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Oh, how curves have changed my life! As a child my rigid, Germanic father indoctrinated me into the universal truth that straight lines ruled. Mowing the lawn was a two-way, straight-lined affair, and if any wayward grass clippings remained, the rake was required to be used in the same direction as the cutting. (Those darn April showers caused me to hate raking). Of cours…

Most Americans, we suspect, would agree that U.S. border agents need broader latitude than other law enforcement officials in their ability to conduct searches. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution generally prohibits searches without probable cause and, even then, a judge must issue a warrant. Customs officers, by contrast, require the ability to search vehicles and i…

Farmworkers in New York, and most other states, have a raw deal. The State Legislature is now considering a bill to reform an intolerable lack of legal protection. It should approve the bill, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also supports.Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights – named for her late father – is a leader in the fight…

By Robert J. DuffyWhen people hear Peace Bridge, different thoughts come to mind. Some people think of traveling to Canada, some people think of the traffic, some think of the new bridge that was discussed for years but never materialized.I think of all of the above plus I see a lost opportunity for Western New York to grow and a lesson to be learned.I am a lifelong reside…

The official end of the 2013 session of the New York State Legislature arrives in nine days. Lawmakers have a lot of work to do before then. Here are some of the most important measures on the Legislature’s docket – issues that have shown themselves to be important to the state.Campaign finance/ethics reformAlbany remains a cesspool of corruption. Every year, it seems,…

By Theodore J. WelchPaul S. Pinto paints with a very broad brush in his analysis on how school fiscal administrators determine the tax levy each year (The Buffalo News, June 3). While I am sure that a few districts operate as Pinto claims, the process that I am familiar with, both in my district and in the Western New York area, has demonstrated that schools take extraordi…

The bid in the New York State Legislature to put the Peace Bridge Authority out of business is something other than it appears and is, in fact, worth the effort, not only in terms of producing progress on the bridge and plaza but also of creating a more accountable management structure.The legislation, pushed by Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo, and Sen. Mark J. Grisant…

The recent School Board election in the City of Buffalo drew many more voters than the previous one, but that isn’t saying much. The paltry turnout is why it’s important to move city School Board elections from May to November.This year we saw one of the most controversial elections in recent memory, and fewer than 12,000 voters turned out. More than 3,200 of those vot…

By Brian SampsonRecent scandals have rocked state government and justifiably outraged taxpayers. Unfortunately, well-funded special interests are arguing that the appropriate response to these scandals is for hard-working New York taxpayers to give politicians even more money.These special interests are trying to convince us that publicly financed campaigns will make every…

In a deeply troubling revelation, the government has been compiling a huge database of telephone calling logs of virtually every American, and it has been going on for no less than seven years. In addition, another program has been secretly collecting information on the Internet activity of foreigners overseas who use the nation’s big Internet companies, including Google…

For as long as anyone can remember, Niagara Falls has had trouble making smart decisions. Politics, stubbornness, greed and even corruption have helped turn the city with the famous name into a financial and economic disaster zone.State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli didn’t use those words in his just-released audit of the city’s finances, but he could have. He acknowl…

By Paul AtkinsonStudent loans are a growing financial concern for many individuals, with ripple effects slowing economic growth throughout the country.Student loan defaults surged in the first three months of 2013, while efforts to collect bad loans are faltering, according to credit analysts and government audits. It is the latest twist in a college debt crisis that is ha…