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Everybody's Column

Joint schools construction is a low-profile success story

There is something exciting happening in Buffalo that is not getting a lot of attention. Minority- and women-owned businesses are finally beginning to get their fair share of opportunities on public projects.

The greatest success has to be Phase 1 of the Buffalo Public School Joint Construction project. An audit conducted by the project's compliance monitor, Bevlar and Associates, showed that close to 27 percent of the contracts went to minority businesses and 7 percent to women-owned businesses, exceeding program goals. We knew the goals were lofty when we established them, but we worked hard with the Joint Schools program provider, LPCiminelli, to reach them and we did.

Of course, these results did not just happen. Groups like the Buffalo Urban League were instrumental, as were my colleagues on the Joint Schools Construction Board. This constant pressure was a key component of reaching the diversity goals.

While I am proud of these positive steps, much more needs to be done. We must ensure that these goals continue to be met as the project progresses. Ultimately, we hope to see more new and expanding minority- and women-owned businesses competing for and securing significant private-sector work. That will be the true measure of success.

Antoine Thompson

Buffalo Common Councilman

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Giambra's proposal is an abrogation of duty

I sat in utter disbelief as I watched County Executive Joel Giambra propose a county manager at upwards of $200,000 per year. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that Giambra's job? Isn't that what his constituents elected him to do -- manage the county?

When under intense heat for his blatant mismanagement of county government, Giambra vowed not to step down, saying, "I have never turned my back on a fight." Apparently the county executive needs to be reminded that bringing somebody else to fight the fight you aren't equipped to win is exactly that. Giambra's latest proposal to add yet another unnecessary layer of county government literally reeks of his own incompetence.

Tom Catras

Lackawanna

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Rich Products provides corporate leadership

In the Dec. 19 Another Voice, Donna Evans said that Rich Stadium is in Orchard Park because Rich Products wanted to collect parking revenues there. This is a complete falsehood. Rich Products was the naming rights sponsor of the stadium. Would having the stadium downtown really have made an appreciable difference to the local economy for the 10 times a year the Bills play in Buffalo? And speaking of downtown sports teams and facilities, the Riches brought perhaps the finest minor league baseball team to Buffalo and played a large role in creating one of the best baseball stadiums in the country.

To further ask where Rich Products is today suggests that Evans is not paying attention to the role that Bob and Mindy Rich are playing in getting Bass Pro to locate in Buffalo. Absent their quiet leadership, in all probability, Bass Pro would not be considering Buffalo as a location for one of its stores.

Peter Huston

Williamsville

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Letter writer ignores Catholic Church history

The opinions in the Dec. 20 letter, "It's no wonder Catholic Church is losing so many parishioners," are inconsistent with the facts. First, the Catholic Church is the only official Church of Christianity and this is proven by history. The papacy began 2,000 years ago, and there were five popes by the end of the first century. All of the other religions that claim to be Christian never existed prior to 1500 AD.

Second, prior to the covenant Jesus established 2,000 years ago, the Mosaic covenant was in effect for 1,200 years. Homosexuality was punishable by death. The New Testament contains negative language against homosexuality as well.

Third, Jesus specifically said all are not welcome at God's table. Jesus was very specific regarding the consequences of sin. He said it is better that we cut off the parts of our own bodies that cause us to sin, than to be cast into hell because of our sins.

Finally, the Bible reads that people will make up their own religions to suit their own desire rather than follow the Christian Church Jesus started.

Timothy A. Eckert

Buffalo

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Government should quit interfering in our lives

How did governments, on all levels, get so involved in our lives? Going back a few years, we were doing pretty good without government agencies getting involved where they should not be. Each government level has its priorities. They are well defined. They should not be involved where they should not be. We all know where they shouldn't be.

America has been built by people. People build businesses, industries, hospitals, churches, etc. America is based on people's instinct and drive to achieve. People built America. Give America back to the people and take it out of the hands of the political parties. We have done it in the past, and we can do it again.

Joseph Pantera, D.D.S.

Orchard Park

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Bush's Iraq 'triumph' will be this nation's loss

While President Bush has trumpeted Iraq's recent elections as "a landmark day in the history of liberty," it appears that the biggest victor in the process may be the rogue state of Iran. Most observers feel that Shiite fundamentalists, who have close ties with Tehran, will emerge as the dominant force in Iraqi politics. So, for all the billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and, now, it appears, American civil liberties we have sacrificed for this war, the result will be an even less stable region than we had before.

At the very least, Saddam Hussein was a counterbalance to Iranian ambitions in the region. Under President Bush's incompetent leadership, now we don't even have that. Our misguided adventures in Iraq may have been good for the non-collaterally damaged people of that nation -- and only time will tell on that score -- but the United States is coming out of this war as potentially one of the biggest geopolitical losers of all time.

David Goddard

Williamsville

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Classrooms are ill-suited for things God divines

Isn't science the observation of things we can see? Certainly today, because of technical advances, we can literally see much more than ever before. By definition what cannot be seen doesn't belong to science.

The unseen belongs to the realm above. It can only come down to us by revelation. That revelation is the word of God we have been given. Only by faith can we receive it.

Science requires we see it. God requires we take his word for it. Men with good eyesight have too much pride to take another's word for what they cannot see.

Since observation of God's word reveals things we could not otherwise see, I choose to believe God's word rather than man's eyesight. These certainly don't belong in the same classroom. One is infinitely higher than the other.

Jack Telaak

Orchard Park

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