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Bills' stance on blackouts ?is a black eye for the fans

So let's get this straight: According to The News article on July 14, only one of the Bills' last six blacked-out home games reached the 85 percent mark; any team taking advantage of the new policy would have to pay a higher share of gate revenue; and the Bills organization believes the new policy would affect the team's ticket base. Blah, blah, blah! What an opportunity lost!

For more than 50 years, this city's fans have supported this team through thick and thin, and now, when the chance arises to give back to the fans, what is the response of the Bills? Do the math. With about 40 Sabres home games a year, mostly all televised, versus eight Bills games, I don't think the Sabres ticket sales are hurting, despite a similar playoff scenario.

The perception Ralph Wilson is portraying to the fans is that he doesn't care about us. Regardless if he is really losing money or not, perception can be reality, and the reality is don't come knocking on our door looking for our hard-earned tax dollars to support your team. Goodbye, Bills!

Kenneth Kuminski

Cheektowaga

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Solo focus on downtown ?won't bring Buffalo back

Rocco Termini's recent article about the need to rebirth the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods is indeed right on the mark. However, what good would that do if the rest of the city is falling apart? Many of Buffalo's neighborhoods that were once lovely middle-class areas are going into ruin. My neighborhood has fallen into the hands of "slum landlords" and "house flippers."

Right next door to me, the house has been owned by both. The current owner lives in Israel, the one before him lived in California. The house currently is three different colors, the wood frames are rotted, the siding is coming off and the grass in the back yard has been cut twice in three years but never raked up, so what has formed is a compost with the smell to go with it. Yet the owners always find tenants. Most of these tenants are itinerants, they come and they go and have no interest in keeping the place clean.

The worst part of it is trying to get the city to do something about it. The current owner hasn't paid taxes and no one bids on the house when it is up for auction. The owner continues to get rent. I have dutifully paid my taxes and kept up my property for 36 years and the reward I get is that my house goes down in value because of what is next door to me. A city is more than just the downtown area, and just keeping that area nice is not going to be financially sound for Buffalo. It will die without keeping all of the neighborhoods up to par.

Donna Capitano Nardozzi

Buffalo

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Returning cars to Main ?hurts emerging art scene

Some people believe that if the automobile is returned to Main Street, downtown will magically "return to those thrilling days of yesteryear." I have a real problem understanding that theory. The pedestrian mall did not kill downtown. The concept failed because it was untimely, because City Hall neglected building code violations and because there was a general lack of creative planning. Thirty years ago, the thought of people residing downtown was unimaginable and discussions were begun to bring back the automobile to encourage the return of retailing. What I cannot fathom is why that option is still being pursued today.

Colin Dabkowski's description of an emerging art scene ("Arts groups transform Main Street," July 15 News) is just the latest in a series of positive events happening downtown. Last week, during an evening Main Street block party, art fans gathered to watch a live mural painting. Poetry readings, music and art shows are creating a vibrant cultural atmosphere in the city center.

We are beginning to embrace the beauty of our harbor front and the jobs created at the medical corridor will bring even more life to downtown. The influx of residents has already begun and developers are ready to provide accommodations for more. Returning the automobile to Main Street now would mark defeat and deal a disastrous blow to the opportunity to create a unique, progressive, walkable, residential and arts center in the very heart of Buffalo. America take notice!

Is threatening pedestrian safety, reducing air quality and introducing noise, dirt and road rage really worth the disruption and tremendous expense to pull off this folly? I'm holding my breath, not because I have any hope left that the project will be scrapped, but because frankly, to me, it just stinks.

Michael J. Zobel

Eggertsville

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Mormon faith indeed? differs from Christianity

The July 14 front-page News article, "Romney a hot topic at pageant" left the impression that the Mormon faith differs little from historical Christianity. However, it is not "misrepresentation" or "spin" to point out that the Church of Latter Day Saints holds many primary beliefs that are contrary to Christian orthodoxy. The beliefs that Jesus is the spirit brother of Satan and that "as we are God once was" are just a couple of examples. These and many other beliefs and practices posit the Mormon faith clearly outside of the central, shared tenets of historical Christianity.

That being said, the Mormon emphasis on strong family bonds and civic duty promotes values that can lead to high-quality public service. As the current presidential race heats up, it would be wise to remember that we are not electing a "theologian-in-chief." President Obama does not stand squarely in the center of Christian orthodoxy in his beliefs and practices, either. While it is important to know the basis of a political candidate's belief system, it is even more important to know how these basic beliefs inform his or her decisions and actions. The main question now is whether the American voter wants four more years of Obama's practices and policies or desires to chart a different course.

Daniel G. Stayner

Youngstown

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Look at the patterns ?in exploding debt levels

Robert Samuelson's memory is failing, or he thinks ours is. As I remember from college days, Keynes' theory involved balanced budgets over the long term. We cannot blame him for accumulated debt. We can go to "treasurydirect.gov" and look at the debt level as long as we have been a country. Maybe we will see some patterns.

President John F. Kennedy started a move away from balanced budgets, but he tragically left office in November 1963, so we cannot blame him for too much. Wars, like the Vietnam era, are expensive. Now move to Ronald Reagan's tax cuts of 1981, which came with a promise of a "wave of prosperity that would balance the budget by 1984." I remember raising a family through "the savage 1980-82" slump that resulted. Also huge deficits "as far as the eye can see." Enter small-town hicks named Bill Clinton and Al Gore. They brought debt levels under control with a good economy. Had their plan continued, this country would be pretty much out of debt. Enter Harvard MBA George W. Bush and CEO Dick Cheney, with exploding debt levels, and near destruction of the world financial system. Here we are now. What happens next?

David Gaeddert

Buffalo