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Everybody's Column

Perhaps media should focus on unclassified documents

Jerry Zremski's March 12 article read more like a media infomercial than a serious opinion piece. The Freedom of Information Act has essentially become nothing more than a government program for lazy journalists. Last year it cost taxpayers $336 million for federal compliance alone.

It is entirely appropriate that the spokesman for Sunshine Week, Hodding Carter, was also the spokesman for President Jimmy Carter's State Department. By the time voters brought a merciful end to the Carter administration, the Soviet Union had reached the peak of its worldwide influence, the staff of our Iranian embassy were hostages and inflation was in double digits.

Coalition forces in Iraq have recovered approximately 2 million documents, hard drives, tapes, etc. from the files of Saddam Hussein's regime. Only 3 percent of these items have been thoroughly examined to date, but these have revealed that thousands of foreign terrorists were trained in Iraq in the four years immediately prior to the invasion. It seems that it would be more productive for the media to focus on these remaining documents, mostly unclassified, than, say, unpaid E-ZPass tolls. That is, of course, if we are all really interested in the truth.

Malcolm Vanderburgh



Scrap plan for AM&A's and start from scratch

Would somebody please put a fork in the latest plan to develop the AM&A's building into retail, office space and condos? If the new design, with its internal light channel, is the best use of the space, then build it from scratch.

It's the city's duty to seize the current structure for failure to pay back taxes and failure to fix code violations. It's the city's duty to raze the current structure and make it shovel-ready for development. Then, the city should sell the property to the developer with the best design and the deepest pockets to actually build a new structure on the site.

It is insane to take an old structure with asbestos, antiquated electrical wiring and inefficient heating and try to make a patchwork redevelopment. We can do better, and we should demand city officials exhibit the backbone to do better.

Greg Vogelsang



Adams incident reveals flaws in security system

I would like to thank the U.S. government for protecting its citizens from "terrorist" Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams by detaining him as he attempted to catch a flight to Buffalo for St. Patrick's Day, where he was scheduled to make several public appearances for the many Irish people in this community.

I was under the impression that Adams was one of those responsible for leading the Irish Republican Army away from violence. I was not aware that he was involved in flying airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, or even that he was one of the Lackawanna Six.

Thank you, Homeland Security, for making me and my family feel safe and secure and knowing we can sleep soundly at night because we are being protected from all of the evil-doers trying to infiltrate this country.

Mary Elizabeth Byrne



Bush and Cheney trying to save face by keeping troops in Iraq

When President Bush and Vice President Cheney were younger, they were very cautious and took a "rain check" when it came to serving their country in the Vietnam War. Now that they are older and more secure, they have become more reckless and hawkish with our loved ones. Mainly because of Bush and Cheney, our men and women are in an unnecessary quagmire in Iraq. It's costing our country dearly in unending casualties and treasure.

These so-called leaders tell us to stay the course for one main reason: If we pull out, they will go down in history as colossal failures. They keep hoping for good news in Iraq soon so we can pull out and save face. Then they will spin that as a victory for democracy. But the news keeps getting worse. My gut feeling tells me that when we do leave Iraq, that country will be much worse off because of our intrusion. It certainly, in my judgment, will not look like a democracy to us.

As the English poet, Coventry Patmore said, "Nearly all our disasters come from a few fools having the courage of their convictions."

Jack Peracciny



Clinton, Schumer were wrong to oppose Dubai ports deal

Finally, The News has published a responsible article concerning Dubai's port operations. In his March 15 column, Robert Samuelson explained in detail that the people who operate Dubai Ports World are our friends and that all security aspects would be under U.S. control. I am sure that most liberals either refused to read what he had to say or are unwilling to accept it.

This is another example of the Democrats bashing President Bush before investigating. Those leading the charge were our illustrious senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer. These are the same people who criticize our president over and over but never produce a logical idea.

Herbert L. Zimmerman

North Tonawand


Bias against older people seems to be getting worse

A recent "Dear Abby" column reinforced the ageism that exists among people, especially the younger generation. The letter dealt with the throwing of the wedding bouquet during the marriage festivities. A widow wanted to participate in this frivolity and was shamed by one of the guests.

Older folk are frequently dealt with as nonpersons and forced into the proverbial "back seat." They have the indelible label of "old," which attributes to those of us over 60 traits and prejudices that make us automatically incapable, senile and useless, regardless of the reality of our current state of being. Frequently the old are not even given the opportunity to show what they can do and who they are.

The fortune is that all those who are now young will someday become old and experience some physical signs of aging, such as wrinkles, gray hair and a lessening of the physical prowess that was once theirs.

Some of the greatest minds and important personages were people like Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, Grandma Moses and a host of others. We must all remember that as we grow old, we have as much right to participate in that which gives us joy and to be our own person.

Ursula A. Falk



Richardson complex is ideal site for presidential libraries

Councilman Joseph Golombek Jr. has floated the idea of placing presidential libraries for Grover Cleveland and Millard Fillmore in the H.H. Richardson complex. This is a very good plan for an architectural treasure whose physical structure limits reuse options.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society will soon be complemented by the construction of a new gallery for the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. Combine that with proximity to the Elmwood Village Commercial District and we have the makings of a really dynamic Museum District. If the reconstruction of Elmwood Avenue is handled in a manner reflecting the importance of this district, the whole area will cement its status as a vital and defining city asset. Let's honor our past by making it part of our future.

Robert Franke


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