Require accountability?before giving tax breaks
After reading the article about the Lancaster IDA reconsidering its decision to give tax breaks to Penora's Pizza in Depew, I'm left with a nagging question. Why do we keep handing out subsidies before companies do anything to earn them?
If Penora's is going to be a source of true economic growth rather than just detracting from other pizza places and restaurants in the areal, if they're really going to create new jobs and contribute a lot of additional sales revenue, then I'm all for giving the owners a break. But they should show the taxpayers those jobs and extra revenues first so we know that public money is being well-spent.
Far too often, our local IDAs dole out subsidies without any guarantee that the companies will do what they've promised – in some cases without requiring any clear goals at all. Every time these IDAs give a break to a business, each and every one of us in Erie County ends up paying for it. Either our property tax bill goes up or we swallow cuts to our kids' classrooms, our infrastructure budgets, our parks, and on and on.
I don't think taxpayers throughout Erie County would really be on board to give a bunch of money to a pizza place if they were asked. Enough is enough. The time has come for us to start paying for performance instead of promises. Don't hand out public subsidies until companies demonstrate they have created new, good jobs.
President did support?passage of DREAM Act
A letter to this column on June 25 accuses President Obama of being hypocritical for not pushing through Congress the DREAM Act when he had the chance, and later proposing a temporary solution for illegal immigrants. The writer evidently doesn't know that Obama did push for the DREAM Act. It was passed in the House and 55 senators voted for it. However, the bill was not passed because of a Republican senator's filibuster.
In spite of all the news we have access to, much of this nation is sadly misinformed.
Drinking and driving? remains big problem
About 50 years ago, I was local coordinator for a AAA program called "DWI Counterattack." We solicited judges to assign persons convicted of DWI to remedial classes that might result in mitigation of their sentences. These classes consisted of movies, tests and lectures by two professors from Buffalo State. My job was to keep track of the students, provide tests, material, movies and monitor classes. This was primarily an experimental program trying to find out something about our clients and to look for ways to change their behavior. After initial tests, the professors found that a majority of the students were either alcoholics or well on the way to that state. Almost to a person, these people felt they had been singled out unfairly by the police, but there was no question of their guilt or innocence because at the time of their arrest they exhibited classic signs of drunkenness that couldn't be denied.
The recent James Corasanti trial brought to mind a very salient point that the professors stressed repeatedly. Even though small amounts of alcohol can adversely affect driving ability, experienced drinkers can consume considerable amounts of alcohol before they exhibit overt signs of drunkenness. Judgment is first affected. The doctor was over the speed limit, he didn't think he was impaired. The ability to concentrate and focus is lessened. Peripheral vision is compromised and reaction time is slowed. It's easy to imagine the doctor driving home on a very familiar route, sending texts, listening to music and running on automatic pilot when he hits the skateboarder.
Corasanti claims he didn't stop because he did not see her. Of course he didn't see her! The fact is that he should have seen her 100 yards before the impact if he was alert, in control of his abilities and concentrating on the road.
Perhaps the prosecution should have stressed to the jury that witnesses testifying to the doctor's sobriety didn't know the whole story. It seems ironic that the doctor's defense was that he was so distracted (by alcohol) that he didn't realize he did anything wrong. In my opinion, a properly instructed jury should have found him guilty by his own testimony.
Henry N. Stahl Jr.
Olmsted Conservancy?is doing a terrific job
This letter is to bring attention to and applaud the wonderful work that the Olmsted Parks Conservancy has done over the years with all of the parks, but especially my favorite, Delaware Park.
As I was walking by Hoyt Lake on a very sultry second day of summer, I found myself seeking the beneficent shade of two huge willows there that combined to offer one giant canopy that swayed in the breeze. Walking on, it soon became apparent that more than a dozen other tree species – like oak, beech, maple, tulip, sycamores and many more I didn't know the names of – were occupying a space not more than 200 yards across. The grounds surrounding them are also very well taken care of, and I see that the park is full of people using it for many different activities from sports, a quiet stroll, sunbathing, boating and even taking in some Shakespeare.
Besides the beauty our parks offer local residents, the great job Olmsted does represents our fair city to visitors and tourists. This is of benefit to all in Western New York. Incidentally, I was glad to see Olmsted retain stewardship over Delaware Park because politics never should enter into preserving and retaining the assets of this great city.
Brian J. Mucha
Catholics can't ignore?church's main tenets
During the last couple of election cycles, the Catholic Church has clearly and unequivocally listed five non-negotiable principles that all faithful Catholics should observe when voting for candidates. They are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and same-sex marriage. Yet a large percentage of Catholics and, sadly, many priests, nuns and even some bishops, ignore these principles because they embrace "social justice," which is a catch-phrase for more government handouts and entitlements. They vote for the candidate who promises the most.
Sure, the Bible tells us to look after the less fortunate, but nowhere does it say that federal governments should do the looking.
Where is the "justice" when an unborn child is murdered in the womb, or immediately after being pulled out of the womb? Where is the "justice" when children are denied the opportunity to be nurtured by a mother and a father? Where is the "justice" in killing a person who is too old or sick? Where is the "justice" in creating thousands of human lives through embryonic stem cell research or cloning and then destroying them?
Our current crop of "Catholic" politicians are gung-ho for the entitlements, but they look the other way on the really important issues. Catholics need to listen to the authentic voices in the church, not the liberal elites.
James D. Roesser