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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Erie County legislators treated Gioia terribly

The Erie County legislators, especially Barbara Miller-Williams, should be ashamed of themselves. I applaud Robert Gioia for taking the initiative to work with the Oishei Foundation to attempt a public-private funding partnership. This would have potentially funded those areas of the arts that were cut from the budget. These types of partnerships might be needed more and more in the future, as governments continue to have less money to work with as growing entitlement funding such as Medicaid takes more of the budget pie.

Unfortunately, the County Legislature demonstrated yet again what is wrong with government. In a year with budget cuts, with future years facing more cuts for sure, the Legislature showed poor taste and even poorer people skills in dealing with Gioia. Most people in our City of Good Neighbors rarely turn down help, let alone an offer to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund the local arts.

People need not wonder why this area continues to decline economically or why nothing ever moves forward with this latest example of a broken and overreaching government. If you don't like the way these people work for you (or don't), stop voting them back into office!

Chris Bossert

North Tonawanda

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Mayor was wrong to veto sports complex for kids

Since when is it OK to direct political retribution at the children? As a member of the Little League that has almost 500 registrants located in South Buffalo, I find it absolutely appalling that the mayor is so vindictive that he would veto a sports complex in South Buffalo even though it is approximately two-thirds already paid for through grants and private donations.

I am a city employee who has gone without a raise for almost nine years. Meanwhile, the city has operated with a surplus for the seventh straight year. The money needed (about $433,000) is a drop in the bucket compared to what you he has already saved off of the backs of blue-collar workers in this city.

The mayor and Common Council members across the board should put their political differences aside and do the right thing by throwing their support behind a proposal that would continue to develop places for the youth of this city to go other than the streets.

Scott Heywood

Buffalo

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America needs statesmen working for common good

During three decades following World War II, Democratic and Republican leaders pursued policies to share the American dream with blacks, the working class and the poor, creating a broad prosperous middle class -- the foundation of America's dynamic economy. Since the 1970s, global economic forces and government policies have concentrated our wealth into the rich, creating the greatest economic gap between the rich and lower classes since 1929.

Both parties contributed to America's decline, but Republican leaders, guided by their "trickle down" theory, did the most damage. Their tax cuts favored the rich while increasing our bloated military budgets. Worse yet, they cultivated a free-lunch mentality, with GOP leaders poised to pounce on politicians who dare raise taxes; and a people conditioned to leave our debts to our children and our financial fate to foreign creditors rather than pay our own bills.

To address our major issues leading toward financial ruin, President Obama initiated a two-pronged strategy: providing tax relief, job creation and help for the unemployed to stimulate the economy; and restoring the pre-Bush tax rates for the rich to dent our soaring deficits. But Republican leaders balked: without tax cuts for the rich, no relief for anybody else. Hence, Obama's reluctant compromise: doing the easy things to stimulate the economy while dodging tough choices to raise taxes on anybody.

The GOP's top priority, as defined by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is to defeat Obama in 2012. That's a long cry from the days when Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen crossed party lines, enabling President Lyndon Johnson to pass his landmark Civil Rights laws when his Southern Democrats were filibustering them. What America needs are minority statesmen like Dirksen, committed to the common good.

Edward Cuddy

Kenmore

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Bipartisanship needed to turn country around

It's really hard to tell who's the party of the rich when congressional leaders have picked taxpayers' pockets of billions to bailout "fat cat" bankers, Wall Street hustlers and CEO-mismanaged corporations. With unemployment hovering around 10 percent and a dismal economic outlook on many other fronts, it is crystal clear that such targeted spending did little or nothing to help the little guy dig out of his bottomless financial pit.

But now, it is equally clear that John Q Public yearns for realistic bipartisan problem solving rather than an endless replay of the "blame game." Is this too much to ask for?

Ray Pauley

Grand Island

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Most are willing to pay a little to aid culturals

I think the proper adjective to describe the Erie County budget process is bathetic. Cambridge Online Dictionary gives us this definition: sudden, especially not intended, change from a beautiful or important subject to a silly or very ordinary one. How else to describe the attitude of debasement and belittlement toward our cultural institutions by County Executive Chris Collins? In a total budget of $1.2 billion, we are led to believe that an extra $4 million is the undoing of it?

Here is how the county gathers most of its monies for the budget: $217 million from property taxes, $174 million from federal receipts, $187 million from state coffers, $386 million in sales taxes and $86 million in assorted fees.

After contributing my share of federal, state and local taxes, I would consider it money well spent if 0.3 percent -- yes, 0.3 percent -- of my county taxes were allocated to the culturals. Or more plainly stated: It would cost each member of my family, and yours, about $4 a year. How bathetic.

Michael Tenhagen

West Seneca

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Diner was far more rude than waiter she attacked

A recent letter writer who experienced the waiter asking, "Are you guys still working on that?" found the use of such language was a "horror." She then asked the waiter to "go away." To me, asking the waiter to "go away" is more of what the writer deems as a "horror." She defined herself as a "purist." Well look up the word "horror." I'm sure it doesn't pertain to someone being colloquial in, as she described, an upscale restaurant. The writer just shouldn't dine there anymore. I'm sure she won't be missed.

Paul Underwood

Buffalo

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