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Everybody's Column / Letters from our readers

Brown is a self-made man, not a 'machine' politician

Voters in the upcoming mayoral election need information, and The News should help. So far its coverage of Byron Brown has ranged from the ridiculous -- he is part of the "establishment" (a black man!) -- to the sublime -- a vote against Brown is a vote against the "political system" (that is, against American government). Please.

Brown's political career began with Grassroots. Now he is described as a captive of "special interests." Brown has constituencies, several of them. How about something concrete on the bases of this support?

Brown was Erie County affirmative action coordinator. The News reported a vague allegation about his non-compliance with affirmative action -- and never even mentioned his background? It's called reasonable doubt. Report it. Brown has sponsored few bills? Generally it's a candidate's roll-call votes that are analyzed. High time, too.

Brown will be Anthony Masiello all over again because he serves in the Senate? It's called a career in public service. It's called experience. Brown is not a captive of "machine" politics. He is a self-made man.

One city. One newspaper. The News might even provide straightforward information about Brown's opposition. Compare the two. I'll bet that would be interesting.

Sarah Slavin



People seem to forget Senecas were the original land owners

I would like to respond to the Sept. 25 letter, "Proposed Seneca casino must be put to an end." The writer asks: "How can the land encompassing the proposed casino facility, now part of our country, legally be given away, in perpetuity, to another (Seneca) nation?" My question is: How did this Seneca land get taken away from the Senecas who resided in what became Western New York? Was it taken away "legally"? I always was taught that we were the original land owners, even though we believed the creator's purpose for the land was to live off of it and provide for your family. Maybe it's just time we took it back.

Cheryl Sundown

Tonawanda Seneca



Islam does not have one particular flag

The Picture Page of the Sept. 13 News featured a picture with the caption, "Palestinians hold green Islamic flags used by the militant group Hamas." The flag they were holding belongs to Hamas only. It is not an Islamic flag. I am an Islamic woman and it truly disturbs me to read and see so much misinformation published about Islam. Islam does not have one particular flag. Each Islamic country has its own flag.

Nurhan J. Giampaolo

Orchard Park


Individuals do a better job of budgeting than government

How pleasing and refreshing to see that private funds, not public funds, are being used to keep the Orchard Park Library open on Sundays. Government officials have been woefully slow or unable to understand that private individuals know how to spend their money better than the government does.

Public funds should be used for extremely vital public services only, not used as political pork to ensure that one wins re-election the next time around. By cutting taxes and reducing the amount of money government takes from one's pocketbook, individuals will have more money left and can choose where they will spend it, rather than have the politicians choose for them.

Martin F. Brownsey

West Seneca


Poor victims of hurricane are clearly visible today

I was there for Hurricane Betsy of 1965. A young college graduate, I was doing my Jack Kerouac on-the-road thing. Leaving Dallas, I headed for New Orleans when the hurricane hit. The National American Red Cross hired me upon arrival. I was assigned to Plaquemines Parish, equipped with a snake-bite kit and other essentials. My task was to provide emergency services.

Aside from large boats well inland and homes blocking the main levee highway, I quickly realized the extent of segregation there. Blacks were denied public shelter in that region and had to walk 10 or 12 miles to New Orleans to find it. Blacks made polite denials for rides when I offered them. Finally a black college student accepted my offer. She told me it was dangerous to take a ride from a white person and would probably be beaten if found out.

After Katrina hit, I took out my 1960s file and re-examined the Plaquemines Gazette of Sept. 17, 1965. The back page showed eight photos of evacuees at a shelter. All were white people. The difference between Hurricanes Betsy and Katrina was that 40 years changed Ralph Ellison's "invisible" people to just as needy but now clearly visible disaster victims.

Anthony Rudnicki

Lake View


How could anyone steal flowers from a gravesite?

It's pretty pathetic to think someone could stoop so low as to remove potted flowers from a cemetery plot, not once but twice. My deceased father is located in the Williamsville Cemetery on Main Street. I pay my respects to my dad by leaving flowers to adorn his burial site and to let others know he is remembered.

In the summer of 2003, the flowers disappeared. I wondered how anyone could do such a thing, but chalked it up to an isolated occurrence. On Sept. 14, it happened again. I'm appalled and cannot fathom such actions. To whomever has done this: Do you not have a conscience or respect for the deceased? Can you really not afford to buy your own flowers?

My only wish is that you enjoy the flowers that were intended for my dad. I hope you and your family never have to experience this kind of heartbreak. However, these actions will not deter me from continuing to beautify my father's eternal resting site.

Deborah Draman



Politicians must take action before more people flee area

I am the fourth generation of my family to be born in the Buffalo area. That makes my grandchildren the sixth generation -- and hopefully the last one. I am going to try my hardest to get all my children to move out of the area before it's too late.

In my 50-plus years here, I have watched the city, county and state spiral downward to a scary state. There is so much bad news -- shootings, rising gas prices, tax hikes, closings, cut services. Where will it end?

I know there are a lot of homes in Erie County. We live in a modest home in Cheektowaga, worth maybe $110,000, and we pay over $4,100 a year in taxes. There are a lot of homes in the county worth a lot more than ours and paying more taxes than us. Where is all the property tax money going?

I write this letter because my two youngest sons, ages 11 and 14, are concerned about the future. They are willing to relocate out of state and start over. Their only concern is their grandmother, who still lives on the East Side. They don't want to leave her behind. Before this area becomes a ghost town, politicians had better wake up.

Dale Michels Sr.


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