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Everybody's Column

Hamburg let artists down with poor selection process

What kind of a grandiose process did the Village of Hamburg embark on six years ago for its roundabout sculptures, without adequate funding and with a selection process that was compared to speed dating by The Buffalo News?

After a detailed application process, 99 artists were rejected by a handful of voters, who viewed each artist's subjectively chosen slide in two 10-second "snippets." No information was given on the size or material of the works or the intention of the artist. When questioned about this inadequate process, trustee Michael Cerrone replied: "The committee couldn't possibly read all those entries."

If the committee was overwhelmed, why didn't it revise the process? How could the well-educated Village of Hamburg allow 99 very professional applications to be dismissed in "a quick sculpture peek?"

In this controversial roundabout project, are the citizens of Hamburg even aware that their six-year process allocated 20 seconds to sculpture selection? Is anyone going to speak up for the artists?

Karen Rung


Judith Heavey



Senate was wise to reject Wicks law 'reform' bill

I say kudos to the upstate Senate Republicans who kept the proposed Wicks law reform bill from moving forward. They've saved their constituents millions!

The proposed "reform" bill is not reform -- it is a gross and overtly political distortion of public "reform" crafted to close the public construction marketplace to allow only contractors and construction workers signatory to the building trades unions to participate.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that shutting out the majority of local contractors and construction workers from the opportunity to work on public construction projects will increase the overall costs of public construction. And who pays those costs? The taxpayers.

Meaningful reform of Wicks law is possible, but if the goal is to lower the costs of public construction, mandating PLAs and apprenticeship requirements is not the way to do it. Shame on Gov. Eliot Spitzer for playing proverbial politics with this issue, at the taxpayers' expense.

We, the taxpayers, deserve better than that. Thank goodness the Senate Republicans chose to support their constituents over the special interests.

Rebecca Meinking

President, Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors



Why is garbage being dumped on Seneca St.?

I lived on Carroll Street and grew up in the shadow of the Larkin Building and have many good memories. I am so glad to see how much has been done; it sure is different with the railroad tracks gone, and buildings and flowers in their place. It really sounds great what they intend to do in the future, as reported in The News.

But has anyone driven east on Seneca Street and looked to the left when you reach the top of the bridge? Mounds of rubbish, garbage and dirt are being dumped between Seneca, Fillmore and Clinton. Is this what you will be looking at when you look out the windows of the new buildings or drive into that neighborhood? Why is this part of the city being used as a dump? It really bothers me every time I come down Seneca Street.

Florence Biel

West Seneca


Church closings are sad, but faith remains strong

The attacks against the bishop and the Diocese of Buffalo regarding the Journey in Faith and Grace parish consolidations are unfortunate and unwarranted. The strong attachments to the church buildings and certain cultural traditions are understandable, but these buildings and traditions are not the center of our faith.

Do we live our faith and inspire others to become Catholic, and do our families value and encourage vocations? Also, those of us in the laity, clergy and religious who weakened, watered down or plain discarded the fullness of the Catholic faith in the past 40 years bear a heavy responsibility for what has happened in the church.

I believe the conditions that exist in the city are largely due to the local government officials the people elect. It would truly be a miracle if any serious reform can ever happen here when the same politicians keep getting elected.

Charles J. Cavaretta



Legalized abortion raises transmission of diseases

In her recent letter, Rep. Louise Slaughter asserts that the United States has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among industrialized nations. With legalized abortion and now the morning-after pill as backups, young people have little incentive either to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage or to practice safe sex. Accordingly, such people are more likely to contract one or more STDs.

In the case of abortion, this common-sense observation has been dramatically vindicated by empirical data. In a landmark study published in June 2003 in the Journal of Legal Studies, authors Jonathan Klick and Thomas Stratmann conclude that "Legalizing abortion provided extra incentives to engage in risky sexual activity." Using established statistical methods, the authors conclude that the spike in the rates of syphilis and gonorrhea as a result of abortion legalization was "causal."

Even if one does not believe that the morning-after pill can sometimes act as an early abortifacient, its use in the bill proposed by Slaughter will likely accelerate rather than reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Richard H. Escobales Jr.



American consumers have the power to force change

Where have all the jobs gone? All of the manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. Other nations are killing us with the price of gas. Can you blame them?

Quit complaining about American jobs being lost to China if you have bought a television, DVD player, cell phone, X-Box or any of the other foreign-made products that we really don't need. We as American consumers have the power to bring jobs back to America. All we have to do is quit buying foreign-made products. Sure, it will upset the economy for a while, but things will eventually come back around.

Just look at the number of cars on the road that come from across the Pacific Ocean. As for the price of gas going through the roof, well, take a look at the vehicle you're driving. Think of the gas you're using as you drive around aimlessly looking to buy foreign-made products. Public transportation should be overcrowded and parking ramps should be only half full.

William P. Fulton


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