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Everybody's Column

Obama has nation on the right track

I must take issue with the Sept. 24 letter, "Nation cannot afford another Obama term." The facts, and my memory, do not line up with what the writer stated.

Gas prices were never at $1.61 in November 2008 in Western New York. While they had dropped from well above $4 in the summer, they had not gone below $2 in our area.

I have not heard that 37.5 percent of people of working age are not working. Does that include double amputees and those with serious head injuries from the wars we have been fighting? Does it include those under 65 who may have retired? By the way, that includes Mitt Romney, who seems to live off his investments. Does it include students who are still in school? They are all of working age, but don't work.

What is government assistance? Student loans, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid? One of the reasons for the child tax credit and other assistance to low-income families was to keep the minimum wage low. If we, as a nation, won't pay a living wage, we will help the less well off in other ways. Do you want to see starving children in the streets and families living under bridges?

Multiple cuts to programs and the Bush tax cuts expiring? These are a direct result of the Republicans' refusal to deal with the Obama administration. They won't even vote for programs they proposed and provisions they wrote if the president approves of those programs. Tax cuts for the very rich is the only thing they want to talk about.

The health care law? Actually, the more provisions are implemented, the more popular it becomes. Maybe the call to abolish it now is to keep people from really finding out how it will benefit them.

I guess I consider myself a kind of Blue Dog Democrat, but the proposals of Romney and Paul Ryan really make me fear that America will no longer be the refuge for the oppressed of the world, nor a haven for the downtrodden.

Cheryl Hewitt



How can retirees? support Romney?

So, Mitt Romney has decided that 47 percent of the population is totally reliant on the government for survival. These people don't pay taxes, and they are all voting for President Obama because he has, somehow, created a utopia for them and their apparent lazy lifestyles. Never mind that a large proportion of these tax-evaders are retirees who prepaid for the largess, those who are or were in the military, and those slugs too poor to qualify for a tax burden. Somehow Romney forgot to add on the 7,000 or so millionaires who really didn't pay any taxes, but I digress.

What is dumbfounding is that located within Romney's despicable 47 percent is the older population demographic that makes up a plurality of people determined to vote for him. Why he'd toss them under the same bus as the Obama lovers eludes me. I guess older, angry white folks willing to excoriate the unions they started and vote for individuals who are determined to privatize the very social programs presently allowing them to subsist in retirement need to elect a guy who doesn't give a snail's trail about them. They must have their reasons, but considering they are voting directly against their own best sef-interests, it leaves one to wonder what might those reasons be?

Reminds me of those pictures on the airways depicting angry tea party members holding up signs at rallies protesting that the government should keep its hands off their Social Security and Medicare. It paints quite a picture indeed.

Stephen F. Saracino



Teachers and mentors? can't replace parents

I am writing in response to the Sept. 21 News article about the increase of sexual activity among middle and high school students. I've worked with, volunteered with and mentored many at-risk youth, especially street kids and incarcerated youth, since 2005. Teachers, mentors and others cannot replace parents.

Schools have taken on too much responsibility, such as feeding children in the summer, making house visits for Respite, providing clothes, and now teaching safe sex. Parents and guardians need to step in and actually parent. Schools should not be baby sitters or caregivers.

Children, teens and young adults my age need to also learn that birth control and condoms don't make it OK to have sex with everyone. We need to have more respect for ourselves and understand that friendships can become awkward or fizzle out after a "friends with benefits" gig. Some things, I believe, should be taught at home. As for teens and young adults, you're not that young. Show a little common sense and self-respect.

Megan DePerro



Sex education should be? parents' responsibility

A recent editorial in The News stated that "New York State education has failed to teach students correctly about the birds and the bees." Why should it be the mission of whatever state to teach our children those important things? That is not the state's job. It is the parents' job. Sex education should start in the home, in a loving and safe environment. Children do not belong to the state. They are entrusted to us parents for a brief period of time. We had better make good use of it!

Carolina Galán



Volunteers working hard? to control cat population

The wonderful, dedicated volunteers of both Feral Cat Focus, headed by Eddie Offhaus, and Operation Pets deserve to have this community's full and undivided respect. These people volunteer hundreds of hours to help control the cat population in the greater Buffalo area.

Every Sunday, Feral Cat Focus volunteers are at Operation Pets at 6 a.m. getting ready for their day that will not end until 6 p.m. They work tirelessly to help support the Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate and Release program. This is a huge success and works. Every community should adopt this program.

I realize that there are a few people who complain about everything. Instead of complaining, maybe these people could volunteer to help out at the clinic and see the wonderful work these groups have accomplished instead of causing more headaches and heartache for these wonderful people.

Angela Banaszak



Spay/neuter programs? can make a difference

It is an age-old problem: the overpopulation of our companion animals and our stray animals. Through people's ignorance or lack of money, animals do not get spayed and neutered. Cats in particular seem to be throw-away items. People think that cats can live in the wild so they let them run at large and abandon them. Then these cats become someone else's problem.

Well-meaning people see a cat in the bushes, or on the street, and offer food. Then she brings her kittens, and away we go.

There is no good reason for unneutered cats. We have spay/neuter programs. We have great rescue groups and SPCAs willing to help if they have room. Do the right thing. If you feed cats, get the cats spayed and neutered.

In Erie County, we have Maddie's Spay/Neuter Project Grant. This grant will allow the citizens of Erie County to pay $10 to spay/neuter free-roaming, community cats. Maddie's Grant realizes the importance of the TNVR program, which helps municipalities control the overpopulation of cats in our community while helping citizens afford spay/neuter programs. For a list of all veterinarians who participate in the project, go to

Joan Jimerson



NFTA doesn't care? about its ridership

After reading the Sept. 25 News article regarding the disrepair of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority escalators and elevators at Buffalo's various stations, it has occurred to me that one thing remains quite clear. In determining who should get the bid in this ongoing, long-lasting problem, Executive Director Kimberley Minkel made a point, and I quote, "We did it because we thought it to be in the best interest of the authority." Two other board members (adults) got into a shouting match.

When will someone stand up and ask: "What is in the best interest of the paying ridership?" As they drive their expensive cars from their Amherst and Williamsville homes to these meetings, I now know that they only care about the "authority."

Getting off the bus this morning, the driver announced: "Please exit the front, we are having issues with the back doors." The NFTA's new motto should be "At least half the stuff works."

Robert B. Maloney

West Seneca


Higgins is right on, ?the Skyway must go

After reading the article in The News on Sept. 25, I think Rep. Brian Higgins has hit the nail right on the head. The Skyway is an out-of-date, concrete dam that separates the city from any real type of access to the waterfront. Higgins sent a letter to the state Department of Transportation in Albany and the commissioner says he is going to review it. (Like building a signature bridge that will receive multiple bird strikes?)

Higgins' opponent for the 26th Congressional District race, Michael Madigan, cites the congressman's "ridiculous proposal" to tear down the Skyway and criticizes him for misusing terms such as "functionally obsolete." Has Madigan ever been on the Skyway during morning rush-hour traffic with a stalled car at the top of the bridge? Has he ever been on the top of that bridge during a blizzard and been involved in a six-car pileup? Obviously, he has never broken down on the top of the Skyway and been blown off and fallen to his death. Higgins' "alarmist language" is just what this city needs.

Raymond Conta