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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

U.S. shouldn't penalize people for their success

I am writing in response and opposition to what I term as "rich bashing." This is the practice of blaming those who are financially successful by those who are less fortunate for their monetary struggles. I also object to taxing those financially successful at a higher rate to compensate for the extravagance of government.

I want to make it clear that I am far from rich, being unemployed for several years now. My father is a retired blue-collar auto worker and my maternal grandfather was a Polish immigrant coal miner. I was always taught, since I was child, that America was a land of opportunity, not what I call "materialistic rights." The American Dream is not about everyone owning a house, or sending their children to college, or having two cars in the driveway. Back in the 19th century, America grew at a rapid pace. There were no stimulus dollars, just people with dreams, innovation, hard work and a commitment to making their dreams and visions real.

In America, you can change your economic position, going from rags to riches. It is not about the government handing you your wants and desires because others have created the success you envy. It is about sowing and reaping the same success as those we envy.

Do not get me wrong, I believe that those who have had some success should help those less fortunate. I am a believer in the Ben and Jerry's business philosophy -- business has a responsibility to give back to the community. It is just good business practice. But do not resent and penalize others' success; achieve your own, and all of America will benefit.

Dennis W. Kazmierczak

Buffalo

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Buffalo School District has too many administrators

Why is there no public outrage at the mysterious financial planning in the Buffalo Public School system? Why does Superintendent James Williams need a driver and eight assistant superintendents, expanding the payroll while the student population is shrinking?

A district that has poor attendance and ignores overcrowded classrooms and the needs of immigrant students cannot expect improved performance.

I grew up during the Great Depression. The teachers are not to blame. Our parents expected us to respect our teachers and to follow the rules. We were told you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. The public schools provided music, art, swimming, physical education, the three R's and even penmanship classes.

Although complex, the essentials should be addressed in an honest and forthright manner. The Buffalo Board of Education and administration need to organize a cohesive plan for distributing its resources. It looks like this district is top heavy with administrators. The students and teachers are on the bottom rung of the ladder.

Audrey McKnight

Ellicottville

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Look at Hochul's record on Hamburg Town Board

I am highly amused that Kathy Hochul's ads are desperately trying to avoid any mention of her tenure as a Hamburg Town Board member. If I had her record, I probably would, too. In addition to helping to raise our taxes 45 percent, she saddled town taxpayers with white elephants that we will be paying for for decades to come, all while claiming to be fighting for the taxpayer. We have our skate park, championed by Hochul, which is usually empty. There is also the Seaway Trail building, the former Wanakah Water Works offices and plant, which was extensively renovated by town employees and now is visited by a whopping 200 people a year, including the volunteers who sign in when they arrive and members of a chess club who meet there. These two facilities alone cost us tens of thousands of dollars each year and will continue to do so far in to the future.

She claims to have championed removing the tolls on the Niagara section of the Thruway. If "championing" includes talking and writing letters, then every Western New Yorker is a champion. The tolls were removed only after Carl Paladino filed suit to have them removed. If she had truly been serious, she could have used some of her campaign funds and filed the suit years earlier. She didn't, so we paid until Paladino showed up.

Politicians' ads always mention their "proven record." With that in mind, if you want someone in Congress with a "proven record" of raising taxes, wasting taxpayer dollars and keeping her own political aspirations in the forefront, then Hochul is your candidate.

Elizabeth Reszka

Blasdell

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Legislators have to fight for Roswell Park funding

All public officials, Democrat or Republic, liberal or conservative, always say they want to help keep and create good-paying jobs in Western New York. They seem willing to throw tens of millions of dollars at any business that promises to bring good-paying jobs to the area. However, when it comes to helping entities that are already here, they lack the will.

Case in point: Roswell Park. It is a world-class hospital and research facility that employs about 3,000 people. Many of these jobs are the high-paying jobs that politicians claim they want. In addition, because of Roswell Park's excellent reputation, it attracts patients, doctors and researchers from outside of Western New York. This brings money into the area that otherwise would not be spent here. So what do our local state representatives do? They allow $25 million to be cut from funding. This is in addition to millions of dollars that were cut several years ago.

Even if one overlooks the economic benefits of Roswell Park, there is the humanitarian benefit of having a hospital with the National Cancer Center Designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center in Western New York. As a cancer survivor and a Roswell Park volunteer, I think I can speak for many who hope that our legislators will have the will to back their campaign rhetoric with actions that support Roswell Park.

Howard Gordon

East Amherst

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Bring our soldiers home from Iraq, Afghanistan

As our soldiers are dying each day in a never-ending war, the Pentagon wants to rethink about pulling out of Iraq. I think it's time to bring the soldiers home and let Iraq and Afghanistan take care of their own problems. We can't fix the problems in our own country, let alone someone else's.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

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The Lake is still available online and in HD realm

I am writing in response to the writer who thinks 107.7, The Lake, is no longer on the air. The Lake has moved to the HD realm, meaning that you will need an HD receiver to get the station. The Lake is available at 107.7 FM-HD2, and on its website, 1077thelake.com.

Gary Vannatta

Tonawanda

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