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Everybody's Column

Sign legislation to help reduce lead poisoning

Thousands of New York State children are poisoned by lead in their home each year; this is the highest number in the United States. Even more alarming, Buffalo has more lead poisonings than any city in the state outside of New York City.

This can all change if Gov. David Paterson signs a legislative piece that is currently before him. The Childhood Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention and Safe Housing Act would help reduce the number of children poisoned.

The current laws require that housing be inspected for lead-paint hazards only after a child already has been permanently injured by lead. The new bill would help localities work to develop primary prevention plans that would identify and eliminate lead hazards before children are poisoned. It would provide tax incentives to increase landlord and homeowner ability to address lead hazards in their home, at a relatively modest cost.

Lead poisoning causes irreversible damage to children. Lead exposure has been scientifically proven to lower a child's IQ score, increase the likelihood of developing cognitive disabilities such as learning disabilities, resulting in substantial long-term costs to government, society, families and children.

To help ensure that children get a chance to live lead free, urge the governor to sign this legislation into law.

Michael Helman

Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Association of WNY

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County must scrap plan to raise property taxes

I am very confused as to where our property taxes are going. I moved here from California, where I had a house worth $80,000 and I paid $829 in property taxes per year. Here I have a house worth $63,000 and pay close to $3,000 a year in property taxes. California does not pay any more for Medicaid, Social Security, roads, etc., than New York so I really want to know where this money is going.

How is it possible that a place like Erie County, which pays about the same in services as Nevada County in California, needs more than three times the amount of property taxes?

I feel it is imperative that we, as constituents of Erie County, must take direct action to protest raising our property taxes again by e-mailing, calling and even visiting our county legislators. Let them know that our property taxes are already greater than most any other county in the United States and that it is unacceptable to raise them even further.

Savra Frounfelker

Buffalo

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Smoking ban in parks will benefit everyone

The Salamanca City Council should be applauded for adopting a measure on Oct. 8 banning smoking in all city parks and playgrounds. Secondhand tobacco smoke kills, and the American Lung Association of New York supports efforts to limit the deadly effects of secondhand smoke exposure and to protect public health by banning smoking in places where children and families enjoy recreational activities.

Secondhand smoke causes many of the same diseases in nonsmokers as smoking does to smokers. Moreover, even modest exposure to secondhand smoke adversely affects the health of those who inhale it. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, "there is no safe level of exposure" to secondhand smoke. It contributes to and causes numerous illnesses, including asthma, heart disease, respiratory tract infections and ear infections.

Our citizens should not be forced to inhale another person's toxic cigarette smoke. And now, thanks to the efforts of the City Council, residents of Salamanca will be able to enjoy the parks and playgrounds free of deadly secondhand smoke. For those who do smoke, one easy way to start down the path of quitting is to call the American Lung Association's HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Michael Seilback

Vice President, Public Policy & Communications, American Lung Association of New York

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Democrats to blame for economic crisis

For the last two-plus years, the Democrats have been the majority in both houses of Congress. Up until then, the stock market was on the rise, there was still an increase in jobs and gas was about $2 a gallon. Since Nancy Pelosi and company have had all the say, things have been going down at a dizzying rate.

For the last seven-plus years, the Democrats have been obstructing this president at the expense of our country's financial expansion and security, just to gain a political edge. Now they want to install a political novice with ties to many anti-American connections.

The Democrats have not hidden their hatred for President Bush since the Florida debacle, so it's not hard to believe that the party would sacrifice this country's financial security and safety to regain its destructive power.

It is my sincere hope that American voters cannot be stupid enough to vote in another ineffective Jimmy Carter-like administration. It is the radical left that is bringing this country down.

Frank Gugino Sr.

West Seneca

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Why are they clapping at the stock market?

The stock market has been in the news more often recently since the decline of the economy and the stock market. The local news channels often lead their newscasts with the story of the market going down another 200 to 300 points over the last week. The story includes the picture of a group of people standing on a balcony smiling and clapping at the close of the market.

What is the significance of this custom? This is increasingly annoying since everyday people are losing money from their 401(k)s and retirement accounts.

Steve Marsh

Depew

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Long lines discourage people from recycling

Recently, there was an electronics recycling event held at Erie Community College in Orchard Park. My family and I gathered the appropriate items to be recycled and drove to the site. We found lines of cars with people trying to do the same -- be a responsible citizen. After waiting over an hour in several lines and being directed to form yet another line, we realized that we would be late for an appointment. So we left without depositing our electronics.

My question to the county is: Why aren't there more frequent drop-off dates, in more convenient locations, and more personnel to assist in the planned recycling? Many people are very willing to do their civic duty by recycling these items rather than throwing them in their garbage totes. But there are too few dates, and locations are miles away.

I wonder if anyone else felt the frustration and left as well. Let's hope this situation is improved as we accumulate more and more electronic devices inappropriate for a landfill.

Emily D. Newell

Derby

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