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Everybody's Column

Working class did not create economic mess

America was founded upon the principles that all citizens are afforded the opportunity and commensurate rewards for their hard work, learned skills, educational degrees and a commitment to an honorable and productive lifestyle. These working-class individuals, the backbone of a just and equitable society, have been targeted as being greedy and self-serving.

I cringe when skewed values, specious arguments and voodoo economics are offered to cure the ills of this great country. Most often the targets are working-class individuals. This segment of society does not have millions to influence politicians and legislation. These Americans do not aspire to political power so they might have "sweetheart deals" or "no-show jobs." They did not craft the economic policy that has created tragic fiscal consequences at all levels of government, and they did not fabricate the specious foreign policies that have cost dearly in our blood and treasure.

Is this the group that is now gorging us with exorbitant fuel costs? Do these working-class people avoid paying taxes by establishing off-shore banking accounts? Did they bring the banking industry to the brink of disaster, create the mortgage crisis, engage in insider trading, receive exorbitant bonuses for failed corporate leadership, destroy the manufacturing base by shipping jobs overseas and ignore environmental warning of ecological disaster? Business can say what it wants about the ills of this country. It should look no further than itself for the trouble its actions have wrought.

Stephen J. Muscarella

President, Buffalo Chapter

Public Employees Federation Retirees

East Amherst

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Don't gouge hockey fans with huge parking fees

Shame on any of the parking lot vendors who are guilty of price gouging during the World Junior Hockey Championship games. When is enough enough? Wouldn't $10 or $15 per car be sufficient for these vendors? Who would be parking in those lots in the evening if it weren't for the fans going to the hockey games?

The businessmen involved in this price gouging, in my opinion, gave the City of Good Neighbors a black eye. Aren't we trying to encourage people to come to Buffalo, and then when they get here make them want to come back again? If they don't come back, I don't think we can't blame it on the weather.

Maureen Andrews

Angola

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Time spent in Buffalo has been wonderful

I am writing to present a counterpoint to those who have recently criticized what Buffalo has to offer. My wife and I are visiting from Alberta, Canada, for the Junior Hockey Championships, and prior to coming had heard a number of stories about how boring Buffalo was. Since arriving, we have totally changed our opinion of the city for the better.

We are staying in a B&B in the Elmwood area, and the people we meet and the service provided is second to none. Yesterday we were walking to the bus, and George pulled over in his car offering us a ride all the way to the arena -- a tremendous gesture from a Buffalonian we had never met before. At the HSBC Arena, we were looking for Canada hats that were sold out, and the gentleman at the sales desk managed to track some down and hold them for us. Also at the arena, we have met the most amazing people, both those attending the games and the people working at the various venues.

Everywhere we have gone we have run into people who are friendly, engaging and wanting to make our trip here an enjoyable one. Combine all of this with a local history and architecture that is incredible (unfortunately we will not have enough time to fully explore it), and you have a fantastic city. What makes a place first and foremost is the people, and anyone who finds Buffalo boring is choosing to miss a real opportunity to experience this city and the people here. Buffalonians have a city to be proud of.

Peter Read

Fort McMurray, Alberta

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City of Good Neighbors leaves a bad impression

I was taken aback and disgusted by the price charged to park for the Canada versus Czech Republic game on Tuesday at HSBC Arena. It is crazy to gouge all those who want to come to the game. It is not like they have a great choice to park anywhere. The promoters of these games should be disgusted as well. The majority of fans coming to these games are Canadian. If it was not for their passion for hockey, Buffalo would surely be a poor representative for this competition. The proof is when USA played against Finland. The arena wasn't even three-quarters full and to top it off, a majority attending were wearing Canada's colors! Is this how we should be showing off the City of Good Neighbors to the world?

Right after the Canadian win on Tuesday, the parking prices were dropped back to the $5 to $20 range. My recommendation to Pay 2 Park would be to let everyone coming in to the next Canadian game with Ontario plates park for free. Let us show the world that we indeed are the City of Good Neighbors by making a wrong right.

Ray Glanowski

Depew

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Just take a look around, there's plenty to do here

So, Team USA player Emerson Etem tweeted that there is nothing to do in Buffalo? Wait a second, I didn't know Willis McGahee also played hockey! Sorry, Etem, but the amount of things one finds to do in Buffalo is usually a good indicator of one's depth perception in life. Open your eyes a little wider, amigo. Buffalo is a good city -- and it is coming back strong. You've just got to be willing to look a little deeper than you are probably used to.

Joshua R. Ketry

Buffalo

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Hamburg Town Board errs on Collins' censure

I am a longtime Hamburg Republican, having served as a committeeman and county legislator. I am appalled by the actions of my fellow Republicans in their vote to censure Councilman Joe Collins. Anyone who knows Collins knows that he is an outstanding lawyer and citizen of Hamburg for many years. His desire to enter politics came not out of ambition for higher office but a genuine desire to serve the community. In doing so, he has strived to be the voice of the people and along the way he has angered and frustrated politicians, especially the Republicans who sit on the Town Board.

The public should not give any weight or credibility to the vote to censure Collins. The only sensible explanation that I saw from the proceedings was the comment from Democrat Jon Gorman, who described the proceedings as a "kangaroo court" and a "joke." I agree with Gorman. I will be supporting Collins and will encourage him to continue keeping up the fight for the residents of Hamburg. As for my fellow Republicans, I am profoundly disappointed by their actions.

Robert M. Villarini

Hamburg

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