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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

BICYCLISTS HAVE TO OBEY SAME RULES AS MOTORISTS

Set the record straight on bicycle safety! Pedestrians walk facing traffic. Bicycle riders never did ride facing traffic!

A bicycle is a road vehicle and has always been. Rules were never changed. A recent letter about bicycle safety is indicative of the public's ignorance regarding driving rules of the road, bicycle safety, bicyclist's rights and general traffic safety.

The fact is that the bicyclists were the ones that wrote the driving rules of the road and promoted the building of the road networks that we all enjoy today. Those rules were so good that they were later adopted for automobiles. A bicycle is a vehicle, the same as an automobile, and it and its rider have the very same rights, rules and obligations in using and sharing the roads, which we all enjoy today.

The real problem, in most cases, is not the bicycles, but the drivers who have not been educated properly, and in their ignorance, and often arrogance, neither know nor respect the laws that have been written and practiced by many generations since the roads were first built for the bicycle riders. The problem is further exacerbated by the lack of good educational law enforcement of both the motorist and the cyclist in giving citations to drivers and riders when they do not obey the laws.

Carl & Clary Burgwardt

Pedaling History Bicycle Museum

Orchard Park

IRAQIS SHOULD BE GLAD SADDAM IS OUT OF POWER

It's truly amazing that some Americans still believe that the Iraqi people were better off under Saddam because "there was more water and electricity."

How quickly they forget the many victims who were tortured or murdered, after being dragged out of their homes at gunpoint.

Was this really a preferred tradeoff, or do the survivors appreciate a new found freedom without fear, under a government of their own choosing? I think the answer is quite obvious.

Ray Pauley

Grand Island

BUFFALO IS LONG OVERDUE FOR CITY MANAGER MODEL

I am a transplant from a small Wisconsin town on Lake Michigan that had a city manager before 1930 (my birth year). Living in Buffalo more than 50 years,I have frequently wondered why Buffalo hadn't taken advantage of the same expertise.

Shirleyann Van Dette

Amherst

BOTH PARTIES WOULD BALK ABOUT REINSTATING DRAFT

The News article regarding a possible return of the draft neglected one important point. During a war, the administration in power in no way wants a draft because it puts the drastic costs of war directly in the minds of the populace, particularly those with children or grandchildren who might face conscription. With an all volunteer force it's easy to say "they knew what they were getting into when they enlisted."

A draft, at least psychologically, brings the reality of war into every household. This can only lead to more unrest, dissent and anti-war activity unless the country is absolutely convinced of the necessity of the hostilities. It is much easier to be less critical when others are the ones making the sacrifice.

A draft will put the motives for war under intense scrutiny and the administration prosecuting it under a spotlight. My guess is that this is the last thing a Republican or Democratic White House would want. I anticipate there will be much talk about reinstituting the draft, but it will take dire circumstances for it to actually happen.

Michael S. Albert

Orchard Park

RAIN-DRENCHED CONCERT SHOWED SPIRIT OF BUFFALO

As a member of the monsoon-drenched crowd at July's Niagara Square concert, I can say we didn't care if the cameras were running, we were just excited to be there. As a hard-core fan in the fourth "pit" row, I was concerned about instruments and equipment but more so about the safety of the performers and crew.

I would have understood if the show had been canceled or postponed. I agree wholeheartedly with Janet Baker's letter praising the Goo Goo Dolls and the strength of character and endurance of the City of Buffalo and its residents.

This was my first visit to Buffalo and I can say it won't be my last. Why? The people were amazing. Plain and simple. I am not a big city person and to me, Buffalo is a big city. I was totally impressed by the feeling of community. That truly overwhelmed me, in addition to some pretty incredible architecture.

So I just want to say thank you to the Goo Goo Dolls and all the crew for their perseverance and hard work and to the people of Buffalo for one of the best weekends of my life. All of you have my deepest respect and gratitude.

Sara Knight

Torrington, Conn.

TOO EARLY TO DETERMINE HOW FROGS ARE FARING

While we appreciate Jaime Malarkey's July 5 article, "State's Frogs Doing Well, Sites Show," her statement that Frogwatch USA data tells us that New York's amphibians are doing well is not quite accurate. Actually, it's too early to draw any conclusions from Frogwatch USA data. Our volunteers will need to monitor their sites for several more years before we can even begin to understand the health of the state's frog and toad populations.

The National Wildlife Federation is thrilled to be working with 272 volunteer citizen scientists in New York state as part of its national Frogwatch USA program. These dedicated volunteers are collecting valuable information about amphibians throughout the state, with nine monitoring sites in Erie County. I encourage people who want to follow our progress or become volunteers to visit www.frogwatch.org.

Amy Goodstine

Frogwatch USA Coordinator

National Wildlife Federation

NAACP STORY DISPLAYED ANTI-BUSH SENTIMENT

In a recent news story in The Buffalo News, President Bush was once again derided, this time as a foe of the NAACP. Julian Bond, NAACP Chairman, stated that the Bush administration preaches racial neutrality and practices racial division. He said the administration tried to patch a leaky economy and every other domestic problem with duct tape and plastic sheets. They write a new constitution for Iraq, and ignore the Constitution here at home.

Bond needed to be more specific and less melodramatic when speaking on the ills of the economy. The article was a poor example of objective journalism because of the overwhelming generality of Bond's speech.

When reporting on sensitive issues such as race relations and perceived constitutional violations, I would think that editorial judgment and recognition as to the political slant of this article would be used. Certain segments of readership may not have access to read the entire context of this speech.

It has been recited ad nauseam that there is a political bias with the media, especially against this president and his administration. I want political debate so as to choose the best candidate in the land, be it Kerry or Bush. Articles such as this one show that the media is out for blood against President Bush.

David Zalenski

Lancaster