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Press and Sun-Bulletin from Binghamton, New York • 8

Binghamton, New York
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VIEWPOINT wngress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The First Amendment to the Constitution Viewpoints Editor David Kubissa: 798-1327 I I PRESS I I Tuesday, January 12, 2010 8A Ifjc iVofc-ig3 a A I LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Italic I icrx Ncivs Journal www. anAyiarlett5.r.on First optimism, next action Paterson's words need implementation During his State of the State address last Wednesday, Gov. David Paterson acknowledged our current crisis as a "winter of reckoning" for our state. He added that the "years of living in the margins of our means" must come to an end.

For many here at the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, this is old news. For years, I have had the privilege of working with scores of concerned Imagining a Dodd-less Senate Longtime Connecticut lawmaker known for championing the underserved Public financing for elections Has anyone else noticed the recurring conservative theme that we should "vote all the bums out?" Never mind that if every Dem is replaced by a Republican, and vice versa, control of Congress and the White House would switch back to Republicans. Introducing new politicians into a corrupt system will only produce new, corrupt politicians. For all those who rightly feel that Washington is not representing the interests of the people, the No. 1 issue that people of both parties should be fighting for is public financing of our elections.

As it stands today, every politician must raise enormous amounts of cash from special interests if they have any hope of being elected. Money is not free speech, and corporations are not people. The fight won't be easy, but remember, you will be hard-pressed to find a Republican willing to support public financing. RICHARD G.NOLAN JOHNSON CITY Tobacco program working At a professional training that I conducted recently, I was asked, "What can we do to keep these kids off cigarettes?" I reported that New York state has made great strides in this area. In fact, the state Tobacco Control Program has used effective methods, proved effective by an independent external evaluatioa to reach the lowest tobacco use rates on record among youth and adults in 2008.

The bad news is we still have a long way to go. Statistics show that one in seven high school students is currently smoking, and there are still 25 million adult smokers in New York. With cuts to the Tobacco Control Program, the progress made is dramatically threatened. The cuts mean the current estimated 95 percent of state smokers who wish they never began smoking may not have the opportunity to receive help. Lives shouldn't be lost because of lack of funding.

CHRISTIE FINCH MAINE Agonizing drilling delays We see that New York City wants to limit the mineral rights of those people who live in the Catskills so that companies cannot drill for natural gas in that area. If New York City wants to limit those rights, it should pay for them, not steal them. In addition, the Department of Environmental Conservation's union representatives should be ashamed of themselves. They want another year to fix the sGEIS document They already had regulations controlling vertical drilling, and all they had to do was add special requirements for horizontal drilling. That was a year and a half ago, and now they want another year? ROBERT BRENNAN BARTON OPINION POLL The H1N1 virus swine flu has not been as serious, so far, as first expected.

Have you gotten the H1N1 vaccination yet? Go to the Viewpoints section at and cast your vote. WRITE TO US We welcome letters no longer than 150 words. Please include your name, address and a daytime telephone number. We edit for brevity, accuracy, clarity and grammar. Edited letters should address a single idea.

Writers are limited to one letter within 30 days. E-mail: Mail: co Press Sun-Bulletin, P.O. Box 1270, Binghamton, NY 13902-1270 l-'--- -A The Associated Press Christina Dodd rests her head on the shoulder of her dad, U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, after he announced that he will retire after his current term.

members of our business commu-nitywho have volunteered their time and energy to work for real change and reform of the budget process in Albany. These are the employers and job creators in our community who, LOU SANTONI Guest Viewpoint like their counterparts in other areas of the state, have had to continually adapt their businesses to whatever form of excessive spending, taxes and mandates came their way. And they continue to do so, despite the economic uncertainty of the year ahead. New York is at a crossroad this year as we face what will possibly be the most difficult budget process in recent history. This also comes during a year when all elected officials in the state are up for election.

It would be shameful to let an opportunity for change, such as this, to pass us by. Recently, several companies in the Greater Binghamton area have announced layoffs, and we saw hundreds of local residents attend our Project Homecoming Job Fair last month. Despite this, we still see the aggressive tactics of many lobbying groups whose aim is to protect the interests that unnecessary and antiquated mandates have made them feel entitled to. This all comes with the knowledge that the state is facing nearly a $10 billion budget deficit. Last month, the governor and members of the Legislature agreed upon a $2.7 billion Deficit Reduction Plan without the addition of new taxes and fees.

