The Buffalo News - Letters to the editor Latest stories from The Buffalo News en-us Sun, 20 Apr 2014 17:38:29 -0400 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 17:38:29 -0400 <![CDATA[ Letter: Make minor adjustments to improve Scajaquada ]]>

Make minor adjustments to improve Scajaquada

I attended the State Department of Transportation meeting at SUNY Buffalo State regarding the redesign and reconstruction of the Scajaquada Expressway. Coming home from the meeting about 9 p.m., I noted in front of my house the intense stream of traffic heading west on Route 198 (not rush hour). I envisioned all this traffic (if Route 198 is eliminated) or a good part of it (if the route is changed to a boulevard) heading north on Parkside. What a mess!

I must say I am embarrassed by my community’s self-serving comments. This only reinforces my concern that we are about to make a serious mistake in ending the present existing design. Think of redesigning downtown Main Street 35 years ago to eliminate autos.

I know there are improvements needed for the Scajaquada, but I do not think we should eliminate the “limited access highway” setup. Many revisions can be made to enhance the safe and smooth flow of traffic without spending $80 million to $100 million, as stated by the DOT at the meeting. I simply ask that we keep the needs of the city, county and all travelers in mind as we work toward these changes. As was stated at the meeting by one of the few broad-minded speakers: We are not in the 19th century, when Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park for horse-drawn buggies.

David F. Baker

Buffalo ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:49:04 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Voter ID laws intended to protect legal citizens ]]>

Voter ID laws intended to protect legal citizens

A federal court in Kansas recently rendered a decision against the federal government’s interference with state efforts to combat voter fraud. Kansas won total support for its laws to stop voter registration by illegal aliens and other non-citizens. This ruling upheld the power of the states to require the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to include proof of citizenship requirements on voter registration forms. Until now, the form required only a signature to affirm citizenship without any proof.

Illegal aliens break the law to enter this country. Therefore, it is naive to think they would never lie in signing a form. This ruling is a step forward for states that are trying to protect their citizens.

Liberals cry “voter suppression.” Yet the only voter suppression in this law is of illegal votes that should never be cast.

John Orlowski

Amherst ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:49:01 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Don’t let Hobby Lobby promote discrimination ]]>

Don’t let Hobby Lobby promote discrimination

In this country, we are free to worship whomever we wish or not at all. Religious extremists, however, are all about discriminating against anyone who believes differently.

Hobby Lobby is no mom-and-pop operation. It is a corporation with 18,000 employees and hundreds of locations in 48 states. It is run by a billionaire who donates tons of money to support extreme positions that discriminate against those with different beliefs than his own. Now it’s playing the “religious card” to try to legitimize its discrimination.

Corporations can never be people – no matter what the Supreme Court says – and they should not be allowed to impose their will on the rest of us. When corporations and money get the loudest voice in our society, that’s oligarchy, not democracy.

Nancy Johnston

Cheektowaga ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:58 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Exempting Hobby Lobby would give it unfair edge ]]>

Exempting Hobby Lobby would give it unfair edge

Regarding the letter “Don’t force employers to pay for contraceptives,” Obamacare is an expense that businesses will incur and, like all business expenses, it is added to the price of the product. If some employers are allowed to drop the cost of contraceptives, this will give them an unfair competitive edge under the shield of “religious consciousness.” Let’s keep this exemption to religious organizations.

I’m sure the president of Hobby Lobby has no problem doing business with those who believe in free choice.

Paul Schirra

Williamsville ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:54 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Delivery man’s gun likely saved his life ]]>

Delivery man’s gun likely saved his life

For all that is made of the measures that supposedly protect our citizens from gun violence, there are two very tired and misleading statements. The first is often used in the closing statements made by those who embrace the removal of firearms from society. They complete the propaganda-laden remarks with “so this never happens again.” This has been used repeatedly to punctuate the speeches made after mass shootings and violent examples of deranged people taking innocent lives. The other emotional plea for legislation is: “If this saves one life, it is worth it.”

A story in the April 16 News gave details of the credibility of the power of the “armed citizen.” Robbers who attacked an honest man with a hammer were thwarted by a citizen who made the decision to arm himself. This man, who remains nameless, recognized what many American citizens have – that the police cannot be everywhere and their jobs are more in solving crimes than preventing them.

This story could have been one of the many that fall into the category of unsolved or cold cases that languish in the files. Yet in this instance, this man, who had set about his job on an otherwise ordinary day, refused to become a statistic.

So even though the useless and misleading phrase “so this never happens again” cannot be used, the promise of “even if it saves one life” has come full circle, because one person made a difference in arming himself and saving his own life.

