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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Americans should fear government intrusion

Can anyone tell me what is next now that this health care bill is law? What I'm getting at is, now that health insurance is mandated by law for everyone, including young, healthy people who don't want it, is the federal government going to regulate other parts of people's lives? Since young, healthy people are now footing the bill for everyone, is the government going to try to tell people what they can eat and can't eat? Is the government going to ban the use of tobacco altogether, not just in public places? Is the government going to ban high-risk sports or other activities? I mean, where does it end? I'm sure most people reading this would say, "Oh, he's crazy. The government would never do that." Well, before this past weekend, if anyone had ever told me the government was going to force me to buy health insurance, I would have said he was crazy.

And how about areas other than health care? Since the government owns about 60 percent of General Motors, is it going to pass a law that says every family must own at least one vehicle made by GM? Again, sounds crazy, but once the government can make you purchase a product, where does it end? I am scared. And I think every American should be as well.

Kevin Anger

Lewiston

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Law will help improve the health of children

As a young anthropologist, I lived for several years in a remote New Guinea village where 40 percent of children died before the age of 5. This sad statistic has always seemed to me a good measure of the vulnerability of young lives lacking access to modern medical care.

Every year since then, I have watched the statistics from UNICEF on under-5 mortality rates throughout the world. I have watched as every year the United States slid farther behind the rest of the wealthy industrialized countries. We now rank 44th. Yes, that means that more of our kids die than not just the kids in Canada, England, Sweden and Germany but less affluent countries such as Poland, Croatia, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia and Slovenia.

It is difficult for me to understand how improving access to health care for American children makes a representative a "baby killer." Unwillingness to make the access to health care that I enjoy available to all my neighbors is just plain wrong.

Patricia K. Townsend

Amherst

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Reform is meaningless without public option

I keep hearing about polls that say most people are against the current health care reform bill, and I have to agree, because the one thing that most people do want, according to polls I have seen, is a strong public option.

If this is the one thing that most people want, then why is it missing? If people are going to be forced to have health insurance, then the only way to have a chance at fair competition is to have a public option. Without that, this bill is just a gift to the health insurance industry.

Michael Stahl

Cheektowaga

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Congress has abused its powers on legislation

We have just witnessed the "misconstruction or abuse of its powers" by the Congress of the United States. Our founding fathers, in their wisdom, added the Bill of Rights to establish the bounds of Congress. Today I have the right to engage the health care professional of my choosing and compensate him in a mutually agreeable manner. This right is protected by the Ninth and 10th Amendments. There is no interstate commerce involved. States are free to construct health care systems. The federal government is not.

If a president can coerce 216 congressmen to pass anything he wants and imposes it on the states and the people, then he is a king or an emperor and we are no longer protected by the Bill of Rights. We have given up the rule of law for the tyranny of the 51 percent. Let us put the federal government back within its banks. It is well above flood stage.

Dan Malwitz

Orchard Park

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Closing state parks will decrease tourism

Gov. David Paterson has decided that he wants to close our state parks to decrease the New York State budget crisis. But how much will it help the budget crisis?

State parks like Niagara Falls and Allegany bring in people from out of state. Closing state parks would decrease tourism, which in turn means less money from out of state coming in. Also, he would be closing state parks that middle-class families can afford. What are New Yorkers going to do with state parks closed?

Why can't our government officials decrease their own salaries instead of taking away our parks? New Yorkers pay their taxes and it's the job of elected officials to use that money well, and they're not. They aren't doing their job if New York is in this bad of a budget crisis. They shouldn't be getting paid at all. Maybe since the people have learned how to get by with less, it's time for our government to learn the same lesson.

Keep our state parks open; we the people didn't do anything wrong.

Erica Ann Gugliuzza

Derby

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Let volunteers work to keep parks open

The only sanity left after a hectic week of late and canceled flights due to bad weather, oversold hotels, last-minute travel plans that ultimately get canceled, lost luggage, missed connections and unhappy travelers is my escape to Knox Farm. I leave that frantic travel-related world behind each week and enter the serene and perfectly landscaped surroundings of state-owned Knox Farm. It brings me the necessary weekly dose of solitude.

