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Everybody's Column

>Buffalo police officers deserve promised raises

The City of Buffalo is all about smoke and mirrors. Five years ago, the city and the Police Benevolent Association entered a historic agreement. The PBA agreed to go to one-person patrol cars in exchange for a justified increase in pay. Although the PBA has kept up its part of the bargain, the city has reneged, freezing wages for three years.

Now that the contract has expired, a new three-year contract has been offered by Mayor Byron Brown. The city is offering 10.2 percent in year one and 1.5 percent in years two and three. On the surface, 10.2 percent looks great, but in reality PBA members lost 10.2 percent in the frozen years of the previous contract; money they will never get back.

On top of the lost pay, the city wants to cut health benefits and reduce earned paid time off. Just like the previous contract, this is not a win-win, it's a total win for the city.

Police officers go into dangerous situations in one-person patrol cars and firefighters charge into burning buildings every day, yet city administrators refuse to negotiate reasonable contracts. They try to spin the negotiations to make it look like the PBA is unreasonable. We just have to look to the recent acts of heroism by Officers Patty Parete and Carl Andolina and Firefighter Mark Reed to understand that negotiating using smoke and mirrors is wrong.

Jack Reid


>Bill of Rights ensures open political debate

The News editorial board has a great sense of irony. The day after it advocated for campaign finance reform, one of the greatest threats facing free speech today, the board lamented the Supreme Court's ruling in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case. A ruling the editorial writers completely misinterpreted, if they read it at all.

The News claims that "money is not speech." Really? How many pages of political advertising does The News give away for free? Are the television and radio commercials that we are bombarded with each election season provided by the stations free of charge as a public service?

When James Madison was drafting the Bill of Rights, I'm not sure he was protecting a student's right to promote drug use at a school event. I am, however, certain that open and vigorous political debate was one of his goals.

Raymond Walter
East Amherst


>Parents of teen drivers simply need to say 'no'

A July 6 News article touched on a number of issues surrounding teen driving, but as I see it, the bottom line is that parents today do not know how to say "no." They think their son or daughter is different, more mature and responsible and can handle driving at 16 years old.

Think about it, 16-year-olds behind the wheel of a $30,000 SUV. Driving one of these tanks, you have absolutely no feel for the road. Where do teens need to go anyway -- to school? I am paying thousands of dollars in school taxes to provide bus service -- there is their ride to school.

Parents never seem to have a problem taxiing kids daily to their extracurricular activities, sports, dance lessons, jobs, etc., yet once they turn 16, all the sudden parents don't have the time and it becomes too much effort? In summary, we don't need to change the driving age or laws. Parents can make their own rules -- just say "no" to driving at 16.

Frank Coloprisco


>Day school is tribute to Jewish community

The July 9 News article, "Time of change for Jewish community," failed to mention that in spite of a declining Jewish community in Buffalo, a number of committed leaders were able to spearhead a fund-raising campaign two years ago in order to build a state-of-the-art Jewish Community Day School.

Kadimah School, located on Eggert Road in Amherst, offers a top-quality education in both secular as well as Jewish studies for more than 140 students in pre-K through eighth grade.

The article focused on the declining Jewish population in Buffalo and the challenges it is struggling to overcome. The building of this wonderful school, which services all members of the Jewish community, is a tribute to those in our community who value an excellent education and at the same time realize that the future of our community rests with our young people.

Jeffrey Schapiro
Kadimah School of Buffalo


>Eating contests ignore reality of world hunger

I believe everyone knows that in many parts of the world, hunger is a major problem. It has been well publicized that in the United States, obesity has become a major health threat. So when I read an article in the July 5 News about a human being who spent 12 minutes of doing nothing but devouring hot dogs, it turned me off.

Gluttony has become part of our culture, but for The News to spend space on animal behavior is offensive. It might be educational to show a snake digesting a rat, but to give attention to a human degrading his nature is uncalled for. There was a time not long ago when crowds gathered for a lynching. Human nature puzzles me.

Vince Collins


>Cost of water is moot; filling pool still stealing

Everyone is missing the point of the 56-cent charge for water taken by a volunteer firefighter in Lancaster. My husband was a volunteer when we bought our pool, and we never thought of using the fire truck water. If you can't afford the water for the pool, then don't buy it. Just because you are a volunteer, that doesn't mean you get free water for your pool. Wake up! It's still stealing.

Patricia Tomczak


>Decision on abortion should be left to women

Enough already. It drives me crazy when men criticize a woman's right to have a legal abortion. Where are parents and family in all this? Ethics and morals should be taught by parents. Education and options are the solution.

Who believes a woman intentionally gets pregnant because there is always abortion as a solution? Oh, yes, we are human and guess what, we make mistakes and bad decisions all the time. I don't believe any woman has a positive feeling about having this medical procedure, but the choice should be in her hands.

Just like "just say no" to drugs hasn't worked, just saying no isn't working to stop the transmission of disease or unwanted pregnancy. Education, morals and ethics learned from family are the best protection.

Linda McAlpine

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