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Everybody's Column

Preservationists are unfairly mistaken for obstructionists

Preservationists are not against progress, they just want quality design and the maintenance and improvement of our urban fabric. Too often new development is a suburban plan forced into a city environment. This is the amputation of the city for the benefit of cookie cutter design. I find it ironic that some of the Elmwood developments that are attracted to its charms may land up destroying that which attracted them to the area in the first place.

Preservationists oppose demolitions because they know that what will be built in its place will be inferior to what had been lost.

Consider for a moment the excitement of the downtown industrial building conversions. When was the last time something new was built in Buffalo that captured the public imagination?

Maybe the Preservation Board should create a list of buildings that should be demolished. I would cast my vote for the Convention Center and City Court for starters.

Where are our Sullivans, Richardsons or Wrights of the latter half of the 20th century?

No one is opposed to jobs and growth for Buffalo, we would just like it to be a part of this city not some suburban alien element (Main Street's Delta Sonic) and be of equal or better design then what it is replacing (Toro's on Elmwood).

These are the concerns I ponder as a member of the Buffalo Landmark Preservation Board.

Russell E. Pawlak, Pres.

Central Terminal Restoration Corp.


Buffalo needs Mohan to clean up its mess

Amherst residents, please do impeach Satish! We'd love to have Satish come to Buffalo to rattle cages in the Buffalo government zoo. It's so refreshing to see a non-politician take on issues with such practicality by asking questions, signing checks and not playing the political game. I'm sure it would scare the pants off the comfy politicos who have such a hard time working for the people instead of themselves. I was hoping to have someone like Satish running Buffalo, but we are again harbored with the same political circus as evidenced by Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown's political appointments, most notably with keeping certain housing authority commissioners. Amherst, you have no idea how good you have it.

Joseph Rizzuto



Forests are a vital part of our lives

Thanks to Erie County officials for producing a reasonable, forward-looking, forest management plan. They recognize that forests are a crop, every bit the same as corn or vegetables, but requiring a longer growing period. We all understand that gardens produce more when they are tended and harvested. The same is true of forests.

I'm puzzled why there is such emphasis on money when the issue of tree harvests is discussed. We have a holiday that celebrates all other farm harvests. It is called Thanksgiving. Forest crops should be included.

Our dependence on forest products is little recognized. The problem is not about how much money will accrue or "a line of bull by some timber extraction people," as the Sierra Club's Larry Beahan postulates. Yes, money is involved, but the bottom line is society's demand for forest products. Money is just the means of measuring that demand.

It is the responsibility of the farm and forest manager to provide those products in a sustainable manner and one that does not ignore other farm/forest values. To Beahan, I would ask, "What is your house made of and how many other wood products are contained in it?"

Wood products are renewable and environmentally very friendly.

Charles Mowatt



County politicians take advantage of residents

How gullible do our politicians think the voters are? To save money they suggest we hire someone to run the county, plus benefits and staff. Their reasoning is that this will remove patronage. This non-political person will be appointed by politicians, must answer to politicians and be fired by politicians. Do you honestly think he will serve the voters? You can only serve one master. As they say on television, "Give me a break!"

Sam Wiatrowski



Correction officers face a number of issues

I agree with Richard Kozlowski's Feb. 18 "Another Voice" piece that the police of our correctional facilities face many dangers and difficulties in the course of daily duty. To maintain composure in the face of dangerousness and ignorance in the most extreme circumstances takes more than professionalism: it takes fortitude, containment, and control. Correction officers face many other stresses, including demanding administrations, manipulative inmates, and micromanaged correctional facilities to the point of jeopardization of life and limb.

It is superficial to assume that stress originates and sustains in the correctional environment; the conundrum is far reaching. These caveats extend to private life through high rates of alcoholism, drug use, divorce, and a shorter life span well below that of the general population. Demonization occurs through the medium of Hollywood and other forms of media to perpetrate a stereotype of the correction officer as a brute and abuser of the oppressed. Through these trials and tribulations, the correction officer endures.

William J. Morgan, Jr.



Education should focus on skilled trade jobs

In an age when far too many skilled trade positions go unfilled or are filled by foreigners because not enough Americans possess the required knowledge, I truly need someone to explain to me why, rather than improve our vocational/trade schools, we choose to close them.

How long do we have to go before we, as a country, finally admit not every American is college material and stop turning a blind eye to the need for a decent vocational education system. If not, it will only result in higher unemployment while skilled Europeans take good-paying jobs.

Richard McCarthy



Scalia's philosophy withers under scrutiny

Let us apply U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's "originalism" philosophy for constitutional interpretation to the establishment clause of the first amendment on an issue that may come again before the Supreme Court.

Using the Oxford English Dictionary for applicable usages for "respecting" and "establishment" in the 18th century, the establishment clause would read, "Congress shall make no law (concerning) a (strengthening by material support or by ratification, confirmation or validation) of religion". This reading is consistent with views expressed by James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," on several occasions.

According to the Scalia philosophy, Congress clearly violated the establishment clause when it inserted the phrase "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance with the explicit objective of combating the atheism Congress associated with communism. If, however, the issue again comes before the Supreme Court, Scalia's "originalism" will almost certainly not prevent him from rallying regiments of rationalization to enable him to vote to retain the "under God" phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Charles P. Jamieson


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