James Monteleone

Williamsville ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:51 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: School superintendent needs to step down now ]]>

School superintendent needs to step down now

Buffalo Public School Superintendent Pamela Brown has problems, literally and figuratively. She’s good with addition but bad with subtraction. She’s great at hiring but bad with firing. She has created and added many scholastic problems and can’t seem to sum it all up. Her inability to solve even a common denominator leaves her with a big minus. Since she can’t do her homework, she should just go home.

Mary Thomas

Buffalo ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:47 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Synchronizing lights will ease traffic flow ]]>

Synchronizing lights will ease traffic flow

It would be a huge mistake to reduce speed limits on the Scajaquada. This expressway is used primarily to get from point A to point B. It is not used to take a Sunday drive. The horse-and-buggy days are long gone. This expressway relieves traffic on the city streets. Imagine what a traffic nightmare it would create if the Scajaquada was closed for a whole day.

Instead of “punishing” motorists with this backward thinking, concentrate on making traffic flow more smoothly. How? By synchronizing traffic lights, especially on Sheridan Drive. No matter what speed you are driving, it is almost impossible to experience two successive green lights – not very fuel-friendly.

At the turn of the century, Buffalo was called the City of Lights. Today it means the city of traffic lights!

Chris Nasca

Kenmore ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:44 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Second Amendment is not about hunting ]]>

Second Amendment is not about hunting

In addressing the Second Amendment and the SAFE Act forced upon the law-abiding citizens of New York State by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he said, “Nobody needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.” The Second Amendment has very little to do with the hunter. Let me also say that a “militia” is like a posse, not formed until needed. Militias were in use prior to the Revolutionary War on down to the Alamo and beyond.

Shortly after the Constitution was adopted, afraid of the restriction of rights England sought to impose on the colonies, the first 10 Amendments, or Bill of Rights, were adopted. The Founding Fathers knew that this “experiment” might fail and did their best to give the citizens the ways and means to protect themselves from the government.

The Declaration of Independence calls on us to watch over this experiment in democracy and, if need be, start anew. “… That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government …” This is why there should be a well-maintained/armed militia.

Certainly we have the power of the vote, but with corruption of both the electorate and government, it has become intrusive, doing what’s in its best interest, not ours, and shoving mandates down our throats. This is why it’s so important to guard and protect the first 10 Amendments.

Henry Kolb

Town of Tonawanda ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:41 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Efforts to limit voting show GOP in panic mode ]]>

Efforts to limit voting show GOP in panic mode

Anyone remotely aware of voter suppression in this country being perpetrated in states controlled by Republican governors and legislators had to chuckle at the letter, “Voter ID efforts seek to legitimize elections.”

The writer claims that the Democratic National Committee, the Obama administration and The News don’t want legitimate elections because they want to allow everyone the opportunity to vote. He insinuates that there are lots of ineligible and illegitimate voters, and claims The News is short on facts.

Every statewide, independent study has shown voter fraud to be so fractional as to be a non-issue. So why are states like North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and several others that are Republican-dominated committing voter suppression? Why are they targeting urban, low-income and young student areas exclusively? Why, in those areas, are they removing voting machines, taking away voting on weekends and shortening voting hours, mandating long lines?

Demographics are changing. Yet those on the right still cling to their single mindedness against minorities, women, the poor and the middle class. Witness Ukraine. What can’t be won fairly, simply take!

Leonard Gross

East Amherst ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:38 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Former police officer has misplaced values ]]>

Former police officer has misplaced values

Former Buffalo police lieutenant Patrick S. O’Mara is quoted in the April 15 News as saying that he finds it demeaning to be paid to sit and answer phones. Apparently he doesn’t find cheating, lying and stealing to be demeaning. Really?

Laurel C. Braun

Amherst ]]>
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:45:03 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Let’s work to preserve honeybee population ]]>

Let’s work to preserve honeybee population

Believe it or not, the long-awaited warmer days of spring are right around the corner. Along with the warm weather comes the return of honeybees. They forage our surrounding world, visiting each flower that bursts through the soil. Without these fuzzy, flying pollinators, we would have to live without many fruits and vegetables – apples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc.

Bees are responsible for one-third of the average human’s diet. Honeybees are rather docile insects, unlike their non-pollinating cousins, yellow jackets. It is rare for a honeybee to sting a human as long as it is away from its hive and it is not physically acted upon. Albert Einstein once said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”

Honeybee population is on a rapid decline due to colony collapse disorder. This requires us to take action. Grab your shovels and trowels and plant bee-friendly flowers this spring. If you really want to contribute, don your veil and bee suit and start beekeeping; it’s not as hard as you think.

Jesse Napierala

Elma ]]>
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:44:50 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Delayed canal project is chink in Cuomo’s armor ]]>

Delayed canal project is chink in Cuomo’s armor

Who can argue that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a winning political strategy and a headline-friendly code name with his Buffalo Billion investment?

With some $300 million already awarded, $700 million in the budget pipeline, and a raft of local cheerleaders from the business and government arena fighting to sing his praises, the governor is riding high as he bids for a second term in November.

