Sled hockey victory belonged in Sports
Kudos to the USA Paralympic sled hockey team on its 2-0 gold medal victory over Japan. Congratulations to our local players, Alexi Salamone, Adam Page, Mike Blabac and Brad Emmerson. It was nice that The News ran the story in the March 21 paper. But why wasn't this tribute to our great local athletes in the Sports section? I am guessing that the players would rather be known for their athletic success than as a local "feel good story." I got the latter sense reading the article in the City & Region section. Adding to this seeming lack of respect was the line, "Alexi Salamone, 22, a forward and a veteran on the national team, scored the first of Team USA's two goals, according to a statement released by USA Hockey." Why did The News not have a reporter following this story in person or, at least, in a more dedicated fashion?
The overall feeling that one gets from coverage such as that provided by The News and others is that while these athletes deserve some recognition, there is not enough general interest in them to warrant serious coverage. My challenge to The News is: Why don't you provide the serious coverage so that general interest is generated? What an awesome opportunity for Buffalo to become a forerunner in overall sports coverage.
Michael G. Herrmann
Use convention center to feed basketball fans
While we are still enjoying the glow of a successful Buffalo image with the NCAA Basketball Tournament, let's improve on it by using what we've got. Namely, a very large, conveniently located Buffalo Niagara Convention Center that could be set up with booths from area restaurants, local breweries and New York State vineyards. Not only would this feed the masses quickly and expose them to more of what makes Buffalo a great place to be (and eat), but visitors could then use the time not spent waiting in restaurant lines to see some of Buffalo's other sites.
Gail C. Singer
Senate Democrats refuse to pass state spending cap
A recent News editorial recommends that New York enact a spending cap to balance the budget, noting that massive borrowing would only add to the state's massive debt. We have been pushing for a constitutional state spending cap because it would significantly reduce spending and reduce the taxes needed to pay for it. Senate Republicans passed a spending cap constitutional amendment twice, with bipartisan support, when they were in the majority.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats voted against a spending cap when it was proposed as a budget amendment and Assembly Democrats have refused to act on it. Instead of capping spending, Democrats last year voted for a budget that increased spending by $13 billion and they paid for it by raising taxes by $8.5 million. Taxpayers have simply had enough.
If New York had a spending cap in place last year, taxpayers would have saved $6.4 billion in the current budget, and state funds spending in the 2010-11 executive budget would be $800 million less. Those savings would help balance the budget, avert the need for borrowing and get New York's fiscal house in order.
We hope The News will continue to pressure Democrats to join us in enacting a state spending cap.
George Maziarz, Dale Volker, Cathy Young and Mike Ranzenhofer
New York State Senators
Legal maneuvering on jail is outrageous
County Attorney Cheryl A. Green's decision to appeal Judge William Skretny's ruling to let the U.S. Justice Department interview Holding Center inmates is not only "beyond belief," as the Justice Department has put it, it shocks the conscience. As an association of lawyers in this community, we find this legal maneuvering an outrageous and professionally unacceptable response to the tragic loss of life at the Holding Center.
Skretny's order is a carefully reasoned interpretation of the law, which allows the Justice Department to interview inmates about suicide prevention and mental health procedures at the center without the presence of a county attorney. The appeal is frivolous, delays action necessary to prevent further suffering, embarrasses our community and wastes taxpayer cash -- much of which is being funneled to a Washington, D.C., law firm at an astounding rate of $450 an hour.
We also call on the county not to appeal the court's recent decision in favor of the State Commission of Corrections. The county administration's preference for endless litigation over basic improvements is an enormous disservice to taxpayers, not to mention the inmates, who are living under conditions no human being should have to endure.
Chairwoman, Buffalo Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
Why do Regents exams cost taxpayers so much?
Recently articles appeared in The Buffalo News stating that New York State could save $13.7 million by eliminating the high school Regents exams. The article further stated that $1.9 million could be saved if the exams were not given in January and August.
Simple math would infer that the giving of the June Regents exams cost $11.8 million. People have come forth to defend the use of Regents exams. Whether you agree or disagree with the administering of the exams, the question has to be asked: Why does the preparation and administration of the exams cost so much?
If the Regents exams cost so much, how much do the State Assessment Tests, given multiple times during the school year, cost the people of New York State?
Attorney's claim about pedophile is appalling
Here's a quote from 100-year-old pedophile Ted Sypnier's attorney, Karen L. Hensley: "I fail to see how this man is a threat to society." All I can add to that ignorant statement is this: "Let him baby sit your kids."
Our country has embraced social programs for decades
I don't understand some of the logic in this country. First, the ones who are crying about a government takeover of health care only have to look at Medicare and Medicaid. I don't understand why our leaders don't just clean up these two programs and open them up to all the public, requiring those who can pay for all or some to do so. It's like building a new bridge here in Buffalo. There's nothing wrong with what we have.
Also, for those who cry we are becoming a socialized nation -- look at Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and all the donations to charities. We are, and have been for a long time, a social democracy.