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Everybody's Column

>Brown is an intelligent and thoughtful mayor

Carl Paladino's Sept. 10 Another Voice combines what communication expert Vance Packard called glittering generalities -- "show the parasitical political class that we are lions and we won't be led by lambs" -- and vitriol -- "so Brown can be prepped so he won't embarrass himself trying to understand."

As a city, county and state official, Mayor Byron Brown has demonstrated considerable intelligence and thoughtfulness. For Paladino to label him "that empty-suit Byron" comes up short on analysis -- unless we want to include Paladino's unacknowledged loan from an often run TV commercial depicting a psychoanalyst instructing her client that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over . . . expecting a different result." Please!

Our so-called "dysfunctional school system" is anything but. It surely does not "doom" kindergartners "to life in a gang." Let's get real.

Yes, governments do have fiscal powers, namely, taxing and spending. How about trying on an introductory American government textbook for size?

Logical connections seem to escape Paladino altogether. Perhaps taking an introduction to logic class will help? Then again, maybe not.

Sarah Slavin
Buffalo

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>Why must greedy banks target the vulnerable?

It is so infuriating how big businesses target the vulnerable. My daughter recently opened a bank account at a local branch. She works at a neighborhood grocery store, which conveniently has a branch within. She was given a nifty radio/cooler combo and a debit card, and advised that if she tried to withdraw funds that weren't available, the transaction wouldn't take place.

Well, misinformation can be costly, to the tune of $39 per transaction. And the hits kept hitting, so we called customer service to see what could be done. We were told the account could be closed by depositing $59.09 by the end of the week. A few days later we went to the branch to square up, only to find that the fees owed now were $371.09. I asked for a manager, and while she felt my pain, nothing could be done.

I grudgingly brought my daughter's account to a close because further fees were pending. I asked if the bank had ever considered shaking kids upside down by their ankles as a quick, easy way to get cash.

Oh well, at least we have that pretty green cooler/radio. A tangible reminder that misinformation can be costly.

Patsy Higgins
Buffalo

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>Require lobbyists to report their political contributions

I am writing in response to the Sept. 14 editorial about the failure of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples to file campaign finance reports. A legislative proposal from the State Commission on Public Integrity may be helpful.

Our staff has proposed amending the State Legislative Law to require that political contributions made by registered lobbyists and their clients be reported on the respective bimonthly and semi-annual reports that they file with this commission. If this proposal becomes law, it would mean that even if the candidates or elected legislators do not report the contributions to the Board of Elections, at least the lobbyists and their clients who made contributions would have to report those political contributions to us. These reports then would be available online, and could be compared to the filings made to the Board of Elections.

Transparency would be greatly enhanced by requiring such disclosure. After all, the most common and effective tool that lobbyists and clients have to secure access to elected officials is to contribute to an election effort. This amendment would create a clearer picture of influence and access to public officials and provide a means of coordinating disclosure information between the Board of Elections and the Commission on Public Integrity.

Walter C. Ayres
Director of Communications
Commission on Public Integrity
Albany

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>View honest salesperson as an ally, not an enemy

The Sept. 14 article "Buyers, beware" portrayed salespeople in a negative light. I feel I must make a stand for the profession. An honest salesperson should never be looked upon as an enemy, but rather as an ally.

Samantha Christmann said to never give personal information to salespeople because we use it to "personalize the pitch." Why wouldn't a professional personalize each consultation? Are your needs and desires the same as the next person? Absolutely not. It is my responsibility to ask my customers questions to help better find a product that will meet their expectations.

Is it so wrong that I may offer a product that may be higher priced but will better suit a person's needs before I write up the sale for something that I know, in all honestly, won't meet their expectations?

It would seem from the article that professional salespeople are in a no-win situation. If we show you a product that happens to be out of your budget, then we are just trying to up-sell you. If we sell you something that doesn't last, then we get the blame for that, too.

I agree that customers should educate themselves, because in the end it is they, not any salesperson, who decides where and how much of their money is spent.

Mack McKinney
General Manager, Carpet Castle
West Seneca

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>Why did Democrats reject amendments to health bill?

In his remarks to the joint session of Congress, President Obama stated that the current Democratic health care reform bill will not cover illegal aliens or the funding of abortions. Why then has the Democratic majority voted down efforts by the Republicans to add amendments to the bill that would specifically ban such action? I believe Rep. Joe Wilson was right.

Michael Beyer
Orchard Park

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>Buffalo Zoo should release its elephants to a sanctuary

A letter recently appeared in Everybody's Column questioning the lack of public outrage over Buki, the ailing elephant at the Buffalo Zoo. I am outraged! I am outraged at the fact that these animals have the opportunity to be released to the Elephant Sanctuary, a glorious place for elephants. Zoo President Donna Fernandes refuses to give them their freedom and they continue to languish in an antiquated zoo that cannot meet their mental and physical needs.

The writer is correct when she states that it is probably too late for poor Buki, who suffered all of her 52 years, but there is hope for Jothi and Surapa. Please, Buffalo, let's send them to paradise.

Jennifer Radecki
East Amherst