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I found it extremely difficult to vote for Joel Giambra as Erie County executive, since he is a Republican.

It took soul-searching and careful listening to convince me that Giambra's message, stressing consolidation and regionalism, was the correct one for Erie County.

My heart lies deep within the county of my birth. I am old enough to have seen the prosperity of the '50s and to have witnessed the slide to obscurity that has ensued since then. I attribute this descent to poor local politics and a combination of national circumstances that threw us into the rust belt. Good politics and cooperation might possibly help us to emerge from the depths.

It costs me a lot to admit that our local Democratic Party has exhibited many of the same qualities I dislike about the national Republican Party. Local Democrats are factional, fractious, tunnel-visioned and obstructive.

Amherst Supervisor Susan Grelick, whom I supported enthusiastically when she ran, should realize that if Buffalo goes (it seems to be well on its way to vanishing) Erie County also falls.

She fails to acknowledge that her beloved Amherst Industrial Development Agency, far from attracting new jobs, is, in many cases, spiriting existing ones away from the city, adding to suburban traffic and pollution and further diminishing Buffalo's tax base. Why does Grelick begrudge some consolidation in purchasing and other suggestions proposed by Giambra?

Buildings keep rising in Amherst. Parking lots keep proliferating. Why not use abandoned property if expansion is so desirous? For example, there is an empty, usable strip mall on Klein Road near Hopkins. Use it! Don't replace more green space with yet more construction.

Quality education for all children must combine with consolidation to make Erie County viable. Every resident must support it with a deep commitment.



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