People’s column

Credit student

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As a high school student newspaper adviser for many years, I have always appreciated the support of our local paper, the OBSERVER, and its editor, John D’Agostino. Stories about student awards and conferences, as well as assistance with student press events helped build our programs. Therefore, I was stunned to read the front page story in the Jan. 10 issue.

In the story, which attempted to cover the Fredonia Village Board meeting, the article noted: “Ray Dai, a teen who said he was a reporter for the Spectator, the Fredonia High School newspaper, put down his camera and dropped any pretense of journalistic detachment to weigh in.”

Stafford then quoted Dai: “Building consensus is crucial during this time.”

This award-winning student has spent hours interviewing and researching for a story about the water issue. He has not formed an opinion, since he is still in the information gathering process. He spoke as a student, not on his story topic, but as a young man who would like to see adults put aside their divisions, a relevant message in this divided world. In no way does this statement show a conflict of interest or bias.

This was certainly more objective than the article, complete with the use of alliteration. “Muttered mumblings” of those who “paraded to the podium to pontificate.” This is not factual reporting; it is a blatant lack of respect, sensitivity and awareness of the importance of this issue.

And finally, the article noted, “The final speaker, directly after Dai, was apparently the most influential one.” Really? Says who? I suspect there are many who question her role and her threats.

It is disappointing that our only local newspaper failed to set higher standards.

An apology to Ray Dai would be appropriate, as well as applause for his commitment to local issues.



The real costs

with wind, solar


A solar- and wind-only energy future conveniently leaves out the crucial details of cost – costs that will ultimately do more harm than good. Those are estimated at $250 billion in taxpayer money plus the increases in electricity cost to the consumer.

There’s a cost to the environment as well. Because to get 85 gigawatt power capacity of wind, you’d need wind turbines covering about 12,000 square miles. About the size of the entire state of Maryland. I’m sure it is not that good for the environment.

There’s an overwhelming cost of supplies. To build a 100 megawatt wind farm, you need 30,000 tons of iron ore, 50,000 tons of concrete, 900 tons of non-recyclable plastics. Multiply that by 850 to get to the 850 gigawatts needed and you get 25 million tons of iron ore, which means doubling the mining at our five largest iron ore mines in America. It’s also 52 million tons of concrete, and that’s enough concrete for 3 million new homes and that would drive economic benefit for the whole country. And of course, it’s 765,000 tons of plastic, which requires a drastic increase in oil and gas production.

And finally, it reduces property values by 7% to 12%. The cost to everyday Americans wallets. It will kill wildlife like the bald eagle and hurt agriculture production.

I’m not against wind and solar. I’m not against using our natural resources to get ourselves energy. I’m just against spending $250-plus billion subsidizing the unreliable sources of energy just to get 10% of our total production.

The piece is too steep, and there are more sensible, reliable solutions that reduce emissions while providing reliable energy.

Throughout history, energy has been about getting more energy with less resources by utilizing energy dense materials. More energy for less cost, more energy with fewer air pollutants.



Tax levy tells more

realistic story


The 2024 Chautauqua County budget was passed by the County Legislature along party lines with much GOP back slapping.

County Executive PJ Wendel trumpeted the lowest tax rate in 40 years!

The Post-Journal and OBSERVER reported, “But even with the lower rate, the spending plan has a tax levy of $71,528,027, up from this year’s levy of $69,681,835. The levy is the amount collected by taxes.”

Any thinking person might ask how is it possible to have the lowest tax rate in 40 years while the dollars collected by Wendel’s county government rakes in two million extra from those same taxpayers?

We received the first answer recently when Jamestown Mayor-elect Kim Ecklund questioned why Jamestown taxpayers would be seeing a county tax increase in 2024.

Wendel revealed the second answer when he pointed out that any county town or city (like Jamestown) that has failed to reassess property may or will also see a county tax increase.

The third answer is the county is depending on reassessments by town and city property assessors for Wendel’s backdoor way to raise taxes by increasing the government appraised value of the property taxpayers own. (Or to depend on new builds, which have slowed to a crawl in the county.)

When Wendel was trumpeting the historic 2024 tax rate cut while the GOP approved budget was collecting $2 million more from county property taxpayers, he was being personally dishonest or did not understand how the levying of taxes works.

The sad bottom line, if you own the same house and you pay more in taxes in 2024 then you did in 2023, your taxes obviously went up.




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