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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Parking lot owners should be ashamed

The blessings of capitalism were apparent in the parking lots surrounding HSBC Arena during the recent international hockey tournament. One can imagine the vendors of such spaces thinking the Santa Claus story to be true after all.

The reversed law of supply and demand was invoked to its full extent as our neighbors from the north arrived to be coerced into paying exorbitant fees for parking. Long remembered and resented will be the shameful spectacle that occurred in the city frequently commended for its friendliness and hospitality.

It is imperative that officials of the Greater Buffalo Niagara Region take measures to prevent a similar exploitation at the conventions scheduled here this summer.

Thomas L. Trabert Sr.

Snyder

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Northern neighbors were treated poorly

Once again, it appears as if our American neighbors' only desire is to take as many dollars out of our pockets as they possibly can. Case in point, open the border to avoid two-hour-plus delays on game days. You know where the fans are coming from, so please treat us like guests.

I know Americans believe in the free-market system, because they have already gouged us for tickets. But now parking. This is not the way to improve relationships between countries. I was originally proud of Buffalo for being awarded the games, because of the close proximity to our border. However, I am ashamed of the way you have turned your backs on your northern neighbors.

John Myers

Toronto

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Buffalo Bisons' fans are being gouged, too

Bison baseball fans get gouged with parking fees, too. Not only at parking lots near HSBC Arena but also lots around Coca-Cola Field, fans get gouged during the baseball season. During April and early May, one can park for $3, but for weekday afternoon games and weekends the price for the same spot jumps to $15. Last summer, when Stephen Strasburg pitched for Syracuse, the price was $25. That is ridiculous for a minor league game. One can get into the game with a family of four cheaper than one can park his car. Take heart, Canadian fans, we Americans suffer, too.

James L. Isbrandt

Cheektowaga

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'Ghost town' comment was not without merit

OK, here's the thing about the Team USA hockey player who bashed Buffalo. Who among us has never bashed our fair city? Yes, it stings when someone from out of town has a negative reaction, but let's be real. Working downtown just a few blocks away from the arena, I've got to tell you it didn't look like anything out of the ordinary was happening. Aside from a few new American and Canadian flags and a couple of signs in the windows of some of the nearby bars advertising Labatt specials, downtown looked pretty much like it always does.

The city is not pretty right now; there are old, hard-packed, black snow piles along the streets, and it's been cold and gloomy. To be perfectly honest, in the heart of downtown there's not a whole heck of a lot to do. I sure hope no one goes to the Main Place Mall expecting to find a Gap or a Best Buy or a Macy's -- not happening. I'm not sure what this player was looking to do in Buffalo, but his comment was not totally without merit and he did apologize for it. So let's take a breath and get over it. It's Buffalo, deal with it.

Lynn Chilelli

Hamburg

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Young hockey player learned valuable lesson

It seems there has been a lot of ruckus about comments made by a World Junior hockey player. Although I believe it's much ado about nothing, there are some thoughts to consider.

First of all, these opinions were made by an 18-year-old kid. Who amongst us -- ahem, older crowd -- has never publicly made a statement that we wish we could retract? I don't think any of us would want our teens' texts, tweets or other opinions internationally critiqued. Hockey star or not, he is still a young kid in a new environment with time on his hands. As grandma used to say, "Idle minds with idle time leads to mischievous deeds."

However, I also can't help thinking this is a sign of our times. Back in the day, we were taught by our parents to be respectful of our host. "If you can't think of something nice to say, say nothing." These ideals are not as prevalent as they once were. Is that the child's fault, or the people who failed to pass it on?

No matter how you slice it, this young man has learned a lesson in manners the hard way. Come to think of it, some of the best lessons I've ever learned were like that.

James F. Devany IV

West Seneca

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Teen's lack of manners and respect is appalling

I have never before written a commentary, but after reading Denise Jewell Gee's column the other day, I had to respond. We don't need an 18-year-old kid slamming our city for everybody to see, whether it is true or not. I have never thought of Buffalo as a "ghost town." I love it here. That, however, is not the point. We have welcomed the World Juniors to our city with open arms, and the players are made to feel right at home. I would never think of going to another city and making remarks like that. He needs to learn some manners and have some respect for others.

