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Everybody's Column

>Don't rename court building until mold problem is fixed

Before honoring the memory of the late, great New York State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle Jr. by renaming the Family Court Building for him, as The News suggests in its Jan. 23 editorial, it might behoove the powers-that-be to remove the mold plaguing the basement of that building.

Pleas by county probation staff, some of whom have certification from their physicians verifying that their chronic illnesses are caused by said mold, have fallen on deaf ears. It is noteworthy that it is the Juvenile Probation Division that occupies the basement floor, so children are visiting the area on a regular basis.

Accommodations for the Probation Department, housed on the second and basement floors, have been cramped and inadequate since the building opened almost six years ago, and the mold has been around almost as long. Such conditions in a brand-new taxpayer-funded building are shameful and should be remedied. If the Family Court judges and staff, housed on floors three through seven, had been affected, no doubt the problems would have been addressed a long time ago.

Doyle was good to the Probation Department. I am certain he would not have wanted his name associated with the conditions responsible for causing illness.

Jill Monacelli


>Editorial cartoon relayed what many were thinking

Throughout history, political and social critique through cartoons has been one of the bastions of free speech offering multilevel messages to their audiences. Adam Zyglis' controversial commentary on the capture of the Bike Path Rapist suspect sent a message to me that I suppose crossed the minds of at least a few interested readers. What if?

What if the report of a rape victim was taken to a conclusion of absolute certainty? One can consider the barriers that prevented that outcome. Barriers not only specific to that investigation, but the possible overreaching cultural influences that may have impacted choices that were made. Barriers that if removed could only have enhanced police effectiveness and public safety.

A generation later, we may be on our way to reducing such barriers, with the arrest in the Bike Path case offering us evidence of that end. Would this or any number of social advances evolve without unrestricted public input, albeit critical or offensive to some?

Dan Newberry


>Group's efforts bring black history to life

It was heartening to read about the efforts being put forth to preserve the Nash House and the Michigan Avenue core that contains the Colored Musicians Club and Michigan Street Baptist Church. This will be a proud moment in seeing the history of Buffalo, which will surely draw cultural tourism visitors.

Several years ago, I visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Atlanta, and the foot traffic of all the visitors was amazing. As we walked down the street where King's boyhood home was located, we encountered students and middle-aged visitors alike. The National Park Service had a visitor center that contained many displays, and there was a continuous slide show depicting King's efforts to bring equality to all in our nation.

I wish George Arthur and the Michigan Street Preservation Corp. much success to bring history to life. I'll be there when they inaugurate their efforts.

Frank R. Mikler


>School superintendent is setting a bad example

When I was a student in the Buffalo Public Schools, our models were teachers who were proper, courteous and formal. If The News quotes the superintendent accurately, he is crass, bloated and inelegant. The ways of the ancestors are never the ways of the descendants. I firmly support Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore in the current duel.

William J. Bell
Lieutenant General, Retired


>First offenders should not be exempt from DNA testing

A Jan. 18 News article concerning DNA contained a statement by Timothy W. Hoover, an assistant public defender, that first offenders should be exempt from this testing. Why would anyone want to hamper an investigation by barring DNA evidence? I can think of one reason. It might free a guilty person.

In many cases, it would be possible that it was not a first offense, just the first time the person was caught. Anyone interested in justice should be elated that we have this tool.

Norma K. Scholz


>Power relicensing funds target specific projects

Recent stories in The News on the relicensing of the New York Power Authority's Niagara Power Project erroneously suggested that Buffalo and Erie County are receiving direct payments of a total of $279 million from the relicensing.

While the city and county were among the parties to a relicensing-related agreement last year, the funding over the anticipated 50-year term of the new license is committed to projects involving the Niagara River Greenway Plan ($2 million per year); the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. for waterfront development ($2.5 million per year, with upfront payments of $4 million); and economic-development programs involving theEmpire State Development Corp. ($1 million per year).

In other words, the $279 million in funding is dedicated to specific environmental, recreational and economic-development purposes within Erie County. It is not earmarked for municipal and county budgets.

Brian Vattimo
Senior Vice President
Public and Governmental Affairs
New York Power Authority


>Arrest in parking case gives police a black eye

The News story, "Barber charges false arrest over parking tickets," did not surprise me at all. The Buffalo Police Department really enjoys holding citizens hostage to get its point across. I certainly remember the random police checks during the morning rush-hour commute a few years ago. How can I forget? I was stuck at Main and Amherst streets for almost an hour. Wasn't this for the same reason we had the ticket blitz on Elmwood Avenue this summer? And now the police are arresting people and telling them they can't move their cars until the parking ticket is written?

I see why people from outside the city tend to stay away; it's not the criminals, it's the Buffalo Police Department. After reading this story, I find the arrest of the business owner ridiculous. Threatening his customers was also uncalled for. I hope this guy sues big time and wins, just to prove to the police officers in this city that they cannot treat common citizens like trash anymore.

Giovanni Centurione

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