We must develop renewable energy
With a stronger focus on renewable energy by both the government and society in general, a paper by the Nature Conservancy warns that "energy sprawl" may be a result. As panic grows (and, rightly so) in concert with the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, alternative energy seems to be our only way out.
Many people know -- and don't know -- energy production requires resources; specifically, land. To compare, coal and other typical means of energy production requires anywhere from eight to 35 times less land to produce the same amount of energy as cleaner methods (corn or wind). The difference in required land is harrowing.
The insurmountable evidence points clearly in the direction of a new approach toward energy; however, to plant a crop of corn the size of Kentucky in order to achieve a set goal of ethanol production is absurd. Alternative and renewable energy sources must be developed through a case-by-case basis until a more feasible solution is found.
The real difficulty lies in a massive societal change in the habits associated with energy consumption. A recent poll by Reuters discovered that most people would refuse to alter their lifestyle in order to become more environmentally responsible. It seems that we're in a catch-22. Either way, some things will have to change.
Lobbyists have more influence than czars
It seems like some of our elected representatives are concerned about the influence wielded by presidentially appointed "czars." Their concern is that these unelected officials have the attention of the president and thus will be in the position to influence policy decisions.
I wish these same members of the House and Senate were just as concerned about the army of lobbyists, armed with practically unlimited amounts of cash, who freely roam the halls of the Senate and House. I suspect the lobbyists have far more influence on the laws passed then any of the czars.
Charters are working, so don't impose limits
A recent letter, "Impose a moratorium on local charter schools," encourages further research before allowing more charter schools to exist in our community. The author cites a study that selectively includes statistics that have no relevance to a local charter school discussion. Only 16 states are reviewed in the study, yet 40 states have laws that allow for the existence of charter schools. New York State is left out of this study.
What the author also fails to note is that this same study shows that academic success for charter school students is affected by individual state policies. States that limit the number of charter schools, have fewer authorizers and do not allow for the appeal of previously denied charter school applications show lower academic performance.
Fortunately for Buffalo, New York State has one of the strongest charter school laws in the country. Every charter school in New York outperforms its host district. Charter schools are working. Imposing a moratorium is short-sided thinking.
Let's work with president to solve nation's problems
President Obama is facing an enormous amount of criticism despite, or perhaps because of, his efforts to take on the toughest challenges.
Obama is working to end two wars that were all too easy to begin without any rational justification. His initiatives have helped turn around the worldwide economic meltdown. And he has been courageous enough to take on the politically perilous issue of health care reform. He is undertaking these challenges not because it will benefit him, but because it is the right thing to do.
I know that as Americans we believe it is not only a right but an obligation to criticize the government. But much recent criticism is deliberate interference meant to avoid rather than solve problems. Such obstruction is hindering the president's efforts to solve our nation's biggest challenges and restore the stature of the United States as the greatest county in the world.
Rebecca R. Wightman
U.S. side of the falls offers natural beauty
I am sick of letters like the recent one proclaiming the Canadian side of Niagara Falls as much better looking than the American side. A big, beautiful state park surrounds the falls on the American side, while the falls on the Canadian side is surrounded by buildings and towers and wax museum type attractions. This is beauty?
Gary D. Beidler
What has Stachowski done for his district?
Steven G. Hyde and the Genesee County Economic Development Center recently praised Sen. Bill Stachowski for delivering a $1 million grant that will create 9,300 jobs. Since this is not his district, how about a look at all those jobs he's created for the City of Buffalo and his entire district over the 25 years he's been in office? Still looking? So are Western New York and the district he represents.
Sen. Mary Lou Rath and Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer pushed to get this grant, with Stachowski riding their coattails and getting a photo-op. Let's heap praise on a "puppet politician" who voted to increase spending three times the rate of inflation, increased state fees and supports increased taxes on utilities, while he hands out large raises to his staff.
He spoke and voted as ordered by Malcolm Smith with total disregard to his district and Western New York as a whole. Now he'll be a puppet for Pedro Espada. Stachowski has no will to stand up to the New York City-led leadership in the Senate, nor does he even feel the need to. He's a party "yes man" who will buy your vote with member item money.
New system isn't needed; extend Medicare to all
One of my favorite politicians, former Sen. George McGovern, sensibly suggested that we just expand Medicare to include more people. Medicare works well, is cost-effective and would not require huge start-up administrative costs. My idea is to expand Medicare to people 60 and over in 2010, then to those 55 and over in 2011, etc., until everyone is covered in about 10 or more years.
Ginger B. Maiman