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LETTERS

Bringing out the best in North Tonawanda

The North Tonawanda History Museum's first Historic Treasures Tour on July 31 attracted visitors from five states, Canada and all over New York State. A total of 461 tickets were sold. Response has been extremely positive from those who attended. The museum expects to do the second tour in 2007, concentrating its efforts on an Ethnic Heritage Festival in 2006. Ultimately, the goal is to do each event annually.

As a new museum, training volunteers for each task requires significant time and effort. Over 100 volunteers, mostly from North Tonawanda, helped make this year's event possible.

The board of trustees of the museum wishes to publicly thank the many volunteers, businesses and other cultural organizations that made this event possible. Hundreds of people participated in making it happen.

We truly showed off what a wonderful city we have, what wonderful residents, cultural organizations and businesses we have -- and what a rich history our city can lay claim to.

Donna Zellner Neal,

Director North Tonawanda History Museum

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Legislature operates as a private club

If you regularly attend Niagara County Legislature meetings it will soon become apparent that this body operates as a private club, dominated by a political coalition of 13. They have developed closed methods of procedure to insulate themselves from the people they are supposed to serve.

State Public Officers Law clearly states, "The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the understanding and participation of the public in government." For all they complain about state mandates, somehow they manage to ignore this one.

As a point of beginning, legislators need to provide a full agenda for each public meeting. The current practice of simply issuing a list of proposed resolutions is insufficient. Where resolutions involve spending the associated budget line item should be noted, along with the appropriated dollar amount.

Then there are late resolutions, the subject of which do not appear until the following meeting list. This practice needs to be limited to extreme emergency matters only.

The habit of inserting political caucus' in the middle of a public meeting has been noted by the state Committee on Open Government as contrary to Open Meetings Law. That the practice continues illustrates legislators' arrogance.

The public is discouraged by having to wait for meeting continuation, while behind closed doors political discussions take place. Similarly having committee meetings in the middle of a public meeting shows further disregard for the public.

As the cost of government becomes more burdensome there is a need that all current county financial documents be easily available to the public. In that libraries are publicly funded it would seem reasonable that such volumes should be prominently available in the three major libraries.

That we exist as a government of the people is our heritage. It is our responsibility to maintain it for those who follow.

Donald G. Hobel

North Tonawanda

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