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Everybody's Column

Don't let government interfere with Internet

What was The News thinking in its Jan. 19 editorial "Pass Net neutrality bill"? While the idea of keeping content on the Internet available to consumers is right on target, allowing the government to impose restrictions and regulations on how the Internet operates could not be more misguided.

First, the government already has all the power it needs to keep companies from doing anything to block or interfere with traffic on the Internet.

The Internet needs an upgrade. New Internet telephone services, rapidly expanding online video entertainment and competition for cable TV services are already creating traffic jams. Without improvements to the equipment and the network, the Internet will not be able to handle the new services that both businesses and consumers want.

Killing so-called Net neutrality legislation is the right thing to do. Doing so will force corporate giants like the phone company, cable company and Google to do battle to figure out the most cost-effective way to build the future version of the Internet with the best outcome and least impact on the average consumer. If you really want to protect the Internet, keep the government out of it.

Joseph Fox



Forget about Bass Pro and develop waterfront

Brian Higgins' comments about Bass Pro in the Jan. 21 Viewpoints got me thinking. I have to agree. Things need to start happening on the waterfront, whether Bass Pro comes here or not. There is a lot of money to use, and things should start happening before it all gets eaten up in feasibility studies and the like.

Bass Pro does not have a monopoly on selling fishing tackle. A nationally recognized name would help bring people, but it isn't necessarily so. Look at the experience of a successful local businessman. He built an amusement park in the middle of a cow pasture 20 miles from anywhere. It was so successful that a national chain came in and bought it.

There is a company in Tonawanda that, to my knowledge, did not get paid anything to locate here. It has just about everything anyone could want for fishing and hunting. That company seems to know what it is doing. Why not team up with these people and build a truly unique destination, something the people at Bass Pro have never seen the likes of? So unique it may actually take business from Bass Pro. I'm thinking of starting a company to study the concept. Can I have some of that $100 million?

Ray Lewandowski



Municipal utilities should share pain

I have recently read that there is talk of eliminating the New York Power Authority hydro credit that appears on my electric bill each month. Granted, it's a small amount. However, if it's going to happen, then the 40 or more municipal utilities in New York should also feel the pain. Their residential customers enjoy unrealistic rates.

I've always wondered who "ordained" them to receive such preferential treatment. And it surprises me that no one has raised this issue during the Niagara project hydro relicensing process. Some of these municipal utilities have contracts with the Power Authority, but when they expire, to level the playing field, their customers should also be made to bite the bullet and be treated like the customers of the private utilities.

I'm willing to give up my hydro credit for economic development to retain and secure jobs in our area, if the municipal residential and commercial rates are brought in line with what we pay. Their industrial customers and farmers could retain their present power allocation. The municipal utilities must realize we're in an era where jobs are of utmost concern. The issue of fairness is also a factor.

Edwin L. Kantowski Jr.



Didn't Democrats say board was too large?

I'm having a difficult time separating fact from fiction on the part of the Town of Tonawanda Democratic leadership. Recently, we were informed that Councilman John Flynn, who left his seat for a judge's position, was replaced by a Democrat appointee. Yet this is the same leadership that campaigned on the idea that the board was already too large.

The Democrats told the voters that taxes and spending were too high under the previous administration. Since then, they have had to raise property taxes nearly 10 percent just to keep current service levels. They have enacted a new entitlement program of future continuous spending with the garbage totes. Fitness Center patrons were asked to shoulder higher membership rates and reduced hours due to budget constraints. Shortly after, the Democrats trumpeted new parks program spending and approved funding for a snack bar at Kenney Field.

Were the Democrats just clueless about the real situation, or have they been lying to us all along?

Eric Kolber

Town of Tonawanda


Wealthy taxpayers see smaller decrease

Regarding the Jan. 24 editorial, "Tax criticism verified," I must find fault with The News' math. A decrease in tax burden for average incomes from 5 percent to 2.9 percent is a 42 percent decrease. A decrease in tax burden for wealthy taxpayers from 24.2 percent to 19.6 percent is a 19 percent decrease. I guess you can do anything with statistics!

Donald R. Barber

East Aurora


No need to denigrate experienced politicians

I recently read Beth Kontrabecki Walters' letter in The News. While I do believe it is important for "young blood" to become active in local government, I don't believe it is fair or appropriate to denigrate those older, experienced members of town government by calling them names like "career politicians," "political elite" or "tired faces." That is unfair, unfounded and foolish!

If a new face offers positive change and benefits to the people of Hamburg, he should be welcomed with open arms. However, when that new face predicts or proposes a 60 percent tax increase, removal of the 911 dispatch and a reduction in senior and recreation programs, then Hamburg residents are the ones suffering. Residents are against those damaging changes. Thank goodness the "seasoned" board members were there to protect the residents from such a harmful budget. The residents expect our elected officials to maintain and protect our services, just as we elected them to do.

If Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters feels he needs a "nonpolitical" point of view, he should hold open forums where citizens could offer their advice and opinions. I'm sure he would hear a full range of opinions in such a venue.

Jennifer Newman

Lake View

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