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Everybody's Column

>Those who oppose gay agenda shouldn't be linked with racists

I am writing in reference to Lisa Earle McLeod's Feb. 12 commentary, "A brokeback lesson: people are people." I disagree with her idea that the media are following people's values on the gay agenda. Rather, I believe the media are force-feeding society a positive view of the gay agenda.

What I found most offensive was the subtle but clear link between racists and people who do not agree with the gay agenda. People who take a stand against homosexual activity should not be lumped together with racists. No one should condone gay jokes or gay bashing. However, it is possible for someone to take a principled moral stand against homosexual activity. Indeed, a number of sacred texts (from many traditions) point out that such activity is wrong. Furthermore, it is not bigotry to hold that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Racists hate people based on the color of their skin. No one should hate any human being. However, it is possible to take a moral stance against homosexual activity. Sexual activity is a matter of choice. People are people. Fair enough. But please don't freely associate people who disagree with the media's pro-gay view with racists.

Ken Keenan


>Peace will never be attained without dialogue, diplomacy

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Watching Steven Spielberg's movie, "Munich," made me reflect on Gandhi's statement. In the last 40 years, the world has seen so many deadly conflicts. Yet the world seems blind to all the loss of innocent lives.

"Munich" pointed out to me the devastating effects of little diplomacy, little dialogue and little discussion between groups in conflict. "An eye for an eye" is what this movie is all about. Why is the importance of the three Ds -- diplomacy, dialogue, discussion -- not taught to the people in power in our world? Why is it that cliche statements, such as "violence begets violence" or "hatred breeds hatred," are ignored?

In my opinion, conflicts and violent retributions of the last 40 years are a result of humanity having lost the art of compromise, diplomacy, dialogue and discussion. Peace will never be obtained if the general attitude of "an eye for an eye" remains the working philosophy of most of the people in power.

Joyce H. Bol


>It's a shame that Arissa had to close reading room

This letter is sent in support of the efforts of Leslie Pickering and Arissa to facilitate positive change on the West Side of Buffalo, including keeping a much-needed library open. I applaud their efforts, as well as their ability to think of creative solutions to pressing problems in our depressed city.

We are in need of young people with passion and determination to turn the dreadful tide of hopelessness that is fomenting in our city. Pickering is one such young man.

He has given much and asked for nothing for himself or his group. He has been and continues to be available to community citizens in a direct, meaningful way. Forcing Pickering and Arissa to dissociate from the library project will only ensure yet another failure in service and opportunity for some of our city's most challenged citizens.

Kristine Noonan


>Maybe Buffalo should take wage freeze a step further

If freezing their salaries motivates Buffalo police officers to do their jobs, imagine the crime prevention we could get by actually cutting their salaries.

Dave Gennocro


>Patronage is nothing new, it's been around for decades

A funny thing happened to me at the office. When I got there, I opened the newspaper and I had become the official face of the Erie County budget crisis. I was given new job titles -- driver and patronage czar -- but neither was the title on my door, business card or personnel record. Patronage had been discovered in county government. How did this happen? Apparently, I had been bestowed the power of a Roman emperor.

Taxpayers and union members alike were outraged. Legislators were especially surprised, demanding people's heads. It is very curious, though, that Western New York has just now found out about this. After all, patronage is something that goes back 200 years in government. We tend to favor people we know, people who support us.

Let me mention a few local names to see if we can see this phenomenon at work in the past. Mayors Frank Sedita, James Griffin, Anthony Masiello. Erie County Executives Ed Rath, Ed Rutkowski, Dennis Gorski. The list goes on. And how about all the patronage in local authorities and government bodies?

We have overlooked the real problems and substituted scapegoats and distractions. By the way, where is the outrage over Assemblyman Paul Tokasz memorializing the additional sales tax through his sharing extortion plan? I guess when it's Democrat-sponsored taxes and patronage, nobody dies.

Victor M. Getz


>Ticket blitz is immature way to combat morale problems

Let's take a moment to follow the logic of Buffalo's finest -- it's Police Department. The officers are having morale problems and their solution is to give out more parking tickets and thus stick it to the taxpayers who pay their salaries. What an immature response. I am appalled at this behavior and the managers who support it. Let us all thank God that the other professionals in this town don't follow the same warped logic. Pity the poor patient of a doctor whose morale was low, or the person in a burning house if a fireman was having a bad day.

Marty Farrell
West Seneca


>Violence over cartoons reveals futility of mission

It is unfortunate that the controversy over the Danish cartoons didn't occur prior to the Iraq war. Perhaps then President Bush, and others, might have seen a trend that continues. Saddam Hussein, a tyrant, knew how to control his people under Islam. We don't. Much time and energy is invested in duties to Muhammad and his teachers. This can create fanatical bonds, which can erupt in violence when confronted with lax, carefree attitudes of Western thinking. To many there, we are the enemy, not a savior. Even good deeds and talk of freedom from an enemy are seldom appreciated.

The vast spread of technology allows Western cultures to grow and appreciate individual contributions. It can be intrusive to a singular-in-purpose society, where worshipping God transcends all. A few self-serving teachers there can have a corrupting influence, no matter how good the original, centuries-old, religious message.

David Spencer


>Let county voters decide if trees should be harvested

This is a warning to county officials. Not one tree should be harvested from Erie County forests or parks unless the decision is put up for a referendum. Let the public vote on it. Those trees belong to all county taxpayers, not just Giambra and Co. Should logging be approved, then let the bidding process begin. But remember, when the trees are gone, so will be the money.

Edmund Wesolowski

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