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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Boaters should pay for canal maintenance

The proposed increase in New York State Thruway tolls is due to the authority's administration and maintenance of the Erie Canal. Blaming the increase upon administration and maintenance of the Niagara Thruway is, to phrase it politely, a gross exaggeration. In fact, tolls are a form of taxation. In light of the fact that we are the most highly taxed area in the country, a tax increase that subsidizes the minute percentage of boaters statewide is absurd and unconscionable.

It is blatantly unfair to the vast majority of our state's residents who do not boat on the canal. If a tax is to be levied, boaters utilizing the canal should bear the brunt of it. If they can afford to own and operate a pleasure craft, they can easily spare the change. Career politician and unabashed show-boater State Sen. Dale Volker should be shown the door in the next election. The public can ill afford his tactics any longer.

Additional taxes will do nothing to help our area finally recover from Western New York's tediously plummeting economy. Just the opposite; they will increase the cost of doing business in the state and increase the cost of commuting. In this case, the tax is inequitable and will ultimately prolong our area's economic depression.

Casey J. Ronas



People must demand end to Thruway tolls

I am a native of upstate New York, and have been a citizen of this state for all of my 53 years. I have watched as our political leaders have run our economy into the ground. Heavy industry has become a memory in places like Schenectady, Syracuse and Buffalo. Now I see that the state is strangling itself with more taxes disguised as increased Thruway tolls.

I have watched the game-playing of the state budget since the days of Nelson Rockefeller, and the proposed toll increases show that the game is still being played outside the reach and influence of the voters. I ask now that all citizens demand an end to any tolls on the Thruway. It is time for the good people of New York State to take back the responsibility for the direction of our home.

For too long we have let three men in a room play games with the budget, with our taxes, with our lives and with our economic future. The time to end these games is now. The best way to take back our future from our leaders is to demand they do the right thing -- end the tolls on the Thruway.

Casey E. Callanan



Raising tolls will drive more people out of state

The people of New York State are taxed to death! Indeed that fact does not encourage businesses to come here to provide much-needed revenue. Now tolls will be raised to use the Thruway, except for those who set the tolls and for their employees. Such hypocrisy is prevalent in our government across the state. I heartily object!

People are not only leaving the city, they are leaving the state, which will cause a greater deficit and higher taxes. Perhaps Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan hit on a solution that could be implemented not just in our state, but across the nation.

He said he would like to implement a recall law where if your politicians were not doing their job, we the people would have the right to recall them and terminate them, without an automatic benefit package. This puts the power back in the hands of the people they were meant to protect and serve. What a novel idea! Satish for President? He's got my vote!

Dawn Curazzato



Many toll collectors could be eliminated

The New York State Thruway Authority plans to raise its rates 10 percent, 5 percent and 5 percent over the next three years. Rather than raise rates, there is a simple cost-cutting move it could make.

According to a recent job posting, full-time toll collectors start at $11.78 per hour. Some of these people simply hand a ticket to drivers as they enter the Thruway. These collectors could be replaced with a stone. A pile of tickets could be left at the booth with a stone on top, the passing driver could simply slide out a ticket.

I suppose you could use a machine, but it would have higher initial costs than a rock.

Daniel Genco



McCarthy merits praise for doing thankless job

I was pleased to see the editorial on the false claims made against Commissioner McCarthy Gipson, but let's get one thing straight. When the claims by Cariol Horne's attorney are exposed for what they are -- in my opinion, false claims made for an unethical or even illegal purpose -- there will be no "stain" left on Gipson's outstanding record and no "damage to his credibility." It will be just another battle scar added to the ones he wears proudly every day, just like he wears his uniform, the oath he took for this city and his duty to protect and serve its citizens.

As for the accuser, I believe he will get all the justice he deserves, because I believe in our system of justice. A lawyer must zealously defend his client, but always within the bounds of the law. Society must insist that lawyers and police officers do not exceed the lawful powers with which they are entrusted. Gipson has shown incredible professionalism and restraint in discharging his duty by not commenting or responding to what The News' own investigation has shown to be a bunch of garbage. We should all thank him for doing this often thankless job.

Adam W. Perry, Esq.



Attorney is just trying to divert our attention

Not that the ridiculous statement about Buffalo Police Commissioner McCarthy Gipson even deserves a response, but I will make one for all of the people who believe everything they read. After working with "Mac" in a neighboring police station for many years, I would say that there was not a situation that I wouldn't go into with him. He was, and still is, honorable, trustworthy and a highly regarded police officer. He didn't tolerate drugs on the street then, and he still doesn't.

Gipson is where he is today because he is the top law enforcer, not a law breaker. It is common knowledge that when an accusation like this is made, the attorney for the accused probably doesn't have much of a case and wants to divert our attention. Don't believe everything you read!

