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Everybody's Column

State was right to invest in SUNY science expert

I think it's great that our state officials are finally starting to wake up and realize the importance of providing high compensation to attract and retain extraordinarily skilled professionals with a penchant for furthering and advancing science and technology. This is especially true for our struggling, high-tax state.

SUNY Albany professor Alain Kaloyeros, earning almost $700,000 annually, is really a bargain when you consider the ripple effect of associated benefits he and his team will provide for furthering high-tech business interest and economic development in our state. This is cutting-edge stuff that I feel all New York taxpayers should support.

For once, our leaders in Albany are making an investment in our state's economic future that will provide returns that go far beyond just economic. Hopefully, similar thinking and compensation strategies are taking place in other New York colleges and universities. We need to communicate to the next generation that using your head and doing good in school and trying to further all science can be just as rewarding and perhaps even more self-actualizing than becoming a pro athlete, actor or rock star. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sports, a good flick and great music but we all really need to start emphasizing what's truly important for us and our children.

Vince Luce

Westfield

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Give Visitors Bureau 100 percent of bed tax

Upon reading the article about the Hyatt Hotel's planned renovation, I found it incredulous that my tax money will be used to help fund the renovation to the tune of $5.1 million. For an entity that received "generous subsidies and grants" when it was built and has never made a profit since it opened, why do government leaders, Hyatt officials and Paul Snyder think that this time around things will be different?

Hotels, brand new or renovated, do not create new demand all by themselves. At the end of the day, the Hyatt will still be attached to a convention center that is nearly 30 years old and is clearly outdated and small in today's competitive convention market. Have our leaders forgotten that the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau is sorely underfunded, a fact even before the Erie County financial crisis of 2005?

The county executive and Legislature need to step up and dedicate 100 percent of the bed tax to the bureau so that we can effectively sell and market Western New York. And we need state politicians to stop giving handouts to private industry and look at the bigger picture as to what will ultimately drive tourism and convention center business to our area.

Richard Schroen

General Manager

Buffalo Niagara Marriott

Amherst

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Power-brokers are like frogs in a well

Now that skilled consultants have produced two exciting plans to stimulate history and architectural tourism at the classic Richardson Psychiatric Center buildings, I'm looking forward to the Buffalo developer-politician junta's coming up with a "better" plan for The News to endorse, the way it trashed the plan for Erie Canal Park.

How about gutting the towers and putting a Wal-Mart in one and a parking garage in the other? The Wal-Mart greeters could wear authentic-like 19th century rags, pretending to be inmates and cadging money for their health insurance. And of course the gloomy towers will need colorful vinyl siding, and you'll have to pave over the lawns. That will bring tourists from all over, maybe from as far away as Amherst and Cheektowaga, just like the newly revised Bass Pro Canal Park.

The city needs to escape control by power-brokers who trash democratic procedures and then wonder at the uproar that follows. Our power-brokers are, the Chinese would say, like frogs in a well, by which I mean that project after project has shown that their understanding of the world is narrow, sub-urban (less than urban) and unimaginative.

And, of course, they always blame their consistent failure on the people they don't consult.

Robert Knox Dentan

Buffalo

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Two-state solution won't work in Mideast

In a recent column, Trudy Rubin states what has become painfully obvious to many: that the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is dead or dying. Due to the cutting up of the West Bank by the Israelis with Jewish-only settlements, roads and checkpoints between Palestinian areas, there is no hope for a functional Palestinian economy, let alone a viable Palestinian state.

And by its actions, the Israeli government has made it clear that it has no intention of giving up any of the West Bank settlements and infrastructure. In fact, there is already a single state in Israel/Palestine where Israel maintains overall control of the Gaza and West Bank Arab population through a 40-year military occupation.

There is only one viable way out of this situation: a single, secular and democratic state, with equal social and political rights for all citizens, where no religious or ethnic group has exclusive privileges and rights at the expense of another.

Rubin makes one error in her commentary: The one-state solution is not the plot of extremists but the increasingly common viewpoint of moderate and thoughtful analysts of the current impasse. This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. It is long past time that a peaceful resolution of this conflict was reached.

Eric A. Gallion

Blasdell

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Poor customer service is a growing problem

Things must be getting unbearably bad when lawyer and syndicated columnist Susan Estrich gets so frustrated that she writes a column about it. ("No hope for a reward," June 2 Buffalo News). Well, she hit the nail on the head for me. I also had the run-around with Chase Bank when I financed something. It was inept in handling payments and I could never speak to a person; only a canned message no matter what number I called, and they were numerous.

Do businesses have any idea how many customers they irritate and perhaps even lose? I guess not, or this behavior would cease. However, I swore to never again have any dealing with Chase Bank or any bank that does not have an office in Western New York where one may have some recourse.

Estrich also experienced people answering the calls in India. This has also happened to me and I get irate when I think about all those jobs that our unemployed could have in the United States. Why do we continue to patronize companies that have no phone etiquette and give our jobs away? It could be our jobs next!

Evelyn Malone

Amherst

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