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Everybody's Column

>McCain has a history of bipartisan action

Every Sunday, I read the letters from the same people who manage to get their drivel printed as soon as the two-month time limit expires from their last letter to The News. They say that they believe that President Bush is engaged in conspiracies against the very people he governs. The really far left wackos say that they believe that Bush and Cheney were in on 9/1 1. The rest just attack generally, and don't bother to give examples of what it is that they are writing about.

It is very clear that they support the election of members of the Democratic Party. I'm more disappointed that issues aren't addressed, than upset about these people's apparent lack of insight. It's human nature to be a "Monday Morning Quarterback," to have someone to blame and to find a scapegoat. It makes us feel better about ourselves.

Now these same individuals attack John McCain. To me, these attacks are strictly partisan, and aimed only at influencing the votes of others. In short, they are dishonest. Here is a man who was willing to die for his country. We all know the story of his POW years. He has a history of bipartisan action. He is the maverick of the Senate, a man whose character is beyond reproach. He's been down a road that most wouldn't, or couldn't travel. These writers aren't a fraction of the man that he is.

Patrick McLaughlin
Tonawanda

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>It's wrong to manipulate system for pension windfall

Golden parachute pension packages and greed don't exist just on Wall Street -- both are alive and well here in Western New York with the pensions of some of our public employees. A good and fair pension to reward loyal employees for years of dedicated service by making their retirement years ones where adequate income ensures a decent existence is the American way. However, when the system can be manipulated to realize a pension windfall well above the wages paid before retirement, then greed and corruption prevail.

Since the municipal unions will never concede that this injustice is contributing significantly to the demise of this area, then it's up to our elected leaders to correct it. Unfortunately that will probably never happen, though, because these leaders are more beholden to the unions than to the people they supposedly represent. Maybe reform will come under serious consideration when there is no one left here to pay the exorbitant taxes.

Robert Andres
East Concord

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>Vetoing land bank was a big mistake

By vetoing the legislation allowing for the creation of a countywide land bank in Erie County, Gov. David Paterson missed an opportunity to address one of the most significant problems facing our region. Vacant and abandoned properties are not just a city issue -- many communities in Western New York are dealing with the negative effects of vacant properties.

The problem of vacant and abandoned properties is becoming more severe by the day, and creates a downward effect on other properties in the area, as well as placing a strain on municipal resources. The Town of Evans, like many other governments, is simply not equipped to deal in a comprehensive way with abandoned properties on the scale we now face. The current system allows these properties to languish and deteriorate, often creating a negative worth situation where the liens exceed the value of the property. Vacant properties in our community have served as an impediment to economic development initiatives, including hampering revitalization efforts in the village business district.

I urge Paterson to reconsider his stance on this important legislation. Land banks have proven to be a useful tool in both foreclosure prevention and rehabilitation strategies aimed at returning properties to productive use.

Lori A. Szewczyk
Director of Community Development
Town of Evans

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>Helping people buy homes stabilizes neighborhoods

I would like to respond to the Sept. 30 Another Voice column that blames Congress for over-regulating home loans. The writer argues that Congress forced banks to loan money to unqualified lenders; those who could not afford a 20 percent down payment. For many Americans, homeownership would not be possible without some type of government pull. I was able to purchase a house at the age of 23 because I was permitted to put only 5 percent down. I bought a house in the city and not many people would be able to afford a home without some lenience.

Deregulation causing decreased ownership would have devastating effects on neighborhoods, especially in Buffalo. Absentee landlords, many of whom would be the only ones who have the capital needed to purchase a home under tightened regulation, are a severe cause of urban decay, unkempt properties and the widening gap between rich and poor.

Because of the government assistance granted to me and many others, I was able to purchase, renovate and improve my house in a struggling city. I concede that mistakes were made on both sides, banks and homeowners, while standards were ignored. But pure capitalists disregard the deeper impact that homeownership has in communities. I monthly put my money on it.

Joel Sullivan
Buffalo

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>Obama wants to limit rights of gun owners

Barack Obama wants people to trust him with their vote, but he doesn't trust them with their rights.

Obama has voted to pass, or voiced support for: banning hand gun ownership, banning certain rifle ammunition, exposing America's firearm industry to frivolous lawsuits, upholding local gun bans like the one in Washington, D.C., reimposing the failed and fraudulent Clinton gun ban, requiring mandatory waiting periods and "micro-stamping" of ammunition and eliminating the right-to-carry laws across the United States.

When it comes to simply keeping our rights intact to protect our property and loved ones, Obama says we can't be trusted. He says that when average Americans "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion . . . as a way to explain their frustrations." I urge you to consider what his elitist, holier-than-thou arrogance and condescension really means. He is saying that you cannot be trusted. Remember this on Nov. 4. Hire somebody for the job of president you can trust. Trust is a two-way street. Vote freedom first.

Earl Graf
North Tonawanda

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>Time to raise the rates on U.S. savings bonds

American investors would do well to encourage the Washington powers-that-be to raise the rates on U.S. savings bonds, thus making the bonds much more attractive at times like we have now.

Jim Schunk
Hamburg

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