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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v8n27 (07/01/2009) » Section: Letters to Artvoice

Free Vendors

So the City of Buffalo charges more for vendors to sell their items downtown. Why is that? Do the vendors get something extra for the additional cost? Nope—same police protection, same fire protection. So just what purpose does licensing the vendors serve? Oh, right—we wouldn’t want just any riff-raff selling their goods downtown! If that is the case, then fine—force vendors to get a permit and to get permission before selling to the public, downtown or anywhere else in the city. But charging them hundreds of dollars is absurd! Buffalo should be encouraging businesses in the city, especially downtown! Even bicycle vendors of ice cream! Anything that draws people in! Charging such enormous fees only generates a self-perpetuating bureaucracy! Permits cost $300, so now we need people to collect the fees. Then we need a supervisor to watch the people who collect the fees. Then we need accountants to make sure all the fees are being collected and no permits are being given away. Then we need someone to report on the activities of the permit bureau to the Common Council and the mayor. Pretty soon we have 40 people in an agency which costs too much for a kid to be allowed to sell ice cream from a bicycle! Absurd!

The Cadillac Controversy

Bravo to Artvoice for exposing small-time corruption (The Cadillac Controversy, Artvoice v8n24). Neither the police commissioner, the lawyers’ bar association nor the judiciary were willing to hold a court staff attorney accountable for using his influence to break the New York State mechanics lien law with police assisatance. Only Artvoice had the courage to bring this story to light.

Fight for Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right, and our rights have been violated for long enough. President Obama stated in his weekly web address last month (Friday, June 5) that “The status quo is broken.” The profiteers have failed and the system is in shambles. The United States spends more on healthcare than any developed nation and in turn we have 46 million (15 percent of the population) without healthcare; 8.1 million are children. We need a renewed system, something that works and something that is a public, not-for-profit system.

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