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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Tea party has done more harm than good

Thanks to the uncompromising attitude of the tea party, the U.S. government almost shut down, new revenue from the very wealthy will not be forthcoming, the gap between rich and poor will continue to increase in our country, the stock market has taken a major hit, the U.S. credit rating has been downgraded from the highest level (AAA) for the first time in our nation's history and interest rates will inevitably increase for families and small businesses that have to borrow money. What other "good" effects can we expect from the "no way but my highway" folks?

James McConnell



Tea partyers need a history lesson

Sen. John Kerry has correctly identified our recent financial troubles as a tea party creation. This organization stands completely the opposite of the true patriots it took its name from.

The original tea party protested the undemocratic taxation of the colonists. This taxation was required to offset a revenue shortfall caused by England's most recent wars. More importantly, it maintained a system where the landed aristocrats paid no property taxes, and were determined to pass on their debt to us. With their lifetime position in the House of Lords, they ensured that wealth was passed on from generation to generation, and that they not pay their fair share of England's expenditures.

Today, the tea party represents the interests of an American aristocracy that wants to continue paying little or no taxes and ensure its wealth is passed on with no estate taxes. It's no wonder that with its leadership, the party is confused about some fundamental historical facts. I would recommend a new name, the American Loyalist Party.

Michael Lowry



Activists oppose government waste

Tea party activists oppose government waste and corruption, subsidies for an oil industry that rakes in billions in windfall profits, Wall Street and banker bailouts and other wasteful programs that sink us deeper and deeper in irreversible debt.

If such an increasingly popular reformist approach to this nightmarish scenario can be labeled "terrorist," then our democratic society must be overrun with like-minded "revolutionaries" who have lost faith in all major political parties.

In that case, where do I sign up for tea party membership?

Ray Pauley

Grand Island


Bush, not Obama, created this mess

In a recent letter to the editor, a Republican tea party supporter tries to put the blame for our huge national debt on President Obama and the Democrats. Let's go back 10 years. In 2001, the Democrats left a surplus to President George W. Bush. He elected to give the rich two massive tax cuts, then started two wars at the cost of $1.3 trillion and extended defense spending.

Congressional Budget Office statistics show Bush's policies account for $7 trillion of the U.S. debt. Obama's policies, including the $719 billion stimulus program, have added $1.7 trillion to the debt. The writer also speaks about tax cuts creating jobs. If Republicans' income tax cuts and corporate welfare giveaways created jobs, we should have zero unemployment. I wish the tea party supporters would try to use facts, not propaganda.

Paul Wypior



Manna was right to question town law

As a resident of Amherst, a voter and a veteran, I am disappointed to see the letter Richard "Jay" Anderson's mother wrote accusing Mark Manna of "attacking a soldier serving his country." Manna raised several legitimate questions regarding Anderson's appointing his father to fill his seat on the Amherst Town Board in his absence using Chapter 11, section 4 of the Town of Amherst Code. As a voter, I have several questions about the appointment's legitimacy, too.

Julia Anderson is quite correct that the code has a requirement that "all of the council members are required, upon taking office, to designate three persons to replace them if they are temporarily unable to serve on the board." How many on the board submitted their lists? Anderson appointed his father, Richard, citing this arcane and never before used section of the town code.

To say Anderson "followed town, state and federal requirements to ensure that residents will have their voices heard on the Town Board with an experienced elected official who has no ulterior motives," is questionable at best. While the town may have this never-before-used section on the books, there is no state or federal requirement involved in what appears to be a purely political move on the part of the Andersons to invoke the section of the code in an attempt to rehabilitate Richard Anderson.

Trying to portray Manna as "attacking a soldier serving his country" is a lie. It has no place in the questions raised over this transparent political maneuver and only serves to discredit Jay Anderson and resurrect questions regarding Richard Anderson's past integrity and ethics issues.

