>People have a right to voice opinions on public matters
This is a response to Douglas Turner's column characterizing the Buffalo community as meddling in major public works decisions. Turner should have directed his criticism to the public officials and agencies responsible for not putting in place a process that makes it easy for informed people to actively participate in important decisions, rather than being given a choice of unacceptable solutions.
Criticism of the Common Council for its opposition to the retention of an elevated Route 5 was especially misdirected. The Common Council, comprised of the representatives of the people of this city, was not notified to comment on the Route 5 decision. This community deserves something better than a parallel road to an ugly, outdated and outmoded elevated highway.
If we do not seize the moment to get proper waterfront access and an attractive gateway to downtown, we will likely be looking at that elevated highway for decades. We have made too many mistakes in the past to capitulate to political expediency again. The public is now much more sophisticated and organized on land use issues than in the past. Our elected officials should recognize that, start listening and start learning.
George R. Grasser
President, Partners For A Livable Western New York
>Writer miscalculated Indian tax collection
In his letter of Nov. 5 on the topic of Indian tax collection, a writer from the Seneca Nation asks us to: "Please do the math." Unfortunately for him, I did the math correctly and he did not.
The uncollected $200 million represents 4.65 percent of the projected deficit. He seems to have forgotten that after doing the division, you need to multiply by 100 in order to state the answer as a percentage. Obviously, his percentage for the Native Americans' possible tax collection is also understated by a factor of 100.
That said, please understand that I agree with him that the state should not be trying to squeeze these pennies from a sovereign nation. We have already taken enough from the earlier inhabitants of Western New York and broken far too many treaties with them.
>President should stop threatening the world
Iran, a non-nuclear country, is being threatened with annihilation by a nuclear armed country, the United States, if it doesn't yield to U.S. demands.
The reason President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others give for wanting to destroy Iran is the same big lie they told the American public and the world about Iraq.
Their fantasies of hegemony have become transparent. They think that because they have more nuclear bombs than any country, they can subdue the world using threats and bullying.
Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations, said he hoped "the U.S. would stop spinning and hyping the Iran issue." Bush's bellicose public policy toward Iran is irrational, irresponsible and borders on insanity.
The only country in the world that has used these horrific bombs is the United States. In August 1945, America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, burning to death instantly 220,000 Japanese.
Within Bush's administration you have crazy people contemplating using nuclear bombs in Afghanistan and now Iran. The fall-out from one bomb would endanger the whole planet. Dr. Strangelove is alive and well in the White House. Who's the real threat to international peace and security?
>Reprocessing nuclear waste is not in our best interest
The author of the Oct. 31 Another Voice is wrong that it is in our national interest to develop technologies to reprocess nuclear wastes. Theodore Adams admits uranium is not a renewable resource. Reprocessing spent fuel would not lengthen the nuclear industry's life-span long enough to offset the environmental damage done by the industry. The damaging effects last infinitely longer than the nuclear industry ever will.
France is often referenced as a model by proponents of reprocessing. France finds all kinds of creative uses for radioactive waste, including mixing it with materials to pave streets. Nuclear industry propaganda claims no carbon dioxide is emitted in the production of nuclear power. But nuclear power is not emission-free energy. Using nuclear reactions to boil water to produce electricity is one small part of the entire fuel cycle. The entire nuclear fuel cycle generates huge carbon dioxide outputs.
New reprocessing technologies are not proven. When the U.S. government becomes so responsible that it commits the technical and financial resources to fully clean the West Valley site, then maybe we can talk about using more nuclear energy. If experience holds, we won't be having that conversation anytime soon.
Director, Coalition on
West Valley Nuclear Wastes
>Let's remember, honor our local war heroes
As public information, you would think that finding the correct number of medals awarded to Medal of Honor recipients would be easy. It is not.
I'm a historian specializing in military history and its relevance to local history. After much research, I believe that native Buffalonians were the most decorated U.S. soldiers of the world wars. In World War I, Col. William J. Donovan received every medal the United States awarded at that time. Sgt. Alvin York did not.
And according to the Guinness World Book of Records, Capt. Matt Urban received more medals than Audie Murphy for World War II service.
Now the hometown for these two heroes is demolishing the William J. Donovan State Office Building, and a statue memorializing Urban, approved years ago, has yet to be erected. On this Veterans Day, let us remember all of our veterans, especially our local heroes.
Warren R. Baltes
>Why bow before a being that inflicts such terror?
An Oct. 30 letter writer claims that, rather than blame the commander-in-chief for the problems of the world, we must "realize that God is in control."
If it is true that God is in control, then the writer is correct to conclude that God is responsible for Hurricane Katrina, droughts, diseases, the fires burning in California and the other problems mentioned. Why, then, should we bow down before a being that inflicts so much terror upon our world, even harming innocent animals? And what must we human beings do to correct this divinely sanctioned onslaught against our planet?
Norm R. Allen Jr.
Council for Secular Humanism