Let's go over cliff, force? officials to do their jobs

If the premise is true, the fiscal cliff impasse must be resolved if we are to survive as a nation. It appears that the majority of Republicans are greedy in that they want to increase their coffers. The majority of Democrats are greedy in that they want to spend more of other people's money. A vast amount of the population appears to be becoming indifferent to work or to become educated to become self-sufficient.

Recently it was reported that a Detroit official stated, "We voted for you, now give us the bacon." Charitable endeavors must be continued, but this gluttonous frame of perception must be corrected. Let's go off of the cliff and force the public servants to do their job. They got us into this mess; now let them address the problem and provide a solution. If they are incapable of achieving restoration results, let's ensure that these public servants are allowed to fall off of the cliff during the next election.

Ralph R. Pawlak



Super rich don't care? about havoc they wreak

Has anyone besides me noticed the similarity between the political attitude of those serving the super rich with the willingness to go over the "fiscal cliff" and the lockout the NHL owners are forcing on their hockey player employees? It looks as if the super rich are willing to play the biblical Samson and bring down the building on everyone, regardless of the consequences.

Marlene Schotz



Reform fiscal policies? to make them equitable

The League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara has observed a serious and widening wealth/income gap in the United States. During the post-World War II period through the mid-1970s, economic gains were relatively equitably distributed among all income groups. But during the past 30 years, with a short exception, the very top income group has gained the most because of policies Congress created that tilt economic benefits to the extremely wealthy.

The short exceptional period occurred when Congress passed the 1986 Tax Reform Act that changed the federal income tax code, making it more progressively equitable, closing loopholes and including capital gains as ordinary income. The period was short-lived because outside influences, led by lobbyists for wealthy and corporate interests, successfully encouraged Congress to throw out almost all the reforms.

In the mid-1980s, the League of Women Voters of the United States adopted criteria for evaluating federal fiscal policies. The league believes federal fiscal policy should provide for adequate and flexible funding of federal government programs through an equitable tax system that is progressive overall and includes responsible deficit policies that do not sacrifice important social programs. Income should be the major tax base for federal revenues with a progressive rate structure and capital gains included as ordinary income. Federal income tax should be progressive, rather than proportional, to promote equal opportunity and economic mobility. We urge Congress to reform federal fiscal policies to make them more equitable.

Joan T. Parks

President, League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara


Why does mayor continue to reward incompetence?

Why does Mayor Byron Brown continually reward incompetent people who have been involved in scandals with lucrative positions in his administration? Antoine Thompson was voted out of office due to his deceit in the AEG scandal a few years ago and now is back on top with a plum job that he didn't have to interview for or take any test to obtain. It's moves like this that discourage and lose the trust of the average citizen and have contributed to Buffalo's lack of progress and ability to succeed over the years.

Marty Farrell

West Seneca


Blue-collar workers? deserve a pay raise

A recent News article reported on the failure of the Brown administration to pay a living wage to Buffalo streets employees, who are at the bottom level of blue-collar workers in the city. These are the hardworking men and women who plow your streets, pick up your garbage and keep your parks clean and accessible. Many of these workers start before sunrise or work the graveyard shift, out of the sight of most commuters traveling in and out of the city. They are paid $10 an hour to work these jobs in the heat of the summer and the frigid winter months. As you can imagine, there is not a good season to work these jobs.

To add insult to injury, this administration, which struts around in $500 suits, had the nerve to appeal this award twice and lost both appeals. City Hall has the nerve to possibly appeal this decision to the highest state court. Mayor Byron Brown, pay your streets workers a living wage. While you're at it, give your firefighters, police officers and teachers a well-deserved contract and pay raise. These blue-collar workers have been coming to work day in and day out with no raises for from seven to 11 years. These employees are the ones who keep your city clean and safe and make it a desirable place to live and raise a family.

Phil Ryan

Retired Buffalo fire lieutenant

West Seneca


Gun-happy society? defies common sense

Well, I guess if you survive long enough in this bizarre world we live in, you'll come across an article that defies all logic, all common sense and yes, all reasonableness in a republic of laws and morals. In a country where violence is perpetuated in our movies, comic books, video games, CDs, DVDs and especially television, it doesn't surprise one that as a result of idiotic and unwise legislation, it is now legal to bring a gun into a bar in Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. If law enforcement agencies think they have seen grim results from those mixing alcohol and gasoline, I'll bet they can't wait for what lies ahead when alcohol and gunpowder collide.

By the way, Georgia is still analyzing whether to allow guns in church – praise the Lord! If this doesn't give you goose bumps, the University of Colorado is now permitting students over 21 to carry arms in dorms and even in class – higher education at its logical best.

I know that the article written by Leonard Pitts has stated all of the above quite responsibly, but for those who missed it, I believe it is worth repeating. There is no way these extensions of the Second Amendment can end but in mayhem. Stay tuned.

Scott H. Patterson



Concealed carry states? have lower crime rates

Leonard Pitts' column on a so-called gun dorm at the University of Colorado needs some clarification. The reason no one signed up as a concealed carry permit holder to live there is probably because anyone with such a permit prefers not to be revealed as such on campus, rather than a lack of permit holders. The whole point of a concealed carry permit is that the public does not know who has one.

Although Pitts acknowledges you have to be 21 years old to get a permit, he implies that college students still act like teenagers. That's a stretch.

Finally, without any evidence, he claims guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens isn't a deterrent, when the opposite is shown to be true. I would refer doubters to the book "More Guns, Less Crime" by John R. Lott Jr. Despite all the attacks by gun control advocates, no one has ever been able to refute Lott's research and his conclusion that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens means lower crime rates. States with "shall issue" (if you are qualified it shall be issued) concealed carry permits have lower crime rates than those states without. The reverse is also true. Take Chicago, for instance. Having banned handguns for years, it is the acknowledged murder capital of the country. Criminals just don't seem to obey gun control laws.

Doug Kreinheder



Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society

A recent writer decried taxation as a form of theft. Theft entails taking from someone without permission, and getting nothing in return.

U.S. citizens have invested in their duly elected officials the right to tax (see Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution). Although some individuals may object, collectively the people give consent for their federal, state and local governments to collect taxes for the good of all.

To enumerate the most obvious, the federal government provides for national security (the military, CIA, FBI); a well-maintained interstate road system; regulations and inspection to provide safe foods, water, medicines and work conditions; the printing of money; medical research and disease control; veterans' care and benefits; plus many other benefits. State and local governments provide for free public schools, road and bridge maintenance, trash collection, parks, libraries, support for cultural organizations, snow removal, water quality, animal control, etc.

In 1904, a very wise Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, said that, "Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society." If you do not want to pay taxes, then perhaps you should go live in a cave.

Michael Silverman



Internal investigation ?of FBI agent is a joke

How convenient that the FBI will do an internal investigation of Special Agent John Yervelli after he was arrested and charged with public lewdness. If that were you or me, the feds would have a photo picnic with the arrest, we would be sitting in the Holding Center and they would be bragging about their great police work and how good they are at their jobs. How could the feds not know of this behavior? It looks like a cover-up. Shame on the FBI.

Henry Mazurek