Weekly Feature

2007-10-17 / Letters to the Editor


Gossip is running rampant in schools

Last fall my 11-year-old daughter started middle school after six years of bliss in elementary school. Halloween came early that year and with a vengeance as all the little monsters of the school emerged. The very first week of school the viscous gossip began. Superficial labels became the new trend. Clothing labels, appearance labels, color labels, body size labels, learning ability labels, the list goes on...

Instant messaging on the Internet assisted and expedited this network of venom spitting. I am disgusted and appalled. Where did this come from? Perhaps at home? If you gossip and speak bad of other people, your children will do the same. If you label people, guess what? They will too. Your obligation as a parent is to drill the "golden rule" into each of your children's heads. You must teach your children to be kind, compassionate and empathetic or you will do them a grave injustice. Teach them beauty comes from within not how you look.

If children alienate others that don't fit the looks, clothes, color, learning ability and body type mold they will miss out on the wonderful diversity of this world. If children think they are superior to others, I truly feel sorry for them because they will live a very lonely, unhappy life. So parents, get your kids off their high horses and teach them kindness and humility or this group of little monsters could spread this disease of hatred, intolerance and evil until there is no turning back.

Jackie Bucklaew Amherst Letter falsely

accuses Weinstein

As a long time Amherst voter, I felt I had to respond to the letter written by the three Democratic candidates for Town Board. Their letter has several erroneous and false statements about Dr. Barry Weinstein's voting record which is available to check on the Web. It appears Dr. Weinstein did vote (for) County Executive Joel Giambra's first four budgets. At that time there was a very large surplus that strongly exceeded the required fund balance. It was appropriate to use some of those funds (the taxpayers' money) to lower property tax. The error was in not cutting expenditures simultaneously. When the surplus funds reached an unsafe fiscal level and there were no correlating cuts, Dr. Weinstein did not vote for another Giambra budget. Dr. Weinstein never introduced legislation "within days of Joel Giambra being elected" that encouraged raiding the fund balance.

These are some of the pieces of legislation Dr. Weinstein did introduce: no raises for sitting elected officials, opposed Giambra's "money grab" of selling Erie County Medical Center to itself, reducing the size of the legislature (twice), reducing the salary of the Erie County legislators, opposed the parks closing, supported the veterans, supported open meetings and the list goes on. Also remember that Dr. Weinstein never voted for a tax increase and he vehemently opposed the increased sales tax, insisting that they cut first during the red budget/green budget fiasco. He was Joel's most vocal critic. In fact, it has been the Democratically controlled legislature for the last three years that has passed Joel's budget.

Having three candidates sign a letter against another candidate reeks of political collusion. So here's my question: if Foladare, Schad and Manna can't do basic fact checking from information readily available on the Internet, how can you trust them to make decisions for the whole town of Amherst?

Margaret Dolan


Green space bond should be approved

The wealthy land speculators, developers and builders are actively opposing the green space bond to be voted on in Amherst on Nov. 6. Opponents are trying to make you believe that Amherst would be immediately paying interest on $13 million to finance purchase of developable flood-plain land, and bringing construction to a halt. This is not the case.

The bond issue is similar to getting a line of credit on your home. A pool of cash can be used for emergencies or to take advantage of an unexpected investment opportunity, or to buy a car at reasonable interest rates.

Amherst could get ideas from Clarence, where land is being protected by a similar bond. One method is to buy development rights, so the land can be used only for agriculture, golf, a dog park, nature preserve or similar type uses. Green space money could also be used to fill some gaps at Amherst State Park and Nature View, or pedestrian routes in accordance with the master plan. At any rate, the money could not be spent frivolously since the Town Board would have to approve each use case by case.

Robert J. Collins


New traffic headaches

Attention all drivers in the Sheridan Drive corridor between Eggert and Harlem roads. New traffic headaches and delays await your commute if the proposed 24-hour Wal-Mart Super Center is built at Sheridan Drive and Bailey Avenue.

All roads around this area will be greatly affected too. A new traffic signal would be installed at Sheridan Drive and Augusta Avenue with a left turn lane just two short blocks from Bailey Avenue and one block from Sweet Home Road. All Wal-Mart trucks will use this entrance/exit.

Think of the Transit Road Wal-Mart and impose the traffic count onto the proposed site. Recall the heavy rush-hour, weekend and holiday traffic jams that already exist and compound the problems.

Consider the residents trying to exit and enter their driveways, often taking five minutes or more to back out, and usually at a perilous risk. Even then, residents are forced to go around the block just to get out.

