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Everybody's Column

King Urban Life Center offers hope for the future

In the Jan. 29 Q&A column, Robert Kresse made mention of his work to save St. Mary of Sorrows Church. The challenge, he said, was "to persuade the bishop that the building could be saved and its future could be respectful of its glorious past." Thankfully, that challenge was met.

It has been 20 years since the effort to save that building began. Thousands of hours of work by a legion of volunteers and more than $5 million from federal, state, city, county and private sources have been invested. The building has been saved and today, as home to the King Urban Life Center, this magnificent stone edifice once again anchors my neighborhood. Its programs serve the needs of children and families, young and old.

In his most famous speech, Dr. Martin Luther King said, "We will be able to hew out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope." Today the King Urban Life Center is a "stone of hope" in a neighborhood where hope is in short supply.

Betty Stone

President, Board of Directors King Urban Life Center



The names have changed, but it's the same old story

Douglas Turner's Jan. 30 commentary on the Iraq situation got me thinking. Shortly after returning from Vietnam in 1969, I began feeling guilt over not doing more in support of the anti-war movement, although my belief was that U.S. involvement in that country's internal affairs disrupted its rightful political evolution. U.S. policy was never about the Vietnamese people.

My one consolation was that the Vietnam legacy served as a deterrent to future reckless and ill-conceived actions by our elected officials. This war was the event that fostered a cultural shift in the way people with political and military access to power did business. Of course, this was a naive conclusion.

Then Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon fronted the power. Today Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are the point men for a system that perpetuates the use of metal, fire and blood as the management tools necessary to secure turf. The names change but the outcomes persist and fresh faces have little effect on the mind-set.

A tragic irony of any intervention into a dysfunctional system is the exposure of one's own dysfunction. Turner's piece alluded to this. Meanwhile, my guilt returns.

Dan Newberry



State should eliminate front license plates

I think the time has come for New York State to consider eliminating the front license plate. The governor has asked all departments to cut where they can, so the Department of Motor Vehicles should certainly entertain saving millions each year.

There are 8.5 million registered passenger vehicles in the state. Eliminating the front plate and keeping fees at their present level will result in significant savings. The DMV said plates cost $2.20 per set. Just do the math if only one plate is used. If trucks were added to the one-plate system, the savings would be greater.

Here are some good reasons to do this, in addition to saving taxpayers money: No jobs would be lost. Many states have already switched to one plate, including Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It would stop people from taking the front plate and placing it on the rear of an unlicensed and uninsured second vehicle. It would save $50 to $75 per car when front-end collisions occur (replacing plate and bracket and labor). And it would make car buffs very happy.

With the nomination of Nancy Naples as the new DMV commissioner, I feel some common sense will prevail and this long overdue idea will be enacted.

Hans J. Mobius



Bass Pro never seems to make any headway

The current state of the initiative to bring Bass Pro Shops to Western New York is akin to running on the treadmill. You have moved a significant volume of air, you may have toned your muscles a bit and you are breathing deeply. But at the conclusion of the exercise, you remain at the site of embarkment.

Stuart H. Angert



As poverty rate increases, so does need for Medicaid

To those who are complaining about the rising cost of Medicaid, I would like to point out that under the Bush administration, the poverty rate has risen dramatically. With more people eligible for Medicaid, of course the cost has increased.

Jeanette Gallant

Grand Island


Bush administration must stop manipulating scientific data

The Bush administration is orchestrating a massive coverup of scientific research on environmental issues. Objective government scientists have faced unprecedented suppression, manipulation and distortion of their research -- the latest involving a NASA scientist's work on global warming. This political interference in science serves special interests at the expense of the public, and impedes our nation's ability to address critical topics that directly impact our health, safety and environment.

Despite his reported "pro-life" stance, Bush consistently sides with polluting industries despite growing evidence that babies are being born with dangerous levels of mercury and other pollutants, and that global warming presents a real threat to our children's future. The American people deserve real solutions to these problems, and the administration's efforts to silence the scientists who study them is irresponsible and needs to stop.

Nathan Diegelman



Media should report how many lives have been lost to abortion

It seems the media are intent on reminding Americans often of just how many soldiers have died fighting the war on terrorism for their country. Loss of life is always a tragedy. Yet approximately 1.3 million innocent babies have been killed every year since 1973, when abortion became legal in this country. Why isn't the media keeping a body count for this? Maybe they fear a well-informed public may take a stand and say "enough."

Barbara B. Pelosi



Exxon's outrageous profits look like war profiteering

After the American Civil War, corporate lawyers used the 14th Amendment to argue that corporations were individuals who had equal protection under the law. If corporations have the same rights as you or I, then they should also have the same responsibilities.

How can the Bush administration allow our sons and daughters to be sacrificed in Iraq while, at the same time, allow Exxon Mobil and other corporations to continue to make record profits? These profits, I might add, are due in part to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East that our administration has created.

If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales can argue the validity of warrantless wire-tapping based on the fact that we are in a "state of war," he should be able to argue for the conscription of these "corporate individuals" toward the war effort. For example, the Pentagon should be setting the cost of outsourced services, not the other way around.

As it stands, this is nothing but state-sponsored war profiteering.

Andrew C. Dickinson


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