Excerpts from reader commentary on News staffers' online blog postings last week. Online comments come from registered users, but -- unlike reviewed and verified Everybody's Column letters -- can be posted under pen names.
World Juniors: In a response to John Vogl's blog on Emerson Etem's Twitter messages, BuffaloFred said:
As a lifelong Buffalo-ite that travels to other Rust Belt cities in NY, PA, OH and IN, the kid is right. The available venues for his demographic truly do suck in Buffalo. We suck at planning and haven't had a visionary mayor in 20 years. I love Elmwood and Allen, but the immediate downtown is tumbleweed heaven most times. Too bad, but not totally incorrect either.
I still have vivid memories of Frozen Four fans leaving HSBC wondering where anything was -- a bar? a restaurant? Bravo for bringing these high-profile events to town, but what do you expect people to think when all they see when they walk outside is a huge hole in the ground?
Editorial: In response to an editorial on the need to reform school finances in order to deal with a widening budget gap and the resulting aid cuts, Marylou Altieri of Kenmore wrote:
No, teachers should NOT take responsibility for their health insurance, nor should anyone else. All of the money spent on health insurance should go toward ensuring that EVERYONE gets the appropriate medical care that they need. If it can be done in other countries, it can be done here. Put all of the insurance companies out of business, then hire their employees to work for a national health insurance plan for every citizen.
In addition, most school employees in Buffalo have not had a contract nor a raise in over eight years. Gee, the price of gasoline has almost doubled since then, the cost of mayonnaise has definitely doubled, as have candy bars and bacon. These are only a few examples of rising prices in the last eight years. Yet every employee in the Buffalo School District except the teaching assistants and teacher aides are waiting for a new contract. Teachers have to have a master's degree. If you paid the money to acquire a master's degree, then you should be compensated for having one. Instead of the private sector trying to drag the public unions down to their level, they should be striving to raise their compensation levels upward. The more you earn, the more taxes the governments will collect and the sooner their bottom lines will be in the black.
Buffalo Bills: An article by sports reporter Mark Gaughan on the team's loss to the New York Jets and the culmination of a depressing season led Karl Seitz of Slingerlands to reflect:
This was the least inspiring year of Bills football I can recall since the early 1980s. Fortunately, they accomplished what they needed to do. They lost. I really hope the Bills have a great draft so that I can look forward to attending a home game next year. Go Bills! Bills fans deserve better than this.
News: An article by reporter Mark Sommer on exorbitant parking prices during the hockey tournament brought a number of responses, including this from Jeffrey Tooke of Buffalo:
Sorry, but just because the "market may bear" a $40-$60 parking fee doesn't mean that's something good or good business. How many of the whiners who support charging such an inappropriately high amount, due to it being a capitalist society, would even pay that amount in the first place themselves? Most I expect would complain if they were faced with the same outrageous fees. The high parking rates are just another opportunity for visitors to not want to return to Buffalo.
Robert Agnello of Grand Island took a diplomatic stance:
I'm glad they are looking into this. I do see both sides. A free market is necessary but so too is regulation. A balance. Every dollar is vital to business in the city. But it would be nice if those dollars got spread around. Greed like this simply is biting the hand that feeds you. Perhaps if the city and state didn't make doing business here so expensive the operators of these lots wouldn't feel so inclined to do this. And the operators need to realize the impression they leave and the money they take that could be spent elsewhere hampers the goal of making Buffalo an attractive place to visit. We are not New York City or Toronto.