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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Higgins instrumental in waterfront progress

I read the recent letter praising the incredible progress that has been made on the Buffalo waterfront over the past several months. I could not agree more about the progress made, but the writer failed to praise enough the work of Rep. Brian Higgins in making these changes happen.

Higgins was for "lighter, quicker and cheaper" before it was fashionable. Initially, as an assemblyman, he near-singlehandedly created the boardwalk at what is commonly known as Gallagher Beach. His fight to make Fuhrmann Boulevard a two-way street was visionary yet simple; it built upon the rudimentary concept that in order for people to enjoy this incredible waterfront area we have, they actually have to be able to get to it.

Higgins took those experiences to the inner harbor, and to great success. His fight for the New York Power Authority settlement funding is turning into a new reality at Canalside. Now that area is a summerlong destination for folks from throughout Western New York, and the pressure he put on the city administration will result in a new restaurant and other amenities to enjoy in 2012 and beyond.

I read The News each day and see (and agree with) the many letters published that are critical of elected officials in this community who lack the vision and tenacity to get things done. This letter should stand to represent the feelings of those of us who recognize an elected leader who has vision and gets things done for us.

Marlene Andrzejewski

West Seneca


City has definitely turned the corner

I want to echo a letter writer's comments regarding the wonderful things happening along the waterfront and downtown. If you're still a pessimist about living in the Buffalo area after this summer's incredible events at our river, harbor and lake-side venues, you're not paying attention.

To me, a sure sign that we're finally "getting it" was the stunning show on Sept. 9 of talented young Buffalo artist Sarah Myers' works in the old Cobblestone District building. You could not attend that event on that gorgeous evening in that very cool setting without sensing that we have definitely turned the corner.

We don't need advertising slogans to tell us that Buffalo is a great place, and getting better all the time.

Jim Koelmel



UPS and FedEx have an unfair advantage

As a Postal Service employee, I take issue with the Sept. 18 cartoon depicting a letter carrier about to be run over by a truck. The truck bears the logo of UPS and FedEx. UPS and FedEx are in the position they're in because they selected one (profitable) service that we provide and concentrated on that. The Postal Service doesn't have that luxury. By law, we must deliver every piece of mail to every address in America every day -- whether it be by carrier, boat or mule train.

Couple that with us being the only organization in the United States, public or private, that must prefund retirement benefits 75 years into the future and the playing field is tilted even further. Neither UPS nor FedEx could do what we do for the prices we charge and still turn a profit. Anyone who tells you otherwise is sorely mistaken.

Tim Delano



Prefunding benefits hurts Postal Service

The U.S. government is pillaging our Postal Service. It is the only agency or business that is required to prefund its health care for the next 75 years. The Postal Service must pay $5.5 billion a year for 10 years. This means that health care will be funded for our great-grandchildren.

There are those who would have you believe that we need a taxpayer bailout. This is not true. The Postal Service retirement fund has been overpaid by $50 billion.

If you take that $50 billion and put it toward health care, that would cover the Bush administration's requirement, with money left over. The $5.5 billion payment that the Postal Service is forced to pay would go away and the six years of loss for the Postal Service would show only two years of loss, and that loss would have been reduced to $11 billion.

The sad story of the Internet causing the demise of the Postal Service can go away. The Postal Service has shown losses only since 2006, when the Bush administration law was passed. The Internet has been around a lot longer than that. Yes, the economy has hurt, but the Postal Service will recover as the economy does.

I urge everyone to contact their representatives in Washington to stop this pillaging.

Peter J. Preziotte



Bullies are the ones in need of therapy

The news of the senseless death of Jamey Rodemeyer both saddened and upset me. It brought back memories of my nephew, who 25 years ago at the age of 15, died at the end of a rope that he threw over a rafter in their barn using a grappling hook. He loved martial arts and pretending to be a ninja. This was his escape from the bullies at school.

