Money spent locally helps boost economy

The City of Buffalo has been losing residents since 1950. Over the last decade, we saw a loss of 31,338 residents, more than 10 percent of our population. However, recent developments reveal that Buffalonians are fighting back against this trend. If residents of the more populous Buffalo Niagara metro region increase their efforts to buy more local goods and services, we can all be a part of reducing Buffalo's rampant poverty and unemployment levels and keep more money in the city.

In today's Buffalo, valuable and thriving neighborhoods are making a comeback, supported by a vast network of non-profit groups and enthusiastic individuals committed to making Buffalo a better city. Many entrepreneurs within the city are using both local resources and residents to produce consumer goods intimately connected to our home city. These groups are breathing new life into our city, and we can all contribute to their success by buying local.

Whether you choose to pick up a six-pack of city-brewed and bottled Flying Bison beer at a local supermarket, visit the West Side's Five Points Bakery for fresh cinnamon rolls, baked with grain grown just a short drive away, or enjoy a film at the Dipson North Park Theater, our last treasured silver screen, you are supporting Buffalo's local economy.

Buffalo First, a non-profit group that supports locally owned, independent businesses, provides information, as well as a coupon book, to assist local residents in locating local businesses and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Money spent locally has a much greater impact on the local economy than money spent elsewhere. If residents across the metro region make daily efforts to consider where their dollars will go, we can help reward those working so hard to bring business back to Buffalo.

Bob Grimaldi



Muslims were monitored because of ties to group

The News editorial "NYPD on wrong track" is troublesome. The New York Police Department was watching some students not because of their faith, but because of the organization the students belonged to. This is an important distinction. The Muslim Students Association was founded in 1963 by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization dedicated to establishing a global Islamic state through violence.

MSA alumni include Anwar al-Awlaki, who recruited jihadists before being killed by a U.S. drone attack, and Zachary Chesser, who was so upset by "South Park's" portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit that he wanted to kill the show's producers. Some MSA members provided material support to al-Qaida while others attempted to murder Americans, blow up New York City subways and bring down transatlantic flights.

The editorial glossed over Toronto's Islamic convention. One speaker called America "garbage," "filthy" and "sick." Another supported a charity tied to the terrorist organization Hamas. Local and national MSA college programs also have radical speakers.

The MSA's ironic press statement blaming police surveillance for "driving Muslim students away from mainstream society" confuses cause and effect. It's the Muslim students in the MSA advocating violence that created the NYPD'S concern. The NYPD's concern didn't radicalize the students. But it's possible some of the MSA's programs did.

Elinor Weiss

East Amherst


Tap students' ideas to improve schools

It's surprising that in the call to manage schools like a business, most leaders have failed to follow the top rule for business success -- listen to the customer.

Before our tiny non-profit lost its New York State Education Department funding, we did a five-year study of students' ideas about school improvement. More than 11,000 student responses across eight districts suggest:

Real-world, project-based learning will "engage" all students.

Social climate determines safety, not cameras or metal detectors.

Reducing risk comes from relationships, not scare programs.

55 percent of students do not have one school adult they trust.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly planning a costly, statewide student voices study, the findings will likely be the same as a revelation that their ideas have been a great untapped resource. We will then start seeing students at the table, but at the risk of it being a passive bit of window dressing. Student-driven innovation can help save education. Let's make it real. The future depends on it.

Bob James

West Falls


Patients benefit from well-educated nurses

When I experienced poor nursing care at a local hospital recently, I spoke as quickly as possible to the facility's patient advocate, the person responsible to take complaints to the proper office. Then I wrote a letter to the director of nursing with a copy to the hospital president. These are the people responsible for oversight of patient care. In the emergency room, when an accident or medical emergency suddenly appears, critical triage decisions can necessarily influence the care of others who are not as ill.

There are numerous studies demonstrating that patient care is improved with increased education for nurses. In many instances, however, low staffing levels are a deterrent to good care. Staffing, however, includes nursing aides, clerical workers as well as registered nurses.

Now retired, I speak from experience as a young nurse in the emergency and operating rooms of a major hospital and later as director of nursing.

Georgia Burnette, R.N.,

M.S.N., Ms.Ed.



Everyone should back progressive income tax

Back in 2010, I put together a federal tax plan that I thought would have a chance of being approved by both political parties and the president. This was it: First, there would be a level of income below which no income tax would be due, say $50,000. This would be the only deduction. All other deductions would be eliminated. This would give young singles, young marrieds and new business start-ups a chance to gain a foothold in our economy. Further, it would give our elderly a chance to survive their old age.

Secondly, a progressive income tax would begin at incomes above $50,000. It would start at a zero percent tax rate and progress to a 30 percent or 35 percent tax rate at say $300,000. I've changed this to reflect a more realistic 30 percent flat tax rate starting at $1 million. So, no federal income tax from $0 to $50,000 of income. A progressive tax from $50,000 to $1 million of income and a flat tax of 30 percent at $1 million of income and above. Estate or death taxes would be eliminated. Using 2008 personal income statistics, this plan would increase revenue by approximately $546 billion.

Franklin J. Battaglia