Downtown Buffalo needs? stadium/convention center
With the Bills and Erie County struggling to agree on the terms of a new stadium lease, and Buffalo making progress developing its waterfront, building a new waterfront stadium/convention center in the heart of downtown should be given consideration. Just look at similar cities such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh, which have recently built downtown waterfront stadiums, and imagine what could be.
If we look at the bottom line, that is: What are the costs? And what are the benefits? The conclusion is simple: If done right, it could be just what this city needs. Most people think that a new stadium involves billions of dollars in taxpayer money. Simply not true. Reliant Stadium, built in 2002 for the Houston Texans, cost $352 million and is still relatively state of the art. Cleveland Browns Stadium, completed in 1999, cost $290 million and completely transformed the city's waterfront.
Ralph Wilson Stadium is calling for $200 million just for a temporary fix to a completely outdated structure 25 minutes from the city. Put that money toward a new stadium, add in naming rights, the sale of Ralph Wilson Stadium, promised money from the state, and we're almost there.
Having a stadium/convention center with regular attendance of 70,000-plus streaming into the city would also fuel business downtown, translating into real economic growth for Buffalo. This would in turn have a ripple effect, and stimulate the Western New York economy as a whole.
A stadium/convention center such as this could be used 30 to 50 times a year. It would be able to host college bowl games, playoff games, large concerts and other major events that the city cannot currently handle. It would be 30 minutes closer to Rochester and Toronto than the current stadium and have a great game day atmosphere for all to enjoy.
County must restore? funding for libraries
Our 37 Buffalo and Erie County Public Library branches provide Internet and Wi-Fi access, downloads of e-books, information about a limitless number of subjects (including health, parenting and employment), programs for children, technology training, places for homework help and much, much more.
Since many of us have access to some of those resources via the Internet at home or at work, we may forget that there are people who do not. Libraries are indispensable community centers in which all who enter are on equal footing.
This is only the first of many reasons why library funding should be restored. In addition, we must find a way to stabilize those funds so that our library collections and programs can be maintained properly.
Hochul stands up? for her constituents
The mighty Kathy Hochul pulled a page from the Jack Quinn political playbook when she KO'd the party-picked No. 1 contender in the 26th Congressional District special election. Being a Hamburg resident and not always on the same side as Hochul, it is undeniable that she is hardworking, affable and politically astute. She is now walking a Wallenda-like tightrope between partisan Democratic politics and a district made up of a Republican majority and is finding the political winds of the Capitol are as unpredictable as those over the Niagara. If she falls, there will be no tether to save her undefeated record from the political graveyard.
Hochul earned my vote as an Independent when she refused to be beholden to the Democrats and voted to cite the presidentially appointed cabinet member and her husband's boss for contempt. I don't have an opinion on the Attorney General Eric Holder vote, but I do know she had little choice in her decision. As a member of Congress, she serves the people and must hear their voice, even if it does not echo her own.
I prefer a fighter, the people's champ in Hochul, to a party-appointed politician who, if elected, would never face a vote that would pose any real political threat.
Election inspector? was doing his job
A recent letter writer who said she had an unpleasant experience when she voted in the 2012 primary because she wore a political shirt was dead wrong. The election inspector was correct in calling her political shirt inappropriate.
Had she not noticed that outside the polling station that anyone handing out political info had to be at least 100 feet from the polling station? Had she not noticed that once inside the polling station, there was not one thing that was political in nature to catch one's attention? Did she not understand that when she called the Board of Elections, the reason it didn't side with her is because she was wrong and the inspector was doing his job? Does she feel that she is above all this? And what does this have to do with "freedom of speech"? Come on, really?
Then she goes on to say that she saw on TV two candidates at their polling places wearing political attire and they were allowed to vote. The inspectors in this case were not doing their jobs and should be instructed on their roles again. And shame on the candidates. Do two wrongs make a right? Never have and never will.
Her right to vote had not been violated, as she suggests. The polling station is a place where you confidentially vote your choice. She got to do that and, yes, she should consider what would be appropriate to wear to the polls when she votes in November.
Romney's triumph? comes as no surprise
I carefully watched all the Republican primary debates and personally concluded that Mitt Romney was an excellent debater and was consistently on the offensive with strong arguments against his opponents. When the liberal "mainstream" media proclaimed that he appeared weak and had no specific plans in his agenda, I was dumbfounded. They then went on to repeat this assumption so many times that their inaccurate portrayal became the accepted reality.
Immediately after the first presidential debate, most of the pundits – both Democratic and Republican – declared that Romney came out of nowhere and decisively shellacked President Obama. In my opinion, Romney clarified this situation by telling the story of his five sons who kept repeating something they wanted him to believe, in the hope that eventually they would convince him.
Obviously, Romney was much better coached and prepared with pertinent facts, and his coach deserves a large bonus for exposing the administration's lame positions. Obama will naturally be better prepared and come out swinging in the next two debates. The problem for him is that his philosophy of big government intervention and leading from behind will do nothing to solve the country's problems, many of which he himself has created.
Joseph A. TomasuloEast Amherst