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Try walking a mile? in someone else's shoes

Kudos to Bruce Andriatch regarding his recent column supporting group homes for developmentally disabled youth in the Town of Tonawanda.

As a mother of three children, two of whom are developmentally disabled, I must tell all concerned that their "condition" is not contagious your children will not catch anything. But maybe a home like this could teach them, and probably many adults, that they are loving, peaceful and definitely will not harm them.

My personal experience is that everyone who gets to know them would learn to be more caring, more helpful and much more understanding of what they go through and, above all, they would learn to be more grateful for their own lives.

How self-centered of people to think it is their place to decide where others should thrive. In today's environment, we are told to be more tolerant and accept everyone as they are, and yet people are very prejudiced. Believe me, my sons know they are not like other boys and wish they, too, could be "perfect." It is no wonder this country has so many problems right now. People need to realize it is not all about them others occupy this planet, too.

Stephanie Malicki

West Seneca

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Put prejudice aside? and welcome neighbor

The ignorance of those opposed to the respite facility in the Town of Tonawanda is appalling. My daughter has multiple disabilities and if it were not for the after-school and overnight respite programs she attends, I could not be a productive member of society. I would have to quit my job and depend on government benefits to care for my child. My child and others like her cannot be left alone because they have no way to help themselves in case of an emergency. We need people who are specially trained to care for our children.

The people in that neighborhood would not be able to prevent a family with six children from moving into that house. That family would create a lot more traffic and noise than a respite facility. Only those in our situation understand how important it is to have a break, even if only for a few hours. They should put their fear and prejudice aside and welcome the respite facility as their new neighbors.

Maurene Markovitz

Tonawanda

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Romney is the biggest? flip-flopper of them all

Jon Stewart called President Obama the luckiest dude in the world. How can that be, considering the terrible mess of the U.S. economy, the international tinderbox and the relentless attacks by right-wing Republicans?

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter faced the same issues. But his opponent, Ronald Reagan, won the Republican nomination by knocking off George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and Howard Baker. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, defeated Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachman.

John Kerry was in part defeated because of his famous flip-flops. Romney has made Kerry look like the Rock of Gibraltar! The topics of gun legislation, abortion, same-sex marriage, global warming and medical care for all come to mind. Romney recently told Scott Pelley of CBS that everyone has medical care via the emergency room. Just a few years ago he stated that was a terrible way to provide care. He hates income redistribution but just the other day said that future Medicare recipients would be helped by having poorer people getting more help and richer folks getting less. So which is it?

His private talk to the $50,000-per-plate luncheon in which he decried the 47 percent who think food is a "right" was revealing, along with his refusal to give specifics on how tax rates can be cut 20 percent across the board. Obama has not proven to be the agent of hope and change that was promised in 2008. But he is lucky to be facing a Republican opposition that acts like the gang that cannot shoot straight.

Robert Snyder

Clarence Center

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Romney doesn't care? about average citizens

Does anyone believe that Mitt Romney cares that his chauffeur needs a raise because of the high gasoline prices; loses sleep because his maids have to pay a bigger percentage of their income in taxes than he does; or that the "47 percent" he secretly referred to are there in part because of the corporate greed that he embraces and profited from? I firmly believe that four years of Romney could be worse than the eight years of the worst president in U.S. history, George W. Bush.

Mario Bonafede

Tonawanda

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Mayor lacks courage ?to address the issues

You call this man a leader? Who are the 65 percent of Buffalo citizens who want to re-elect Mayor Byron Brown? He is a mayor who is disinterested in the single biggest issue facing this city, education. This is an issue that must be solved if we are to become a great city once again.

But why am I surprised? This man is not a leader. He reacts when called out on matters, not addressing them with vision and courage. He avoids making the difficult decisions or addressing issues that pose the greatest challenges but present the greatest opportunity to resurrect this once great city. True leaders embrace the opportunity to address the major challenges of our day. They don't avoid them like this mayor.

This mayor is content treating the symptoms of decay rather than addressing the root causes. Educate our youth and make the school system the envy of the region. If this is not done, the repopulation of our city will stall once those new residents start to raise families and move to areas with exceptional education programs.

What is most galling to me is his lack of accountability to the people who elected him. He refuses to discuss the issue of education in any public format. He refused numerous interview requests from The Buffalo News. Does this mayor not realize he is accountable to the people? He is not entitled to the position of mayor; he has the privilege of serving the people of this city. Be accountable, be a leader, please Mr. Mayor!

Michael P. Ryan

East Aurora

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Brown's indifference? hurts workers, residents

The recent News article regarding Mayor Byron Brown's indifference and "no comment" concerning the city schools is no surprise. The mayor and his shadow, Steve Casey, are quick to point out the smallest accomplishments in their administration to anyone and everyone. But don't confront the mayor or his mouthpiece about any topic that does not canonize Brown in some way.

Another area that goes in the "no comment" column from the mayor is city workers and negotiations. Buffalo firefighters are starting their 11th year with no raises and no contract. City teachers, 10 years and counting. Buffalo police, six years. Streets and sanitation workers are the lowest-paid in Western New York. Buffalo's bravest and city teachers have not had a contract since before the state control board froze city workers' wages for 39 months. And recently the courts ruled that those 39 months fall into the twilight zone, as if they never existed. Workers cannot negotiate for those lost years.

The dynamic duo sits on a $100 million city surplus, while the real city workers continue to work day in and day out for the same wages they were making 10 years ago.

Phil Ryan

Retired Buffalo fire lieutenant

West Seneca

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Let West Seneca residents ?vote again on size of board

In response to Kevin Gaughan "blasting" the West Seneca Town Board, as a resident homeowner, registered voter and taxpayer of West Seneca, I would ask Gaughan to please leave our town alone.

The voters listened to him back in 2009 and agreed to his proposal that the town reduce its Town Board by two members, making it a three-person board. We tried it, and now the voters have decided we want another chance to right the wrong that was done in 2009. He keeps talking about how the board is ignoring what the taxpayers want. Well, the taxpayers are the ones who brought this petition to the board. The taxpayers are asking to give the voters another chance to get this right.

I am a taxpayer, and I do not agree with Gaughan one bit. While I agree that there are too many layers of government, those layers that need to be thinned out are on the federal level and not on the town level. The town governments provide our garbage pickup, lawn and yard waste pickup, clean our highways, sewers and storm drains and keep things running smoothly. They provide our police force that keeps our town safe.

When I call the town, I get my questions answered and problems solved. Gaughan should "fix" the federal government and leave the towns to the people who actually live in them to decide whether we want three or five people on our boards.

Judy Seiler

West Seneca

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Respect voters' wishes ?to downsize government

The News recently reported that West Seneca elected officials have been "taking Kevin Gaughan's name in vain." You should know that while politicians may not have much use for Gaughan, we people do.

If you think about it, Gaughan is one of the few public figures who's trying to cut the cost of local government, including here in West Seneca. There are good things happening, finally, throughout Buffalo and Erie County, and Gaughan's efforts ask us to think about how much better things could be if our high taxes weren't forcing people to leave. And our politicians' solution is to re-up to their number, here in a town that continues to lose population every year? Where the land at our former Seneca Mall still lies vacant many years after it closed?

Upsizing government at this point makes no sense. And that's why our town voted for Gaughan's downsizing plan in the first place.

Ann Tworzydlo

West Seneca