Carl Paladino may have spanked Cuomo locally in 2010, but the governor is hoping that his Buffalo Billion handout will help him reverse that tide this year against Rob Astorino or whoever turns out to be the Republican candidate.

If there’s one big chink in Cuomo’s armor on the local landscape, it’s the $20 million-plus replica canals project in the Canalside footprint that was scheduled to open last year but is now targeted for November after being delayed by costly legal battles between the state and the original contractor after the firm was fired last July.

It was, after all, Cuomo’s local development team under Empire State’s Sam Hoyt that pulled the plug on DiPizio Construction Co. in midstream, and the very costly legal battle is still ongoing, with DiPizio holding a legal edge in rulings so far. When all is said and done, the project might wind up costing state taxpayers close to $50 million.

Delaying any settlement before November avoids a possible embarrassing admission by the state that it acted improperly in firing the contractor and keeps the governor’s political bandwagon on track, no matter the cost.

Tony Farina

DiPizio Consultant

Buffalo ]]>
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:44:46 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Residents near bridge must be top priority ]]>

Residents near bridge must be top priority

W.T. “Bill” McKibben’s Viewpoints article, “Time to call a truce: Let’s resolve issues so Peace Bridge can continue to play leading role in our region’s economy,” has no real proposals to achieve the goal set in the headline. He begins by making unsubstantiated claims about the economic impacts of increased truck traffic. He has no qualifications for what he then recites: a set of exaggerated claims from a flawed 2012 State Department of Transportation report on science and health impacts.

The unsigned report was not peer-reviewed and is not, as McKibben described it, a study. The report provides no new data. Instead, it selectively cherry-picked information to support a chosen conclusion that there are no health impacts, or that health impacts will disappear in the future. Nowhere in the report is any reference to the environmental justice implications of the Peace Bridge environmental health impacts, the focus of federal consideration recently reported in The News. The report has been discredited by all involved scientists and medical professionals in the area, including Dr. Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, whose federally funded and peer-reviewed papers were misrepresented in the report.

McKibben is not calling for a truce, he’s calling for one part of the community to surrender.

If we are to have an honest conversation to “resolve issues” from the impact of Peace Bridge renovation and expansion of trucking through neighborhoods that bear the brunt of associated health problems, then we must propose efforts to protect the neighboring residents. There are simple steps that have been avoided by state agencies, some elected leaders and the Peace Bridge Authority. Acknowledge the reality of financial, environmental and health impacts. Consult and work with the affected community to develop a plan to protect them.

Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Ph.D.

Buffalo ]]>
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:44:43 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Offshore wind factories would harm Great Lakes ]]>

Offshore wind factories would harm Great Lakes

We have just learned that the Ohio Power Siting Board has ended Lake Erie Energy Development Corp.’s hopes of developing a six-turbine offshore wind factory in Lake Erie seven miles northwest of Cleveland. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of hours several of us have each worked to see this worthless project rejected. We hope that this will be the very last time any organization will attempt to place an offshore wind factory in any of the Great Lakes.

This is the second offshore wind project we have helped defeat – the first being the Great Lakes Offshore Wind project targeted for either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario three years ago by the New York Power Authority.

We have been deeply concerned that if LEEDCo was successful in its Lake Erie project, it wouldn’t be long before offshore wind turbines would be infesting Lake Ontario and other Great Lakes. LEEDCo recently met with the U.S. Department of Energy seeking a $47 million grant to be used to help develop its six-turbine project called the Icebreaker. Since LEEDCo needs Ohio Power Siting Board approval for the Icebreaker, it appears that even if the DOE granted LEEDCo the gift, it won’t be able to pursue the project.

The fight for our Great Lakes will continue. Until we find a more efficient energy alternative, greedy corporations will continue their attempts to “buy” our lakes and install these gigantic structures. Offshore wind turbines would be left to rust in our waters long after the stimulus money is gone, along with the companies that manufactured them.

Sharen Trembath

Great Lakes Wind Truth

Angola ]]>
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:44:39 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Does Weppner think local voters are fools? ]]>

Does Weppner think local voters are fools?

Does congressional candidate Kathy Weppner take the citizens of Erie County for fools and of no decent or moral quality? During her shock radio talk show a short time ago, she insulted immigrants and African-Americans and made ridiculous birther allegations against the president.

Now she wants to take on the herculean task of opposing Rep. Brian Higgins and representing our area in Congress. There is no take-back button. We want continued progress and Weppner’s negative stereotypes aren’t appreciated in this region.

Martin P. Farrell

West Seneca ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:34 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Bisons should consider program to attract fans ]]>

Bisons should consider program to attract fans

I read in a recent News article that attendance for Buffalo Bisons games has fallen off dramatically.

