It is, from a preliminary look, the strangest of the seven budgets Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed, beginning with the way he proposed it: twice behind closed doors then, almost as an afterthought, in an unveiling for the public – the people who will be paying the freight. But that’s only the beginning of the strangeness, as Cuomo proposes significant increases in…

By Harper Bishop Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s recent State of the State address in Buffalo focused on the continued investment in the city and region through the second phase of the Buffalo Billion economic development program. The $500 million expansion will be allocated to assist with neighborhood revitalization. Although admirable, it was disappointing that the gover…

Don’t criticize Streep for speaking the truthMichael Ramirez’s Jan. 13 editorial cartoon gave me a giggle. Apparently he was saying that America should turn off self-important celebrities who think they’re smarter than us. What did Meryl Streep say that was so offensive? That she was surprised that we elected a man for the highest office in the land who was on video …

Empire State Trail should go south, tooAs a user of local bike trails, I applaud the announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of the 750-mile Empire State Trail that will provide an unobstructed path from New York City to Buffalo. But why stop there?From 1908 to 1933, the Buffalo and Lake Erie Traction Co. ran electric-powered trolley service between Buffalo and Erie, a distance …

It’s depressing to pivot from Obama to TrumpIt was really sad to see the turn of events that took place on our political front last week. On Tuesday night, arguably one of the best presidents in history, Barack Obama, who made the United States thrive, gave his farewell address, which was filled with gratitude and class and made me proud to be an American. This lasted on…

The GOP has no plan to improve health careThere is general agreement that the Affordable Care Act has flaws. We humans are not capable of perfection. My concern is the way that the new Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s administration are going to address the problems.The Republicans had control of the Senate and the House of Representatives from January 2003 th…

Expect the consequences of distasteful free speechThe First Amendment does not protect private individuals from the inevitable and foreseeable employment-related consequences of their speech.An argument I have seen made, inappropriately, is that when someone makes racist, sexist or misogynist speech and faces consequences from his employer for said speech, that this is som…

Obama was right to refrain from vetoing U.N. resolutionIn Douglas Turner’s Jan. 2 column, he criticized President Obama for directing his ambassador “to the United Nations Security Council to refrain from vetoing a virulently anti-Semitic resolution condemning Israel for unilaterally opposing a peace agreement with the Palestinians.”“Virulently anti-Semitic resolut…

Keeping children safe is at the core of the work Child Protective Services engages in. But when the reputation of adults who might be innocent is smeared or their rights are restricted because of a failure to follow procedures, it is time to reassess. A recent News article by reporter Matthew Spina spotlighted one case in which a man found himself placed on the state…

Students at Erie Community College will surely benefit from the new, $4 million Center for Nanotechnology on the North Campus. It may even help keep some students in Erie County, instead of drifting north to Niagara County Community College, where their presence exacts a financial penalty on their hometown taxpayers. But something is amiss. Given ECC’s gloomy financia…

By Dan Schwartz A former student, Fernando Burga, wrote all the way from Peru recently to remind me of some of what went on in one of my classes in 2015. As Earl Derr Biggers used to have his character Charlie Chan say when someone would refer to him as the world’s greatest detective, “Modesty precludes acknowledgement.” “Truth is,” wrote Burga, “I rea…

I won’t pretend Trump is a legitimate presidentAfter Donald Trump insulted civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the president-elect canceled his visit to the African-American History Museum – another snub to Lewis on Martin Luther King Day and black Americans everywhere. Trump’s excuse was “scheduling issues,” and he wants us to believe him.I stopped bel…

Don’t promote negative sentiment against policeThis letter is in regard to the tasteless comment in the editorial: “Fearless predictions,” published on Dec. 29. I’m referring to the November entry, where “Jail employees beat up an inmate in celebration.”I don’t know anyone who would find this funny, especially the deputies who staff the Holding Center, or the…

Unfunded state mandates weigh heavily on taxpayersExamine your Erie County property tax bill. Check the levy description “County Service Tax.” About 99 percent of this amount is a result of unfunded New York State mandates.The majority of this unfunded state mandate goes to Albany for New York’s Cadillac Medicaid program. The program is funded in this manner: The sta…