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Everybody's Column

Damaged trees deserve the opportunity to survive

I am quite concerned about the massive tree cutting that is taking place in Buffalo and surrounding communities. An arborist recommended cutting down 9,500 trees in Amherst. I do not agree with this strategy of dealing with damaged trees from the October Storm. As I've driven through the area, I've noticed that many of the damaged trees are now thriving. They look healthy, with new regrowth of leaves and branches. It's amazing how nature handles its own damage. Most of the damaged trees just need some pruning and trimming. They don't need to be cut down.

Trees are an integral part of our environment. The leaves take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen -- in other words, trees help remove pollution from our environment. They provide shade in the summer, their long roots hold soil in place and they are homes to thousands of animals and insects. If we take down thousands of trees, where will all the birds and animals go?

I think we should stop and think about this before we destroy so many beautiful trees. We should ask FEMA for an extension and give the trees a chance to grow and regenerate.

Sam Cordova



United Nations remains an ineffective obstacle

Why is the United Nations not more effective? Why is our interdependent world so unjust? How should this abominable situation be remedied?

The United Nations consists of 192 member states and is based on the principles of sovereign equality and democratic self-determination. However, most of its members rarely abide by the U.N. Charter and its commitment to human rights. They use the organization only when it suits their national interests. The United Nations also lacks its own effective system of collective security to keep the peace. Until the U.N. Charter is reformed and scrupulously implemented, it will continue to remain ineffective.

Our interdependent world is so unjust because it is based on the principles of chauvinistic nationalism, greed and competition. This struggle for national success has created a few wealthy nations led by the United States. The developing world still, however, remains mired in poverty, disease and underdevelopment. This is an unacceptable state of international affairs.

A truly just world must be based on a different political philosophy. Capitalism will never solve humanity's problems. Only democratic socialism can do that.

David Slive



There is no comparison in veterans' treatment

Although I agree with the basic content of respect for veterans, there are a couple of blatant "misconceptions" in a July 10 letter. The most glaring is the comparison to the treatment of returning Vietnam veterans and that of returning veterans of the Iraq War.

Let me make it simple -- there is no comparison!

As a Vietnam veteran with the 101st Airborne Division, I assure you, I and others like me watch for the same mistreatment almost religiously, and will not tolerate it if seen. Most protesters of this era almost painfully make sure that their protest of the war in Iraq does not translate to abuse of the soldiers serving there.

Iraq vets, for the most part, are not greeted with screaming protesters throwing bags of feces and blood at them, as I was, or called "baby killers," as I was, or almost totally ostracized by their peers for serving, as I was. Not agreeing with the war our soldiers are serving in does not translate to not recognizing their sacrifice or sense of duty, but shows a great concern for their lives.

Paul D. Christopher



Calls for Bush, Cheney ouster should resonate

While I am always grateful to read letters from people who are outraged by the misdeeds of the Bush administration, the concept of holding our breath until this presidency ends on Jan. 20, 2009 never fails to completely outrage me.

We cannot afford to wait one and a half years. We need to hold this administration accountable immediately. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have committed impeachable acts. Period. If we do not hold these men accountable now, how can we expect there to be any integrity in the office of the president in the future? We need to act.

At the least, we need to put pressure on our elected representatives to work toward impeachment. There is already a resolution in Congress, H.R. 333, which lists three articles of impeachment against Cheney. No Western New York representatives have signed onto this resolution. Calling and writing them to find out why is a good place to start. Please take the necessary step from outrage into action.

Theresa Baker



Comptroller is off base as a corrections 'expert'

I find it quite amusing that County Comptroller Mark Polancarz is now an expert in law enforcement and managing the jails in Erie County. He insults the honesty and integrity of the real sheriff and every dedicated, hard-working and loyal employee of the Sheriff's Department. He blames the sheriff, the unions and the deputies and corrections officers for the problems that exist. He implies in his audit that the entire staff is a bunch of crooks, stealing money from the taxpayers due to overtime because of staff shortages and inmate overpopulation.

I think he is confused, because the men and women who give up their days off due to forced overtime do not wear orange uniforms. They are in the jails and can account for every minute of their time. They are not politicians who go to luncheons, dinners, parties and speaking engagements while they are working. They are on the job, in the jail, putting their lives on the line each day.

Polancarz should stick to counting money. He doesn't know a thing about law enforcement.

Richard S. Walczak



Buying American-made requires some research

In response to the letter about buying American clothing, I want to recommend an American-made manufacturer. The company is called American Apparel and it can be found online at

I am faced with the same challenge of finding American-made products. Since the dollar is our strongest way to voice our outrage over outsourcing, I recommend buying American products and supporting local businesses. The following companies are also "made in the USA": Bert's Bee's, Tom's of Maine and Recycline. Also, one can check out

Peter Manka Jr.


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