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Everybody's Column

Legislature should override veto, ban new toxic landfills

Last June, the Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to prohibit the establishment of new hazardous waste landfills with the potential to discharge into the Great Lakes. Despite endorsements from newspapers and broad-based groups statewide, Gov. George E. Pataki vetoed the bill.

The primary goal of virtually every state and federal Great Lakes agreement is to "eliminate" the discharge of persistent toxic chemicals such as PCBs. The agencies acknowledge that all landfills may eventually leak, so it makes sense to add precautions when considering large burials of persistent toxics chemicals in the Great Lakes system.

New York does not need more toxic waste landfill capacity, according to state and federal environmental agency reports. Thanks largely to technology, toxic waste volume has been declining. There is no reason for New York to continue massively importing PCB-contaminated waste and other toxics from across the United States for burial here.

Efforts by the Pataki administration to help site a new hazardous waste landfill with 28 more years of capacity began in 2002. These efforts continue with vigor. The Legislature should override the veto of this bill when it reconvenes Wednesday, because there may not be a strong bite at this apple for another 28 years.

Amy Witryol

Lewiston

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Let full Assembly vote on pro-life legislation

In 1970, New York started murdering unborn babies through abortion. This was three years before the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision. Over those years, we have killed between 47 million and 50 million holy innocents.

Then-Gov. Hugh Carey, a Catholic, had the opportunity to sign into law legislation that would allow parental notification and consent, which had been passed by the Assembly and Senate. He chose not to sign it. To this day, Carey tells all that was his biggest mistake.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried have held Assembly positions since the 1970s. For many years, pro-life legislation has been sent to the Health Committee, and every year Gottfried recommends that the legislation be held "in committee" and not go to the full Assembly for a floor vote.

On June 6, Gottfried and his liberal Democratic Health Committee members rejected bills to prohibit partial birth abortion, stop state Medicaid program financing of partial birth abortion, require parental notification prior to abortions performed on children and require informed consent by adults considering abortions. The only vote our Health Committee allows each year is the vote that must be taken by the full Assembly and Senate on Medicaid funding for abortion in order to pass the state budget.

Tom Lynch

Attica

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Goodyear, employees must sit down and talk

Children! Let's stop lying and being mean to each other. Goodyear: It's time to get realistic. Put a reasonable offer on the table; something you have yet to do. Steelworkers: This is 2006, not 1930. You need to wake up to the way business is done today.

People on both sides need to act like adults now. Don't wage your war through the media. No issue can be settled unless you sit down and talk about it.

Vincent J. Romano

Lancaster

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It's refreshing to see strong moral values

I would like to commend the young couple who turned in more than $3,000 in cash that they found in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I am sure there are plenty of people out there who think these people are crazy to do such a thing, but I am impressed with their attitude that they couldn't live with themselves if they didn't return the money. How refreshing!

I believe their attitudes are a testament to the parents who raised them, and know that these values will be passed on to their own children, which will be a priceless gift. I wholeheartedly applaud David Schimpf and Allison Walker.

Karen Rogers

Kenmore

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Help spread the word on how to quit smoking

There is so much in The News these days that some readers may not have noticed three huge tobacco reports in the last couple of months. First, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler found the major tobacco companies have violated civil racketeering laws. They have defrauded Americans by lying for decades about the health risks of smoking.

Second, the 2006 Surgeon General's Report found that smoking is the single-greatest avoidable cause of disease and death. Secondhand-smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Third, tobacco companies have secretly increased the level of nicotine in many brands of cigarettes, up to 36 percent in some cases. As more smokers try to quit, tobacco companies have stopped at nothing to maintain addiction among current smokers and to addict a new generation of replacement smokers.

What is the toll of smoking in our area? According to statistics, it costs every household in New York State $902 per year to pay for smoking-caused government expenditures -- that's the state and federal tax burden not covered by private insurance. Help spread the word on how to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go to www.becomeanex.org.

Kate Huber

Coordinator

Tobacco-Free Healthy Schools

West Seneca

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Dialogue can help improve Christian-Muslim relations

Pope Benedict XVI is to be commended for promoting reciprocity in Christian-Muslim relations. However, both sides must acknowledge the centuries of violence that have marred relations. When the pope cited inflammatory passages from a Muslim leader's writings, his citation was correct. But he should have added: "We Christians haven't done so well, either." Recall the Crusades.

To foster mutual understanding, Muslims should learn about Leo XIII and other popes who fought for social justice, and Christians should learn about Muslim philosophers such as Avicenna, who was honored by Western Christian writers.

The violence following the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad shows how far we have to go in dialogue to achieve true understanding. I could only watch the TV reports in disbelief.

Actually, we might not be so far apart. One of the Ten Commandments forbids making "graven images" of God to remove the temptation to worship the image rather than God. We need frank Muslim-Christian dialogue, which doesn't ignore the past but looks to the future.

Kenneth J. Rummenie

East Aurora

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