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Everybody's Column

NFTA fails to provide reliable transit service

I was shocked, upon arriving on a recent morning at the Athol Springs Park and Ride, to find that my bus had been eliminated. Quite surprised, because I had thought that my route, 74, was not on the list of routes to be cut. Further, I was under the impression that the public outcry over the last proposed cuts had caused the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to reconsider those cuts.

When I moved to Hamburg from South Buffalo five years ago, I had a choice of several buses running from Athol Springs to downtown: 7:45, 7:55, 8 and 8:26. Now I have one: 7:49. That's the last bus downtown from Hamburg. That means I have to leave a half an hour earlier if I want to take the bus, and I'll get downtown 45 minutes before my starting time.

Since last year's changes, I now have to wait half an hour to get a bus home. Where I used to catch one right outside my building at 5:05, it now comes at 5:30. Altogether, it means that taking the bus now adds more than an hour to my commute every day.

I used to be able to leave my house at 8 a.m., catch the bus and be home again by 5:45. Now I leave the house at 7:30 and get home after 6. If I drive, I can leave at 8:25 and get home by 5:30. Sorry, NFTA, but that's a no-brainer.

Let's face it, the NFTA is a bloated mess. It is filled with do-nothing patronage managers who are more concerned with covering their butts than providing services. It should be disbanded. Let a private company that knows how to run a bus company do the job the NFTA refuses to do: provide reliable and affordable mass transit service.

Curtis J. Ahrens Jr.



Church's treatment of nuns is appalling

As a lifelong Catholic, I am appalled by the recent edict from Rome ordering American nuns to "get in line" and stop questioning the church's policies regarding women.

If history has taught us anything, it's that we should be very wary of any institution, be it governmental or religious, that tells its adherents that it knows best and everyone else should stop thinking and just do what they're told.

I applaud the nuns' refusal to accept the ecclesiastically equivalent order to remain "barefoot and pregnant" and do what the men tell you. Women should never accept second-class status, regardless of whether it's at the workplace, in society or at their church.

The Vatican's current doctrines toward women are not only morally offensive and horribly out of date, they also deprive the faithful of the contributions that could be made by women joining the church in leadership roles.

Paul Cena



Council should name Fisher to vacant seat

If the Buffalo Common Council was acting logically and responsibly, Matt Fisher would already be South District Council member.

Fisher served the previous councilman for the past four years. He has the recommendation of the Democratic Committee, the votes of four Council members, the support of all current elected officials from South Buffalo and broad community support.

I challenge the undecided Council members to state exactly what problem they have with Fisher. They ought to have a very serious reason for why they are asking for new applicants a month after the original deadline, especially considering that city budget negotiations are under way.

The public has a right to know why they are unwilling to appoint a perfectly qualified candidate like Fisher. I suspect their real reasons for opposing Fisher's appointment are the result of petty political games and have nothing to do with what is best for the residents or the city.

David Coffee



BTF is willing to continue working on memorandum

The Buffalo School District and the Buffalo Teachers Federation worked hundreds of hours and submitted four memoranda of understanding signed by Superintendent Amber Dixon and me between Dec. 28, 2011, and March 23. They were sent to all teachers for a vote in their buildings and a subsequent vote of their building representatives. All four were rejected by State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. The final MOU was rejected just before our building representatives' meeting.

After being notified that the commissioner wouldn't approve student absenteeism as a factor, building representatives, after a vote of teachers, voted unanimously that the absenteeism section should not be removed.

On April 16, we received a fifth MOU the district submitted to the commissioner, without our knowledge, containing a rating chart that we informed the district was unacceptable. Regardless, it was sent to all teachers for a vote, with a vote of the building representatives set for April 19.

Teachers were informed that the chart was problematic; however, they should consider approving it if the chart was redone. The building representatives instead voted that I not sign the MOU. The absenteeism section was problematic and also there was no offset for special education students and students who speak little English.

We signed four MOUs and voted on at least three, only to have them rejected by the commissioner -- sometimes for items that were acceptable in previous submissions. On April 20, I notified Dixon that we were willing to continue working on a memorandum of understanding.

Philip Rumore


Buffalo Teachers Federation


Registry is great way to curb animal abuse

Kudos to Morgan Dunbar, founder of Animal Allies of Western New York, for her efforts to help pass a law to require a registry of animal abusers.

It is about time that someone takes a stand on animal abuse. The laws are better than they used to be, but they are not good enough. We need to stop these abusers from seeking out more animals to abuse or kill.

Shame on the pet store owners and anyone else who commented that this proposed law would be cumbersome and time-consuming in reference to having to check each person who is buying or adopting a pet. Pet store owners should be compelled to do everything possible to ensure these animals are not left in the hands of abusers.

I disagree with one online commenter, who wrote: "So, instead of letting people put their past behind them, we want to make sure they are punished for the rest of their lives?" The animal that is abused has to suffer a life sentence of fear and pain. There has been a proven correlation with those who abuse children and those who abuse animals -- both are vulnerable and helpless.

Christine Kobus