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Everybody's Column

>Many on UB list earned tenure before becoming administrators

I continue to be amazed at the ability of The News editorial staff and some of its journalists to construct phony databases and attempt to analyze them with "statistics" that violate every basic rule. The latest "database" to be abused is the set of salary data and insubstantial analysis presented about "former UB administrators." Aside from the complete lack of connection between the stated "conclusions" and the data, the whole analysis is flawed by lack of mention (never mind the lack of understanding) of what earning tenure means in a research university.

Many of the folks on the list earned tenure at the University at Buffalo or another research university, then served as administrators and then returned to faculty life. They were granted tenure because they meet the national credentials for a research university.

Barry Boyer and David Triggle earned tenure by their national and international accomplishments at UB. Bruce Johnstone, as was pointed out, is a substantial scholar who supports Ph.D. research and is a leader nationally and internationally, many years after leaving his role as SUNY chancellor. Others on the "list" were similarly abused.

Joseph A. Gardella Jr.
Chemistry professor, UB


>Winterfest should celebrate heartiness, spirit of season

It's disheartening to see the city infamous for snowfall with such a pitiful celebration of the season. I remember the Olmsted Winterfest celebration of years past, when it was a three-day weekend packed with fun-filled and family-friendly events. It was testament to the heartiness of our spirit and our eagerness to party. Long lost are the memories of chili cook-offs, skating on Hoyt Lake, sledding, live music and sled dog demonstrations, to name a few.

For the last two years, this great event is bundled up with, of all things, a car show. Now one can spend a Winterfest indoors browsing cars priced higher than the mean annual income of many city residents. Next, sit and watch a fireworks display. Sure, there is skating in fountain plaza, but a person can do that any day. Let us bring back the party to celebrate our parks and our seasons.

Sean P. Doyle


>People are upset over cost of card to cross the border

Mary Kunz Goldman's Feb. 6 column regarding the public's "furor" over the "PASS" card that will soon be required to cross the border was way off the mark. I think most people would agree that we have no problem with increased security. What I personally have a problem with is the fact that it will now cost my family of four approximately $200 to visit our relatives in Canada once a year or perhaps visit a Canadian beach or tourist attraction.

Fifty dollars may not be much for double-income couples with no kids. However, for the average family with children, already struggling with increased home heating and gasoline prices and higher sales and property taxes, $50 per family member is a big deal.

Sue McAneney
West Seneca


>Union leader is misinformed about universal health care

I am writing in response to the Feb. 5 Q&A featuring Charles Gangarossa, president of UAW Local 897. Does he really expect us to believe that the media are to blame for us not understanding unions and autoworkers? Is he trying to tell us that a news camera and a microphone capturing a union representative's arrogance, defiance and delusional entitlement are figments of our imagination? Besides TV and newspapers, numerous investigative resources are available to reveal facts about unions.

Actually, Gangarossa is misinformed. Contrary to his opinion, Canada doesn't have a good health care system. The government throws billions of tax dollars into its overburdened system every year, but it doesn't help. People needing MRIs wait months as opposed to days here. "State-of-the-art" hospitals an hour away from a big city lack the staff and equipment to keep them fully functional, so emergencies must be diverted to city hospitals. Emergency rooms are clogged with non-emergency cases because people can't find a doctor. Is that what we want?

Unions are just too big for their britches. Until they are cut down to size in every aspect and level, we will not regain our competitive edge or market share.

Michele Zaichuk
Lake View


>Erie County control board has accomplished nothing

The Erie County control board is nothing more than another bureaucracy made up of career bureaucrats. So far the board has spent millions of tax dollars on consultants, salaries, etc., and what has this accomplished? Absolutely nothing -- just a substantial tax increase.

According to recent audits, the county is in a deep financial hole and going deeper. The county control board is a disaster, a complete joke. A metaphor I feel that best describes this board is: The fox is watching the hen house.

Richard M. Zajac


>New York State needs serious judicial reform

Stung by the humiliating diagnosis that New York has the most dysfunctional state government in the nation, good government groups, editorial pages and elected officials are calling for open government, budget, campaign finance, legislative redistricting reform and reduced influence of lobbyists.

But there is a whole area of reform that has lain dormant for a quarter of a century: judicial reform. Bob McCarthy's Feb. 5 account of Lynn Clarke's bid for a state Supreme Court seat brings this home to Erie County. U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson has forced the issue by ruling that the manner in which candidates for State Supreme Court are nominated unconstitutionally precludes any meaningful participation by the voters.

Insulating the judiciary from the influence of politics and money requires fundamental reform including the establishment of independent nominating commissions to evaluate candidates and recommend a slate of the most qualified individuals to an appointing authority. Voters would then pass on the performance of these judges in a subsequent retention election. It is time to put this merit selection before the voters for a plebiscite. If we do not, the political bosses will surely resume their accustomed control.

Terry O'Neill


>WKBW's switch to talk radio disappoints many listeners

Danny! Tom! Accordion Bill! Where are you? At first we thought our radio was broken, but no way could all our radios be broken at the same time. After a call to WKBW, depression quickly took hold.

How are we to survive without your interesting take on the news, without your off-the-wall humor that left us laughing out loud and without the best popular music ever recorded? And what about Fridays? A week's worth of stress flew out the window when the Quiz Master challenged our minds. The shouts and laughs made our work place sound like a bar on Friday night.

True, talk radio is "in." But we feel that if more people listened to your program there would be less tendency to criticize and complain about everyone and everything. People need to lighten up. We hope that you find a new home soon. A home where you are appreciated and allowed to let your creativity shine through. Until then, we will miss you and wish you well.

Jim and Sue Ensign

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