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Everybody's Column / Letters from our readers

Williams' bad behavior presents a bad example

We retired Buffalo teachers, who don't have to fear reprisal, find Superintendent James Williams' behavior an embarrassment and a sad role model for our children.

He has referred to the School Board as clowns, the Buffalo Teachers Federation President a snake and a liar and threatened to kick the BTF President's "a--." Two persons present affirmed that he said "a--," Williams says that he said "rear end." Who's the liar here?

We taught and teachers teach not to engage in name-calling and threats of violence. In just two months, Williams has undermined it all. What a terrible role model.

Imagine the continued strident uproar by The Buffalo News and community leaders if BTF's Phil Rumore had engaged in such behavior. Talk about hypocrisy.

To Rumore's credit, he has refused to respond in kind. We need leaders who inspire and bring people together, not name-callers and bullies.

If this behavior occurred in just the first two months of Williams' tenure, what other unprofessional and embarrassing behavior can we expect and at what cost?

Members of the control board who found Williams' remarks funny should also be ashamed of themselves. You, too, set a poor example.

Stanley Nowak and Fred Yellen



Schumer's position on privacy is flawed

I had been watching John Roberts' Supreme Court confirmation hearings on TV. I found it funny how U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants a right of privacy where abortion is concerned, but where the right to keep and bear arms is concerned, he wants people registered, an offense of the person's privacy. Consistent, he is not. One might murder another pre-born human being without being registered, but we must register someone with a gun because at some point in time there is the possibility that said person would take a life? I do not see the correlation here. Unless, of course, Schumer has another agenda for future gun confiscation, or disarmament, that registration would aid.

Paul Rusin



Tired political machine should not win election

As a lifelong Democrat and resident of Buffalo, I'm really perplexed at the actions of the local Democratic party. Once more, they have chosen a candidate entangled in special interest groups, who lacks any vision or original ideas, and is once more the embodiment of business as usual.

This is truly the last thing this city needs at this time. As our tax base erodes, our young people continue to migrate, our businesses leave, our city services disappear and our local politicians continue to choose the status quo as their leadership style.

I would urge all like-minded individuals to consider a real change this November and do as I plan to do. For the first time in my life I will pull the Republican lever and take a chance for real change with Kevin Helfer.

This city needs to be challenged out of the hypnotic stranglehold partisan politics has on it. It has not served us well.

David Zawistowski



Matarese's 9/1 1 contact should inspire solidarity

I am writing in regard to Leonard Matarese's Sept. 11 Viewpoints story. I read with interest his e-mail excerpts from his involvement in the aftermath of the 9/1 1 terrorist attacks. His respectful and well-written piece revealed his sense of reverence and honor for the NYPD and the FDNY. As a chief officer in the middle of tragedy, he relates how he was deeply affected by the countless acts of heroism and images of dead and missing firefighters and police.

However, what strikes me as both astounding and shameful is that this same person now has an agenda as the city's human resource commissioner to reduce manpower, decrease benefits and freeze wages in the Buffalo Police and Fire Departments.

To present himself to the public as "one of us," praising with the one hand while slapping police and fire personnel with the other during recent contract negotiations, is hypocritical and insulting.

Matarese should never desecrate the valuable lessons and insights he claims to have learned at ground zero. In fact, due to his experiences in New York City, one would expect that he would take increased devotion to always defend firefighters and police and make a stand on their behalf.

Gregory M. Rapp

Buffalo Fire Department


Military influence plays key role in young ranks

The author of a Sept. 14 letter is of the opinion that all who enlisted in the military did so of their own free will. It is debatable that every 18-year-old has the maturity and wisdom to make decisions such as enlisting of his own free will. My son was young, impressionable and gullible. The college campus had persuasive recruiters who led him to believe that his tuition would be paid by the military.

We opposed his enlistment but because he was 18, our role and authority as parents was superseded by the government's authority to recruit. Please be mindful that at 18 he could not drink an alcoholic beverage, rent a car or be involved in a lawsuit without involving his parents. Not a single cent of his tuition was paid by the military. So, dear writer, be careful what you say.

Her statement, "As parents, it is our responsibility to sit our children down and make sure that they understand that the price for 'free' tuition and trade skills may be their lives," was good advice.

Fee Marrero



Goldman hit the mark with dress code column

The Sept. 13 column by Mary Kunz Goldman was "right on." Last week, I attended the performance of "Ring of Fire" at Studio Arena Theatre and was surprised to see some of the patrons dressed for the beach -- women and men in shorts, T-shirts, sneakers and flip-flops.

I witness the same type of dress for church and I often wonder if these people live in mirror less homes. If so, purchasing a full-length mirror would be a good investment. What has happened to taking pride in your appearance by wearing suitable attire for every special event whether it be church, theater, wedding, funeral or the beach?

Rosemary Fantaske



Power Authority refuses to deal transparently

Come on people, wake up, stand up and fight back. The New York Power Authority is playing to our worst fears by pitting county against county, business leader against business leader and elected official against elected official. And in the end, as usual, it is our community that stands to lose the most.

The authority whispers, whines and has its own staffers write letters to the editor that claim if Buffalo and Erie County get a better settlement from another 50-year license, rates will rise and jobs will be lost.

Prove it! Open your books and explain to the public that is paying for all of this why it refuses to follow the law that calls for mitigating the impacts of the project along the waterfront, but can cover its losses in other facilities across this state with revenues generated by the Niagara Power Plant. Stop blaming Rep. Brian Higgins for demanding a fair deal and just do the right thing.

Lisa Wood


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