I am not an avid fan of the baseball team, but years ago the team had a program where you could sign up for several games of a person’s selection, pick out a seat you would like to sit in and also get a hot dog or hamburger and a drink (non-alcoholic) for a set price. This package was affordable and made me go to the games.

However, this was a new program and the guaranteed seat you chose was usually unavailable, so you sat in a different section for each game. When the next season came up, I was not interested. Perhaps this program was too new and not thought out properly. However, I think if this program was resurrected and planned properly, it would be attractive to a lot of people. Something to think about.

John Canney

Orchard Park ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:31 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Don’t lump all drivers into box based on age ]]>

Don’t lump all drivers into box based on age

The article on car insurance rate factors was very interesting to me. I have never received a ticket, never caused an accident and don’t text or use the cellphone. I drive about 3,000 miles a year and own a 3-year-old car in excellent condition. I don’t play loud music, and rarely have a passenger. I am in very good health and have my eyes examined every year. I drive at the speed limit and don’t tailgate.

However, this year I received a birthday gift from my insurance carrier when I turned 85. I’m now on a chart with everyone else. I’ve been paying premiums for 62 years. I don’t appreciate being put in a box with everyone else.

Carolyn Schlifke

Williamsville ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:27 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Passing gun laws won’t end attacks ]]>

Passing gun laws won’t end attacks

What will Gov. Andrew Cuomo do now that there’s been another tragedy at a school? Last time it was Sandy Hook Elementary, when he passed the SAFE Act in the middle of the night. Now it’s a school outside of Pittsburgh. I imagine the Cutlery Act, banning us from buying any type of knife, because this time a gun wasn’t used. He can pass it on Easter, knowing most of us will be celebrating that or Passover and we’ll be too busy to voice our opinions. Maybe he can call it the Steel Act; it did happen just outside the Steel City.

Nobody, not a governor or even the president of the United States, will be able to stop a person from committing these massacres no matter how many laws are passed. These people have psychological issues far beyond the passing of bad laws such as the SAFE Act. I urge people to call or write their state legislators and tell them to repeal this law, which only took away more of our rights and freedoms.

God forbid this happens at a school in New York, where an individual is at his child’s school but can’t defend himself or the children because he had to leave his gun at home because of the SAFE Act. If it was me and this happened, my first lawsuit would be against the state and Cuomo for banning me from defending myself and my child.

James J. Trzaska

West Seneca ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:24 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Radford misrepresents magnet school families ]]>

Radford misrepresents magnet school families

In a recent News article regarding segregation in the Buffalo Public Schools, outspoken DPCC President Sam Radford said, “Privileged people are going to see change differently than underprivileged people.” The privileged people he refers to are families in Buffalo magnet schools.

I am a parent of three children attending Olmsted 156, one of the magnet programs cited in a recent civil rights complaint, which Radford has openly supported. I am indeed a privileged person; but not for the reasons he asserts I am. Privilege comes from taking the responsibility to become actively involved in our children’s schools – wherever they may be – working to initiate change, one small gain at a time.

Before Olmsted, we spent seven years in a non-magnet school. I volunteered daily in classrooms – providing reading support, helping to deal with emotional and behavioral issues, witnessing the effects of poverty, hunger, neglect, fear and a blatant lack of parental involvement on a child’s learning experience. I was privileged to play a part in a proactive, holistic approach to education that took into account all factors affecting success.

Radford’s statements misrepresent families in Buffalo magnet schools. Magnet schools were created to meet the needs of students from across the district who exhibited exemplary achievement in schoolwork, standardized and entrance exam scores, and whose accelerated trajectory of achievement was not being met through traditional programs. But Olmsted is still a public school in an impoverished district with a culturally diverse community composed of 28 percent white and 72 percent minority students. The majority of our families struggle to overcome socioeconomic adversity daily. Yet our parental involvement is commendable. Our parents refuse to let hardship dictate their involvement in their children’s education. It is a power and a privilege afforded to all parents; but unfortunately, it is too often missing from our schools.

Amy Cappelli

Buffalo ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:21 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Court was wise to reject limits on contributions ]]>

Court was wise to reject limits on contributions

After reading so many opinion essays and letters in this paper denouncing the recent Supreme Court ruling that says, in essence, “money is speech,” I decided that someone needs to write in favor of said ruling.

If someone wants his given party or candidate to win an election, he should be free to contribute whatever amount of money he wants.

Last I checked, this is America, and the First Amendment protects all forms of speech and expression; donating money to this or that cause definitely falls under that umbrella.

What this ruling tells the left-leaning liberals in places like the media, unions, pressure groups and so on is this: They now have to compete openly and fairly with voices from the right of the political spectrum.

Everyone should give thanks for the Supreme Court’s wise ruling.

Lloyd Marshall Jr.

Lockport ]]>
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:48:17 -0400