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Everybody's Column

More education is needed regarding bike path safety

Having grown up in Willow Ridge and attended Sweet Home High School during the time of the 1989 bike path attack, I read Bruce Andriatch's column, "Staring down fear in killer's long shadow," with interest. Two things struck me.

One was Sweet Home Superintendent Geoffrey Hick's comment that "students are not specifically warned about the bike path or told to be wary because of what happened there." As a parent, high school teacher and former student who utilized the bike path before the attack, I believe that is ludicrous. It is absolutely the responsibility of the school district to inform students of the dangers of walking alone on the bike path.

The other comment that saddened me was resident Lenora Ingrao's admission that she still walks on the bike path alone during the day, but not at night. Another article on the same page reiterated that the bike path rapist attacks during weekday mornings. This type of comment, coupled with years of seeing women walk, run and rollerblade alone on the UB bike path -- many passing by the memorial dedicated to Linda Yalem -- leaves me shaking my head in wonder.

It is a sad fact that a woman can't run or walk alone on the area's bike paths, but it is just that -- a fact.

Jennifer Schubring



Officers' shooting should be eye-opener for control board

The sad event of Dec. 5 only underscores how little the Buffalo control board values the hard work and dedication of city employees. Two Buffalo police officers -- working under a contract that was signed in good faith and then frozen by the control board -- were shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.

The fact that the control board reneged on this contract did not prevent these two brave police officers from doing their job with pride. While the control board members were home resting, Officers Patricia Parete and Carl Andolina were patrolling the B District and protecting the residents of Buffalo.

Every time police officers and firemen put on their uniform, they are putting their life at risk. There is no such thing as a safe call. City employees deserve better, and we can only hope and pray that these police officers survive their act of bravery. Maybe now the control board will take notice and negotiate in good faith with the city unions.

Jack Reid



Region has too many government employees

I applaud Kevin Gaughan's expose regarding the direct cost of local elected officials. Certainly we could probably do without a good number of them. It seems to be his opinion that the success or demise of our region is dependent mainly on politicians' direct benefits.

In my opinion, the real problem is due to the overwhelming number of government employees, including politicians, and services to which we seem to have a birth right to demand. After all, even with all the elected officials, the annual cost figures out to be only $34 per person. I doubt that anyone would be making a big deal about this if we were doing well as a region. No, it is the narrow mind-set of these many politicians, who are dependent on heavy subsidies from the unions, both government and private.

Also, the vast number of government employees makes for a critical mass that is in direct opposition to private industry and the taxpayers and those who are not dependent on government pensions. Basically, there is only one money pie to go around, and the government is getting more than its fair share of it. That's why many of our young people are moving out. The sooner we face up to this reality, the sooner we will be able to turn this area around.

Richard Speth



Federal shield law for press is bad idea

The News makes a poor argument in a recent editorial calling for a federal shield law for the press. The case in question is Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of two reporters involved in leaking information about an FBI arrest warrant for two Islamic charities acting as front groups for terrorist organizations.

One reporter, the New York Times' Judith Miller, called the "charities" mere hours before the FBI was to execute the warrant. Needless to say, no one was home when the FBI arrived. Fitzgerald is now charged with investigating how the groups knew of the warrants in advance.

The specifics of this case don't warrant the law, nor does the idea in general. While freedom of the press is a keystone of a democratic society, it is a questionable proposition to place the media as the final arbiter of what should remain classified and what is appropriate for public consumption. To date, the media haven't shown themselves to be terribly responsible in safeguarding information vital to national security.

Passing a law that gives the media carte blanche in deciding such matters without repercussion is a bad idea.

Rick Cannon



Disapproving of Bush is not being 'uncivil'

George Will and Humpty Dumpty have something in common. In Will's Dec. 1 column about Sen.-elect Jim Webb, D-Va., Will commandeers the definition of civility, boor and inaccuracy. Yet he tries to qualify Webb's stolid stance and verbiage as making one "shudder."

People of strict orthodoxy like Will do "shudder," because they are afraid -- fearful of being confronted, and needing to set the rules for what is "uncivil and inaccurate." Will should acknowledge it is the voters in Virginia and elsewhere who set the rules, and they show it is neither unpatriotic nor uncivil to show disagreement in the show that is Washington.

David R. Conners



Enlisting aid of Iran, Syria isn't the answer

In an effort to bring an end to the Iraq war, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are debating enlisting the "aid" of Iran and Syria. Iran is a state-sponsored terrorist nation with nuclear ambitions. Syria is a revolving-door nation that lets known assassins in and out of its borders. Is this the same Iran that denies the Holocaust ever happened, yet vows to wipe Israel off the map?

Some high-ranking Democrats, including Sen. Joe Biden, believe these two countries will lend a hand in gathering information about the insurgency in Iraq. This, they believe, will reduce the threat of a civil war. In return, Iran wants assurances from the United States that Iran will not be targeted for military action.

History repeats itself. The democratic administration under President Jimmy Carter failed miserably in negotiating the release of 52 hostages in Iran. Iran knew then, as it does today, who it can and cannot negotiate with.

Kevin J. McCoy


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