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Everybody's Column

Kopp, not Slepian, is cold-blooded killer

I am writing in response to a Jan. 15 letter regarding the James Kopp trial. The writer stated that "the similarity is that both [Kopp and Dr. Barnett Slepian] are guilty of extinguishing life. The difference is that Kopp killed one, while Slepian killed many." To say that there is any similarity between a cold-blooded killer and a well-respected doctor is an insult to Slepian's memory and to his family. The writer ought to be ashamed of himself and should issue a public apology to the Slepian family.

First, let me state that I am not pro-life or pro-choice, I'm pro-law. If it's legal, then I support it and if I don't believe in it, I'll try to change it legally. Abortion, like it or not, is legal. Murder is not.

Shooting someone in the back, under the cover of darkness, and causing his death is murder; making Kopp the murderer, not Slepian. Because someone is opposed to a particular law does not give him the right to take matters into his own hands. It's absurd. People who are against abortion should try to change the law legally, not bomb clinics and shoot doctors. Two wrongs aren't going to make a right.

Rich Caito



Buffalo can't expel firms that miss diversity goals

As the program provider for the Buffalo Public Schools Renovation Program, LPCiminelli applauds Rod Watson's continued attention to the minority and women work force development goals contained in the program. His recent column highlighted how these goals had provided opportunity for one particular woman to enter the construction field, and we can attest that this program has many similar success stories.

However, there is one misconception that we must correct. Watson points out that companies that did not fully meet their diversity requirements in Phase I were supposed to be expelled from bidding for work in Phase II of the program. Such action is simply not legal and all the stakeholders involved in the program are well aware of that fact.

According to U.S. Supreme Court decisions, in order to adopt very strong punitive measures the city must complete a disparity study that shows minorities and women previously have been disadvantaged in gaining work on public projects.

The Joint Schools Construction Board, the School Board and LPCiminelli all support conducting such a study in order to put more teeth into enforcement of diversity requirements. In the absence of such a study, LPCiminelli and its partners will continue to work to adopt strategies that help our subcontractors meet the goals.

Kevin C. Schuler

Senior Director, Public Affairs



All should vote 'yes' on greenway proposal

Over the next few weeks, legislators in 13 communities must vote on whether to approve the Niagara River Greenway Plan. Citizens from Erie and Niagara counties who spoke at December's public hearings unanimously endorsed the draft plan. The only naysayers were our elected officials.

Let's be clear. For the first time ever, we have a locally made, regionally integrated greenway plan that supports an economically vibrant, publicly accessible and ecologically healthy waterfront.

We also have, starting this year, $9 million per year for 50 years in start-up funding for greenway projects through settlements with the New York Power Authority in return for Niagara power plant relicensing. Yes, the administrative procedures for accountability between the authority funding and the greenway plan have yet to be worked out, and we should all advocate for a fair process in selecting greenway projects.

But the task in front of us now, as a region, is to get the plan approved. Without that, there is no greenway. If you live in a city, village or town bordering the Niagara River, now is the time to contact your council members and urge them to vote "yes" on the Niagara River Greenway.

Margaret Wooster

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper


Iraq needs true leaders who can negotiate peace

Iraq is plagued by the violent reaction of a once-dominant Sunni minority to Shia majority rule. It is as comprehensible as it is reprehensible. Another nation managed the transition from minority oppression of the majority with grace and above all, peace: South Africa.

How is it that South Africans managed so readily what Iraqis cannot? Is it because a foreign army toppled minority oppression by force in Iraq, while the minority oppressors negotiated their own downfall in South Africa? It speaks poorly of the Sunni, then, that they cannot gracefully and peaceably accept what white South Africa did.

It seems to me that Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu, F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela have much to offer the Iraqis, both in terms of experience and good offices. I hope the Bush administration has the wisdom to call upon them in their golden years of retirement to help negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule in a troubled land yet again.

Christopher J. Bieda



Casino foes continue to stifle all progress

Hooray, the activists and do-gooders have prevented yet another development in the City of Buffalo. Congratulations on stopping another multimillion-dollar private investment in our beloved city. Not only have the anti-casino extremists, with their small minority voice, destroyed the creation of 1,000 permanent jobs and 1,000 construction jobs, but they have also forced the 70 percent of people who do gamble to continue to drive across the border to Canada or to the Hamburg fairgrounds or Niagara Falls.

So congratulations and continue your fight to keep as many brownfields and empty pastures open for years to come. Maybe some day, the developers and businessmen will quit even proposing new development and move on to somewhere else.

Steven Janis

West Seneca


Circus life is no fun for captive animals

In response to the Jan. 12 letter, "Don't let activists take away all our fun," the writer's ignorance is sickening. Is circus life fun for the animals? I wonder if she has done any research, witnessed a training/breaking session or viewed the squalor they live in. Circuses do not promote education or conservation; they promote the barbaric treatment of animals for entertainment. Does she know that a large number of circus elephants carry tuberculosis, which is transferable to humans?

A child should be taught respect for all living and sentient beings. Circuses teach indifference toward animals and that it is normal to enslave, exploit and abuse another species. This does not show a love of animals. The animals suffer a lifetime of horrific cruelty and are brutally forced to perform, just for a glimpse of them doing a demeaning trick.

I know no children in my family will attend a circus with animals, especially when there are modern, exciting, animal-free circuses that patronize this area.

Donald LaChance


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