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Everybody's Column

>Brown deserves an 'F' for first year in office

I find it absurd that Byron Brown gave himself an "A" for his performance in his first year as mayor of Buffalo. Hizzoner has barricaded himself behind heavy security in City Hall in order to avoid meeting with the very people he purports to lead and who he says he wants to help. Politicians are supposed to be open and accessible to the common folk, not just to the news reporters. Yet he loses no opportunity to appear before the cameras.

The "shovel-ready" building sites he takes credit for were in the works long before he came on the scene. It's the real estate market, stupid!

He has done nothing to get the Buffalo Police and Fire departments the long-overdue raises that the city agreed to in the last contract negotiations.

He and his crony, Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson, have done nothing to curb the rampant crime in the city. Lots of talk and promises, but little action.

To add insult to incompetence, Brown continues to support the building of the Seneca casino, practically handing Fulton Street to the Indians on a silver platter. Read our lips, mayor: no casino!

For these reasons and many more, Brown deserves nothing but a big, fat "F."

Peter J. Karlinski


>Labeling cloned foods simply isn't necessary

In its Jan. 3 editorial, "Cloned foods need labeling," The News called for the labeling of food products that come from cloned animals. The Food and Drug Administration ensures labels don't carry false claims, and accurately and clearly provide consumers with important nutritional information.

The FDA determined that meat and milk from animal clones and their offspring is the same as food from conventionally raised animals -- they are the same in taste, look and nutritional composition, and as safe as products already on the market. It is unlikely the FDA will require labeling for foods from animal clones and their offspring.

Each day Americans eat food produced from assisted reproductive technologies like artificial insemination, embryo transfer and in-vitro fertilization. Today, 75 percent of dairy cattle and 80 percent of hogs are born through artificial insemination. Despite the extensive use of these technologies, consumers don't choose between milk cartons labeled as "milk from natural mating" or "milk from artificial insemination" because this information is nondescriptive of the final product. There is no reason why future labels should read "milk from a daughter of an animal clone." The breeding method used to produce the milk has no impact on safety.

Jim Greenwood
President and CEO
Biotechnology Industry Organization


>Health insurance costs spur many to leave state

New York has the most expensive health insurance in the nation because of a policy called guaranteed issue. Health insurance companies must insure any applicant, even if he or she is already sick. As a result of this policy, health insurance companies have exited the New York market and premiums have soared. Many people are forced to go without health insurance.

In response, Albany created Healthy New York. This program was designed for individuals without employer health insurance. However, while my wife and I meet the income and work requirements, we are ineligible because we currently have privately purchased health insurance. We can either stay in Western New York and pay $4,800 in health insurance premiums, go uninsured or move out of state and pay only $1,000 a year. As young entrepreneurs, we are exactly the kind of people Western New York needs. However, we are being forced to join the current exodus.

A temporary fix would be to allow individuals who have health insurance to be eligible for Healthy New York. The ultimate fix would be to eliminate the general issuance laws that make New York health insurance so expensive in the first place.

Todd Jaros
Grand Island


>Giving up in Iraq is not the solution

If Molly Ivins and the other 70 percent of Americans she refers to who want to end the war in Iraq have any suggestions on how to do this, the rest of us are all ears. If she thinks running from our enemies is the answer, she is due for a reality check. Al-Qaida and the rest of the Islamic terrorists aren't going to stop killing Americans, Jews and others just because we take our guns and run home to mommy. That would incite our enemies even further. As usual, she has forgotten 9/1 1 and all the other attacks by Islamic terrorists around the world.

In a Jan. 9 Associated Press story, Nadia Abou el-Magd stated that a "leaked video of Saddam Hussein's execution has brought fresh adulation for the fallen Iraqi dictator, who in death has become a martyr" for some in the Middle East.

How typical of the liberal media to bang the drum for our enemies, whether it's Saddam or the prisoners in Cuba. I wonder if el-Magd has seen the videos of Americans being beheaded, and I wonder how her article about that would have been reported. Maybe Ivins could watch the video and report on that. Like a snowball's chance in hell about sums it up.

Gary Ebert


>County officials need no help to 'look bad'

Since the budget fiasco of 2004-05, there have been so many absurd actions and statements from the Giambra administration and the county legislators that it is hard to believe that anything could be said or done to top their irresponsible, narcissistic behavior.

However, James Hartman managed to do just that in an interview on local television news regarding the 2007 budget. For him to state that the control board is just trying to "make the county look bad" made me howl with laughter. Believe me, Mr. Hartman, neither the administration, nor the legislators need any help in that area. You have all done a great job of looking foolish on your very own, at taxpayers' expense, I might add.

Quick question for the legislators: Why is Hartman still on the county payroll when a new comptroller was elected, along with all the other patronage workers who were supposedly laid off?

Rosie Evans


>It's time to demolish Memorial Auditorium

I feel that Rep. Brian Higgins' assessment that Memorial Auditorium should be demolished is a good, sound decision. The cost of remodeling the old Aud for occupancy and the future costs to maintain it are not in the best interest of our area's residents. The Aud does not have the architectural standard or design that would warrant spending millions of taxpayer dollars to save and maintain it. For the Aud, it's time to say goodbye!

Fred Kintzel Sr.

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