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Everybody's Column

Administration uses fear to chip away at civil rights

Mary Kunz Goldman's Feb. 6 column, "Card furor borders on the ridiculous," was in itself ridiculous. With lines like, "These cards will make it easier for agents to sniff out people who want me dead," Goldman reveals that she continues to down significant quantities of Karl Rove Kool-Aid. She seems to be so worried about finding al-Qaida operatives in her basement that she's perfectly willing to support a Big Brother ID card -- at $50 each -- for everyone in Western New York who wants to cross the border.

Security is quite stringent on both sides of the border. The agencies charged with these responsibilities are staffed with professionals. I, for one, feel perfectly safe with the system we have in place now.

After seeing the mess Congress made of Medicare, and the even bigger mess they have made of "helping" those affected by Hurricane Katrina -- just to cite two obvious examples -- I would certainly not trust the Bush administration not to bollix up a new national border ID card program as well.

The Bushies (to use Maureen Dowd's term) have shown they will use "the war on terror" to chip away at civil rights that many of us believe are vital. Those of us, at least, who aren't having nightmares about finding Osama bin Laden hiding under the bed.

Mike Andrei



Closing bilingual schools would be a huge mistake

The Buffalo School Board is considering closing School 36 and School 77. These are both bilingual, early childhood centers. They primarily serve neighborhood children and are both very successful. School 77 is considered a school "in good standing."

It would be a mistake to close either of these schools. I live across the street from School 36 and teach at School 77, which is only a mile away. It is wonderful to see how teachers, parents and students know one another from the community. People really seem to support each other. I would be happy to send my children to either of these schools.

The School Board stresses community involvement. If either of these schools close, these students would have to be bused to other neighborhoods, where their current community support system would not exist. It seems to me that if students are in a setting supported by their families, neighbors and peers, then they are more likely to respect their teachers and peers.

To close even one of these neighborhood gems would be a terrible mistake and a great loss for the community.

Michael Hann



Having two officers per car provides emotional support

This is in reference to the Feb. 6 News editorial about Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson trying to reinstate two-officer patrol cars for high-crime areas. Although I can understand the financial concerns, I would like to stress one point about single patrol cars that never seems to be addressed. When officers enter high-crime areas and experience firsthand the tragic situations that I cannot imagine, it must be emotionally draining.

I have no psychological credentials, only some personal experience. It seems lately there has been a high occurrence of suicide by police officers. The difficulties they face, along with their own personal situations, must make driving alone in a car for a 10-hour shift seem unbearable at times. Obviously, there is no one answer to preventing suicide. But maybe having that communication with a partner who understands what they see on a daily basis would help those having difficulties coping.

Ruth Gray



Representatives in Albany have dropped the ball again

Once again, our representatives in Albany have shown us how irresponsible they are. I am a small business owner who has just received a bill from my payroll service for a surcharge due to the state's failure to make its Title XII loan payments by Nov. 10, 2005, thereby reducing FUTA credits for timely payment of unemployment taxes.

The bottom line is that all New York State employers will pay an extra $42 per employee making more than $7,000 per year. When multiplied by the number of employees in the state, this is an astronomical sum. I have also been informed that we can expect the same surcharge this year.

I am outraged. The failure of our government to act in a timely manner is endemic. This is just the latest in a series of this type of behavior. No wonder business is leaving this state in droves.

If an employee were to be this irresponsible, he would be fired. The people in Albany who have perpetrated this blatant disregard for us are our employees. This type of failure must be investigated thoroughly, and those responsible should be held accountable.

Albert E. Petermann



Delphi should be stockpiling inventories in case of strike

Regarding the Feb. 12 News article, "Delphi workers holding breath," I was amazed that the workers and United Auto Workers leadership are concerned about the possibility of Delphi stockpiling inventories to protect itself and its customers in the event of a strike. Stockpiling inventory is the fiscally responsible thing to do. As a stockholder, and thus an owner of the company, I absolutely want my company to build up inventories in the face of a strike.

Furthermore, management has a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders to ensure that effects of a strike are minimized as much as possible. Delphi is a publicly held company and is owned by the shareholders. Management must answer to its shareholders and, in fact, the upper most level is voted in by these shareholders. Management may be acting irresponsibly if it doesn't stockpile inventory.

If building up inventory is prohibited by contract, then perhaps it is time for the bankruptcy court judge to determine if the existing labor contract is in everyone's best interest, including the shareholders.

Michael Gross



Charley Caci never forgot his family and friends

I first met Charley Caci when he sang at the Menu restaurant on Connecticut Street back in the '50s. He was about 13 years old, a very handsome boy with a lot of charm and a terrific voice. He sang "Mama" and "Moonlight in Vermont," which I will never forget.

Charley went from 10th and Virginia to casinos in Vegas. Although he was with all the big stars like Keeley Smith, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon and Frankie Laine, he never forgot his family and friends. Each summer for 30 years, Charley and Keeley would have their motor home parked on Parker in his brother's driveway. The word was out that Charley was in town and everyone would get to see him. The last time I saw him was at the Fallsview Casino. He greeted me with a hug and we talked for a while. When Charley found out how sick he was, he wanted to come back home for his last days.

Charley lived life to the fullest. He died Jan. 17. Frank Sinatra once said, "I am only a human being trying to live like a human being." That is what Charley was. I am so proud of him and all my friends for all that we have accomplished that I have written two books about my life. All we had was love, family and respect.

Ed Russo


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