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Everybody's column

People need to monitor how much they spend

I am getting tired of reading and seeing on TV how the banks are ripping off customers. I work for a bank and deal with these people every single day. After looking through their accounts to see what has happened, I come across one single issue with every single customer. They do not keep track of their purchases with a check registry.

It is your responsibility to keep track of how much money you have and where you spend it. Very few customers actually overdraft their accounts but the few who do, and do it repeatedly, are going to cause problems for every other good customer. If the banks have to reform the fees they charge to people who abuse their account, then every customer is going to have to pay a monthly fee just to be able to bank. But since we seem to live in an entitlement society, I guess I should not be surprised. Stop blaming the bank because you are too lazy to write down what money you spend.

Richard Krywalski



Judicial system offers far too many plea deals

On Sept. 23, The Buffalo News reported two more "plea deals possible for impaired drivers," both of whom took lives. Again our judicial system is working to grant impaired drivers the opportunity to repeat their offense, increasing the chance of injury and death for more of the innocent. While police risk their own lives to bring murderers, rapists, drunken drivers and violent bullies to justice, a court system -- sympathetic only to perpetrators -- reduces their charges.

Where is justice for the victims? Who hears their pleas? Where do they and their families find mercy? Twice victimized -- first by criminal and then by court -- the victim's death cry remains unanswered, the abused child's terror uncomforted and the tortured animal's whimpers ignored.

Renee and David Knight



Why must we pay more for conserving energy?

So, here we are, a retired couple, trying to break even in a recession. We upgraded appliances to energy-saving models, replaced incandescent bulbs with CFLs, reduced use of lights and appliances, all in the quest for energy conservation and reasonable utility costs. This effort has been partially reflected in our monthly electric bill.

When our bill is estimated, the computer still thinks we have that old upright freezer that ran for 10 hours a day and we pay 13 to 15 cents per KWH. When our bill is actually read, the computer says, "Were you away all month? You didn't use much." We are then charged 22 to 25 cents per KWH for this reduced usage. If this is the benefit of energy conservation, I missed something in school. Now, bam, NYSEG needs to raise rates by 18 percent.

Thousands of us have listened to the exhortations of politicians and "experts" and followed NYSEG's guidelines for energy savings. Where is the evidence that the utility monopolies have done the same? We never were executives at big companies or had corner offices so we don't get the "performance" bonuses they are guaranteed. Maybe if we had, we could afford to make political donations to various legislators so that our needs would receive a friendlier reception. Is it any wonder that we feel abused and ignored by the people elected to defend us? It's time for more of us to speak out.

George J. Denecke



A few bad apples taint ACORN's good work

As a progressive, I am embarrassed and saddened by recent revelations concerning the apparent practices of some of the workers of the community outreach group ACORN.

In the past 40 years or so, millions of people have been helped by hundreds of thousands of ACORN members. It is a shame that the good work done by this organization -- as advocates for the disenfranchised to access voter registration, neighborhood safety programs, health care, education and public services -- has now been jeopardized because a handful of its members think that their worthwhile mission allows them to use even unethical means to achieve it.

This is the same attitude -- though on a much lower scale -- as that employed by people who employ deceit, torture, terrorism and war in the service of political or religious convictions. Any cause is cheapened, diluted and compromised when its advocates justify the use of unethical means to achieve their ends.

John Nelson



Poloncarz has done good job for taxpayers

It has become abundantly clear that through his open antagonism and name-calling and his personal support of a Republican challenger, Erie County Executive Christopher Collins is out to get rid of County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. My question is why?

In my view, Poloncarz has been a very effective and independent taxpayer watchdog, looking out for our interests in County Hall. Looking at his Web site, I see more than 30 audits, investigations of waste, fraud and abuse, multiple credit rating upgrades and new ideas and initiatives that save the taxpayers money, such as Poloncarz's report on stopping Medicaid fraud.

After a lack of warnings by the prior Republican county comptroller before the county's 2004-2005 fiscal meltdown, I believe the county needs an aggressive watchdog.

Michael J. Lukasik



New Yorkers should choose gubernatorial candidates

Since when do New Yorkers appreciate our commander in chief, President Obama, visiting our state and humiliating our governor in public because he wants to run for another term? And ditto for some of our state leaders. Aren't we in America, where anyone has the right to run for a political position? Don't we relish a primary battle where all candidates' views are thoroughly aired in public? Mr. Obama, let the people of New York State decide our own gubernatorial candidates.

Janet Pope Schumer



Will huge store make East Aurora 'special'?

I can't wait to see the "kiosk" and garden they're going to erect at Main and Grove streets in East Aurora. The now demolished '50s-era A-frame building was exactly the type of creativity Elbert Hubbard would espouse. If East Aurora really wants to be "special," as the big thinkers want, it would scale back the huge CVS going up right on Main Street a couple blocks down. That huge lot could have been shared with several wonderful info kiosks.

George Kunz


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