Edmund J. Gentner



Anderson's mother has got to be kidding

As a veteran and longtime Amherst resident, I want to express my support for Council Member Mark Manna and the board members who question a ridiculous law that allows any council member to personally choose his successor. I have paid close attention to this issue and no one has ever spoken negatively about Richard "Jay" Anderson's service. As a fellow veteran, I salute him.

I laughed when Anderson's mother claimed to have told Manna to "behave." Perhaps she should have told her husband the same thing. Maybe if he had behaved, he wouldn't have been arrested twice for driving while ability impaired as an elected official and been fired for illegally soliciting campaign contributions while on taxpayer time.

Now, thanks to this laughingstock of a law, the residents of Amherst have a law breaker taking the place of a law maker. Only in Amherst!

Fred Napierla



We should all back Verizon employees

Verizon must take the blame for any problems with our land lines while its 45,000 workers across the Northeast are walking picket lines. Even in the face of skyrocketing profits and fat salaries for top executives, Verizon is insisting on unreasonable concessions from its hard-working employees. Shipping jobs overseas, hiking health insurance costs and cutting sick days are the last things it should be doing.

As the economy continues to plummet and good middle-class jobs are even more scarce, corporations like Verizon that are doing well have a responsibility to our country to keep their work force strong. We must all support the men and women of Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as they fight for all of us.

Nicole M. Jowsey

WNY Board Chairwoman

Citizen Action of New York


Workers are fighting for the middle class

I don't work for Verizon, but the strike has implications for me. And you. In a time of shrinking wages, when people are losing their health care coverage and small businesses are shuttering their doors, a wildly profitable company is demanding a $20,000 pay cut from its workers. No questions asked. That's enough to be the difference between paying the bills and missing a mortgage payment. That's enough to shut the door on the American Dream for thousands of Verizon workers.

If Verizon can pay out $10 billion in dividends to its shareholders, hand out $258 million to its top five executives and still post a profit of $5.5 billion, why are workers being asked yet again to sacrifice?

You can bet that other companies are watching this strike. If Verizon can turn a profit and refuse to share the wealth with its workers, what's to stop other companies from slashing our wages and benefits as they feel like it?

They're striking for more than wages at Verizon -- they're striking for the middle class.

Roger A. Cook

Grand Island


Williams has set a terrible example

We are very upset to learn some of Buffalo's school children are missing more than 30 days of school per Buffalo school year. Superintendent James Williams, who is retiring in September, has missed 130 days per school year while out of town for conferences (?) and visits to his Maryland home. What an example for our Buffalo school children!

Arlene Reider Preston



Have teachers tutor students over summer

As I read about the abysmal decrease in test scores and the ever increasing teacher tax (school taxes), I can't help but ask if there isn't something we can find for the teachers to do in the summer time instead of walk around in flip flops and put on sun screen. Their salaries are very good, even compared to those who work 12 months a year, so can't we have them tutor or teach the failing students in the summer? The teachers get tanned while the students get bland.

Robert Bijak

Clarence Center


It's sad to see Brown nix red light cameras

I began advocating for cameras at red lights in 2004 because the police department said it didn't have the manpower to monitor motorists running red lights. At the time, a powerful Rochester Assemblyman was the roadblock to getting it passed. Finally, the state gave the larger cities permission to install these cameras, and Rochester has begun to do so. But Mayor Byron Brown has decided to "shutter" the red light camera bid and concentrate on surveillance cameras instead. While they are valuable, they cannot record a driver running a red light.

When police officials aren't making manpower excuses, they argue that there's no point issuing tickets for moving traffic violations because the city doesn't get any revenue from such tickets. So I also began advocating for the city to be given the right to adjudicate traffic violations, thus collecting the revenue. I have a letter from then-Sen. Brown assuring me of his support, which was dated 2004. This last session Sen. Mark Grisanti introduced such a bill again and it passed in the Senate. Unfortunately, it never made it out of committee in the Assembly.

So, red light running, speeding, rolling through stop signs, etc., will continue. Welcome to Buffalo.

Ruth Lampe