Susan Higgins

South Buffalo

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Collins' failed suit was lousy business decision

The Jan. 2 News article, "Fighting jail suit was costly to county," laid bare another of the myriad problems the Collins administration poses to Erie County. Chris Collins' position as genius businessman, held up all over conservative Erie County, seems as much of a sham as his "I am not a politician" claim.

What kind of business decision is it to flush away thousands of dollars on a lawsuit so baseless and frivolous that it warranted such a humiliating defeat for the county? Besides the fact that in the process he spent three times as much fighting it as did his opponent.

It seems to me like the kind of business decision that should put you out of business in a hurry. I fervently hope that is exactly what the people of Erie County do to King Chris and his coterie this November.

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Kevin Connors

Buffalo

If culturals get cut, so should all others

Over the past several weeks, The News has published several letters supporting County Executive Chris Collins' determination that some of the less well-attended cultural activities were not worthy of government support. The general tenor of these letters was that anyone who wished to enjoy any sort of cultural entertainment should be willing to pay the whole cost of his recreation himself. For purposes of discussion, let us grant that it is a valid position that people should pay the total cost of their entertainment.

Speaking only for myself, this means that I will have to add $5 more to my donation at each performance of Shakespeare in the Park. I am lucky that I can afford to do this and will be glad to do so when the time comes.

Now let us take this idea to its reasonable conclusion: Everybody who partakes of any kind of entertainment should be prepared to pay the total cost of his or her own fun and games.

Let's start with the Bills. The taxpayer should be relieved of the burden of stadium construction, remodeling and maintenance; crowd and traffic control; and any other welfare the Bills are pulling out of the public treasury, including that obscene annual "working capital grant" of $3 million. Then we should pull the subsidies we give to the Bisons and Sabres. After that we can let the people who run their boats up and down the barge canal pay their own way instead of being subsidized by people who drive on the Thruway.

Don't stop subsidies with just the "minor" culturals. Cut subsidies to all the culturals. Then we can cut subsidies to commerce and industry. The next time someone wants to ride an airplane, let him pay his share of the total cost of airport and airplane operations and maintenance. Maybe it's time to abolish the IDAs and theirPILOT agreements. Maybe it's time to abolish all farm subsidies. Maybe it's time to abolish all subsidies.

I have never been to Europe but if I ever do get to the Louvre or the Uffizi, I will thank God that the Bourbons and the Medicis were "frivolous."

Larry Zollinger

South Dayton

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GOP is wrong to pursue repeal of health reform

By holding a vote to repeal health care, the Republicans are telling women that insurance companies can still treat them as having a pre-existing condition and continue to charge them 30 percent to 40 percent more for health care. They are telling thousands that insurance companies can still drop them if they get sick with something that they are not willing to cover.

They are telling millions who have an existing condition that now stops them from getting health care that there is no hope that they can get care they can afford. They are telling the millions of people without health care now, either because their employer doesn't offer it or they can't afford it or they don't qualify for coverage, that there is no hope that they can get affordable health care. They are telling millions across the country that their 19-year-old and older children still at home do not have to be covered by insurance companies. They will be telling the American people that they would rather protect the insurance companies and the billions they make in profit and the millions they pay their executives than provide Americans with health care.

Peter Nugent

Amherst

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Statler Towers went under for good reason

Mark Croce's partner had it right! Pull out of the Statler Towers demise. Smelling something funny, his partner bolted after a simple buyout, putting Croce in the driver's seat to purchase the hotel. Fast-forward five years from now and once again the Statler opens it doors.

But wait, this beautiful hotel has been shunned by the public. The reason? Price gouging. The prices for an overnight stay and meals are exuberant. Customers are tuned off and then turn away.

Croce has to face reality. His verbal gibberish that Buffalo is a big-time city went out with the Roaring '20s. Who is he fooling? People refuse to put their hands over their heads every time they enter his establishments. Also, any public money he hopes to acquire to pad his empire is a pipe dream.

Tony Hammill

West Seneca

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