Outsiders criticizing Rumore don't know all the details
The current state of affairs involving the Buffalo Board of Education and the Buffalo Teachers Federation's disagreement over a single health care provider has disintegrated into a laughing matter. And now that certain politicians are voicing their opinions, it becomes apparent that their knowledge of local health care plans is very limited.
First, they do not know what has specifically transpired in the negotiations between the board and the union. So how can they make any statement condemning BTF President Phil Rumore?
Second, Independent Health was able to save the board $2 million more than Blue Cross, so why wasn't that plan chosen? The difference in savings is not small. Maybe it's because Blue Cross is building its new headquarters in Buffalo? It seems to me that another reason could be the fact that insurance brokers are touting Blue Cross because of higher commissions. After the guarantee is in place for two years, what will be the cost or savings if the utilization costs increase?
At this point, perhaps Superintendent James Williams should stop the rhetoric and instead consider taking a pay cut "for the children," as he so regularly states.
Build casino near Chippewa and the Theater District
The only sure bet on casino gambling is that it's coming to downtown Buffalo. Business operators outside a reasonable walking distance to casino parking and Metro rail stops are certain losers when the Senecas determine a downtown location. Debate over spinoff dollars ends when casino-goers hop in their vehicles and exit downtown.
This may not happen if the casino is built in the vicinity of Chippewa Street and the Theater District. It has by far the greatest concentration of hotels, parking, theaters, restaurants, night clubs, coffee shops, etc.
A shovel-ready site exists on the block bounded by West Huron, Franklin and Pearl. Across the street sits the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Augspurger Parking Ramp. The convention center is a mere half block away. Government buildings, condos and apartment buildings are a safe distance away. If additional land is needed, the north and southwest blocks of Franklin and West Huron are prime areas for redevelopment.
Finally, let's acknowledge that gambling is a very competitive regional industry. Millions of dollars not spent in downtown Buffalo will most definitely go to Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Salamanca.
Michael J. Smith
Deployment in Iraq hampers ability to aid storm victims
While the average American can do little to ease the suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the one man who can make a difference, our president, resorted to his typical response -- a photo op. There was President Bush, cutting short his five-week vacation, aboard Air Force One looking out over the devastation.
The administration's initial response to this disaster only solidifies my belief that his presidency will be viewed by historians as one of the worst in the history of our country. Our manpower, money and equipment is deployed in a country where we should not be in the first place, but cannot now withdraw from. We will be mired in Iraq for many years, Americans will continue to die and our deficit will reach new highs as we add on the billions in aid needed to help rebuild Katrina's devastation.
This deployment has diminished our ability to respond to national emergencies and real international crises. I only hope that Bush has a better solution in the near term than "mission accomplished" aboard an aircraft carrier.
Katrina should be wake-up call that better planning is needed
After 9/1 1, many Americans expected another catastrophic tragedy to hit the United States. Well, it did -- but not as a result of terrorist involvement. Hopefully we will never have to experience the result of a terrorist attack that would create the chaos and unbelievable devastation caused by the aftermath of Katrina. This should be a dire warning to those in charge that we need to be prepared.
Erie County can't afford to take care of evacuees
I feel bad for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but there are more affluent areas of the country that can afford to take the welfare and Medicaid hit. Erie County can't afford to take care of its own without escalating taxes. Private residents voluntarily taking in families and supporting them is one thing, but having the county be responsible for their support is fiscally irresponsible. The federal government would be in a better position to take care of these evacuees if billions of our dollars weren't going to support a war without cause. Hurricane Bush is responsible for more American deaths than Katrina.
Georgia L. Schlager
Put some controls on imports so we can achieve trade balance
This letter is regarding the Aug. 28 News article, "U.S., China renew talks on imports of textiles." I know that we are now a global economy, and I understand the need to make a profit. However, U.S. clothing and textile manufacturers are concerned about all the textile plants that are forced to close because of the deluge of Chinese imports.
I strongly agree with the U.S. manufacturers to impose so-called safeguard controls on imports so some sort of a balance can be achieved. Every country should be allowed a certain percentage of imports that would give companies the profit needed to pay their stockholders and stay in business.
China was given quotas under the safeguard provisions included when it was granted membership in the World Trade Organization a few years ago. In order for a global economy to work, a balance of imports and exports has to be achieved, so each country has a fair chance of success.