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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

>Parking policy could use a little belt loosening

The News articles on parking tickets in Buffalo were most enlightening. Over the past few years, my car window has been smashed and my radio/CD player stolen on four different occasions. Now I understand why. The police are too busy writing parking tickets instead of dealing with more serious issues.

Last Saturday, some friends and I had dinner in Buffalo and then attended a performance of the Buffalo Philharmonic in Kleinhans. I would have gladly paid to park in the lot, but it was full. After driving around for 10 minutes, I parked on Richmond by a "No Standing" sign. Sure enough, when we returned to the car, there was the calling card of the "City of Good Neighbors." I was not blocking a driveway or an intersection, and I was not too close to a fire hydrant.

In a large, older city where parking is limited, a "zero tolerance" policy will not encourage people to come and spend their money at shops, restaurants and other attractions. While the tickets may generate a substantial amount of revenue, that source will quickly dry up when people take their business elsewhere. Buffalo is a beautiful old city with much to offer, but with limited parking, the policy needs to loosen up a bit.

Jill Kwoka
Lockport

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>Parking tickets only discourage shoppers

As a strong supporter of law enforcement, I am dismayed by the recent actions of Buffalo police. Again the officers are having a "collective temper tantrum" while punishing citizens. Both teachers and police are being denied pay raises by the control board. While teachers are continuing to do their job, our cops are vigorously writing parking tickets in protest.

Thus a resident making a quick stop at an Elmwood Avenue store on a Sunday is ticketed. This only angers citizens and further erodes our tax base. People from the suburbs will most likely not return to shop.

Awhile back, Buffalo's finest conducted traffic stops during rush hour to check inspection stickers. Apparently they were trying to gain support for their plight. I guess making folks late for work would make them big supporters of police pay raises. A lot of people are struggling in Western New York. To the police I can only say: grow up.

Joseph H. Gusky
Buffalo

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>Police deserve praise for ticketing violators

I for one am glad of the enforcement of the parking regulations by Buffalo Police. Having lived on a city street for years, it was very aggravating not being able to pull in my driveway because of illegally parked vehicles. The top of my street (West Northrup Place and Main Street) was constantly parked from the no parking signs to around the corners onto Main Street.

Numerous times I watched police ignoring illegally parked cars. It was frustrating to see handicapped people in wheelchairs coming down Main Street have to go in the street because of the cars on the sidewalk or blocking the sidewalk. On weekends cars would be parked illegally on both sides of the street, blocking hydrants and driveways.

I thank the police department for enforcing parking regulations. Keep up the good work and maybe people will learn to respect the law!

Alicia Bender
Buffalo

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>Showcase classic movie to demonstrate issue

The Buffalo Police, seemingly having major crime in the City of Good Neighbors under control, have turned to ticketing the petty offenders who frequent the shops on Elmwood and don't feed the meters on Saturday. Rather than fight the situation the Elmwood shop owners should be happy that crime is so low that the officers have time to enforce this newly found violation. To placate their upset customers, turned victims, Forever Elmwood should organize free movies at a local venue on Sundays when parking is free. The first movie should be "Cool Hand Luke".

Dan Genco
Buffalo

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>Cheney has perpetuated image of incompetence

Vice President Dick Cheney found at least one weapon of mass destruction -- any gun in his hands. The handling of the aftermath of the hunting accident where Cheney accidentally shot 78-year-old Harry Whittington is also emblematic of the secretive, above-the law style of the vice president in more important matters of state. As in the Iraq War, eavesdropping, torture and the indictment of his top aide, Cheney or his operatives gave a delayed, unapologetic and ethically challenged response to the shooting. Cheney took the low road by not reporting the incident for more than 18 hours until his hand was forced by private disclosure to a local newspaper. Then it was floated for public consumption that the shooting was Whittington's fault.

Apparently, like the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who are killed or wounded by American firepower, Whittington, by being in the line of fire was collateral damage. Only after this kind of bungling that typifies the Bush administration did public reaction force Cheney to accept full blame. But the vice president by not telling the president about the shooting until days later increased the public perception that Bush is the most uninformed and misinformed chief executive in American history. The Bush Cabinet, which is replete with members who cannot think straight, apparently also has one who can't shoot straight. The fact that Cheney is only a heartbeat (and a weak one at that) away from the presidency makes Bush, the incompetent, have an appeal that otherwise would not be possible.

