Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

A sampling of editorials from around New York

Associated Press Updated: February 25, 2015 at 9:47 am
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo News on changes to the parkway along the Niagara Gorge.

Feb. 25

The unmasking of the beautiful vista along the Niagara Gorge is finally starting to take shape as solid concepts emerge on how to replace a 2-mile stretch of the Robert Moses Parkway that now blocks easy access to the gorge.

Ideas are now on paper and open for public comment, but in the end moving forward will come down to money — millions of dollars. Fortunately, the New York Power Authority has provided planning money and promises to be a "willing partner" on the gorge corridor project.

The various concepts were on display at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls recently. The project will right a half-century wrong by reuniting the city with one of its natural assets, the river. When finished, traffic that now uses the parkway will be shifted to a redesigned and rebuilt Whirlpool Street.

With the four lanes of concrete gone, planners will have a strip of public land along the edge of the gorge stretching back about 135 feet. There will be room for scenic overlooks, trails, greenspace and other uses still to be determined. Documents on the project are posted under "Robert Moses Parkway — North Segment" on the parks website, nysparks.com/inside-our-agency/public-documents.aspx

It won't be cheap and will require resources from various levels of governments, but, primarily, the Niagara Power Authority.

NYPA should bear the burden for removing the parkway since, as Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., said, "it was responsible for its creation." Funding has to be in place before the Federal Highway Administration will give the go-ahead for construction, according to Higgins.

Authority officials issued a promising statement, pointing out that it has committed up to $2 million for an engineering and environmental review for this section of the parkway. Once the review is completed, the Power Authority pledged to continue to work with other federal, state and local stakeholders on the next step in the process.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has directed part of the Buffalo Billion to the project of reconfiguring the southern end of the parkway, along the upper Niagara River. That multimillion-dollar project, to create a "riverway" in place of the parkway, will enhance access to the waterfront and to Niagara Falls State Park.

Work that has begun on the southern portion of the parkway will work wonders. The parkway's intrusive embankment at John B. Daly Boulevard will be removed, opening up a vista of trees, the river and Canada beyond. It has been decades since residents have been able to enjoy this sight. And remember, this is a city that owes its existence to the river.

Robert Moses Parkway North, along the Niagara River gorge starting north of the Rainbow Bridge, is an incredibly beautiful, scenic area that is directly adjacent to residential neighborhoods. Yet there are people living there who don't even know what the view is at the end of their own street. For decades they haven't been able to get to the river's edge.

Power Authority officials seem to understand that the parkway's legacy is their responsibility to fix, but they should also understand that this is an opportunity to be a hero by helping reshape the community as a visitor-friendly destination.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1DTyqc5

The Post-Standard of Syracuse on the governor's proposal for official notices for votes on constitutional amendments.

Feb. 24

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to stop placing official notices about votes on constitutional amendments in the newspaper is a bad idea on multiple levels.

At a time when voters are calling for more government transparency, Cuomo's proposal to place notices on a website makes it more difficult for some people to find out about proposed changes to the state's constitution.

Constitutional amendments are hardly trivial matters; they can make sweeping changes to the functioning of government. Voters decided three amendments in 2014, including one changing the way legislative districts are drawn and another authorizing a $2 billion borrowing for schools. Six constitutional amendments were on the ballot in 2013, including one allowing casino gambling in the state.

Cuomo proposes the state Board of Elections post the information for a minimum of three days in the week preceding the election. That's hardly enough time for voters to understand amendments before they are voted upon. The Secretary of State would be required to post amendments on the web for at least three days a month in the three months preceding the election. That's absurd. Once the information is on the website, why not just leave it there?

Here's another problem: Not everyone has access to a computer or an Internet connection, as the governor himself has pointed out. And how many voters are going to randomly scroll through state websites looking for constitutional changes?

Eliminating publication of proposed constitutional amendments in newspapers would save the state $342,000 out of a proposed $141.6 million budget. Divide the cost of placing official notices in the state's newspapers by its approximately 10 million voters and it equals about three pennies each, according to the New York News Publishers Association.

The state should continue placing official notices in newspapers and publish them on its websites. It's a small expense to make sure every voter has access to the information.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1DpjzEZ

The New York Daily News on congressional Republicans and immigration.

Feb. 24

At a time when terrorists call for attacks on U.S. shopping malls, congressional Republicans are plunging ahead with plans to kill the budget for the Department of Homeland Security on Friday.

Madly irresponsible, the GOP firebrands threaten to stop paychecks for 230,000 workers in hope of forcing Democrats to join them in repealing President Obama's order relieving 5 million undocumented immigrants of the fear of deportation.

The Democrats will never go along. In fact, they would be only too happy to watch the Republicans shut down even part of a vital agency as an early show of how they intend to govern while firmly in charge of both the House and Senate.

