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Everybody's column

Let's live together in peace, tolerance

I was appalled when I read the letter about civil war being in the future of this country due to the fact that "we have allowed vast numbers of alien people into our country." This country was built on immigrants; I am one of them. My parents brought the family here for a better life after World War II. I was born in England. I am an American, with an English heritage.

In a 1907 speech, Teddy Roosevelt said: "In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. . . . There can be no divided allegiance here."

This country is based on those ideals. We should not forget that. We need to live together in peace, tolerance and respect for each other. As long as there is one-mindedness, it will never happen.

I agree that strong political beliefs are bringing a division between us all. First we are neighbors and friends, second should be our political beliefs. Standing together is strength; divided, well, you know the rest.

John T. Swarbrick

Orchard Park

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Pataki should sign Timothy's Law now

On Dec. 13, the State Assembly passed Timothy's Law -- the mental health parity legislation. The bill is named in memory of 12-year-old Timothy O'Clair, who took his own life in 2001 after his parents were unable to get him the mental health services he needed due to discriminatory health insurance policies. It has been a 20-year effort to change the law to eliminate these arbitrary limits on mental health coverage in health insurance.

This bill now awaits one last hurdle before becoming law -- Gov. George Pataki's signature. Before he leaves office at the end of the year, Pataki should sign Timothy's Law to make New York the 37th state in the country to pass mental health parity legislation. It is the right thing to do. Ask any family that has someone with mental health problems.

Samuel Todaro

Orchard Park

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Illegal trade practices help China, hurt U.S.

It's greatly disheartening to see that another U.S. treasury secretary, this time Henry Paulson, has returned from China empty-handed. Despite a mushrooming trade deficit with China, Paulson failed to make meaningful progress on Beijing's illegal trade practices such as currency manipulation, intellectual piracy and illegal subsidies -- to mention but a few of the problems that make China the chief abuser of today's international trading system.

The Bush administration calls its "strategy" the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. I call it "chit-chat diplomacy." In fact, it is an embarrassing, do-nothing approach. Where is it written that U.S. domestic manufacturers must lay off their employees and close their plants while China stalls on banking and currency reform? Unfortunately, domestic manufacturers -- the ones providing good middle-class jobs for American workers -- continue to be victimized while their "leaders" are rolled by Beijing.

Kevin L. Kearns

President, U.S. Business and Industry Council

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Preservationists should mind their own business

I, for one, am tired of people who do not own a piece of property telling the owner how he can or cannot use it. In some cases, these owners have paid taxes on the property for years. The house next to Pano's restaurant is a perfect example.

I have a suggestion for those who want to preserve this house. Buy a lot, move this dilapidated house to it and do the $250,000 restoration needed to bring it to its former glory. Better yet, forget about this house and use the money for developing the waterfront, a project that will benefit the entire area.

It is time City Hall and local town boards recognize the legal rights of property owners and do what's best for the community, not special-interest groups.

The Buffalo area is in great need of development, for without it, the city's future is in doubt. We all should be thankful for people like Pano Georgiadis who are willing to invest in Buffalo.

Eileen Schwabl

Buffalo

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Living Christmas Tree is spectacular program

We and a few of our friends recently attended our first Living Christmas Tree program at the chapel at Crosspoint in Amherst, its new location. The two-hour long musical program -- with a huge choral ensemble, several-member orchestra, acting and dance choreography -- was truly spectacular. We were extremely impressed with this traditional program.

In my lifetime, I have done a fair amount of domestic and foreign travel and have witnessed a number of staged events. The Living Christmas Tree rates among the best. This performance, with its message of unselfish love, is highly recommended to all. It's truly a holiday season asset for our fine community.

Michael A. Altieri Sr.

Amherst

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Bills bring great pride, many dollars to region

It seems that people are of the mind that because New York City has such a high population that it must generate tons of tax money for the state. How wrong that is! Just take a look at the division of total state tax dollars and you will see that all areas pay into the money pit that is New York City. Nothing comes out of the Big Apple for the upstate area.

And, just to make sure the author of the letter "Wilson doesn't deserve more taxpayer dollars," understands, the Jets and Giants play in New Jersey, not New York. So, the Bills are the only NFL team in the state. Why shouldn't the state back the Bills? Perhaps he doesn't like the team; that is fine. But many people bleed Bills red, white and blue and have for decades. The Bills bring pride to the region, dollars to the area via the NFL traveling teams and fans. Yeah, maybe we are a rinky-dink town compared to New York City, but at least we have an NFL team!

Mike Fields

Buffalo

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Keep public hospitals open when downsizing

As I understand it, public hospitals do not put restrictions on the medical practices of doctors and nurses. Personnel in Catholic hospitals, on the other hand, are required to follow the teachings of the Church, as stated by the pope and the bishops. Since we live in a secular society, preference should be shown toward retaining public hospitals when redundant space is to be eliminated.

Robert H. Hale

Buffalo

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