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Everybody''s column

Abolish Thruway Authority, all unnecessary positions

Recently in The News, there was an article about a Thruway Authority employee who was fired for operating a public relations business on state time.

The fired employee's title was "assistant public information officer" and he was making $86,442 a year. My question is: Why does the authority need an assistant public information officer? Why does it need a public information officer for him to assist? Why do we need a Thruway Authority? Simply make the Thruway part of the State Department of Transportation and eliminate all the levels of unnecessary positions and inflated salaries.

Also on the same page of The News there was an article about a local police chief, making $115,000 a year, using a town vehicle to drive to his night job. Any government employee making $115,000 can well afford to drive his own car and pay for his own gas when not working for the town.

These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg of abuse and unnecessary expenses for taxpayers. We need to vote out all incumbents in state government and put in office new people who will eliminate waste and run the state like a business. If we get the right people running the state, we won't have to talk about taxing soda pop and closing state parks.

Richard Burzynski

North Tonawanda

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Anchor Bar is original, will always stand alone

After watching the food war competition between Duff's and the Anchor Bar, I have come to the conclusion that it is not about whether the Anchor Bar is the best place to eat chicken wings. It is the original creator of the famous wing. The Anchor Bar has given the world Buffalo Wings, and many visitors from all around come to the Anchor Bar to try the original Buffalo wing. There is not a place anywhere that can say that.

With the creator goes the perfectionist. The perfectionist will take the original to its furthest stretches and then to completion. If you know your jazz, Charlie "the bird" Parker created modern jazz music. Sure, bands like Super Sax have perfected his riffs and arguably sound better, but the bird created it. There are probably a handful of restaurants that arguably make a better wing. That's fine and great for fun and competition, but the creator, the Anchor Bar, will always stand alone.

Billy Carr

Buffalo

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Taxing soda won't help curb childhood obesity

The other day, as I sat at my home computer, I received an e-mail from Gov. David Paterson. It was worded craftily, and asked for my support for the proposed excise tax on high-calorie, sugary soft drinks. Apparently, Paterson wanted my support to tax my hard-earned money (and everyone else's) to prevent childhood and adulthood obesity.

I pondered this so-called noble cause for a moment and it took me back to my 10-year-old's history homework from the other night. This homework involved a review of the causes of the Revolutionary War, which included the Sugar Act passed in 1764. The Sugar Act added a tax on sugar and other goods coming into the 13 colonies. This act and others like it led to the slogan "no taxation without representation" and eventually to the Boston Tea Party.

Since when does New York State think we are all so naive to think that taking our money is going to help childhood obesity? Tell that to the big guy in front of me at the grocery store who opened his pack of cookies before he checked out. What happened to parental responsibility and the words "eat something healthy"? Here is what the modern-day slogan should be for New York: "Shut the Play-Station off, put the Twinkies down and go outside and get some exercise." Of course, mom and dad, this requires you to burn off some calories by turning off the TV and getting off the couch yourself.

Jim Trimboli

Lewiston

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Gaughan simply giving local residents a voice

Reading politicians' criticism of Kevin Gaughan's movement to reform government is like listening to a child being made to eat vegetables. The child swears that nothing but bad will come of it, when the truth is, it will make him healthy.

Politicians swear that dissolving village governments will produce bad results. The truth is that village communities can be strengthened by the resulting tax savings. Besides, attacking Gaughan just because he's trying to let voters decide the matter seems to me anti-democratic.

And what drives Gaughan is just that: giving people a voice. I know this because I was a volunteer captain in Gaughan's downsizing effort last fall. I spent days on end with him as he visited my neighbors and described how we can create more people-friendly government.

The experience made me feel empowered, hopeful and a little fatigued because his energy seems endless. Residents of Williamsville are about to have this same experience. And no matter what they ultimately decide, they'll be a stronger community because of Gaughan's work.

Deborah Frank

Hamburg

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Since when are dentures covered by insurance?

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter made a presentation at the White House summit singing the blues about the hardship of one of her constituents having to wear her late sister's dentures because she had no insurance. It has crossed my mind that dentures and care of the teeth by a dentist have not been covered as part of hospital/medical insurance in the past, and I have not heard that the president's proposed health care reform is to cover those services either. Have I missed something? What then would the hardship of the constituent have to do with the president's health care reform?

Edward J. Schwendler Jr.

Town of Tonawanda

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Planned cuts to schools, programs are puzzling

The probable closing of some schools, libraries, after-school programs and summer programs has me angry and perplexed. As a Depression era school boy, I recall 30-pupil classrooms, summer school, gym and athletic programs, music, sheet metal, woodwork, home economics and sewing classes.

We also enjoyed bus trips to the zoo, museum, historical building, art gallery and Kleinhans Music Hall. This plus the availability of a nurse, an occasional visit by a doctor and speech classes. All of this during a financial crisis much more serious than the present.

Why? Where is the lottery income? Didn't New York State receive stimulus funds? Something is radically out of whack.

John Dacky

Cheektowaga

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