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Everybody's Column

Obscene pension amounts are killing the taxpayers

Congratulations to The News reporter who took the time and effort to make the public aware of the obscene pension amounts our public service retirees are receiving. It's very disheartening to read that greed has won out over distinguished service. Who in the world were the individuals who negotiated contracts with these types of benefits?

Individuals who have three or fewer years of service remaining have doubled and tripled the amount of time spent "on the job" to achieve these staggering monthly payments. To add insult to injury, some of these "retirees" are asked to remain in their positions with full pay after choosing retirement, double-dipping the system.

The goose that lays the golden eggs must have taken up permanent residence in our police force. How long will it take our elected representatives to work up the nerve to stop this abomination? The citizens paying for these expensive "gifts" are so completely disgusted that it wouldn't be much of a surprise if a taxpayer revolt ensues. It's extremely important and necessary to place the right people on negotiating boards at contract time to put an end to this abomination.

Joseph Bogdan



Democrats to blame for mortgage debacle

To me, it is obscene that Democrats like the poisonous Nancy Pelosi are permitted to assign primary responsibility for our current financial crisis to Republicans like President Bush. I am amazed that a majority of New Yorkers, who suffer among the most tax and regulation oppressed in the nation, would believe this and continue to support Barack Obama and his minions.

The usual suspects have their fingerprints all over this crime scene. Most of them will be identified as belonging to Sens. Charles Schumer and Chris Dodd, and to Rep. Barney Frank. They sought to expand their political base under the guise of "affordable housing" by promoting NINJA loans (no income, no job, no assets). Now we are ruined -- it will take a decade or more to recover.

Where were the Clintons during this debacle? Well, it was legislation signed near the end of Bill's presidency that required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their subprime holding, which started the ball rolling down hill. It was Bush and John McCain who tried to stop it. Our Sen. Hillary Clinton did nothing for us. As usual, the Democrats blame their mistakes on somebody else.

Jerome Miller



The Aud is filled with a lifetime of memories

I am 68 years old and not a week goes by that I do not think of the hundreds of events I saw in the Aud -- hockey Bisons, over 100 wrestling matches, six-day bike races, boxing matches, the Shrine circus, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow, to name just a few, roller hockey, soccer, roller derby, the Braves, Little Three basketball when you couldn't get a seat, the Stanley Cup finals, the Calder Cup Championship, the National Jaycees Convention, etc.

It is not just a building, but a part of my life -- time with mom and dad, my grandparents, my wife and children and countless friends. It is too bad, but it seems that Buffalo leaders, as usual, will do too little too late. That has been their history. It really hurts the thousands of us who are seeing a part of our lives obliterated.

Excuse my "French" but the promise of some kind of "marker" is a piece of political BS. A marker would be like a penny tip -- given when you want to show a server that what he or she provided stunk. It really is too bad. If a year from now I can go to lower Main Street with my grandchildren and show them just a small "living" reminder of a very special "friend," I will be unbelievably thankful to those who can make it happen. To say I have doubts this will happen is a real understatement.

Chuck Osborne

Fort Myers, Fla.


Suggestion was to light the new Peace Bridge

I was both flattered and chagrined to see that the Peace Bridge Authority has decided to take dramatic action and relight the old bridge. Obviously, they read letters to The News.

Back on May 4, Everybody's Column printed a letter of mine in support of building the new triple arch design bridge, in which I suggested that the new bridge could be lit up occasionally "red, white and blue on American holidays" or red and white on Canadian ones.

On Oct. 3, The News reported that Bridge Authority General Manager Ron Reinas said: "For a Buffalo Bills game at night, we could light it in Bills colors." He continued that "the shades could be red, white and blue on July 4." (This is redundant, by the way, because the Bills' basic colors are scarlet red, white and blue.)

Still, I wish they would have paid more attention to my letter, and others like it. I meant the new bridge. Never mind the inevitable "lipstick on a pig" jokes. Of course, I could put such a quibble away if they sent me a nice check. I'm just sayin'.

Branimir Prelosnjak



Students learning English must speak it at home, too

The Buffalo Public Schools will benefit from a $15 million state grant targeting students for whom English is not the first language. That works out to $6,000 for each of the 2,500 students.

Parents urged that the funds target these children, but those parents are also going to have to contribute to its ultimate success.

Non-English speaking students who go home to a household that speaks another language are not going to learn as quickly and effectively as they should. I understand trying to retain a native culture, but America is an English-speaking country. Residents who live and work here should respect that fact by learning and using the language.

Perhaps the children who will benefit from the grant can return the favor by helping their relatives to gain some skill in the use of English.

That would certainly support the goal of Robert Bennett, chancellor of the State Board of Regents, who hopes, in his words, to "provide for public involvement and accountability."

Thora S. Van Horn



Is Obama off-limits for late-night jokes?

I find it ironic that on the late-night talk shows, John McCain and Sarah Palin are the topic of many of the jokes pertaining to the upcoming election. We don't hear many jokes about the other candidate, Barack Obama. Why is this? Is he off-limits, so as not to invoke the "R" word? Certainly seems that way.

John B. Guzzi


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