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Everybody's column

Sheriff's lineup pay is an abuse of system

The March 4 News article about lineup pay is yet another blatant example of the government feeding trough gone wild. According to the article, taxpayers are paying sheriff's deputies and administrators, in addition to their regular wages and benefits, "overtime" pay to attend daily "briefings by higher ups."

If these briefings are so important, why is there a need for an incentive of overtime pay just to show up? Why can't these briefings simply be incorporated into a regular shift by starting each shift with the briefing? For example, if a shift starts at 8 a.m., why not run the briefing from 8 to 8:15 a.m.? Why not put the substance of the briefing in memo form and hand it out to each deputy at the beginning of his shift?

As for the non-unionized administrative personnel who are collecting lineup pay, shouldn't attendance at these briefings be included in their regular salaried duties? The addition of lineup pay increases salaries, driving up pension costs thereby exponentially increasing future costs to taxpayers. As for sheriff's personnel vacation pay reflecting lineup pay for briefings they don't even attend, that is unbelievable. Folks, have we collectively lost our minds? New York is "bleeding out." We have got to be smarter than this.

Doug Trumpler

Elma

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Apprenticeships create a qualified work force

Recently, attacks have been made on the Wicks Law and the worthiness of apprenticeships. Call me crazy, but isn't this the same type of thinking that the big airlines have with respect to their regional carriers?

In recent events, we have become aware of the major airlines' practices of putting severely undertrained personnel at the helm of aircraft on their regional routes. Unfortunately, we have all witnessed locally the results of inexperience and lack of training -- tragedy and loss of life.

Some may consider this a stretch, but do we really want to take the same approach with major construction projects? Some would have us believe very little or no training is required when it comes to construction. Apprenticeships have a proven track record of creating and providing skilled, qualified personnel.

In return, the community receives projects completed safely, competently and on time, with a well-trained local work force. Additionally, apprenticeships provide opportunity for all minorities to gain a skill, which is not just a job but a lifelong career. Where is the loss?

James F. Devany IV

West Seneca

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Let's work to beautify foot of Ontario Street

There is another waterfront within the Buffalo city limits that has some of the best views in Western New York, which include Canada, three islands and a variety of wildlife including bald eagles. It also has some of, if not the best, summer sunsets in all of Western New York.

The problem, as with the other waterfronts, is that it has been neglected for decades. I am referring to the foot of Ontario Street in the Riverside section. Several residents have gotten fed up with the neglect and for the past few years have come up with a beautiful and functional design for this area. They have gone as far as having a professional presentation done, which can be seen at BlackRockCanalpark.com.

So far they have gotten enough state funds to have a feasibility study done, which should be completed this spring. The problem is they cannot get enough funding to complete this project, even though it would cost only 10 percent to 15 percent of the downtown project. This project would help revitalize the area and bring people and business (money) into the city.

Our waterfronts need to be improved and this is a excellent design. Our politicians and powers that be need to wake up and find the proper funding for this project. Check it out and if you agree please speak out, loudly.

Larry Weatherbee

Buffalo

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Party bosses focused strictly on winning

Question: Should a chosen few within a political party decide who runs for governor under its banner, eliminating the possibility of rank-and-file members participating in the process? It seems the answer is yes. Lately, it appears the primary criteria for a party's support is not whether the individual has the best interest of the state and a willingness to work with his peers to get things done, but: Will he walk the party line? Can he win? Can we meet the party's needs and save money at the same time?

It may be easy to agree with the powers that be in the recent case. However, the next time the potential candidate could have your strong support, perhaps being more a statesman than a politician. Be aware, you may find you are unable to have your voice heard via your primary unless: Your candidate blindly walks the party line, refusing to consider any compromise with the "enemy." The party bosses feel he has the best chance of winning, even if he is not the best choice. And the party bosses agree a primary is cost effective. Don't tell me it couldn't happen. It just did.

Marcia A. Brierley

West Seneca

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Perot's predictions were right on target

The Democrats, Republicans and media have all decided to gang up on Tea Party people and do all they can to discredit these people. Why is it unpatriotic to care about our county or worry over what this country will be like for our children or grandchildren?

In 1992 a feisty little man was also labeled a nut case by the media and political parties. They refuted his claims and laughed at his prediction of a giant sucking sound after free trade legislation came to be law. Well, America, look who's laughing now. Most if not all of Ross Perot's predictions came true. We are now a debtor nation, unable to produce anything but hamburgers and buildings that sell Chinese products.

Wake up, America. The Tea Party is not a threat to the United States. The Democratic and Republican parties are, and it is past time we stopped them.

Harvey Schwartzmeyer

North Collins

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Spending $1.8 million on apartments is foolish

Having been born and raised on Buffalo's West Side, and as a resident and property owner on the West Side, I strongly support efforts to revitalize Massachusetts Avenue. However, as a taxpayer, it doesn't make economic sense to me to invest $1.8 million into three vacant buildings to create 11 apartments. At a price tag of more than $160,000 per unit, and with rents of $375 to $525 per month, this investment is absurd. At a time when New York State is facing a historic budget deficit, it can ill afford this extravagance. What am I missing here?

Carole Bellanca

Buffalo

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