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Everybody's Column / Letters from Our Readers

>Boycott 'DaVinci Code' on religious grounds

There has been a lot of talk lately about the unrest of Muslims in Asia, Europe and the Mideast over the Danish caricature of the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban in the form of a bomb. The truth is that Muhammad was against violence. Even though the cartoon was put forth as a work of fiction, it was taken offensively by members of the Muslim religion. While they clearly went overboard in their protesting, their outrage at the misrepresentation of the truths of their religion is commendable.

Christians should be just as outraged at the misrepresentations of their faith in the book and movie "The DaVinci Code." Even though it is promoted as a work of the Last Supper, it contradicts the beliefs of Christians and should be viewed as blasphemy. The fact that the story involves a good murder mystery makes it all the more appealing and dangerous. The truths of Christianity are contained in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We as Christians should rejoice in the truth and despise any attempt to plant seeds of doubt.

The best way to combat this is to stay away from the book and the movie. The loss of money will send a much more meaningful message than any form of violence.

Susan Santandreu


>Ticketing could end police wage freeze

Some of the complaints in Everybody's Column regarding the zero tolerance effort by Buffalo police officers amaze me. The effort of the officers actually increases revenue for the city and just might generate enough to fund the raises they were denied under the control board wage freeze. I don't see complaints about the town police agencies who not only issue parking tickets but also raise revenue for the towns by issuing summonses for moving violations, then pleading the charges down to a parking ticket, therefore keeping the fines in their town coffers. It seems this could be a self-supporting department by utilizing proactive police work. If you don't park illegally in your town, don't do it in the city.

Ben Crespo



>Pedestrian mall upgrade will enhance downtown

I agree with a Feb. 17 letter writer's suggestion to expand rather than eliminate the pedestrian mall concept in downtown Buffalo. I experienced a modified pedestrian mall concept in Denver, Colo., that could serve as a model for Buffalo. Thinking how to modify the downtown landscape should not include simply returning the cars. I was walking on Main just the other day and the wind factor quickly reminded me why everyone celebrated the coming of malls with their protected atmosphere.

The days of a huge minimum wage work force shopping on lunch hour are gone. Changes in operating hours and days have ended the need, and its economic impact is gone. Keep the mall, but make it more attractive to users. Avoid the mundane.

Use the space travel analogy for Buffalo. The United States will not get to Mars in one big rocket ship, but many smaller, efficient and practical missions will haul the fuel, supplies and equipment for man's continued exploration. Let's let Buffalo, the city of lights in the last century, be a beacon of the future now. The best of our past should be showcased in our future.

Judith Lawler Balzer
Grand Island


>Businesses should cater to patrons in long lines

I waited in line at the bank the other day. It occurred to me that the places that I wait in line the longest seem to be the ones least likely to have a place to sit. The bank, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Post Office and even my Town Hall at tax time seem to have long lines with nowhere to sit.

I am an active, healthy adult but have had my share of temporary injuries and discomfort. My thoughts are with those people who have temporary or long term health issues that make even a short wait standing in line unnecessarily more uncomfortable. Is there not safe bench style seating available that could also serve as a barrier for these type of lines? My guess is that some customers would actually seek out businesses that provided such a convenience. Until this idea becomes widespread, perhaps I will bring a folding lawn chair on my next trip to the bank; I am certain that someone in line will appreciate the use of it.

Kevin J. Kuhn


>Unfair union-bashing gets aimed at all shops

Not all unions are the same. I work as a sprinkler fitter; we install fire protection that saves many buildings, businesses and lives. Our union provides one health insurer for the entire country. We don't get any choice. We pay a percentage of every check toward our medical benefits. We get no paid sick days, vacation days or holidays. We take time off that we can afford. We are also a road union, which means we may be asked to work out of town at any time. This can take us away from our spouse and kids, no matter what is happening in our personal life. We get no signing bonus for our contracts; we get a fair contract that helps us stay working at a decent wage to support our families.

So, you ask, why I am in this union? Simply stated, it requires intensive training in our apprentice class and continuing education is available. It provides a level set of rules and expectations of the company owners. We have a pension that is stable, as well as a supplemental pension. It is called brotherhood, which in this trade means integrity and pride in our craftsmanship, and a safer community for all. So before you bash all unions, remember not all unions are created equal.

David McConnell


>Require entrance exam for technology school

I read in the Feb. 17 News about a proposal to have a math, science and technology high school to open this September in Buffalo. It is a very noble plan and I encourage the School Board to endorse it with the proviso that there be an admissions test. Without such a test, the school could end up an experiment gone wrong.

I am a graduate of one of the finest schools in the country, The Bronx High School of Science. All students had to take a test to enter the all-boys school. Today it is co-ed and functioning very well with an admissions test.

Unless standards are set high, the school is doomed to failure.

Daniel J. Epter


>Smokers get bad rap in a 'smoke-free' zone

After reading News reporter Sharon Linstedt's Feb. 20 piece, "A smoker on payroll can cost firms up to $3,800," I thought, it's a good thing the Oakland Raiders didn't discriminate against or stereotype smokers in the 1960s and 1970s. If I remember correctly, the team's Hall of Fame wide receiver and the MVP of Super Bowl XI, Fred Biletnikoff, was a chain smoker off the field. Interestingly, the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site says: "A durable, dependable performer, Biletnikoff missed only eight games because of injury in 14 seasons." Imagine that, a smoker who's talented, durable, productive, and dependable. He sounds like the ideal employee to me.

Assuming he still smokes today, I wonder if Biletnikoff could get a job at Weyco Inc.

Chris Stucchio

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