Weekly Feature



2018-10-17 / Letters to the Editor

Senior Center should accept public comments

In the Oct. 10 edition of The Clarence Bee, there was a very informative article regarding the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing “openness” in town governments and boards including public participation at meetings.

I am a BNCOG board member and was recently honored for helping to pursue public participation at Clarence town meetings and the Senior Center. During my award acceptance,

I had the opportunity to address public participation on agenda items during board meetings at the town and Senior Center.

Earlier this year the town removed from its agenda “Public Participation on Agenda Items” but would allow the public to speak should there be an interest expressed during the meeting. The problem was that the public was unaware they could speak.

The Senior Center board, appointed by the Town Board, changed its rules, dismissing all public speaking, accepting only written statements at their board meetings that would be subject to review and discretionary response.

These concerns were brought to the attention of Paul Wolf, president of the BNCOG, who in turn addressed them with the Clarence Town Board and Senior Center. This resulted with the town reinstating “Public Participation” on meeting agendas for public awareness.

The Senior Center Board, however, continues to refuse to allow any public comments at meetings.

I, and my husband Larry, at a Town Board meeting, extended appreciation to the town for recognizing the importance of open public participation at board meetings.

The town needs to hold the Senior Center board to the same standards as the town for the “good of public openness.”

Janet Vito
Bonview Terrace
Williamsville

Collins’ Planned Parenthood vote a welcome one

As a former board member of my local Planned Parenthood, I have long been aware of how vital federal funding is to perpetuating Planned Parenthood’s mission of providing reproductive health care, including abortion services, to women and girls, especially those in challenging socioeconomic circumstances.

Rep. Collins’ votes, along with those of his colleagues in Congress, to include Title X family planning funds in the annual federal budget, have assured that hundreds of millions of dollars of government support continue to sustain Planned Parenthood’s important work.

A vote for a federal budget that includes Title X is a vote to fund Planned Parenthood. The decision to fund Planned Parenthood every year comes after formulation of the budget, which, since Rep. Collins took office, has been within the purview of the Republican majority of the House. Since the funding was included and then voted through, that actually gave Mr. Collins and his Republican colleagues two chances to kill funding for Planned Parenthood, which they opted not to do.

It’s understandable that Mr. Collins, by means of his rhetoric and votes on specific “fetal pain” bills and other such anti-abortion measures, seeks to respond to the pro-life sensibilities of his conservatively leaning district. Fortunately, however, the specter of legions of women being deprived of necessary reproductive health care appears to have informed his budgetary deliberations. And for that, women and their families owe the congressman their gratitude.

James Hufnagel
Ontario Street
Wilson, New York

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