Posturing as if he stands on the high ground, the President Monday called on Congress to leave behind "manufactured crises," saying, "We can't afford to play politics with our national security."

In fact, he helped manufacture this crisis.

When the President issued his unilateral executive order on immigration, we said he was "doing a very good thing" for the undocumented, but that he had done so in a way with potentially terrible consequences for full immigration reform and a productive relationship with Congress.

Rather than try to engage with Republicans on even piecemeal immigration improvements before acting unilaterally, Obama infuriated Republicans out of the gate for short-term political gain.

All too predictably, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the President from helping the undocumented pending further court proceedings. So, the people Obama vowed to help are getting none of the benefits for his go-it-alone approach while Americans at large face a Homeland Security debacle courtesy of the anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party.

An agency shutdown would force the furlough of roughly 30,000 workers, while 200,000 would be ordered to report for duty without getting their biweekly checks.

Wiser Republican heads must prevail, if only to save the party from replaying the political disasters of government closures in 1995 and 2013. The damage to the GOP brand would be all the greater considering the courts have already blocked the plan they say they are protesting.

However unwisely Obama played it, the Republicans must shut down the shutdown.

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Online:

http://nydn.us/1LCWIYw

The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh on Rudy Giuliani's recent comments on President Barack Obama.

Feb. 24

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says he believes President Obama is symptomatic of what's wrong with our country.

We think that, actually, Giuliani is what's wrong.

He said in a speech last week that he doesn't believe Obama loves America.

"He doesn't love you. He doesn't love me," Guiliani said. "He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up: to love this country."

Critics around the world accused the former mayor of making racist remarks.

"I said it maybe 30 times before, but somehow this time it hit a nerve, maybe because the president is on such defense for his unwillingness to face Islamic terrorism," Giuliani told a radio interviewer over the weekend.

"We need an American president more like Ronald Reagan, who gave us a sense of optimism," said Giuliani. "There's something about his unwillingness to talk about Islamic extremist Muslims that is not only wrong, it is becoming very dangerous."

There is nothing wrong with one politician criticizing the policies or the beliefs of another. Obviously, that kind of give and take is the bedrock of our political system.

But criticism ought to be based on actual feelings or statements provably attributed to the person coming under fire.

To say any president of the United States doesn't love America merely widens the abyss of understanding between the two parties undeservedly. It drives a wedge deeper into the fabric of our nation at a time when we could use more solidarity.

It's this kind of irresponsible opinion sharing that has Americans frustrated with Washington politics. Nothing positive gets done because no one is willing to compromise, and no one is willing to compromise because either side is apt to utter such preposterous statements as the president doesn't love America.

Would anyone subject himself to the non-stop criticism that comes with the president's post if he didn't love his country? Argue over the details of that image, but don't heighten hostilities by claiming the chief executive does not care about the United States.

For several days, Americans debated whether President Obama loves America rather than trying to agree on ways to improve our prospects for peace or reaching accord on genuine threats to our security.

We should be finding ways to stop ISIS, not fighting among ourselves over whether Obama loves America.

We know Republicans and Democrats disagree over how America should be governed. Let's accept that fact of life and try to overcome the roadblocks it presents.

But let's not waste time arguing over whether this president — or any president — loves his country.

All that does is deepen the divide and distract us from the real business at hand.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1vyGhdG

Newsday on efforts to streamline federal agencies responsible for protecting the nation's food supply.

Feb. 22

There is no crisis right now in the American food supply. There are no headlines warning about deadly food-borne illnesses or massive product recalls. In fact, the dozen or so federal agencies responsible for ensuring our food is safe do a pretty good job.

This quiet, drama-free moment is a good time for federal officials to dispassionately consider how to make the splintered system even better. That's what President Barack Obama and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are prodding Congress to do.

In the 2016 budget Obama submitted to Congress this month, he proposed consolidating all the agencies with a role in food safety into one agency. Gillibrand has introduced legislation with the same objective.

The cornucopia of agencies splitting authority over inspections, enforcement and recalls is classic Washington. It's a bureaucratic tangle that defies logic, invites duplication and leads to overregulation.

For example, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for the safety of whole eggs in their shells. But the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service inspects whole eggs for appearance, condition of the shell and grading. And the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service oversees processed egg products.

A cheese pizza and its ingredients are regulated by the FDA. Add pepperoni and the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service gets involved because it regulates open-faced meat or poultry sandwiches. But closed-faced meat or poultry sandwiches are inspected by the FDA. Go figure.

This fractured system developed over time as Congress layered on laws to address specific concerns. Against all odds it has helped ensure that Americans don't have to worry too much about what they eat. Still, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year of food-borne diseases.

The consolidation of all critical responsibilities under one bureaucratic roof would make our food safety system better, more efficient and, by reducing duplication, might even save a few taxpayer dollars.

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Online:

http://nwsdy.li/1Dpnvp6

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