At the time, I applauded Gov. Paterson for addressing the issues that others before have not, and the chamber of commerce continues to support all legislation that has positive impacts for the taxpayers of our state. However, while I applaud the optimistic message from the governor's address, they must be more than mere words. In the months ahead, as leaders in Albany forge through a challenging budget process, I strongly encourage the participation of business coalitions from across the state. As outlined in his address, the governor's Four-Year Plan for Fiscal Recovery must include the recommendations of groups such as such as the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, economic development associations, and especially those from our coalition partner Unshackle Upstate.

The reasoned plan and common-sense approach from Unshackle has earned not only the attention and respect from leaders in Albany, but from thousands of frustrated taxpayers in New As Unshackle Upstate releases its 2010 policy recommendations this month, I encourage all lawmakers to use it as a model for a budget that finally brings the change that New York needs. Lou Santoni is president and CEO of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. THE EDITORIAL BOARD SHERMAN M. BODNER, President and Publisher CALVIN J. STOVALL, Executive Editor DAVID KUBISSA, Viewpoints Editor The editorial policies of the Press Sun-Bulletin, a member of the Gannett Group, are established by the editorial board above.

WASHINGTON During the last three decades that I have been covering politics in Washington, there was never a time when I could not reach Chris Dodd to check what was happening. It didn't matter whether the question was about a House race in Connecticut or someone's presidential chances or the prospects of a big bill in the Senate, the answers al- ways came back straight, quick and informative. In all that time. I don't re -it call ever doing a favor for Dodd. I never wrote a i i ri story that flat- DAVID teredhim.1 BRODER never imagined that I had a Commentary closer relationship with him than any of my reporter friends and competitors.

As far as I can judge, my relationship with Sea Dodd was no different than that of any other reporter except maybe for its length. So I concluded that my experience with him was simply an aspect of Dodd's character, a willingness to deal straight up with people and their requests and a trust easily extended unless abused. Obviously, a politician of that character is very appealing to reporters, so I counted myself an admirer of Dodd. But what mattered more to me was what I saw of him on the floor of the Senate. Whenever I was up there and a vote was pending, Dodd would be buzzing around the Democratic side (and sometimes the Republican side as well) checking their intentions.

Many senators are into the game, but few with the passion or intensity that Dodd brings to almost every debate in which he engages. I think this intensity came from his background, as a meat-and-potatoes, blue-collar Democrat whose loyalties ran strongly toward the working men and women he represented and their unions. Like his friend Ted Kennedy, Dodd enjoyed good TODAY IN HISTORY Today is Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. On this date: In 1910, at a White House dinner hosted by President William Howard Taft, Baroness Rosen, the wife of the Russian D00NESBURY -A Was this retirement necessary? Republicans (and some outside observers) claim that Dodd would certainly have been defeated had he run for another term in November.

I am not so certain of that. A former Republican state chairman in Connecticut long ago told me that he thought Dodd was the best politician, hands down, in the country. He might have found a way to pull it out But with Richard Blumenthal, the former Washington Post reporter who has been waiting for years as attorney general of Connecticut for a chance to run for the Senate, some Democrats are relieved at Dodd's decisioa What I know is that the Senate will be a poorer place, in both human and political terms, without Chris Dodd in its membership. E-mail: In 1915, the U.S.

House of Representatives rejected, 204-174, a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. whiskey and the company of pretty women, but his uptown tastes never compromised his allegiance to the working-stiffs' Democratic Party in which he was raised. His causes were the simplest He could never justify to himself why, in this wealthy country, we should allow children to get sick or die because their families could not afford to buy health insurance So he went back to the Senate floor, time after time, year after year, asking his colleagues to bring more children under the government-subsidized programs shaming them into doing it or employing whatever rhetorical tactics he needed. When Dodd speaks, other senators listen. He has the gift of gab, and he has polished it in his many years on Capitol HilL That is what will be missed most when he retires at the end of this year.

ambassador, caused a stir by requesting and smoking a cigarette it was, apparently, the first time a woman had smoked openly during a public function in the executive mansioa 60TTABE taf 7n i.c, AtHATMAPbI 1 A T-T-TIME! NO SeNSe. I U-M-MAYBB PONT RUSH rmthf fc'I "BH "i Hp HIM. 1.

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