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Everybody's Column

Johnstone has given UB far more than he has taken

I am writing in response to the Jan. 29 News article on University at Buffalo administrators' salaries. While I don't disagree in principle with the notion of examining salaries of former administrators, the article neglected to discuss an important dimension of this practice.

As a Ph.D. student in the comparative education program at UB, I study under Dr. Bruce Johnstone, and am a member of his International and Comparative Higher Education Finance and Accessibility Project. This is a multiyear project funded by the Ford Foundation that was granted an extension last year. Through the project, Johnstone has brought in close to $1 million in grant monies to UB since 2000.

In order to truly measure the value of former administrators to the university, I suggest that The News look into their grant-making capabilities as faculty.

Aside from the fact that Johnstone is one of the best professors and one of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege to know, he has also most certainly "earned his keep" as a former administrator-turned-faculty member. I speak for many students in the department when I say that he will be sorely missed upon his retirement this spring, and that we wouldn't reallocate a single penny that UB has spent on Johnstone. He's given much more than he's taken.

Rachel Fix

President, UB Educational Leadership and Policy Graduate Student Association


Liberal media downplayed Clinton's racist remarks

I found it curious that it took three days to find a story in The News concerning the racist remarks made by Sen. Hillary Clinton. During a speech on Martin Luther King's birthday, to an African-American audience, she said the House of Representatives has been run like a "plantation." On that same day, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin called for the city to be rebuilt as a "chocolate city."

When The News finally acknowledged Clinton's statements, the story (on page A4, Jan. 19) included how Democratic Sen. Barack Obama defended Clinton. What it failed to report was Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a Republican and African-American, publicly stated he was offended by Clinton's comments. Furthermore, the story failed to report if there was any reaction from the NAACP or other black leaders.

Even more astonishing was the next article to appear in The News regarding Clinton's racist remarks. It appeared on the front page with the headline, "Hillary Clinton is talking tough."

When outrageous statements are made by Democrats, the liberal media tend to downplay them. If a Republican had made those same statements, the media would be calling for an apology, as well as his resignation. The liberal media can learn from the slogan "fair and balanced" reporting.

Tom Camizzi

Orchard Park


It's time for American workers to take a stand

I heard in the media that it has been determined that Jan. 24 is the most depressing day of the year for many people. Don't tell that to several of my co-workers at the Ford plant in Hamburg. On Jan. 25, they were among the first to be "escorted" out and told their services were no longer needed. What did they do to deserve this? They made the mistake of taking a non-union represented position in a company that is struggling to survive in today's world economy. Among the victims are one man who needs less than a year to qualify for his 30-year pension and another whose wife is six months pregnant and was ready to close on a house.

Wake up, America. This could be you, your family member or a friend. We all have to start realizing the importance of buying American-made products. Government is not going to protect our futures. We need to do that ourselves. Union strength and power are the only protections we have from being escorted out the door. It is time for the people of this country to start supporting our own. The longer we wait, the harder the fight will be. We need to put an end to the export of our good jobs. The best way to do this is to reduce the imports we consume.

George Poole Jr.



It's refreshing to read such thoughtful discourse

The Jan. 25 News article "Not quite Wright?" was an excellent exposition of candid, professional discourse that Western New York does not hear on a regular basis. Whether people agree or disagree with the notion of building Frank Lloyd Wright's unbuilt design concepts, both sides of the argument were presented and discussed in relatively calm, measured tones that neither bullied nor ballyhooed the respective opinions. This type of constructive and critical examination of issues is far too uncommon in our community.

The closing paragraph says it all -- despite, or possibly because of, the controversy, enthusiasts will beat a path to the projects when they are built. And by the way, if the Wright enthusiasts want to see honest structures in an original setting, let us assuage their anguish by rebuilding Wright's greatest lost masterpiece, the Larkin Building. The national acclaim and tourism generated by that act alone would return dividends beyond belief.

Again: Why not, Buffalo?

Frank V. Sica

Grand Island


Politicians have no clue what their constituents want

I found an article in the Jan. 20 News a bit humorous. It wasn't meant to be funny but, oh, it was. Cheektowaga Supervisor Dennis Gabryszak cited the need to communicate effectively. Oh my, what a revelation! He went on to say that the town must hire a community affairs liaison -- another political appointment.

Aren't all elected officials in office to serve their constituents? Was listening just added to the list of job duties? I must be mistaken, apparently they are there to employ family and friends and collect a government pension. If they happen to listen to the people who put them in that cushy spot, that is just a bonus.

Our elected officials have obviously been listening to us, their employers. Everyone I talk to has requested higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, fewer services and a more toxic business climate.

At a time when private industry is laying off employees, Gabryszak's only solution is to make another political appointment to perform the job he was elected to do. Isn't this how we got into this mess?

Jill M. Wierzba



Loss of plant highlights dysfunction in our state

It's been another banner month for what has been called the most dysfunctional state government in the country. First, a German company, Wacker Chemie AG, walks away from its proposal to put 1,000 jobs in Niagara Falls because it can't find anyone to guarantee a large chunk of cheap hydropower. The "replacement" power is available, but our top-heavy state government can't find anyone to sign off on it.

Then, New York City and Westchester County petition for a portion of Niagara's power because their electric rates are some of the most expensive in the country. A little history: The brand-new Shoreham nuclear plant was licensed, fueled and running low-power testing when these same people who are whining about expensive electricity and Gov. Mario Cuomo blocked high-power operation and oversaw the decommissioning of this $5 billion plant.

The mystery isn't why so many people leave New York, it's why so many stay.

Doug Gross


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