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Everybody's Column

>Appalachian comparison fits Allegany job picture

Anyone who does not believe that upstate New York is in an economic crisis comparable to Appalachia should take a drive through Allegany County. Trailers and dilapidated homes dominate the landscape. Jobs are scarce, and competition for those jobs is fierce because of the unemployment rate. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has hit it dead-on -- upstate New York needs help.

As a 22-year-old college graduate and newlywed, I am considering my options for a place to settle down. Although I am a native of Allegany County, Western New York is not an option for a permanent residence. Upstate New York is an economic disaster. The people who are saying otherwise should try searching for a job in this area. They will soon find out that the job market for most fields of work is nonexistent. Upstate is a beautiful area of the country, but it should be given some TLC from our elected officials, not ignored because more votes come from New York City.

Nathan Pocock


>Mass media impedes parent-child exchange

The March 14 My View column by John Lodyga, "Communication is the key to curbing teen violence," was a wonderfully insightful and positive message to parents. I agree with him completely. Kids spend way too much of their time playing computer games or watching movies and TV instead of reading books. Mass entertainment doesn't usually offer the enrichment and creative inspiration the way books do.

Parents need to encourage their children to read more and rely less on mindless entertainment. As Lodyga indicated, parental involvement is the key. Sadly, the current state of things was made clear in a story in that same day's Buffalo News. It was about a Common Council meeting on parental involvement in city schools at which no parents showed up.

Dennis L. Pack


>Keenan was wrong about church's journey

"Church's journey will lead to a new and better place" was the title of Kevin Keenan's Another Voice column on March 11. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the churches and schools that are on the diocese's closure list have no future.

It's the same scenario played over again. Someone should ask the former parishioners of those parishes closed and merged in 1993 if they would like to have them back.

The diocese calls its program, "Journey in Faith and Grace." Faith? If the diocese had faith, it wouldn't be talking about closing parishes. It would be expanding, not retreating, and it would have enough priests because it would have plenty of vocations. Grace? That comes from God and one must accept it. Again, if the diocese had grace, it would be flourishing instead of dying.

If someone wants to see what happens to church property once the diocese washes its hands of it, take a look at the former Sacred Heart Church on Emslie Street, or Our Lady of Lourdes on Main Street or St. Matthew's on West Ferry. And yet Keenan would have us believe "the diocese has an excellent track record of reusing or selling them for uses that will benefit the community." Need I say more? The people in those neighborhoods must be wondering if the Diocese of Buffalo cares about the salvation of souls.

Howard Benteen


>Dubious foreign policy stirs terrorism in U.S.

Why is our country intermittently attacked by fanatical terrorists? Is it because they are envious of our freedom and prosperity or is it because they detest our global empire and imperialist foreign policy?

Our government would have us believe that these individuals are deranged evil-doers and that their horrific acts are provoked by our democratic freedoms and prosperity. This is anything but the truth. Indeed, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden told Americans to read William Blum's "Rogue State" if they want to understand his antipathy toward our country.

"Rogue State" is not a great work of literature, but its main point is that our dubious foreign policy antagonizes people throughout the world. We need to dismantle our global empire and start acting as a good neighbor, pursuing mutually beneficial relations with other nations and peoples. Then we will lead by example and these terrorist attacks will cease.

David Slive


>United States missed Dubai ports opportunity

Are Democrats soft on terror? You bet! Now, with all the details ironed out concerning the Dubai ports deal, it looks like the United States lost a great opportunity. The bottom line here is that this deal would have contributed to free trade with the Arab world, promoted democracy and fought terrorism.

If eight wasted years of the Clinton administration fighting terrorism weren't enough, we now have Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton continuing the fine liberal tradition. Heck of a job!

Anthony Irzycki
East Aurora


>Local medical students deserve a tuition break

I am writing in regard to the March 20 article, "Physician shortage reaching unhealthy level." As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder if the shortage of local physicians is due in part to the admission policies of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine. I don't have the numbers, but I would bet a high percentage of incoming medical candidates are from New York City and surrounding areas as well as out of state or even out of country.

Naturally, many who seek a medical degree will opt to come to Western New York for a relatively low-cost, high-quality education when given the choice over an out-of-state or private institution at higher cost. But few will remain in this area upon graduation. Why not give preference to those who live in Western New York? Wouldn't this be the best way to stuff the pipeline with quality physicians who have ties to the area and therefore are more inclined to stick around?

Victor T. Carbone


>Illegal parking ticket isn't worth fighting

Imagine my surprise when I left work and returned to my car recently. I was legally parked on Elmwood Avenue with nine minutes left on the meter, yet an orange envelope was on my windshield. It was a $30 parking ticket stating that I was parked at an overdue meter. Imagine my frustration and disappointment, knowing that I had parked legally, only to be ticketed illegally by the Parking Enforcement officer.

I work on Elmwood. My part-time job allows me fulfilling, creative employment, but with no off-street parking. I always have a roll of quarters in my car. I am in and out of work, usually for one to two hours at a time, several days a week. I could have taken a morning to go to City Hall to defend my case in front of a hearing officer. I would have spent $10 to park in a lot, not knowing how long I would have to wait and being uncertain of the outcome. I thought long and hard about it and decided that it was more productive to pay the $30 and to share my story. I do not believe that this is an isolated incident. Please beware.

Catherine Linder Spencer

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