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It's his party and he'll change if he wants to

   Amherst Town Supervisor Satish Mohan presented himself as a proud, independent Republican when he ran for office two years ago. In one speech, he said, “The Republican Party stands for less government, less taxes, more business and more jobs. My agenda is all about these Republican values.”

   Well, Mohan may still believe in many of these same values, but he won’t be espousing them as a Republican anymore. He confirmed Tuesday that he intends to join the Democratic Party because the Democrats are more likely to represent the interests of the broader public. He also said his change of political stripes won’t change what he stands for, but he hopes it will enable him to finally accomplish the agenda he set out to achieve when he was elected to office.

   Whether this change will truly help him, or only hurt him, remains to be seen.

  --- Sandra Tan

Retired, but not retiring

   Marty Powers has succeeded in many things, except one.

   "He's a complete and total failure as a retiree," said his wife Pat.

   That's why he keeps getting on airplanes to do computer consulting work for pharmaceutical companies. "They have more money than God," he explained. If not for that work, fighting to keep his Harris Hill neighborhood a place where anyone would want to live would probably keep him even busier.

   Regardless of whether you agree with his causes, there's something inspirational about a man who has earned the right to sit on the sidelines who chooses instead to fight for what he believes in.

  --- Bruce Andriatch


Bus me mucho

   I jokingly wrote a few months back that you know you're a suburbanite if you have never set foot on a Metro Bus.

   But obviously some suburban residents take the bus. I'm one of them, although it's usually when my car is not available. I find the bus to be not only convenient and clean and reliable, but almost absurdly cheap given the current cost of driving.

   What would it take to get you to give up your commute and take the bus instead? And if you already do take it, do you like it or wish you could afford to drive yourself?

   --- Bruce Andriatch

This blog is rated PG-13

   Sex is a protected form of speech - sort of.

   Adult video and book stores, shops selling sex toys, and even strip clubs enjoy protections under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

   When Amherst town officials tried to relegate sex-themed stores to an industrial part of town years ago, they were told their zoning laws were unconstitutional. Now, Town Board members are left to struggle with a new law that would permit such establishments to locate in areas zoned for general business.

   The new zoning codes now under consideration are likely to a political hot potato for board members sensitive to the public pressure to keep such businesses from setting up shop.

  --- Sandra Tan

Forever farmland

   There's no question they're serious about farmland preservation in Marilla. It now has 773 acres in permanent easements that can never be anything but farmland.

   The process has been largely grant-funded, but the town has still had to pay 25 to 35 percent of the cost for making sure the hay and corn fields don't turn into mini-mansions. The latest acquisition cost $180,000, plus processing costs. That means it cost the town somewhere over $50,000.

   In Marilla, voters have continued to re-elect the officials who have approved spending that money.

   The question is: How willing are you to spend your tax dollars to assure that the farm down the road won't turn into a housing tract down the road?

  --- Elmer Ploetz

Wal-Mart Yes ... or No

    It seems like every time a Wal-Mart is proposed, there's an outcry and a group is organized to oppose it.

   Then Wal-Mart claims it has the support of the silent majority.

   Then "Yes Wal-Mart" signs pop up.

   That's certainly the case in Evans, where a Wal-Mart has been proposed for the site of the Grandview Drive-In.

   So here's the pop quiz of the day: Do you think your town has a silent majority that would support having the retailing giant land on your back 40.

   --- Elmer Ploetz

Change in the air

   The neighborhood is changing. 

   If you ever hear that, ask "How is it changing?" and you'll likely get a response like, "Changing. You know. Changing."
   What they're probably not saying is, "What has changed is that black people live here."
   You don't need me to tell you that Buffalo's suburbs are in the midst of a demographic shift - as are suburban communities across the United States - and it's not just an increase in the number of African-American residents. There are more Hispanic people and more Asian-Americans. Diversity has found suburbia.
   But with that change comes fear, as local police agencies have seen. In the past, that fear - in part, anyway - led to flight from the cities and into the suburbs. The question is: Will something similar happen again? Or is it already happening?
  --- Bruce Andriatch

Looking for Depew

   There is no move afoot in Depew to ban the book "Looking for Alaska," but the 2006 novel has stirred up a bit of controversy in the school district.

   Parents were asked to sign a permission slip to allow their 11th-grade students to read it, because the book includes some sexual content. (Predictably, some of the kids signed their parent's name on the slip.) At a meeting last month when the topic came up, one parent called the book "pornographic."

   Word apparently got back to John Green who issued his response the 21st century way: on YouTube.

   The board dealt with the issue again Tuesday night.

   Did Depew handle this correctly by seeking parental permission? Or should the district not allow students to read any novel that includes sexually explicit material?

   --- Bruce Andriatch