reminds me of the old country song, "How can I miss you if you won't go away?"

Ken Wojcieszek

Snyder

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Used bookstore has three Oates novels

Recently, Martin Naparsteck wrote a refreshing travel article about Joyce Carol Oates. It was very nice of him to mention our small used bookstore Turn The Page. However, he stated that there were none of Oates' books in our "neat and orderly store." Oh, but there were. In our "In the Spotlight Section" there were (and are) three Oates novels -- right there in alphabetical order.

Linda Frensch

East Amherst

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Presidential candidates too focused on religion

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

If that is the case, why are the Republicans who are seeking the nomination of their party for the presidency of the United States wasting so much time beating their chests to show how religious they are? Further, why does our president need to state that he is a Christian and has found a savior?

Richard Gubernick

Buffalo

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Excellent BPO concert left audience pumped

In his review of the Feb. 25 BPO concert, Garaud MacTaggart inflicts on our orchestra the most offensive case of passive-aggressive belittlement and damnation-by-faint-praise I've ever read. He referred to the concert as a "run-through." The first piece on the program "wasn't exactly drawn from the top shelf of [the composer's] catalog" but had many of the elements that have made John Adams "a fairly prominent modern composer." Of the last two pieces played, the BPO gave both a "solid" performance and demonstrated that it has "a fairly decent feel for the score." MacTaggart concluded, "all in all, it was a good concert."

Who would want to pay money to hear that? For the record, Adams is a major, modern American composer, and the piece played was all of six minutes long. It was an appetizer, a driving, percussive bon-bon to whet the appetite. Mark O'Connor, the headliner, who followed, is the real deal, a true American virtuoso with songs in his heart and rocket-powered arms and fingers. At the conclusion of O'Connor's piece, a man near me bellowed in enthusiasm. Following intermission, the two pieces by Roy Harris and Aaron Copland were wonderful. The Harris was new to me and a revelation, and even though the Copland was very familiar, I felt as if I was hearing it for the first time. The BPO's strength is in its ensemble playing. It can be soft, ominous, melancholy, humorous and, when it wants to, it can blow the doors open.

It was not a perfect concert, none is, but it was very good. After the show, waiting in line for O'Connor's autograph, I felt more enthusiasm in the audience than I ever have before. We were pumped. So I'm not sure what MacTaggart's reservations were. If he just hears things differently, that's fine. But let him be up front about it -- say so and give his reasons.

Randy West

East Aurora

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Requiring a cat license might reduce population

Lately it seems that the prominent animal-control problem is cat overpopulation. It's not really the cats' fault, they are only doing what comes naturally (breeding). If dogs were allowed to roam freely with no control, they would pose the same problem.

This brings to mind what the solution might be -- state and local ordinances that require cat owners to license and vaccinate them the same as dogs. That way if people chose to own a cat or feed those that are free roaming, they could be held responsible. How many people would harbor 20 or 30 cats if they had to pay for a license, vaccinations and possibly neutering? Also if a cat was causing property damage -- and they do -- there could be access to the owner.

Hopefully, the state and local municipalities will address this issue and do something about it instead of just looking the other way and letting the SPCA or some other agency become overburdened.

Bill Doetterl

Hamburg

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How will this plan save Postal Service money?

How can the post office claim savings by closing the William Street facility? According to The News story I read, "While more than 700 jobs would disappear from the William Street facility, the Postal Service does not expect to lay people off there."

If you're not laying off employees and you're increasing the transportation cost by way of increased fuel prices, where is the savings? And they're creating 500 more jobs in Rochester. I understand that some of the William Street employees would move to Rochester, but if there are no layoffs in Buffalo, how exactly are there any savings? Also, according to The News, the bulk mail operations would remain on Msgr. Valente Drive, next to the main post office building. I'm sure there is some duplication of personnel that would not be eliminated, so again there is little savings.

If I've read past News stories correctly, one of the biggest expenses for the post office is that the U.S. Postal Service is the only business required by the federal government to prepay benefits for future employees (people who might not even be born yet). Why aren't our legislators working on a plan to reduce or eliminate this requirement?

Patra Mangus

Buffalo