Some are abusing ‘assistance’ in state

By PETER PETT

This letter is to comment on two recent articles in the OBSERVER. The first one appeared on the front page of the OBSERVER (Jan. 28) where the state wants to change the name of food stamps to SNAP.

I do not understand why we need to bring somebody – namely Brooke Barone – into the county to get people to sign up for food stamps. She says “It is not welfare or public assistance.”

I beg to differ with her. As long as you are using tax dollars it is public assistance. Ms. Barone states that they want to eliminate the stigma of being on food stamps and to remove the possible embarrassment to some people. Well maybe some of these people should be embarrassed.

I do not think anyone begrudges helping a senior or a person who is down on his luck or who lost his job. What I think is the average citizen is sick and tired of the people and families that receive benefits for years or generations.

I think Ms. Barone and Social Services are enablers. They need clients, without them they could be out of a job.

Just like the welfare to work program with a new better success rate at 17 percent. If this is the best you can do, you must not really be trying or you are incompetent. Ms. Barone calls the new SNAP program an entitlement. Like the gentleman said the other day, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig and this is still welfare.

My second comment is concerning the proposed new $80 surcharge on traffic tickets by Governor Cuomo. He is bragging, saying no new taxes in his budget. Again the pig. A surcharge is a tax.

A suggestion to Mr. Cuomo to get new money – stop having Social Services paying the fines or surcharge for clients that receive traffic tickets. Maybe the average citizen is not aware but our Social Services Department has written checks to at least five different village and town courts for clients.

I have a copy of a canceled check signed by our Social Services commissioner Christine Schuyler to prove it. When she or our state representatives were contacted and asked what was going on here I have never received a straight answer.

When Sen. Catharine Young’s office was contacted, an assistant stated that clients can spend their money any way they want. This was the closest I got to a real answer.

I think it is taxpayers’ money and I do not think we should be paying their fines or surcharges for tickets they have received. This is not what public assistance was set up for. Believe it or not, one of the incidents was for a criminal case in the town of Portland. I am not sure if this is even legal.

I am requesting a public response by Ms. Schuyler, or county or state representatives. If I am wrong about this I will be happy to apologize. I urge people to contact their representatives and tell them that we are fed up with our tax dollars being spent this way.

Peter Pett is a Fredonia resident.