Stability of power plants is extremely important

The industrial and manufacturing sectors in Western New York have declined significantly over the past 20 years. We have seen jobs disappear to other states and our population has declined consistently as a result. Consequently, the demand for power has left with them on this side of our state.

The three power plants in Western New York represent major employment and tax anchors for our communities, with a combined economic impact of $460 million per year in taxes as well as direct and indirect employment. These power plants have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into state-of-the-art emission control equipment in the past few short years as a commitment to doing business in New York State and Western New York. They are already compliant with the stringent new Environmental Protection Agency emission rules that will have hundreds of power plants closing across the country by 2015. Somerset, particularly, is recognized as one of the cleanest facilities in the entire country.

Our Western New York plants are struggling due to issues that include transmission congestion precluding the movement of abundant surplus power to downstate demand areas and current natural gas prices. I am grateful to see that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is moving forward to support transmission investments in New York and for New York. However, we need short-term and immediate help now in order to survive to benefit from the transmission upgrades.

I urge the governor to support a Power Purchase Agreement for the power plants in Niagara, Erie and Chautauqua counties. Our communities are struggling to survive this down period in our state's economic history, and the stability of these power plants is extremely important if we are to be successful.

Daniel M. Engert

Supervisor, Town of Somerset


Item on courts reveals injustice to taxpayers

As a New York State taxpayer, I was incensed after reading "Off Main Street" on March 24. Those are my tax dollars being wasted while a Supreme Court judge plays funny noises on his iPad while waiting for a defense lawyer who is "frequently tardy." And to add insult to injury, he grants the late lawyer an adjournment so he can waste more of our tax dollars! How dare they treat our courts with that kind of disrespect.

Shame on the parties involved, and shame on The News for reporting the whole scenario as if it was entertaining. I'm sure I was not the only reader who thought it was yet another example of our government gone wrong.

Valerie Monahan



Building football stadium in Orchard Park was wise

There seem to be certain beliefs, usually uncontested and sometimes referred to as conventional wisdom, that are often repeated. This was the case in an Another Voice by Rocco Termini recently in this newspaper. Termini is a respected developer doing a fantastic job toward redeveloping the city. However, he repeats what I believe is a great misconception -- that our county football stadium was built in the wrong place.

My wife and I had season tickets when this great stadium complex was first opened in 1973. It was the site preferred by the Buffalo Bills, and it has been a tremendous success. It has kept the Buffalo Bills here for years, and hopefully will for many more. It is rated as one of the best fan-friendly stadiums in the NFL, it has adequate parking and it is known for its tailgating parties and other attractions, frequently mentioned by Canadians, in comparison to Bills games at their stadium in downtown Toronto.

Considering that the football stadium is so little used to begin with, in comparison to our downtown arena and baseball stadium, what could be such a big mistake? And consider all the valuable property in the city that this complex would have taken. The Galleria Mall has been an economic boom for this area. Should it have been built downtown? How successful was the Main Place Mall? We are one metro, and I like the city and support many of its projects. But, please, does everything have to go into the city?

Joel LaPlaca



View of Social Security omits some key points

After reading the March 22 Another Voice by Erie Community College professor Anthony Cilano, I feel it necessary to correct some of his claims.

He claims that Social Security is not insurance as the average person understands it. He says insurance companies would be dragged into court for selling a similar product. Well, they better start dragging, because auto insurance, fire insurance and most every type of insurance is sold this way. They pay claims from the premiums they collect. They don't pay from their pockets. If the premiums don't cover the claims, then premiums go up. I think everyone understands that.

As far as the Social Security fund goes, that is a general fund of money that was built up through extra payroll tax to ensure that Social Security could remain solvent through the ups and downs of the economy. Insurance companies do the same thing, except they expect a profit.

His claim that the fund is just a bunch of IOUs is just a repeat of a charge by the anti-Social Security crowd of the GOP. Those IOUs are treasury notes, the same thing that banks, investors, other governments and, yes, insurance companies buy as a safe place to put their money.

His claim that no contract exists between the generations is also false. If it were otherwise, then no generation would have to pay the debt of a war that kept them free, or for a school that will educate them or any of the many things that each generation hands to the next.

Keith R. Clements



Citizens United ruling ranks among the worst

The Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 has unleashed unbridled amounts of money, as seen in the GOP presidential primary process, and it will end up being the last straw to corrupt the whole democratic process of elections in our country. It will go down in history alongside the Dred Scott opinion (1857) and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) as one of the worst moments in the history of the Supreme Court and the country.

Tyrone M. Segarra



We're being swamped with ads from lawyers

I am tired of watching non-stop lawyer ads on TV. From the ads, one would think we have 150 car crashes a day here. I find it hard to believe that thousands of people are hurt in cars here and wonder why there are so many ads looking for victims. Could it be the lawyers are making millions suing everybody and have loads of money to buy all these ads?

Someone has to pay for lawsuits and it's the public that faces higher insurance prices from all the lawyers' fees. I would like to see Buffalo famous for something besides suing people.

Bob Baker