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Everybody's Column

UB's new payout policy disastrous for students

Thirty years ago, I was a University at Buffalo student. In failing to promptly disburse money from student loans, it seems little has changed in the administration's concern for the welfare of its students. I recall living on a tight budget as a student. Budgeting for books, car insurance, gasoline, groceries and rent took careful planning. Long before the first class, I had to figure out where the money was coming from and when. Each summer paycheck was spoken for. My student loan was part of the plan. There was not much room for extras or the unexpected.

Failing to effectively inform the students of a change in policy was not the main problem. The main problem was the administration's failure to consider the difficult position UB would be putting its students in. The students have expenses related to attending college that cannot be paid with IOUs. The rent needed to be paid before moving in. Before classes even started, they needed books, supplies and groceries. They counted on their student loans to live on once college started.

Unlike the college administrators, most students live on a shoestring budget with little or no credit. They took a student loan because they needed it to make ends meet. Waiting to receive that money is a luxury few can afford. College students are expected to act responsibly. Students have a right to expect the same of the college.

Joseph R. Faxlanger



Attica prisoners, not state were to blame for lost lives

Let me get this straight. Forty years ago, convicted felons rioted at the Attica State Correctional Facility, killed a guard and held hostages at knifepoint under threat of execution after their questionable demands were not met. During the aftermath, trying to save lives cost more lives when state officials were forced to react in this explosive atmosphere.

Once again, some "Johnny come lately" outsiders seem determined to shift any blame to the authorities, who were backed into a proverbial corner by unpredictable inmate violence. If the state responded in a heavy-handed manner, was there any other choice given the nightmarish scenario?

While it is certainly unfortunate that lives were lost on both sides, playing the revisionist blame game is just as repulsive as the original tragedy.

Ray Pauley

Grand Island


Cuomo should legalize gambling in New York

This is a response to Denise Jewell Gee's column, "With state gambling, many lose." Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he's considering legalizing commercial gambling at non-Indian casinos. Gee said that if the vote were passed, it would break the state's gaming compact with the Seneca Nation. I was under the impression that the state already broke its agreement with the Senecas when it introduced video lottery terminals at Hamburg Casino and Batavia Downs.

The column mentioned many forms of gambling that are offered legally to those who wish to indulge. The problem that I have begins whenever the discussion turns to the degenerate gambler who "blows" the rent in a casino. What is the difference if a gambler loses his money on a horse race, bingo, lottery tickets or in a casino? I know of bingo sessions in Canada that are frequented by many who cross the border on a regular basis, to the tune of $30 or more per session. I also stand behind patrons buying lottery tickets at the convenience store, and I wait and wait until they are out of money.

Table games, such as poker, have proven to be a gamble with a required level of skill. The odds are certainly better for table games than for the lottery or bingo. The number of gamblers who play over their heads is no different than a person who sits every night at the local bar and drinks far too much, or the people who overindulge in anything. Casinos are all around us. Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada have legalized table games. It's time for us to participate and keep the revenues from legalized gambling here in New York. I would also like to see New York legalize sports betting. Why not? It could take OTB out of the red.

Nick Ciavarella



Obama administration is totally incompetent

The Solyndra bankruptcy is the clearest example to date of the Obama administration's complete and total incompetence, and reckless irresponsibility. Blatantly ignoring reports of Solyndra's instability, the Obama administration pushed for and guaranteed loans of $528 million to Solyndra, while proclaiming that companies like this are the future. Well, if this is the future, it sure looks pretty bleak.

Someone should explain to the American people how spending $528 million of the taxpayers' money on a company that was destined to go bankrupt created or saved any jobs or helped the economy recover. Giving this administration more money to do anything with is a bad idea.

Obama has never run a company, and it is clear that he has no idea of how to invest in a company that has a chance to succeed. All of the taxpayer money Obama has invested in General Motors to produce electric cars is another failure waiting to happen, and when GM goes belly up again, how much more taxpayer money should it again receive?

I can't wait for the Obama administration to blame George W. Bush, or the tea party, or hurricanes and earthquakes for this latest Obama failure.

Joe Weaver



Agriculture is good way to help revive economy

As a greenhouse operator in Eden, I am a proud member of Erie County Farm Bureau. New York's farmers produce the fresh, local and abundant food that we all enjoy. But economic woes are encompassing our farms as well as our towns, state and nation. The cost of farming has been rapidly increasing due to legislative and regulatory policies along with rising input costs. Farm Bureau is an organization that speaks up for farmers while we are busy putting food on America's tables. One of its priorities is to help us to strengthen our business environment.

New York Farm Bureau, along with the support of members throughout the state, lobbied for and then saw valuable restorations to the agriculture portion of the state budget this year. The programs saved were crucial to the future success of farm families. The governor and state legislators listened to the message that paying attention to agriculture is a good place to start in reviving our economy.

Once we had tackled the budget, we worked on other legislation that would positively impact other aspects of agricultural production. Next year, the property tax cap will come into play. The Farm Bureau and its members worked hard to get the Legislature to pass this bill so that our farm families could continue to own or rent farmland to grow food.

Jonathan Agle


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