Ross T. Runfola
Buffalo

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>Administration critics are quick on the trigger

Recently some Washington types made the egregious suggestion that Vice President Dick Cheney was drunk at the time of the shooting accident. Cheney admitted to having one beer at lunch. The suggestion is typical of the hate-Bush-hate-Cheney crowd.

Anyone familiar with wingshooting and basic anatomy knows that what goes in must come out and that walking hastens the urge to relieve oneself. Had Cheney drunk enough to be intoxicated he soon would have had to relieve himself and been looking for some cover. Had he relieved himself publicly Democrats would have been screaming that he was a pervert, an exhibitionist and a sexual predator. Furthermore, with the number of news media present some would have jumped at the chance to embarrass Cheney and photographed him answering nature's call. This was an accident I can identify with having caught a pellet in my lip many years ago. As the commercial says: let it go Louie.

Harry Gugino
Tonawanda

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>Media is motivated to hype Cheney story

Vice President Dick Cheney is not one of my favorite people. However, I believe the media is over zealously maligning him. Not every story is worthy of a conspiracy slant.

Jane G. Hicks
Orchard Park

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>Questions being posed deserve honest answers

I am happy to know that everything in the Town of Amherst is perfect, so finely tuned that nothing can be improved, so we shouldn't even consider the possibility of changing anything. Town operations are so well optimized that it is foolish to question who gets paid for what and why things are done the way they are. We should not even investigate how tax dollars are spent because in some strange quantum reaction, the mere fact of observing where the money goes will upset the delicate equilibrium of perfection and cause undesirable side effects, such as disgruntled town employees.

But the idea of a 15 percent tax decrease has its appeal and I would accept a little less perfection for a little more money in my pocket. Come election day I would be more inclined to vote for town leaders who proactively inspect and audit to insure our money is well spent and not those whose actions seem to say the status quo is as good as it can possibly get, so quit asking questions.

Ed Howard
Getzville

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>Outrage against Mohan is mere protectionism

It's pretty funny there's all this outrage against new Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan. The closer one gets to the truth, the harder one squirms. Ever wonder why there are so many people squirming? Good luck, Dr. Mohan.

Jim Lion, Jr.
Williamsville

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>Irony of today's reality is a profound drawing

European newspapers print a cartoon implying that Muhammad promulgated a religion prone to lethally destructive violence. Throughout the Islamic world Muslims express their exception to this view by staging lethally violent and destructive mass riots.

Meanwhile, here at home, the most ostentatiously devoted follower of the Prince of Peace amongst all our presidents doggedly prosecutes an unnecessary and unjustifiable war that has cost perhaps 150,000 lives and caused untold misery.

It's an odd world we live in.

Louis Richardson
Fredonia

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>Muslims have a right to protest cartoons

The worldwide furor over the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad have reignited heated debate over the issue of freedom of expression. Supporters of the Danish journalists who printed the controversial cartoons correctly point out that the freedom to express oneself is not only a fundamental human right but also one of the bedrock values of Western democracy.

In this light, it seems rather ironic, possibly even hypocritical, that they would begrudge offended Muslims the right to protest and condemn what they view as the denigration of their faith. After all, if it is possible to insult the founder of a religion in the name of free speech, then it should also be equally acceptable to condemn such insults in the name of freedom of expression.

Muslims the world over have been protesting in demonstrations that, save for a handful of deplorable exceptions, have been peaceful, if passionate and angry. For instance, in London, thousands of people demonstrated peacefully against the Danish cartoons, condemning them as being morally unacceptable.

Suhail Shafi
Buffalo

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>Cheney comparison stands up to Kennedy

What's all this fuss about how long it took Vice President Dick Cheney to report the recent hunting accident? It was a lot quicker than Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy did after his Chappaquiddick accident in 1969. Cheney's friend lived.

Dan Ratka
Buffalo

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>Brown should replace the entire BMHA board

Mayor Byron W. Brown's refusal to demand the resignation of Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) commissioners Sherrill Colston (who resigned on his own), Aqiel Qadir and Mary Rogers shows that he either does not recognize unacceptable, self-serving attitudes and actions, including outright fraud, or that he condones it. Either way, allowing these people to remain as commissioners allows for the continuation of a blight that plagues many of the authorities in this area. That is, perks well above anything acceptable elsewhere and total unaccountability to the public that pays for them.

So much for Brown's promise of reform and change. Thanks to The News for the fine article on the corruption in the BMHA. Now let's look into the other authorities as well.

Robert J. Andres
East Concord

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