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Everybody's Column

Bring sense of pride ?back to the East Side

The "Old Polish East Side," as I remember it as a kid, was a rather modest place but a place where everyone seemed to know everyone. People did not have a lot of material wealth, but what they did have was a sense of community, pride, family and friendship. Things that are priceless in today's relativistic society.

As I walk through the East Side streets during Polish gatherings at the churches and clubs, I can still remember a time when neatly trimmed front lawns, fresh paint and the smell of Pine-Sol emanated from the homes in the Polonia District.

Today many of the once quaint homes sit boarded up, the lawns that were once well kept now grow with weeds, sidewalks buckle, streets are filled with potholes and empty fields abound. The area's rampant neglect demonstrates the lack of vision and commitment from City Hall.

Oh, but maybe there is! Let's keep bulldozing vacant buildings. It's one thing to bulldoze buildings, Mr. Mayor. It's another to rebuild. When will Polonia have its time? It's time. Enough rhetoric and false promises! The place that was once the beginning of a truly great dream for thousands of Polish immigrants is no more. Today it stands as a nightmare. The place where it all started is disseminated.

Like so many Poles who fervently fought to bring back Poland after 123 years of being wiped off the face of the map, it is now time for all Polish-Americans residing in Western New York, in a similar fashion, to join hands together and vigorously fight to resurrect the place where it all began.

This is our Polonia. This is our time.

James L. Lawicki

Board Member, Polish-American Congress, WNY Division

Orchard Park


It's wrong to depict Obama ?as king of big government

A June 13 editorial cartoon in The News by Lisa Benson depicted President Obama as the king of big government. This is highly misleading.

According to the records of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, conservative President Ronald Reagan increased the number of federal employees by 238,000 to a record high of 3,113,000.

Under Obama, the number of federal employees is 2,840,000 – 273,000 fewer than under Reagan. What is even more dramatic is the fact that the U.S. population has increased by 93 million people since the Reagan era. This means there are a lot fewer federal employees per population than in 1980. To say that Obama is for big government is incorrect.

Michael Hilburger



Last thing state needs? is more bureaucracy

Nothing makes me angrier than unnecessary government intrusion into my health care. The legislation requiring a "real-time" database for doctors and pharmacists to check on patients' prescription medication to "ensure they are not hoarding drugs or being overprescribed certain medications" is simply over-the-top insanity. The numbers spewed out in news stories about prescription drugs – mostly pain pills – already tell me that there is enough tracking in place.

For our state to "prove" we need yet another costly layer of bureaucracy to "save" us from our doctors and ultimately, behavior we cannot control, is reprehensible. I already have doctors who have to treat "to the insurance coverage" and now they are going to have to treat "to the prescription database."

State and federal public health agencies are salivating over the powers they will have to mine yet another database for proof we need their mandated oversight. I resent Sen. Charles Schumer and the coalition of Western New York lawmakers who took advantage of some families' pain to advance this agenda. Better they should have lobbied the drug makers to stop putting acetaminophen in their prescription narcotics to prevent liver failure. You could die trying to control your pain. That's what is referred to as an unintended consequence. Maybe later we can do a story on the unintended consequence of the real time prescription database and these same politicians will all bail.

Pam McDonald



Why didn't co-workers? alert hospital authorities?

We are all accustomed to the rhetorical recollections of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues in tragedies such as this as to how it could have happened when the "person of interest" was the mildest mannered, even tempered, most gentle, polite and accommodating person imaginable. Yet here we are again with a double tragedy of lives lost and dozens of others who will be permanently affected, and it is highly probable that all of this may have prevented with just a modicum of responsible adult behavior on the part of all those people who worked with and around him who knew that he had changed drastically over the past four months yet said nothing.

Even with what was mentioned in The News on June 14, there was sufficient aberrancy in his behavior to alert someone in his chain of command to try to get him a proper medical evaluation. It would not have mattered one iota whether Dr. Timothy Jorden ever entered an operating room again if his life and that of Jackie Wisniewski could have been saved by someone simply picking up a phone and alerting ECMC's chief of surgery or someone in administration.

Eddie L. Hoover, M.D.



Require all voters ?to show photo ID

Voting is a legal citizen's right and privilege. I don't understand the controversy. The Constitution seems very clear.

There are two primary ways to become a U.S. citizen – birthright citizenship (a person born within the territorial limits of the United States) and "naturalization" (legal immigrants who apply for citizenship and, after completing the process, are accepted). Both of these pathways to citizenship are specified in the Citizenship Clause of the Constitution in the 14th Amendment, which reads: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

Voting for federal office in all 50 states and the District of Columbia is restricted to legal citizens only. However, states do not have to extend the right to vote to all citizens: for example, several states bar citizen felons from voting, even after completing their custodial sentence. The Constitution bars states from restricting citizens from voting on grounds of race, color, previous condition of servitude, sex, failure to pay any tax or age (for citizens 18 years of age or older).

For legal citizens to provide a photo proof of citizenship in order to vote seems like a very simple request, considering all the other less important things we need to provide proof of identity for. One that could help to stop a lot of voter fraud.

F. Thomas Pecora