The morning after my nephew committed suicide, my sister-in-law went to the school to let them know about his death. She wanted to speak to the class, including the bullies, to send the message that it's too late for her son, but not too late for them to realize the damage they caused. In this case, the bullies were the "popular" kids who poked fun at and ridiculed my nephew because he was different and not part of the clique. School officials would not allow her to speak to the class. She went home to make funeral arrangements for her son.

Jamey was seeing a social worker and a therapist. He had the love and support from his parents. You'd think that was enough. Are we totally missing the real issue here? The victim is doing all he can to help cope with his demons, but what about the real demons -- the bullies? What are we going to do about them? As in my nephew's case, it's too late for Jamey. The bullies are still here, though, scoping out their next victim. They are the ones in need of therapy and they must learn that there are consequences for their actions. Apparently they have never been taught the Golden Rule -- do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Rebecca Hemedinger

Grand Island


Parents of bullies share responsibility

Again a Williamsville School District child has committed suicide as a result of bullying. This child struggled with his sexuality and was bullied incessantly because of it. There are parents out there who have to bear some responsibility for this. There are parents who know of their children's bullying and do nothing to stop them. They should be ashamed of themselves. And there are parents who condone this activity because of the child's questioning. There are no words to describe how disgusting that is. You have to wonder how they treat the gay and lesbian people who are part of their daily lives.

In any case, these parents have put a gun in their child's hand; and, in this case, they pulled the trigger. I am sure the only punishment these bullies will face is that, sometime later in life, they will realize that their actions led to someone's death. Their parents should also realize that the job of any school is to educate and not be a surrogate parent. For God's sake, do your job.

Richard Hughes



Weiss' behavior was key reason for defeat

I don't know whether Bruce Andriatch ever attended a Clarence town meeting or talked with any voters, but his Sept. 20 column severely misses the reasons for Joseph Weiss' defeat in the recent primary. Andriatch failed to mention the behavior of the incumbent, or the personal and political disputes with his colleagues.

As for his disagreements with the volunteer fire companies, the issues were not money, budgets or consolidation. His proposals were rarely based on the reality of modern firefighting (or insurance requirements) and could have compromised the emergency services to his constituents. His "no" votes on all Clarence Fire Company budgets, even beyond the expiration of the contract, could have put the town in a precarious situation.

At town work sessions, there was no reasoned discussion, but rather lectures and demands. At Town Hall meetings, he added a new dimension to the term "bully pulpit." Weiss was the top vote-getter in 2007, but this time he lost by a considerable margin. Republicans, even in Clarence, are not known for embracing higher taxes. The voters decided that they wanted change and a better alternative.

Garry Soehner



Weiss asked questions that needed to be asked

Joseph Weiss' departure from the Clarence Town Board means less accountable town government. Nobody said you had to like Weiss. I disagreed with him sometimes. I sat next to him in meetings for almost four years and sometimes cringed or put my head down thinking, "why did he say that?"

However, he asked many questions that needed asking. He held people accountable for their actions or inaction. He tried to make our town more effective and cost-conscious. He was usually the smartest, most well-traveled person in any room he was in. Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, at least you knew where you stood. Isn't that what we have been asking for from our politicians?

The vindictive people in government, the town and the media who criticized his sometimes rude behavior and strong language should get over themselves. Those same people act and speak just like him (or worse) in person and in writing. The difference is, Weiss did not try to pull the wool over your eyes and make you think he was something he's not.

Peter DiCostanzo

Clarence Town Councilman


I am indeed entitled to Social Security

Conservatives, having changed the meaning of the word "liberal," are now working on "entitlement." To be liberal once meant (and still means to me) "not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry." By persistently using "liberal" to mean weak, irresponsible or morally corrupt, the word has been changed from an adjective into an insult.

Now we have "entitlement," which to me (and to Webster's) means a "right granted by law or contract." But it has been warped into meaning "giveaway" or "government largess."

The writer who claimed "Social Security is not an entitlement" has been bamboozled into that thought by double-talk. I contributed to the Social Security system for 35 years. I am entitled to the Social Security benefits I receive.

Angelo F. Coniglio