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Everybody's Column

>Buffalo's toxic-waste issues deserve best practice solutions

The News recently reported on an environmental justice triumph taking place on the East Side. Community members finally prevailed after 20 years of suffering from diseases caused by a toxic waste site in their neighborhood. Buffalo has many more environmental issues that need its immediate attention.

Many of the city's ugliest environmental problems are highly concentrated in its lowest-income areas. With all of the problems facing Buffalo today, it is easy to ignore the poorest neighborhoods, but people living in poverty do not deserve the devastating health effects of environmental toxins.

Buffalo's sewer system cannot handle the increase in storm water during every rain event, leading to millions of gallons of untreated sewage being discharged directly into our waterways each year. Unfortunately, these are the same waterways that many low-income residents use for swimming and recreation, as well as subsistence fishing.

The city's proposed solution is a multimillion-dollar capital improvement of its sewer infrastructure, but there are cheaper and greener solutions available that divert rainwater from entering the sewers. Community health depends on Buffalo taking action.

Christine Meyers
Buffalo

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>Boycott Chinese toys and ensure child safety

Are you kidding me? Every time I watch the news or read the paper, I see yet another recall of Chinese-made toys. Most of the recalls are because of lead-based paint. Why does lead paint even exist anymore? Can we trust that any of our children's toys are safe? Children could be playing with a lead-tainted toy right at this moment.

The big toymakers like Fisher Price, Mattel, Hasbro, etc., do not care about our children. They are only concerned about lining their disgustingly fat pockets. It makes me sick when they put out statements saying that our children's safety is their main concern. If that were the case, these toys would not be on the shelves in the first place.

The only way to stop the poisoning of our children is to hit those greedy CEOs where it hurts the most, their pockets. Stop buying Chinese-made toys.

Dave Bobseine
Collins

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>New York has a glimpse of a Clinton-led future

Eliot Spitzer has given the citizens of New York a look into the crystal ball. Anyone wishing to glimpse the future under a Democratic president need look no further than our governor's recent actions. Driver's licenses for illegal aliens, creating a needless three-tier licensing system, trying to tax the sovereign nation of Senecas, "Troopergate," a multibillion-dollar deficit, his anti-Second Amendment stance; and the list goes on.

Having been rebuffed on all fronts, he will regroup, put lipstick on the proverbial pig and attempt to ram these proposals down our throats. His attitude of being the smartest person in the room is a window into the thinking of another politician. A certain U.S. senator from New York agrees with Spitzer and wants to do the same things at the national level.

It's no coincidence. Democrats share the same liberal agenda. Higher taxes and an inexcusable support of illegal behavior are merely the tip of the iceberg. If a Democrat wins the White House, this liberal agenda will only be magnified. A former New York governor, Mario Cuomo, was tagged with a label that applies to Spitzer and Hillary Clinton -- "hopelessly liberal." We have seen the future and have cause to worry.

Don Kochersberger
Orchard Park

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>American soldiers' lives are being needlessly lost

The recent tragic death of another Western New York soldier in Iraq, Pfc. Dwane Covert Jr., asks some troubling questions of our leaders in Washington. Covert joined the Army in 2006 and later that same year shipped out to Iraq. How can a 19-year-old American, fresh out of high school, be deemed qualified to fight against terrorism in Iraq after less than a year of training when the Iraqis themselves, after five years of training, are not considered ready to defend their own homeland?

I believe the training program has been a "golden goose" worth billions of dollars for the Pentagon and its favorite contractors. We have heard the many stories of weapons, supplies and cash "lost" over the years, along with the lives. What a price we pay for this mismanagement.

Paul Bernhard Sr.
West Seneca

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>U.S. government is not above torturing its own

It was with disdainful laughter that I read the Nov. 3 Another Voice by Michael Lewis in which he makes the point that since we waterboard our own military personnel during training exercises, it can't be torture. Perhaps Lewis is unaware of the fact that our government has perpetrated any number of reprehensible offenses against our own citizens as its whims lead it to flout laws and decency in the name of "national security."

Is Lewis actually unaware of the LSD doses that our spooks administered to unsuspecting citizens in an effort to find better ways to break enemy combatants? How about the various radioactive materials injected into innocent and unknowing people to explore the effects of radiation on people? Surely he is also ignorant of the fact that our government has allowed syphilis to ravage innocent soldiers in its quest for knowledge. Otherwise, how could one openly ask something so breathtakingly naive?

It's abundantly clear that our government has done and will do anything that it feels it can get away with in pursuit of its goals, and that right or wrong are merely pesky details.

Dan Vizine
Tonawanda

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>Column on gas prices needed a little research

The Murray B. Light opinion column in the Nov. 4 News suggested that a Western New York gasoline price of "some 30 cents a gallon" more than was paid in Massachusetts or Vermont during a recent trip is somehow difficult to understand.

Column readers should not be seduced into inferring that this is somehow the result of a "big oil" scheme, or the price-gouging of local and regional distributors and outlets. Federal, state and local gasoline tax information is available on the Internet.

Interested parties will find that New York is the grand champion of gasoline taxation, with total tax running from 21 to 24.5 cents more than for either Massachusetts or Vermont in 2005. The 2007 data indicates that the differential may now be as high as 27.55 cents per gallon maximum. Difficult to understand? Hardly.

Ronald L. McLean
Amherst

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