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Everybody's Column

Water Authority must act sooner rather than later

Public safety demands that the Erie County Water Authority install emergency power capability. I've paid water bills for 35 years in this county and always took for granted that we had a dependable water supply. I can recall many bill inserts where the authority touted itself as one of the best in the country. I believed this claim -- until the October Surprise storm hit. So much for the claim!

I think the authority's lackadaisical approach to backup power for critical pumps lacks urgency and breaches the contract it has with the public as a public benefit corporation. To date, no comprehensive plan has been formulated. This authority needs to have more accountability. It needs to have on its board responsible people who are accountable to the consumer and to the voters.

Backup generators should be a top priority, with a solution implemented in months not years. Anybody who has the least bit of understanding of what global warming is doing to our climate knows that we must prepare for wild, erratic weather. And those of us residing on the edge of the nation's largest snow-squall generator have a special responsibility to prepare. We need the emergency water backup power now, not after a second, more potent tragedy hits.

Stephen B. Voigt



It is insane to send more troops to Iraq

To my amazement, a Jan. 21 News headline stated: "Day's toll for U.S. in Iraq worst in 2 years." My liberal-minded self couldn't resist the urge to voice my freedom of speech. What is even more amazing is all of the Bush supporters who still exist in and around Western New York. One conservative letter writer last week felt that 100,000 more troops were needed in Iraq.

Have we lost our minds as American citizens? More than 3,060 American soldiers have lost their lives so far in this useless waste of time, innocent lives and federal tax dollars. Now here is the million-dollar question: Would that conservative writer condone sending his daughters and sons to fight in the war? Or is he comfortable doing his best impression of commander in chief, knowing his family won't be harmed?

Lucas J. Teter



Brown finally shows true colors on casino

Mayor Byron Brown knows that casinos are losers for communities. Casino opponents have shown him incontrovertible evidence that casinos create a net loss of jobs and are an economic disaster for the cities that host them. And he has only to look down the road to Niagara Falls to see what a casino has done to that city.

Why has he ignored this information? Why has he hired, at great expense to the city, a high-powered attorney to provide legal advocacy for the casino? Is it because he is being advised by Peter Cutler, who came to the Brown administration straight from a stint as a lobbyist for the Seneca Nation of Indians? Is it because he covets the huge campaign contributions that gambling interests provide to "friendly" politicians?

Until Jan. 12, when a federal court gave anti-casino interests an important victory, Brown pretended to be merely trying to "get the best deal" for the city. Now he is showing his true colors, spinning the decision as a minor setback for a project he clearly advocates. At least now the citizens of Buffalo know where he stands.

Mary Bartley



It's time for Marinelli to resign as chairwoman

It is time for Lynn Marinelli to step down from her post as chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature. Her failed attempt to secure a position for Laurence Adamczyk clearly demonstrates her inability to provide the necessary leadership to move the county forward. She is still operating in the "old style" of government where the goal is to utilize the resources of the governmental entity for the benefit of the politicians and their supporters.

Her rationale was that there was "money in the budget." In the private sector, if there is money in the budget but it is earmarked for something that is no longer needed, we pass along the savings to our constituents, the shareholders. In this case, the savings should be passed along to the taxpayers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I am sure there are hundreds of opportunities to save money in county government. It is clear that we do not have the right people in place to search them out and make the necessary changes to realize the savings.

Michael P. Ryan

East Aurora


Organic food is looking better by the minute

Doesn't it figure that Jim Greenwood, the president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, would hold a casual position about the labeling of meat from cloned animals? His position holds as much truck as our very own taxpayer-funded Food and Drug Administration, which has continually rubber-stamped corporate interests since President Bush was installed.

Seeing how the Industrial Revolution has resulted in such dubious distinctions as Prozac in the water supply, terminator genes in crops to maximize profits, mad cow disease, the rise of autism, lowering of the sperm rate and cancer galore, we need to take Greenwood with a grain of unrefined sea salt.

Call me old-fashioned, but going organic makes more sense than ever. Human activity is doing damage to the entire web of life, but unfortunately most of today's scientists, politicians and captains of industry can't see beyond economic interests. That goes for consumers, too. It's time we ceased this destructive bender, but even a hangover will pass.

Richard L. Peters



Time Warner service is hardly 'best in class'

In response to "Critics chide Time Warner on service" in the Jan. 17 News, I would like to make the following comments. Time Warner's Web site touts its corporate motto of "best in class" service. As a subscriber, I have personally experienced the following levels of service:

Waits of 20 minutes or longer to speak to a call center associate, no matter what time of day or month I have called; inability of associates outside Buffalo to connect me to or give me a phone number for a local walk-in service center; the dreaded "all day appointment" when I required servicing, two of those for which no one ever even showed up or called; a $22 credit for four weeks of cable outage after the October storm; and oh, by the way, we are all still waiting on that promise of two weeks of free premium services after said storm.

These experiences beg the question: Is this what Time Warner considers "best in class" service? Or is it just a monopoly that feels no need to be accountable for providing even good, let alone best in class, service?

Bonnie Thomas

Town of Tonawanda

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