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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

Civilized world must denounce beheadings

As we are exposed to the hideous beheadings of kidnapped victims by terrorists, I wonder why there isn't a greater cry of outrage from the world community. If all civilized nations came together in a show of solidarity and unity against this atrocity, terrorism would be much less prevalent. It would mean putting certain agendas and differences aside to work toward a common goal, because this clear and present danger threatens all humanity. War does not explode onto the scene, it begins in men's hearts fueled by hatred, jealousy and greed.

The real war is the one of good against evil, and it begins within each of us. The most dangerous person in the world today is the one who does not care. The one who does not vote, the one who changes the channel when the faces of starving children appear on TV, the one who is more interested in the stock market than in the ethnic cleansing going on in places like Rwanda and Croatia. The one who calls the killing of babies a "choice." These are the people we should fear the most, because they are the cause of the downfall of great nations.

Dawn Curazzato

Williamsville

Buffalo firefighters deserve to be treated fairly

It seems that The News editorial writers believe their sworn duty is to inform the public that Buffalo's grave financial situation is due to the greed of Buffalo firefighters and their union, Local 282.

Why don't we ask the families of fallen officers and firefighters who deserves more? It may well be that statements like that are unfair at the bargaining table, but it is a fact that police officers and firefighters deal with life-threatening situations and injury on an almost daily basis. Who decides which uniformed service deserves more?

The control board and The News would like nothing better than to see the police and fire unions fighting over who received a better deal. While the focus of our union's rejection of the one provider health care plan pits the community we serve against us, little attention is paid to the fact that our state legislators once again failed to submit a budget on time. This, to me, is a much bigger travesty.

As a Buffalo firefighter, I believe it's time to back off of the Fire Department. Deal with us fairly, and appreciate the professional and well-trained members who selflessly give their all every day for this still fine city.

William J. LaRusch

Buffalo

Naples' motives appear fueled by politics

The News editorial writers appear to be willing to give Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples the benefit of the doubt as to her motives for her recent criticism of County Executive Joel Giambra's spending of the county's tobacco settlement. The facts lead one to question that judgment.

The idea that Naples has blown the whistle on the spending of the county's tobacco asset is absolutely untrue. Staunch supporters of selling the tobacco stream in 2000, Naples and Giambra have worked hand-in-hand as members of the board that transfers the money to the county for these purposes. When that board meets, she and other board members presumably had ample opportunity to review the county's plans.

Her recent protests about the spending of those dollars are certainly politically motivated. Democrats on the County Legislature raised these issues time and again during Giambra's first term in office, going so far as to contact the federal Internal Revenue Service for guidance. And what did the public receive in terms of warning from the comptroller's office? Not one word.

John A. Carter III

West Seneca

Grelick doesn't understand the process of democracy

Amherst Town Supervisor Susan Grelick talks about establishing a new criteria for the disposal of town assets under the banner of "preserving democracy." This was done in reaction to the proposal by Council Member Bill O'Loughlin to close the Harlem Road Community Center and sell the land for development purposes.

If Grelick was truly interested in preserving democracy, wouldn't it make more sense to have a full discussion on the proposal? Instead, we ended up with a kangaroo court that would not consider any aspect of O'Loughlin's proposal.

If Grelick understood the democratic process as it relates to her fiduciary responsibility to all residents of Amherst, she would have ensured that the proposal be given an unemotional hearing from all interested parties. Perhaps a developer could have come up with a solution that provided an increase in the tax base and provided a continuation of, and improvements in, the community center at no cost to the town.

Grelick has a complete lack of creative vision, which keeps the status quo of burdensome property taxes ridiculously high in this area.

Peter Huston

Williamsville

Assisted living centers lacking in oversight

Some assisted-living facilities are allowed to operate in New York State with no requirements for disclosure to the public, no clear standards for admission or discharge and no standardized set of services that define assisted living. This is not fair to the senior citizens of our state. A lot of New Yorkers who thought they were protected under law are simply left out in the cold and may not be able to age in an assisted-living facility.

As regional coordinator for AARP, I have visited legislators' offices in Albany and Buffalo and made sure they knew this was a crucial issue for many senior citizens. The lack of consumer protections for residents of private-pay assisted-living facilities needs to be addressed in this legislative session.

The governor and the State Legislature need to act now to ensure that these residents have the quality of care they deserve. The legislators left Albany without getting the job done. They have failed the seniors of New York. They can redeem themselves when they come back. They can pass a budget and assisted-living regulations to protect our seniors.

Leonard S. Sikora

Elma

GOP's gripes about Edwards describe Bush's shortcomings

I had to grin as the Republican pundits once again shot themselves in the foot. No sooner had John Kerry picked Sen. John Edwards as his running mate than the GOP began suggesting it was a choice of image over substance. They said Edwards has no foreign relations experience and no security experience.

What foreign relations experience did President Bush have? What was his security experience? Oh yes, Bush can point to the prevention of a Mexican invasion during his stint in the Texas Air National Guard. As to his other experience, Bush could boast about the flowers showered on our troops in Iraq, and the intense American image-building experiences around the world since he took office.

I feel so much safer now that Saddam Hussein is in prison, his weapons of mass destruction and nuclear threat have been uncovered and his troops are not marching up Broadway.