Rich Lorenzo

Retired, Buffalo Police Department



McCarthy is honest, upstanding officer

The article regarding Buffalo Police Commissioner McCarthy Gipson was one of the most outrageous things I have ever read in The News. I have known Gipson for more than 35 years. He is by far one of the most honest, caring and dedicated individuals I have ever met. The attorney who made these comments should be ashamed of himself. It doesn't take a genius to see what this attorney is up to. He has no position, so he smears the opposition. I can only hope that the New York State Bar Association is paying attention to his conduct.

Timothy J. Scioli

Retired Buffalo Police Lieutenant

West Seneca


Hillary Clinton would do far better job than Bush

To the writer of "Don't put Clintons back in White House" in the Nov. 11 column: Where have you had your head buried for the last seven years? Do you actually see this country as better off now than when Bill Clinton was in office? I saw a poll that said 76 percent of Americans think President Bush has this country headed in the wrong direction. I often wonder who could be in the approving 24 percent. I guess I've found one.

In spite of the Republican-controlled Congress that impeached him just because it could, Bill Clinton is still the most popular president since John F. Kennedy, and is viewed as a statesman both here and abroad. Hillary would be foolish not to give him the job of mending relationships with our allies, which have been so badly damaged by the current administration.

The writer says Hillary wants to change the political and "normal" American culture, the economy and lessen individual freedom. Who doesn't think the political culture is backward right now? Have you seen the American-Canadian exchange rate lately? Filled your gas tank? Been to the airport? What president has taken away more of our liberties than Bush?

I'm not saying Hillary is the perfect solution. But fixing all that's been messed up by the Bush administration will take a Herculean effort, and I know who I want for the job.

Jim Liberatore



Bush supporter must be living on another planet

I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I would vote for her in a heartbeat against any of the hypocritical Republicans a Nov. 11 letter writer would support. To use the words, "former president who tainted the office with his endless trail of corruption," to describe Clinton, but not Bush, tells me that she must have been living on another planet since 2000. The corruption that has taken place during the Bush presidency has been on such a massive scale that it is unprecedented.

Bill Clinton committed adultery and lied to Congress. His lie, unlike Bush's, did not result in the senseless deaths of thousands of our young men and women, the loss of support from our major allies or the overwhelming increase in hatred for our country from all parts of the world.

I will weep for our country, too, if another Republican is elected. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

Joan Spillman



Business practices could help county

I think it may be time for The News to run an article about what it would actually mean to run county government like a business. Most people simply do not understand what successful programs such as Total Quality Management are. I doubt that Chris Collins intends on farming out services such as the courts, the Sheriff's or Highway departments to China. The idea is to bring all of the people involved in the county: unions, supervisors, elected representatives, etc., together to come up with a plan to solve problems.

TQM is a combination of quality and management tools aimed at increasing productivity and reducing losses due to wasteful practices.

The success of such business practices depends on a commitment from all of the people involved. I think the residents of Erie County have spoken and would like to see some things change. Let's hope that all the workers and politicians have heard us and will work to get things fixed.

David C. Fielding



A vote for Collins was a vote for change

I resent the Republican Party assuming that a vote for Chris Collins was a vote against the Democratic Party and Gov. Eliot Spitzer. This was not an election made for walking party lines, but for the collective hope that Collins is not indebted to anyone, and will use his business sense to return Erie County to fiscal stability and perhaps even to prosperity. Voters continue to exercise their power to change, and if that includes voting up or down a row or two, it's worth it to send the message that we are not tired of Democrats or Republicans, we are just tired.

Rebecca J. Arcese



National Fuel generous with customers' money

After reading the letter about the Billing Service Charge that customers are paying to receive their monthly bills, I came across another article regarding National Fuel. It is now offering rebates of up to $400 if you purchase a high-efficiency natural gas furnace, and up to $150 on qualifying hot water tanks. Isn't that wonderful?

What about the people who have a furnace and water tank that don't need replacing, or the people who are renting? I don't think that would be a problem if the following paragraph was not at the end of the article: "National Fuel has estimated that it will cost about $289,000, or $30 per participant, to administer the $10.8 million conservation program, which will be funded by a new surcharge on customer bills."

Whose bills, the people who bought the new furnaces and water tanks, or every customer? National Fuel's generosity overwhelms me.

Pat Filipski



Penny-ante tactics further inflate bills

I can understand why a writer is peeved with the Billing Service Charge levied by National Fuel Gas for his heating bill. This penny-ante practice is a disgrace by such a large utility company. Our heating bills are high enough. Besides, computers do all the work. I read my own gas meter every other month just to keep them honest. I also read my water meter every three months. But, nice guy that I am, I don't charge them for any of my services.

Anthony W. Pietrowski

West Seneca

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