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Everybody's Column

Proposed green bill is bad for consumers

The April 18 editorial titled "Powering green jobs" is off the mark. Although we are not a financial services institution, the current version of the bill calls for us to collect -- on a customer's monthly utility bill -- installment payments for energy efficiency retrofit "loans" customers will be taking out from a third party. Con Edison and other utilities oppose this bill because it would force utilities to disconnect customers who cannot pay their loan installments. Even customers paying the utility portion of their bill in full could face service termination.

If this version of the bill becomes law and customers default on their loans, all Con Edison customers (even those who aren't eligible to participate in the program) will then be forced to cover the costs. Additionally, and maybe most important, there is no way to guarantee that this type of program will ultimately lead to lower utility bills for the customer borrowing the money.

This legislation is particularly troublesome because it comes at a time when we are redoubling our efforts to keep costs low for our customers. Con Edison supports increasing energy efficiency and we want to see a good green jobs bill passed, so we are working hard with legislators to make sure the bill makes sense for everyone and does not unfairly burden our customers with extra costs.

John Banks

Vice President, Government Relations, Con Edison

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Peep-eating contest was all in good fun

I have to respond to the letter sent by a lady who called the peep-eating contest at the Broadway Market "outrageous." With all due respect to her, I would say she grossly overreacted. What was happening here was a long-lost tradition in America. It is called "fun." We have become obsessed with political correctness and having to work more and play less just to pay the bills. We listen to every "expert" tell us that everything we do, touch and say is dooming us to eternal unhappiness. Lighten up.

One day of eating too many peeps will not destroy our children's lifestyle or undermine the fabric of our families. A mindless act of fun and craziness may be just what we need. Moms, dads and kids playing and laughing together may be a prescription for strengthening family values. One-time, out-of-control family fun in a safe secure environment. What a concept! So again I say, lighten up and have some fun. Life is so very short and before we know it our kids will be grown and on their own.

Bill Martin

Kenmore

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U.S. companies must put people back to work

Rep. Paul Ryan says reducing government and taxes "will spur job creation." Has it worked? Tax cuts for the wealthy have been in effect since the Bush administration. The TARP monies also went to the rich, along with huge bonuses. The wealthy, after recovering their wealth, did not reinvest in America. They pocketed every tax cut and share only with other well-paid Americans.

These companies and their wealth were built on the shoulders of hard-working, low- and average-paid Americans, who have been abandoned by greedy owners. Well-known American products were once made here by our grandparents and parents with pride and sacrifice. Today there is no more following in your father's footsteps because there is nowhere to go. The plants they worked in are gone from here -- but not gone from making millions or billions for the companies. Let's make those wealthy commit to investing in America or pay. Just as Ryan wants the buck to stop here (government), we want the tax breaks and incentives for the wealthy to stop here. Billion-dollar businesses deserve no tax breaks without investing in America. The wealthy do not deserve tax breaks by holding onto their money for a rainy day.

Require companies to either invest, create jobs and bring business back home or pay higher taxes, so we can do the right thing and help the unfortunate, the disabled and seniors. Put Americans back to work and there will be no need to add taxes, cut valuable services or pit the wealthy against the poor, union workers against non-union workers and even public workers against private sector workers. This is America as I know (knew) it.

Jim Conrad

Buffalo

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We might as well award offices to highest bidder

The White House is up for sale again. But the price has escalated to a billion dollars. It seems a little much. And then the deal expires in just four years.

Surely that means the cost of legislative seats will also rise. But not to worry, the sagacious members of the Supreme Court have decreed that there will be no monetary limitations on bribery and, as a bonus, anonymity is thrown into the package as well.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone if a bill were passed to eliminate elections as being frivolous and a waste of time and money. After all, legislation is written by special interest groups or lobbyists and the populace is disdainfully ignored. So why not just award offices to the highest bidder and be done with it? That's the way the system works now, so why the pretense?

Our fearless champions on the Hill took a mere three or four months to trim spending by a whopping $40 billion. They appear blissfully unaware that there is another $14 trillion left to eliminate our debt. I predict that our nation will drown in a fiscal morass and become a third rate power in my lifetime. And I'm old.

Reed Bender

Tonawanda

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Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane

I am writing in response to the in-depth article, "Controversial greyhound races in steep decline," in the April 19 News. The public's increased awareness of the cruelty inherent in greyhound racing has contributed to its catastrophic decline. Despite industry attempts to bolster dog racing by adding other forms of gambling, wagers on dog racing currently represent less than 1 percent of all wagers made in the United States annually. Now a losing game for racetrack owners, dog racing has always been a losing game for the greyhounds.

Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane. Racing greyhounds endure lives of nearly endless confinement in small stacked cages. While racing, they suffer and die from broken limbs, paralysis and cardiac arrest. Greyhounds are valued only as long as they generate a profit. Their post-racing fate falls to volunteer adoption groups that rescue and place as many greyhounds as they can.

Dogs play an important role in our lives and deserve to be protected from industries that cause them harm. I have adopted beloved ex-racing greyhounds since 1997, and I am a board member of GREY2K USA, a national non-profit greyhound protection organization. For more information, please visit www.grey2kusa.org.

Caryn Wood

Gilbert, Ariz.

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