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Everybody's Column

>Miller-Williams pads pension at our expense

As a retired Teamster, I would have readily accepted the opportunity to pad my pension by increasing my overtime the last three years of my employment. But, even if it were possible, that benefit would be based on the health of the pension fund, and not at the expense of taxpayers.

A March 11 News article addresses the pension of Barbara Miller-Williams with good reason. It's a reminder that some public employees may pad their pensions by increasing overtime. The $14,000 increase in this Buffalo police officer's pension is a prime example.

Taxpayers' pockets are only so deep, and the fact that most in the private sector don't belong to a union makes it even easier to understand their outrage. Even a staunch union supporter knows when it's necessary to make concessions, in both pay and benefits, to guarantee the survival of an employer.

Of just as much concern is Miller-Williams' $52,500 salary for what she contends is a part-time position as chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature. Does her work week of 15 to 20 hours, while working 60 hours a week as a police officer, justify that salary? When a New York State assemblyman or senator earns $79,500 for what, I'm sure, is a full-time job, I hardly think so.

Will she put more time into her legislative duties once she retires as a police officer? Probably not. That would totally defeat her argument, even if it means truly earning her pay.

Ken Gierke
North Tonawanda


>Let's expand walkway along the Niagara River

Buffalo should build a Niagara River boardwalk, starting at Broderick Park and projecting into Lake Erie. The boardwalk would straddle the breakwater separating the Niagara River and the canal.

The boardwalk could satisfy all kinds of tastes -- fishermen, joggers, bird watchers, etc. The boardwalk could also serve as a place to watch the West Side Rowing Club regattas, thus reviving more interest in this international sport.

This would be a financial boon to the West Side and many neighborhoods in the city. The boardwalk could become just as famous as the Atlantic City boardwalk and Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls at one end of the river and the Niagara River boardwalk at the mouth of the Niagara River. Just imagine literally walking on top of the mighty Niagara.

This one singular endeavor would have more beneficial spin-offs too numerous to list. The real estate values in this area would rise. Building motels would be encouraged along with restaurants, thus increasing our tax revenues. The Niagara River boardwalk could handle 100,000 or more sightseers per week to start. This could inject $1 million or more per week in monies being spent in the area and surrounding business.

Charles L. Griffasi


>White House could use security like stars had

Perhaps the security crew that kept the four gate crashers out of this year's Academy Awards ceremony should contact the new White House social secretary and offer to provide security at President Obama's next state dinner.

The Salahis might not have enjoyed their "celebrity" quite as much with their hands in the cuffs they so richly deserved.

John Smith


>Hamburg intersection is ill-suited for roundabout

A recent letter regarding the proposed roundabout on South Park Avenue at Big Tree Road in the Town of Hamburg missed some key points.

Although roundabouts have been proven to improve safety and traffic congestion, not all roundabouts are created equal. Roundabouts in lower-speed, less-traffic areas can be successful at limiting accidents and improving traffic flow, such as those located in the Village of Hamburg. However, the intersection in question has a posted speed limit of 45 mph coming from all directions and is a major thoroughfare, especially during Buffalo Bills games and the Erie County Fair, making it an unwise location for a roundabout.

Another major consideration for those who know the Town of Hamburg is how the New York State Department of Transportation has stated that it has insufficient funds to improve the unsafe traffic pattern at the Camp Road Thruway entrance/exit ramps, yet it is willing to spend $2 million on an intersection with far fewer accidents.

Finally, the DOT held a well-attended informational meeting regarding this proposal for Hamburg residents in which the vast majority of those in attendance voiced their opposition to this plan.

Quite simply, this is another glaring example of New York State government spending taxpayer money inefficiently, while completely disregarding the will of those very same taxpayers.

Bryan Wittmeyer
Town of Hamburg


>Politicians don't want change Paterson seeks

Gov. David Paterson is not popular simply because he is fighting an uphill battle to save the state from insolvency. Every place he turns in an effort to cut costs, he is met with a barrage of protesters who don't want their way of life changed in any way. Well, wake up people. It's going to change if the state goes bankrupt. Something's got to give somewhere.

The powers that be succeeded in making sure the governor does not run for re-election. He has been chased down and steam-rolled by the great political machine that wants to keep "business as usual." And it's a travesty that these people would drum him out of office in disgrace over trumped-up charges. At least let the poor man finish his term with dignity. It's enough to make a Democrat turn Republican.

To Paterson I say: You fought a good battle and you had the right ideas. But you can't fight City Hall. The opinions of the people obviously do not count.

I hate politics. It will bury this great country of ours. Will we ever have a government "of the people, by the people and for the people?"

Donna M. Batton
West Seneca


>County has a surplus, so let's fix some roads

I was shocked to see that Erie County has such a large surplus this year. I have a few words for County Executive Chris Collins: Fix the roads!

Maybe he should come out to the Southtowns once in a while to see the poor condition the roads are in around this area. Take a ride over Eden-Evans Center Road or Church Street in Eden -- but you better make sure your life insurance is paid up, because you are taking your life in your hands driving on these roads.

Sharon Baur

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