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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Try an old but proven remedy for working through disaster

Now that rescue efforts on the Gulf Coast are winding down and the blame game is in full swing, I'd like to propose an idea to help in the rebuilding. Reinstate the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps idea of the 1930s. People would get paid to help rebuild their homes. Hundreds of thousands of workers are going to be needed to rebuild these homes.

The economy of the Gulf states has been gutted. As these people rebuild, they could be taught skills like carpentry, bricklaying, electrical, dry wall, etc., by a cadre of experienced workers. Maybe some retired master carpenters could be induced to return and instruct the apprentice workers.

Seems like a win-win situation. The Gulf Coast would get an influx of money while people help rebuild their homes and learn new skills that could be used for life.

John Pauly
Lake View

Small businesses loan program worked well for disaster victims

In response to the Sept. 12 News editorial, "Oversight of 9/1 1 loans atrocious," it's time for a reality check.

In the interest of setting the record straight, let me point out that the Small Business Administration had a disaster recovery, low-interest loan program in which it directly made loans to victims of the 9/1 1 terrorist attacks. Every eligible loan applicant in New York City and across the country who qualified for a loan under this program was able to receive one. There was ample funding. There was no competition between small businesses for this money, as implied.

Separately, Congress pursued legislation to respond to the needs of small businesses across the country that, through no fault of their own, were adversely impacted financially by 9/1 1. This resulted in the Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief program. Through STAR, small businesses could obtain loans, guaranteed by the SBA, at commercially available interest rates.

The SBA implemented the STAR program openly as Congress mandated and it was a success. In fact, many small businesses have stated that they would not have made it after the economic downturn caused by 9/1 1 without these SBA-guaranteed loans.

Hector V. Barreto
Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration

City official might see cheers turn to jeers

I've just finished reading the Sept. 11 Viewpoints story by Leonard Matarese about his journey to New York City after 9/1 1. He said there was an abundance of cheers as he drove through the streets. If they only knew what he is doing to the Buffalo Fire Department now, I think those cheers would quickly turn to boos.

Bill Kwiatkowski
Truck 2, Buffalo Fire Department
Buffalo

New fees for library services are a bad move that hurts poor

I am delighted at how advanced our library system has become. Gone are the card catalogs. Gone are the paper slots in the back of library books that told when an item had to be returned. Gone are the tedious notifying post cards. The library has indeed advanced to become the envy of most municipalities.

Now it appears that we are going to go in the other direction. As of Oct. 1, there will be a charge for ordering each item: $1 for DVDs and 25 cents for books and audios. One of the great advantages of our new system is it gives a patron the ability to order material online, either at home or at the library's computer. The decision to charge for ordering DVDs and books online will only discourage people from using the library, especially those people who feel they are already paying taxes for this service, and more importantly, for those who just can't afford it.

This is not the direction the library wants to go. I would hate to think that the poor are going to be discouraged from using another public service.

Dolores Bucella
Buffalo

Bad history repeats itself in America's war in Iraq

I read with interest the Sept. 6 letter, "Bush was correct in heading to Iraq." I salute, thank and applaud the writer for his service to our nation. Last year, I wrote The News of the shame and sorrow I felt when President Bush and his henchmen launched an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation that was no threat to this country.

From 1941 to 2001, we Americans called the Japanese every derogatory, denigrating name in the book for their first-strike attack at Pearl Harbor. Then, on March 19, 2001, Bush committed the same outrage against Iraq. I felt the invasion was shameful and disgraceful then, and now, at the ripe old age of 80, I haven't seen anything issuing from Iraq to cause me to change my opinion of Bush or to justify his war.

George D. Poe
Staff Sergeant, USAAC, retired
Williamsville

Politicians should say no to any Buffalo casino

As we approach the naming of a casino site by the Seneca Nation, I ask all to speak up and write to political leaders to not let this tragedy happen to Buffalo. We should not be giving part of the city to another nation forever, a sovereign nation that precludes Buffalo from exercising its laws on the property.

Those who argue that a casino will bring jobs ignore that all dollars of disposable income spent there will not be spent elsewhere in Western New York, costing many jobs and loss of sales tax revenue to Erie County. Also, there will be many expenses incurred by the city and various social services agencies to deal with increased crime, addiction and bankruptcy. Roughly 70 percent of slots revenue is derived from a small minority of problem gamblers.

Let us market what Buffalo has, such as the Erie Canal, architecture, music, history, sports, restaurants and theater. Let us not put these Buffalo treasures on the endangered list.

Robert J. Heffern
Buffalo

Don't disparage liberals for their principled opposition

I quote an Aug. 29 letter: "No one has ever accused a liberal of thinking any position through to its logical conclusion, and Iraq is no exception." Why can't people realize how ridiculous their blanket contempt for liberals sounds?

I really am not the enemy, and I am weary of having my intelligence, character and commitment to good citizenship degraded by people who have learned different lessons from life than myself. Social security, unemployment insurance and laws protecting civil rights, civil liberties, working people, consumers and the environment are some of the accomplishments of people who have logically been working for social and economic justice. Yet many people on the right are obsessed with turning the clock back.

Regarding Iraq, the Downing Street memo dispels any question that our president lied while leading our country to war. He ignored the advice of many American military and intelligence officials, as well as many more foreign intelligence and diplomatic personnel. It appears the critics' worst fears have come true. The critics now include some Republican congressional leaders. That something is seriously amiss should transcend political philosophy.

Mark Nemerow
Darien Center

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