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SAVE THE BILLS

I feel it is necessary to respond to last Sunday's commentary by Larry Felser that criticized the Save Our Bills initiative. It was surprising that Felser took such extreme exception to the articles that appeared in Buffalo Magazine in his own newspaper the previous week. Far from attempting to create hysteria, the stories addressed an extremely important issue that the community will have to face sooner or later.

The Save Our Bills campaign is an effort to bring awareness to the community that the perpetuation of the Bills in Buffalo is in doubt, and that we can now put in place a structured plan, including a long-term lease, that will assure the Bills remain in Western New York for a very long time. The loss of the Bills would create a psychological and economic devastation that is unimaginable to us.

We all wish Ralph Wilson a long and healthy life for years to come. However, there will come a time when his heirs have to deal with a large estate tax that will likely force them to sell the team and threaten their father's legacy associated with this franchise. Joe Robbie knew before his death that the Dolphins would ultimately have to be sold.

Felser suggested that I have ulterior motives, such as to own the Buffalo Bills. In fact, the initiative's plan would allow for Wilson's family to maintain majority ownership of the team. Also, it is ridiculous to imply that I (or almost anybody else in Buffalo) has the $200 million that would be necessary for a purchase.

I agree with Felser that Mr. Wilson has been a voice of stability in the NFL. We all believe that he will do what he can to keep the team in Buffalo, but assuming that Wilson and Erie County are negotiating in good faith, why hasn't a long-term lease extension been signed, and why are we now hearing about only a three-year deal?
RONALD ZOELLER
Orchard Park

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