I couldn't help but notice how everyone else who frequents the park has the utmost respect for the environment; not a hint of misuse or litter exists in this beautiful world of farm animals, wild deer, beautiful rolling land and manicured walkways lined with graceful aging trees. Why in the world would they close it without some option to offer the hundreds of people who frequent this park to volunteer their services to keep it open and viable to the public? It's our only hope of escaping an otherwise hectic world. Please don't take Knox Farm from us without offering us a chance to help keep it open.

Kathy Hall-Zientek

East Aurora

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Some can't be trusted on matters of substance

Upon reading Rod Watson's March 18 column, I have just these few thoughts:

If one's idea of "casting a ballot" is to dial a 1-900 number to decide who wins contests such as "American Idol" or "Dancing with the Stars," then he/she ought not to be able to select the next set of leaders in a free society.

If one's idea of "getting information from 'reputable' sources" is listening to the latest eructations from the likes of Kathy Griffin, Perez Hilton or Joy Behar, then his/her voice deserves to be left out of the national conversation.

If one's idea of "keeping up with the latest happenings" is keeping tabs on the latest "reality TV" episodes involving the Kardashians, Tori Spelling and her husband or "Carnie Wilson Unstapled," he/she deserves to be marginalized when it comes to discussing matters of substance.

And lastly, if one's idea of "meaningful benefits" is perpetual access to the pork-barrel dole, then he/she ought not to be trusted with determining who will represent the rest of us come the next term of office.

Lloyd A. Marshall Jr.

Lockport

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Watson paints all with the same brush

After reading Rod Watson's column disparaging opponents of the Democrats' health care bill as unintelligent and not worthy of "universal suffrage," I sit here in astonishment, "tin foil" hat firmly atop my head.

There is breathtaking irony in the notion that a successful black man in 21st century America is using the same abhorrent "smear them all with stupidity" tactic that nearly kept the heralded Tuskegee Airmen out of the fighter cockpit in World War II and successfully kept blacks at the back of the bus and in black-only restrooms in the 1950s South.

Watson's message is clear: If you're on the PC side of the political fence, you're smart -- and if you're not, you're dumb. I'm sure the British felt the same way about the founding fathers. So Mr. Watson, what's your hat size?

Kenneth R. Zolnowski

Cheektowaga

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Deputies shouldn't get lineup pay on vacation

After reading a few recent letters to the editor regarding deputies deserving roll call pay for the extra 15 minutes they put in each day, I felt I had to respond. Perhaps it is me, but I think the point has been missed.

If I recall The News article about this subject, the real issue wasn't the roll call pay a certain officer was receiving each day when he did in fact show up. More importantly the point -- and therefore our reason for concern -- is that this officer was also receiving the 15 minutes of roll call pay each day when he was on vacation! That's right. He also received pay for not showing up for roll call. And what should really upset every taxpayer is that this practice was challenged and upheld.

And we wonder why New York State is in financial trouble. How could anyone defend that practice?

Bill McCarthy

West Seneca

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Nobody is being forced to attend sports events

In a recent letter, "Deputies deserve pay for showing up early," the writer mentions about people paying high prices for sporting events, parking fees and food items. But at the same time, these people have a choice to go to these events. In a situation in which deputies are receiving lineup pay for coming in early, it's the taxpayers who are getting hit with the bill. It would be nice if all of us got extra pay on our jobs for coming in early.

Sam Giarrantano

Buffalo

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Work together to solve state's budget shortfall

For some time, Gov. David Paterson has been warning of the consequences of not facing our state budget shortfall. Both political parties have, in their own ways, turned their heads, so to speak, and offered no help. I believe the reasoning behind this is that both Democrats and Republicans do not want to rock the boat by coming up with needed actions that would not please the voting public.

I noted in the March 23 News an article that said 14,800 teachers across the state could be laid off if Paterson's $1.3 billion cut in school aid is enacted. Politicians all over New York State should get their hands out their pockets and offer the governor some assistance.
Harold Meyers
Williamsville

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