Now consider the Hartford Estates residents, who have only three exits out of their development - two on Hartford Avenue and one onto Sweet Home Road. Good luck making left-hand turns anywhere around the area if there isn't a signal or 4-way stop sign.

Emergency vehicles and personnel will be at increased risk with increased response time due to increased traffic.

This neighborhood is mainly residential, not commercial. Clearly, our area can't support increased traffic.

Benderson claims hardship. Other commercial options are certainly more desirable and have fewer ramifications.

Wal-Mart proposes a traffic study six months after it's built. By then, the damage is already done and expensive tax-payer remedial actions required. By then, the quality of life for residents will have been undermined.

Realistically, increased traffic, noise, pollution, crime, depreciated home values and the possibility of existing stores put out of business will be our lot.

Nancy Mellenger

North Bailey resident

Water main breaks happening to often

On Sept. 25 there was yet another water main break in the stretch of Hopkins between Dodge and North French. This makes approximately six water main breaks in about as many years. Repeatedly the Erie County Water Authority has been called to patch our broken infrastructure. The estimated waster loss is approximately 2 to 5 million gallons over this time period. It was the equivalent of emptying "the big blue water tower."

Our properties have suffered, our landscaping has suffered, our vehicles have suffered and still we have no relief from the Town of Amherst who should be addressing the issue of aging pipe lines. Why do they keep repairing the pipes at the taxpayer's expense only to repeat the process a year later? Why does the Town of Amherst Engineering Department continue to ignore this issue despite, photos, letters and even petitions?

We are pleading with our new supervisor (an engineer himself) to make this a top priority for replacement. Not only is there damage to the resident's properties but there are several safety issues involved. When this has happened in the winter, there is a greatly increased risk for auto accidents due to the ice layer on the pavement. Additionally and most importantly, our proximity to North High School/Casey Middle and the children who walk down Hopkins are at great risk of a pedestrian incident when they are forced into the roadway to avoid thousands of gallons of water.

It is our sincere hope that this issue is addressed in the Town of Amherst's budget for the coming year and that we are not put off for another year. Our property taxes are very high and a timely response and permanent solution should be made for us forthwith.

Residents on

Hopkins Road


(Editor's note: this letter was submitted by Virginia Webber on behalf of her neighbors.)

Current healthcare plan shouldn't pass

As a life long educator, I have a deep concern and true love for everyone's children, and they are the first priority in my life. This hoopla and the inaccurate ads targeting Rep. Thomas Reynolds unfairly about a health bill is not about Bush and Pelosi, nor is it about children. It is about a poorly written bill that wastes taxpayers dollars and does not get to help the low income poor children. Obviously, a large group of vocal protestors do not fully understand the pitfalls of a the bill that would enable illegal citizens to increase our taxes to pay for health care of people who are breaking our laws.

The immigration problem needs to be solved. Making laws to entice more illegal immigrants here is not the way to go. First, Gov. Eliott Spitzer says illegal immigrants should have driver's licenses and now Democrats in Congress are trying to give them government sponsored healthcare. In New York every child is covered with Medicaid and the Child Health Care Plus program, as long as their guardians enroll them.

I am most happy that Republicans in Congress are standing up for Americans, recognize the consequences of their votes and reject wasteful spending to help those who disrespect and violate the laws of our country.

Repeatedly I read of bills being written by Democrats that expand all sorts of benefits to illegal aliens. The latest is this health insurance for children program. If illegal immigrants only have to show a social security number to get health insurance, then almost every illegal immigrant in this country will qualify. What ever happened to helping law-abiding citizens called Americans? Thank God the Republicans hold out for a program that truly protects children and helps their parents and taxpayers alike.

Dr. Marian M. Gray

East Spring Street


Use savings before raising taxes

As a taxpayer in the Town of Amherst I have been following the articles on the budget.

I'm a firm believer in budget and live on one. When my expenses exceed my income I have to go to my savings to pay my bills.

The board members (some) want to keep the savings, which really is ours, intact while some of us must take some more of our personal savings to pay out taxes.

I'm not against the Town having a cushion in their budget but department heads putting in requests exceeding actual projected expenses leads to overspending and poor management.

Elected officials seem to forget that they are elected as money managers of our money. It's time they learned how to really project a budget.

Carolyn Schlifke

Evans Street

Same old, same old seen in campaign

I had no input on the Town of Amherst's budget proposal for 2008. The letter signed by my Democratic opponents was a fine example of what I am campaigning against. Amherst doesn't need more negative sniping and blaming; it needs problem solvers. Clearly with my opponents, it would be business as usual.

Dr. Barry Weinstein

Culpepper Road


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