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Everybody's Column

>Buffalo needs to honor city workers' contracts

Shame on The News. Every article it has published about the city unions' victory in the case on step increases was crafted to whip up public opinion against teachers, police officers, firefighters and other city and school district employees. It is so transparent as to be laughable, yet I am not laughing.

I am a teacher in Buffalo and I work very hard serving children with intense needs. I was hired under a particular agreement -- a contract. I agreed to sell my labor, my talents and my knowledge to serve the children in this school district under certain terms. What I do every day in my classroom makes a difference toward making this city a better place to live. I deserve every penny of compensation that was promised to me.

Justice John Michalek has determined the city cannot go back on its legal agreement, despite the control board's powers. I thank him for standing up for teachers and for all the unions affected by the wage freeze. We have already made our sacrifice for the city; this decision does not call for retroactive pay. To squeeze more out of us would be illegal and bad policy for attracting and keeping talented and committed workers.

Kilissa Cissoko


>DeJac had her day in court, jury's verdict should stand

Recently, these pages have been full of stories regarding the Crystallynn Girard murder case. I think it's now time for an investigator who actually worked the case to be heard. This case was investigated by seasoned homicide detectives who, combined, had worked hundreds of murder cases, not just a few. Based on our investigation and evidence gathered at the time, I believe and still do that Lynn DeJac is guilty. This belief was validated by a jury of her peers.

I would also like to state that it is ridiculous for anybody to think that an individual would be given a pass in a murder case because of a relative's relationship with a former homicide detective.

I don't want to get into the facts that were gathered at the time of the murder, because I think it is improper to try a murder case in the press. It's too bad that others don't feel as I do.

James P. Lonergan
Orchard Park


>Country needs a leader who can fix Bush's mess

I just read the letter from the reverend who said, "We need to stand behind Mike Huckabee, who is a dedicated born-again Christian and a strong social conservative. If we are not united, we will fall, and a liberal will win."

I have been attempting to find a candidate from among all of the candidates, both Democrat and Republican, who is most unlike President Bush. I recently heard Huckabee on "Hardball with Chris Matthews." I was impressed with what Huckabee said. Unfortunately I am now finding out that the writer is supporting Huckabee because he is a "dedicated born-again Christian." Apparently, the reverend is one of the people who helped place Bush into office because he was a "dedicated born-again Christian."

I thank the good reverend for forewarning me that apparently Huckabee is running for office to do God's will, as Bush is. Huckabee's removal from my consideration in this presidential election simplifies my decision. I will only vote for someone who is willing to reverse the mess that Bush has created. Armageddon is not on my ballot.

George Poole Sr.


>Bicycling against traffic makes a lot more sense

As one who recently resumed bicycling, I wanted to reiterate the feelings of Nancy Jo Eckerson regarding riding with the flow of traffic. I don't know when the law changed, since there has been a lag of a few decades in my bike riding days, but as children we were taught to ride our bikes facing traffic for the exact reasons cited in the Governor's Proclamation of 2007 -- so you could see a car coming and take evasive action if necessary.

My fiancee, a longtime distance cyclist, corrected me when we started riding and I abide by the law. But when it is necessary to leave the RiverWalk, as it still is on Niagara Street, I ride white-knuckled until we can return to the path.

While the incident she experienced was deliberate, I often see vehicles infringing on marked bike lanes or using them as passing lanes. Sometimes the old way is the best and safer way.

Cindy Pohlman


>Corporate America has destroyed middle class

The old adage says: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." That should apply to those who do not live or work in the City of Buffalo. When a recent letter writer from Elma complained about teachers', police officers' and firefighters' incessant whining about raises, one couldn't help but wonder if the writer ever experienced what civil service is all about.

It is true that pay and benefits exceed that of the private sector. But when was the last time a businessman was assaulted by a mob of angry students, shot in the face or had a chimney collapse on him? Government is not a business. Cities are not-for-profit entities. There are only two explanations for a surplus: overtaxing your residents or underpaying your service providers. Mayor Byron Brown is quick to state that the city has seen a surplus for the past three fiscal years, while the workers watch their raises get held up in legal battle after legal battle.

When are people in the private sector going to wake up and ask their employers why their benefits keep drying up? Corporate America has destroyed the middle class that flourished after World War II. Unions might have wielded too much power in the past, but that is surely not the case in this century. We need to stop worrying about what the other guy is getting and concentrate on the waste in government and corporate greed in the private sector.

William J. LaRusch
Buffalo Fire Department


>Everett's determination is an inspiration to us all

As a former cheerleader and an employee of the organization, my proudest Buffalo Bills fan moment came the evening of Nov. 18, prior to the commencement of the New England game, when I listened in amazement to Kevin Everett speaking to us from Houston, Texas. It was a poignant moment in the history of the organization. Everett demonstrated to every diehard fan in attendance and the entire nation why it is still OK to be enamored of professional athletes.

His skills made him a professional. His fortitude makes him a hero. My wish is that in the near future Everett is able to return to One Bills Drive so that we may personally show him how very proud we are to have him as one of our own. To number 85 -- Godspeed. Feel our prayers.

Kim Collins

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