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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Focus on conservation, not nuclear energy

I strongly agree with The News editorial ("Time to go nuclear") that we must cut reliance on oil from countries that support jihadists hostile to us. But building nuclear power plants isn't the answer to this problem for many reasons, the first and foremost being that nuclear plants generate electricity that is not a liquid fuel that can power the current fleet of cars and trucks.

Yes, eventually the widespread use of electric cars may call for new sources of electricity, but even for that, nuclear power may not be a good choice.

The most effective way to reduce gasoline consumption is by mandating a doubling of vehicle fuel economy within the next few years while implementing a gasoline tax that incrementally doubles or triples the price over the same period. The gas tax would not be popular but, unlike nuclear power, it actually would reduce gasoline consumption and lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Fuel economy improvements would ease the cost impact of the tax. Improved public transit is another important part of the solution.

The editorial laments the fact that nuclear plants can be built less expensively in China. But do we really want to adopt China's dangerously lax environmental regulations? Do we want reactor pressure vessels to be welded by workers making 75 cents an hour?

Besides high costs, accident risk and waste disposal issues, nuclear power is highly problematic because it facilitates nuclear weapons proliferation by providing nuclear plant recipients with the know-how and the materials for making atomic bombs. Think of Iran, North Korea and Pakistan. Nuclear power plants also make tempting targets for terrorists.

Until nuclear power's serious problems are solved, our energy efforts should be focused on conservation, efficiency and renewables -- proven, safe, cost-effective strategies that would accomplish much more if we made them a priority.

Walter Simpson

Amherst

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Main Street does look like a ghost town now

I agree with the out-of-town hockey player that Buffalo is like a ghost town. Sure there are bars and restaurants, but Main Street puts the City of Buffalo to shame. All of our politicians are concerned about building up the waterfront, which is good. But when are they going to step up to the plate and make Main Street alive with stores? Then when people come and visit, they will have some place to shop that is not far from their hotel.

We all know that once Main Street was closed to traffic, it also took away all the great stores we once had. Turn on the storefront lights once again.

Colleen Kelley

Blasdell

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Don't separate schools from city government

The News editorial "Buffalo in control" suggests separating city government from the school district because the city is on a healthy trajectory and no longer needs control board oversight. Compliments are due to Mayor Byron Brown, the Common Council, Comptroller Andrew SanFilippo and the state government for helping to improve the financials in City Hall. Yet a fundamental reason why people chose to live in the city cannot be ignored or relegated to second class by removing the oversight of the control board. The schools alone have few tools to control their own fiscal destiny.

Citizens will not move back to Buffalo in the numbers needed to revive this city no matter what the fiscal soundness of the municipal government without a corresponding change in the fiscal and educational health of the school system. The demands on Buffalo's schools, both from our students and the issues surrounding them in dire neighborhoods and massive poverty, will not be relaxed by such a separation. Only the committed presence and support of the city and state governments will improve schools.

As a longtime observer and participant in our city schools and policy, discussions like this convince me that until the political responsibility for Buffalo's schools is put in the mayor's office with oversight of the Common Council, either through an appointed board or direct control, there will never be fiscal or moral support for Buffalo's children or a demand for the proper management, teaching and financial control and support.

Truncating the control board for the city while the predictions for the schools are so dire will do nothing to help the city, despite the financial successes of that government. The suggestion that separating the destinies of the city and its schools makes sense seems foolish to me. If anything, they should be bound tighter than they have ever been.

Donald A. Van Every

Buffalo

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Global warming cartoon sent the wrong message

The News' reprinting of Lisa Benson's editorial cartoon in the Jan. 2 Viewpoints depicting a bus, labeled "Church of Global Warming," mired in a snowdrift sends exactly the wrong message. It encourages our desire to deny the impact of global warming when we need to wake up to the fact that it has already changed our world for the worse. The warming of the oceans has already disrupted the currents that largely determine our weather patterns, causing both record winter storms as well as record heat waves. If we want to leave a life-sustaining planet to our grandchildren, we need to learn the facts and to take appropriate action.

Ralph Sibley

Buffalo

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Recipes are too costly for the average person

Every week I read the Taste section, look at the seven-day menu planner and think "these recipes seem awfully expensive." This past week, I wrote down the complete seven-day shopping list and went to the store to find the prices. For one week of dinners, shopping at the two stores I usually frequent, the total was $205. If I had shopped only at the major grocery store, the total would have been $237. For four of us in the house, I average $115 a week, and that includes beverages, breakfasts, cat food and paper products. My shopping list is not going to include $11 per pound lamb chops or $20 per ounce cheese anytime soon, no matter what the menu planner recommends.

The Taste section of The News is always interesting, but many of the recipes are simply not realistic for those of average income or who are trying to live within their means.

Diane K. Temple

Tonawanda

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No need for cartoons lambasting Paladino

In reference to the Jan. 2 Viewpoints, which contained a page of Carl Paladino cartoons, my first thought was, "Geez, give poor Carl a break already!" Then I thought, "What grade are you people in and how old are you, 11?"

Paladino said a lot of things, but he was right on when he said, "Never get the media mad at you."

Bill Cotriss

Medina

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