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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Taxpayers cannot have it both ways

People can't have it both ways. Taxpayers clamor for smaller government, less spending and lower taxes, yet whenever a politician (on any level) proposes to cut spending or reduce government services, those who are affected protest.

Case in point, Chris Collins was elected Erie County executive on a promise to cut spending and downsize government; thereby lowering taxes. He closed two county-run health clinics, leaving ECMC and Sheehan Memorial hospitals to serve these very same clients. Instead of being applauded for eliminating a duplication of services and saving money, he is chastised for being unfair to the poor.

Same idea with the libraries. No branches were closed. Some hours were cut and some public employees were let go; nothing draconian to me about this. It happens in the private sector all the time, but again people were outraged. The same scenario occurred with the culturals. The 10 largest and most used maintained funding, dozens of smaller associations were left out and that's unfortunate. However, there is a limit to what government can afford to subsidize and we have to start somewhere.

The government simply spends too much and provides too many subsidies and services. People and organizations have to do a better job of taking care of themselves. This country was founded on the principles of freedom, opportunity and self-reliance. I feel too many people have forgotten this concept and expect way too much from the government.

Keith Clauss

Boston

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Put cell phones away during performances

Last fall, we attended opening night of the Pops at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. We had the unfortunate experience to sit behind a woman who flicked her long tresses all over our friend's trousers all the while texting on her blackberry. Because it was a full house, we were unable to change our seats and so had to put up with her for the whole evening.

On Dec. 5, we attended the Amherst Symphony Orchestra and, lo and behold, we seated ourselves only to find another woman with a cell phone texting away. Only this time we were lucky enough to be able to move at intermission. But guess what, we had another couple in front of us who passed their cell phone back and forth.

Needless to say, I think it is time for all cell phone manufacturers to put a warning on the phone so that when you open it, it tells you the appropriate times to use same. I certainly cannot be the only one who is annoyed by rude users. Please go to the lobby or stay at home so you don't spoil the evening for all the people around you.

Marilyn Koukal

Tonawanda

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SPCA doing great job with neglected horses

I have been involved with horses for 55 years. On March 18, our farm shipped two loads of horses for the SPCA from Beth Hoskins' farm. The conditions were deplorable.

There were 19 stallions rescued. Under ideal conditions, a single stallion is difficult to handle. Providing care for horses who had clearly been neglected, underfed and untrained, combined with securing, staff, stabling and veterinary and blacksmith care, was a daunting task. Unhandled horses are a danger to themselves and the handlers. The SPCA staff and volunteers have done an amazing, competent job under great pressure and scrutiny.

I was in court on Nov. 29 when the attorneys and judge compared the price of board at local stables with the SPCA bond request. Accurate comparisons are not possible, because most stables will not take a single stallion. I am unaware of a local barn that provides 24-hour security.

We fostered five horses. The first two had clearly never been handled and they ate twice the hay and drank three times the water as did our horses. It was obvious none of the five had been out of their stalls. As the months wore on, the horses relaxed and returned to health.

What has been lost in the brouhaha is the welfare of 73 horses and 53 cats. People who love animals should be appalled at our court system and the length of time this has dragged on. The SPCA has been dealing with the horses and the court obligations. It has spent valuable time and resources defending its actions. What it has done over the past eight months is remarkable. I commend The News for its informed articles and excellent editorial.

Ann Jewett

East Aurora

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Hoyt's unfounded criticism is the last thing city needs

After reading the Dec. 12 News article, "Hockey tournament concerns lawmaker," I feel Assemblyman Sam Hoyt's criticism of the World Junior Hockey Championship is unfounded. Hoyt was quoted as saying, "There's a lot of ball dropping going on," yet he cites no instances of that happening. He is also quoted as saying, "This is, in my opinion, a crisis in the making." What makes him think that there is a crisis in the making? The logistical problems that were experienced with the 2000 NCAA Basketball Tournament had nothing to do with the hosts or the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Those problems seem to have been resolved nicely for the 2003 NCAA Frozen Four Hockey Tournament.

After listing several perceived problems, Hoyt offers no solution to those "problems." I, along with many others, have volunteered to work at the championship to welcome visitors and help them enjoy our city and all it has to offer. This area gets enough bad press from poorly informed out-of-towners. We certainly don't need it from poorly informed elected officials and the local press.

Paul D. Murphy

Buffalo

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Be careful when leaving items close to the curb

There have been many debates about who is entitled to take the garbage or items left at the end of a driveway or out by the curb. While many good points have been brought up, one point hasn't been. Is the item by the curb actually garbage, and how close does an item have to be by the road to be considered garbage?

A case in point, someone I know stopped because there was a lawnmower sitting by some trash cans near the road one afternoon. He almost had the mower in the car before the owner, who had run out of gas and went to get the gas can, stopped him. The owner almost lost a brand new mower. I just lost a $100 wagon that I use to bring my garbage cans out to the road when they're too heavy. So my plea is to all the folks who garbage pick, please make sure what your taking is actual garbage. If it's not, it's theft.

Gail Ciminelli

West Seneca

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Consumers take another hit

Once again the consumer gets zapped by the oil companies right at the peak of the holiday season. They profit once again at the expense of the consumer and we get a lump of coal.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

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