Buffalo could stand to learn from Obama's campaign plan
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign demonstrated an important idea that has been ignored. It is that process is more important than product. His process-oriented campaign, aimed at addressing the underlying issues and not the superficial "hot-buttons," is more successful than a campaign of packaged stances carefully selected in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Buffalo can learn something from this. All too often, we are concerned with the end product and not the process that got us there. What business leaders refer to as "responsiveness" to economic opportunities is really reactionary. This approach leaves Buffalo floundering, constantly seeking a regional identity and selling that identity to the most accommodating bidder.
Buffalo has a cultural heritage, a regional identity and a citizen-oriented master plan to bring those things to the fore. Our leaders need to allow those things to come to fruition and stop chasing after every potential business with a dollar to spend and a space requirement. The process of how Buffalo undertakes its economic recovery is just as important as the city that the recovery will hopefully produce. We can learn that a message of optimism is more attractive to potential tourists and business owners than the pleading desperation that Buffalo has so far communicated to companies like Bass Pro.
Higgins has it right on bridge movement
Congressman Brian Higgins is absolutely correct in his assertion that the Peace Bridge project needs to get moving immediately. With shared border management killed by a Bush administration that is neither able nor willing to see a difference between the nation's northern and southern borders, the time is now for this community to finally, once and for all, come behind a unified effort to see this project through. There have been enough delays.
I have seen that some officials think that the project should wait until a new and perhaps more cooperative president is in place in 2009. Nonsense. That is fiddling while Rome burns. This project has lingered for nearly a generation. It's time to heed Higgins' call and get this project moving, today. There is too much at stake for this community and this region.
Government subsidies should make sense
The News had two articles last week, "State takes aim at firms that fail in job creation," and Donn Esmonde's column, "Bass Pro shouldn't get a big handout." Both pieces illustrate our government's nonsensical approach to subsidies for businesses.
Regarding the job creation article, I applaud Gov. Eliot Spitzer's actions to review the job promises made by firms against their actual performance. Those who have fallen significantly short should be made to pay back their government subsidies or, at the very least, should have them reduced or eliminated. Similarly, the hydroelectric grants that subsidize companies to the tune of $50,000 to $150,000-plus per job created need a sanity check.
Esmonde's remarks are right on the money. Why should we financially support Bass Pro to the tune of $25 million to $95 million? If they can't start up without the handout, then I question the viability of their business, here.
The new upstate economic development czar, Dan Gundersen, should be tasked with developing cogent policies to ensure that government incentives are sensible, proportional and have reasonable prospects for a return on our investment.
Ronald W. Ciamaga
Catholics are not alone in deserving salvation
As a lifelong Roman Catholic, I am outraged and even embarrassed by the arrogant proclamations from the hierarchy of the church. In a front-page story in The News on July 11, Pope Benedict XVI approved a document that claims that Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation and that other Christian churches are not true churches.
I am close to many evangelical Christians and I know firsthand how they dedicate their lives, believing in, accepting, loving and following in the footsteps of our savior, in accordance with the teaching of the New Testament. They rightly expect their paths to lead to salvation as promised by the scriptures. Are we to believe that of the 6 billion children of God inhabiting the earth, only one-sixth are eligible for salvation?
The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" presents a more God-like, loving and logical synopsis of a more tolerant and inclusive theme on salvation, stating regarding other Christian Churches that "Christ's spirit uses these churches . . . as a means of salvation." It further states that other churches formed by the faithful "are quite appropriately called churches in the New Testament." And it states that even those who do not know Christ but who seek God may too "be saved."
Town of Boston
Iraq withdrawal occurs when Bush's term ends
The Bush administration's continued refusal to set a timetable for our troop withdrawal from Iraq lacks credibility. We already have a timetable set, as all the world knows so well. It's the day after Bush leaves office.
Harry N. Konst
Frivolous lawsuits are alive and well
Offering cherry-picked data as evidence, Williamsville trial lawyer Jeffrey E. Marion claimed that lawsuit abuse is only myth in his July 12 piece, "Lawsuit crisis doesn't exist in the United States." But as one-time Buffalo resident Mark Twain pointed out, "There are lies, damn lies and statistics."
Consider these recently filed lawsuits: a New York City attorney has drummed up a class action charging night clubs that offer ladies night promotions with discrimination against men; the family of an Illinois man who got drunk, crashed his motorcycle into a rural cornfield in the middle of the night and called 911 on his cell phone is suing county authorities because they couldn't locate the drunken motorcyclist before he died; and a Michigan woman is suing the makers of Starburst Fruit Chews because, she says, the candies are so chewy they should come with a warning label.
Marion is free to deny that such lawsuits impose significant costs on businesses, taxpayers and consumers. And he's free to deny that the Empire State's reputation for litigiousness is helping drive thousand of jobs and skilled young people out of Western New York. But this commonsense Rochester native and Buffalo State graduate begs to differ.
Director of Communications
American Tort Reform Association