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Everybody's Column

Control board is acting outside its authority

It is disappointing to see the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, whose members are wholly unaccountable to the people, usurping the power of our duly elected officials. While I am no fan of increases in taxes and borrowing, these are policy decisions best left to those who have won the support of the people in free and fair elections.

The county is well within its legal taxing and borrowing limits and the administration's four-year plan does not change that. While there may be disagreements over the details of the plan, as long as it effectively balances revenues with expenditures, the board must accept it. By imposing a control period and continuously rejecting balanced four-year plans, the board is acting outside of its authority and in plain contradiction to its enabling legislation.

Control boards can be very effective when employed to assist municipalities that have reached their taxing and borrowing capacity and whose budgets are structurally unbalanced. Buffalo's control board is a good example. However, when a control board makes political and policy decisions in place of our elected officials, it is nothing more than a tyrannical authority, imposing its judgment in place of the people's.

Raymond Walter

East Amherst

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Will has no clue how the other half lives

Sometimes I read George Will's columns just to remind myself what it is exactly I am against. His use of obscure words to illustrate his vocabulary prowess, and his demeaning of anyone not at his intellectual level, expose him as the elitist snob he is.

His recent dismissal of the federal minimum wage increase as mere political grandstanding by the left illustrates this perfectly. Any measure to narrow the gap between wealthy and financially challenged citizens is considered an attack on his America.

I suppose he would support greater tax cuts, which mostly benefit the top 1 percent income earners. The middle class can no longer tolerate these tax breaks, as the prime beneficiaries have betrayed us and invested their revenue overseas, instead of at home to ignite the economy, as they were supposed to do.

I understand that Will has the right to protect his interests, but the ideology he supports has put America on a dangerous path. America is moving from the land of opportunity to a land of gated communities separating the haves and have-nots. It's time to put partisan bickering behind us and do what makes sense to the majority of us to save this country.

Charles Kritz

West Seneca

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Studio Arena must learn to compete in marketplace

So, let me get this straight: Studio Arena racks up a million-dollar deficit and it's the fault not of management, but of 9/1 1, Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami? What, no global warming? Blaming outside sources is ludicrous. With such a large subscriber base, the problem can only be right here in Buffalo. Specifically, in the theater's executive offices.

Studio Arena is a great theater. I have attended shows there and even performed there. But, like any theater, there is a marketplace for its productions and it must learn to compete and function within that marketplace. That means it may not have the luxury of hiring different technical and creative people for every show, and it might have to use some lumber or furniture more than once. Perhaps if management hadn't gotten so smug and elitist about its own worth to the community, the jobs of 14 loyal employees could have been saved.

Jon May

Lockport

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Football pools are illegal yet casino gambling is OK

Thanks to former Gov. George Pataki and his compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians, we are now a government with double standards. It is ironic that a person owning a bar cannot operate a football pool in public view on his premises. Apparently we bar patrons are too weak to resist. Whatever the reason behind this archaic law, I do not understand it. At the same time, we can cross the street to a Seneca gambling casino and lose our life savings in one visit. Where is the justice in all of this ?

Douglas Hall

Wilson

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Residents of Wheatfield should embrace diversity

I have to comment on Rod Watson's column regarding the housing situation in Wheatfield. I live in the City of Buffalo in a $250,000 home. About one block away is housing for the working poor. We have no issues with our neighbors. I guess what I would say to the people of Wheatfield is: Don't fight diversity, embrace it. You are proving to all that you are a fearful group and afraid to open your minds and hearts.

Andrea Rodriguez

Buffalo

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Animal-free circuses are most humane choice

The Buffalo Common Council should go forward with prohibiting circuses that feature animal acts. There are so many choices for quality family entertainment, such as animal-free circuses, that can bring revenue to downtown Buffalo. The performing animals -- which are meant to be inherent in the wild -- endure high levels of physical and psychological stress from travel and performance regimens that are so far removed from their natural behaviors and environment.

The Humane Society of the United States is encouraging the public to avoid all circuses that use wild animals in their performances. Municipalities across the country have banned traveling animal acts, realizing what injustice they serve to animals. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Linda Zielinski

West Seneca

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Don't let activists take away all our fun

I am really sickened that the minority is again trying to take away the rights of the majority to enjoy something in life. Who do the activists think they are to try to take away our right to go to a circus with animal acts? My son should have as much right to see the elephants, the tigers and all the other wonders of the circus as we had in childhood. And the zoo and the aquarium. After all, won't these be next?

It is my understanding that these venues promote education, conservation and propagation of the various species as well as, for many, a first introduction to and love of animals. It is time to get back to common sense and away from these extremists controlling what we do or say or see. This is getting out of hand and moderate people need to speak up and not let the ridiculous continue to rule.

MaryEllen Twichell

Gowanda

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