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Everybody's Column

School Board violated contract, so stop blaming the employees

An arbitrator has ruled that the Buffalo School Board and superintendent blatantly violated the contract of its 500-member Professional, Clerical and Technical Employees Association. The PCTEA is a strong, independent local, not part of the Buffalo Teachers Federation. The PCTEA's lawyer was extensively quoted in The News, not the BTF. The PCTEA is going to court for contract enforcement, not the BTF.

The News failed to mention: All affected unions were working with the superintendent and board toward a single carrier. The superintendent and board took what they wanted, regardless of the contracts that they had signed. No central office non-union administrator was terminated; more were hired. The board hasn't rehired the teachers and administrators, as it said it would, even though there is a single carrier.

The News obviously believes: If you want something you decide you need, you take it. If someone says, "This is illegal and can't be allowed to become a precedent. The superintendent and board can't unilaterally change our contract," they are castigated. When an employer is found guilty of violating the contract it signed with its employees, blame the employees.

Philip Rumore

President, Buffalo Teachers Federation

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It's foolish to squander millions on Bass Pro

Quick, somebody book me a room downtown. I can hardly wait to take my family to the Aud and spend a day leisurely browsing the colorful array of "Mister Twisters" at Bass Pro, followed by an educational moment exploring the history of the Great Lakes. I wonder if one of the exhibits will feature a shot of men, decked out in all their Bass Pro gear, gleefully hauling in Lake Erie perch?

It irritates me to no end, this idea of throwing tons of public money at an area to build it so they will come. If there was money to be made at the harbor, believe me, private investors would be flocking there already.

Why is it the new Dave & Buster's chose a location in Clarence? To my knowledge, we didn't need $73 million to refurbish the Eastern Hills Mall to lure the restaurant there. The reason -- and hold your hats because this idea is really a novel concept -- is that people actually live and shop in Clarence.

Please, file this waterfront plan with the multitude of other ill-conceived development ideas and save us from squandering $212 million.

Bob Lizewski

Grand Island

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Pataki's proposed budget helps the rich get richer

The March 3 News editorial, "Wall Street likely won't remain the state's golden goose forever," was both simplistic and misleading in its indignation that the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers pay more taxes relative to other New Yorkers. Even if it were true, it would not be such a bad thing. But the whole truth suggests the editorial was not accurate.

A thorough review presented to state lawmakers by the well-respected Fiscal Policy Institute clearly demonstrates that when all taxes are considered, the wealthiest New Yorkers do indeed pay less in taxes as a percentage of income than most other New Yorkers.

Yet Gov. George Pataki's proposed state budget would give the wealthiest New Yorkers even more of a break. He also wants to expand corporate loopholes to allow profitable corporations to avoid paying their fair share. This will lead to massive deficits, forcing service cuts at all levels of government, and put even more pressure on local property taxes after the governor has left office. That is simply irresponsible.

The News would do better to stand up for hard-working taxpayers rather than trying to help the rich get richer.

Danny Donohue

President, CSEA Local 1000

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People should quit whining about tighter border security

Am I the only one losing patience with the whiners in this column? Several weeks ago, a writer complained that, after enjoying an open border with Canada for seven decades, he's going to be inconvenienced by having to carry more ID. Another writer also didn't want the extra burden of carrying special ID in addition to his library card, Medicare card, etc. We hear about the "extreme economic disruption" in our area, especially with respect to football and hockey games.

Last week, a radio reporter informed his listening audience that the surveillance methods of the FBI were going to be investigated to ensure that no one's privacy is compromised.

Are these people for real? Let the terrorists, who have vowed to destroy our civilization, succeed in another attack -- perhaps at the Power Authority -- and these complainers won't need ID. They'll be too busy trying to prolong their lives after exposure to nuclear or biological contamination.

Ray Caputo

Orchard Park

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Abortion contributes to the decay of society

A March 6 letter stated that this is a frightening time because of legislative and judicial attempts to limit women's access to abortion. I have to agree that this is a frightening time, but not for the reasons stated.

What is so alarming is the lack of responsibility people take for their own actions and their subsequent lack of empathy toward the unborn. These people will rant and rave about "choice" and "privacy," but they won't address the real reasons why some women claim they need abortions. For the vast majority, it is not to protect the mother's life and it is not because of rape or incest.

Unfortunately, those who champion abortion rights like to think they are helping women, but they are really just hastening the decay of a very selfish society that promotes sex without responsibility and equates abortion with women's health care. Since when does managing one's health mean destroying the life of another? Yes, we certainly are living in frightening times.

Kristin Brown

Amherst

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Bush administration has failed this nation

I agree with Eugene Robinson's March 3 column, "Be afraid; be very afraid." I, too, believe we should be very afraid of the Bush administration. It has led our country into the quagmire of Iraq, which has great consequences for our military, our national debt and our spirit. The Bushies also have failed the country in regard to Hurricane Katrina. More administration failures or unintended consequences, I fear, will surface and devastate many more Americans.

To prepare for what is to come, I believe we need to strengthen our individual networks of family and friends, our local ability to deal with the unexpected and our local governments, so as to cope with impending disasters. We all need to become more competent, flexible and able to work with others. Join a club, write a politician, practice a skill and help save our world.

Thomas R. Henrich

Amherst

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Israel has been under attack for decades

I read with interest the criticism of op-ed columnist Charles Krauthammer by a March 13 letter writer. I wonder if the writer realizes that Israel has been under constant attack by any number of Arab countries for over 50 years. He mentioned the "torture of Iraqi Muslims," an "unjust Middle Eastern policy" and the "inhumane Israeli occupation." One would think the writer is a spokesman for Hamas. Apparently he is ignorant of exactly who is doing the attacking.

Frank Gugino Sr.

West Seneca

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