Philip L. Wiggle

Amherst

Lackawanna sewer project ruining a neighborhood

I am a resident of Lackawanna. Since last fall, our street has been held hostage by the county. A sanitary/storm sewer project has left this neighborhood in shambles. I am a few miles from Woodlawn State Park, but have pseudo-lakefront property. What was promised as a remedy has turned into a fiasco. I thought I was the proverbial squeaky wheel, but have since learned we have an embryonic Boston Tea Party brewing.

In sum, a public meeting has been scheduled with the engineers responsible for this matter at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in the mayor's office. All who have been affected are urged to attend. It simply is our civic duty to hold officials' feet to the fire. If people don't come, don't complain.

Leonard W. Jaworski

Lackawanna

Fire-safe cigarettes will save lives

On behalf of the Fireman's Association of the State of New York, I would like to state that we firmly believe the new fire-safe cigarette law will prevent residential fires and save lives.

Our 110,000 member firefighters and EMTs know firsthand the dangers posed by inattentive, tired or careless smokers. In New York State, cigarettes were the cause of more than 900 residential fires and resulted in the deaths of 112 New Yorkers between 1999 and 2001.

FASNY has been working for the enactment of this law for many years. In addition, the cigarette industry has worked cooperatively to produce a fire-safe product.

Many people agree that once the tobacco industry is required to create a fire-safe cigarette in New York, fire-safe cigarette laws will be approved across the country. We are confident that this will result in a substantial decline in deaths from cigarette-ignited fires.

With the implementation of the fire-safe cigarette law, lives can be saved in New York and beyond. This landmark legislation can make a difference.

Joe Finnegan

President, FASNY

Drop in teen smoking a New York success story

It is terrific that our teens have such an accomplishment to celebrate. We should jump for joy knowing that teenage smoking is at its lowest level ever. No matter how one feels about the Clean Indoor Air Act or any of the restrictions put on smokers, no one wants our teens to become addicted to tobacco products like cigarettes. It is now not cool to smoke. We still have a ways to go, but we are so far ahead of any place we have ever been.

Groups like Reality Check are to be congratulated on their initiatives. They are made up of teens who advocate for teens, and no one relates better than a peer. These bright young people are making a difference in our community. Teens today have a much healthier future to look forward to.

For all its faults, New York State is a leader in protecting its people against tobacco and the harmful effects that come with it. Congratulations to all of those who have been brave enough to stand up and say, "enough is enough."

Steven A. Beauchamp

East Amherst

Use other browsers to pressure Microsoft

The News article about the recurring problems with Microsoft's Web browser, Internet Explorer, did not do justice to the depth of the problem. Microsoft's penchant for throwing everything into the operating system has led to these security problems. Regardless of the patches that are put out by Microsoft, a user is never really sure that a new flaw won't compromise security. In fact, the situation is so bad that if you try to install a new Windows XP machine while it is connected to the Internet, chances are high that it will be infected with viruses even before the installation is completed.

Contrary to what the article claimed, the reason criminals target Internet Explorer is because it is known to have more flaws. The solution is to use another browser. Mozilla has two free browsers. Opera also has a free, ad-supported browser. Using these browsers also sends a powerful message to Microsoft: that users will not tolerate shoddy software.

Ajay Shekhawat

Buffalo

Learning lessons from the Moving Vietnam Wall

I just returned from seeing the Moving Vietnam Wall, which was on display in Kenmore. If everyone took an hour to view it, perhaps they would be inclined to think about the sacrifices these men made. This is not just something to grieve about. It is also something to prompt us to ponder about the future.

If you have teenagers approaching the age where they will be eligible to serve in our armed forces, think how you would feel as a parent viewing your son's or daughter's name on a wall such as this. The price paid by these men and their families was astronomical.

History has been known to repeat itself. If you don't want to see it happen again, then for your children's sake, get involved in some part of this country. Begin by volunteering on a committee at the town level. You'll become more informed and can make better decisions when voting. Be knowledgeable. Show your sons and daughters that you can, indeed, make a better decision when you vote. You'll not only impact them, you'll impact their future.

Linda Jenkin Costanzo

Clarence

Goo Goos get it right: This is one tough town

Jeff Miers crafted a thorough follow-up story to the Goo Goo Dolls' somewhat thwarted attempt to film a DVD on July 4. I doubt many people in the crowd realized that the concealed cameras were malfunctioning. I doubt, too, that they understood the extent to which the band's instruments were getting wet.

As a concert-goer, I've never felt so drenched or been so absolutely "immersed" in all my life. Like fish out of water, we all seemed content to happily flop about, awaiting the Buffalo boys' reaction to a healthy summer dumping of precipitation. If they had canceled, my respect for their clawing struggle to become national artists would have been sorely lacking. Especially after concert-goers persevered through the monsoon and nasty torrents running along the curbs. To quote John Rzeznik onstage, "This is the toughest city in America." Amen.

Janet Baker

East Concord

WE GOT MAIL
138 LETTERS RECEIVED THIS WEEK
Here are the top 5 issues on the minds of those who wrote to Everybody's Column this week:

1. Discontent with President Bush

2. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/1 1"

3. Selection of John Edwards as John Kerry's running mate

4. Support for President Bush

5. Buffalo firefighters union