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Everybody's Column

>Keep outer harbor open to the public

Lake Erie -- our silent giant, our fair-weather jewel -- is there for all of us in many ways. The shoreline, including the outer harbor, is the gateway to this impressive body of water. Let's keep the gates open as far as possible for the lake's rightful owners, the general public.

The development plans for the outer harbor designate the greater part of it for private consumption and the remainder for public use. This land is too valuable culturally and symbolically to dedicate a major portion of it to a small, select group of people. For this reason, I think it should be divided equally between public and private interests.

This would better suit the population of Western New York. Erie Basin Marina is a popular destination, but sometimes crowded. Therefore, more public space nearby, with easy access, would be beneficial. Landscaping around Gallagher Beach would make it more appealing.

Providing generous public space will reflect well on the city, and a spacious park will complement downtown. Lake Erie is a beautiful local asset and should be given meaningful exposure. The outer harbor, appropriately, belongs to everyone and can become a memorable feast that is deservedly ours.

Judy Catalano


>We should send troops to Darfur, not Iraq

Wholesale rape, carnage and genocide are being perpetrated against helpless women and children in Darfur right in front of the eyes of the entire world, and yet no one in power is lifting even one finger to stop it. Maybe that's a bit too harsh. The United Nations has passed empty resolutions, someone in the Bush administration did courageously utter the word "genocide" and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a prayer service.

Cambodia, Rwanda and now Darfur. Have we forgotten "never again"? Every American should implore President Bush to take action. If he is intent on deploying more troops, he should send them not to Iraq, where they will provoke more killing of innocents, but to Darfur, where the United States can instead be a force for good in the world.

James R. Schwinger


>It's time for U.S. to get out of deadly, costly war

A Jan. 1 News headline said: "War-weary world was forced to face new threats from North Korea, Iran." These nations want to join a rising tide that have nuclear bombs, including America and Israel. If all four nations do not change their war policy, we could have an all-out nuclear war.

And who is to blame? Defense Secretary Robert Gates went to Iraq to meet with our forces. He claims Iraq wanted more troops; yet in congressional hearings, Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, said: "We don't need more troops." The Iraq Study Group concurred with Abizaid: "The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. We need a political settlement."

According to a network broadcast, a majority in the armed forces indicated their disapproval of the war. At home, 71 percent oppose the war and are wary of sending more troops. The Iraqi people want our troops to leave as well. On Nov. 7, Americans voted for change. President Bush wants to pass his war on to the next president. What will it take to make him change his deadly and costly policy -- a war tax to wipe out the debt?

Terence S. Underwood


>Buffalo should prohibit razing of Atwater House

The Preservation Coalition of Erie County continues to express its strong objection to the demolition of the Atwater House on Elmwood Avenue by Pano's restaurant owner Pano Georgiadis. This is not a case of the coalition, or the preservation community at large, blocking new development at the site. The coalition supports Georgiadis in his plan to expand his business.

This is clearly a situation where a landmark worthy structure, the Atwater House, is threatened with demolition for a structure that lacks the design integrity and character of the structure it seeks to replace. If Buffalo and its neighborhoods have learned anything in the past 30 years of urban renewal programs, it is that buildings that replace period architecture are constructed of inferior quality and of uninspired design.

Any resident of Buffalo need only walk a nearby commercial strip or downtown itself, to lament the homogenization of our city; we are losing the unique qualities that make our city distinctive.

We wish Georgiadis success, but not at the expense of an 1894 Queen Anne home with a gracious medina sandstone porch and stunning bell roof tower. The city has lost too much to allow this.

Gregory Lodinsky
Board Member

Preservation Coalition of Erie County


>Let's hope realism returns to Congress

Both of my parents were Republicans and I was once a registered Republican. However, one of the several aspects of Republican rule that has been driving me mad over the last 11 years, and in particular since George Bush has occupied the White House, is rejection of the truth.

A much touted and attractive conservative principal has always been acceptance of reality and policies that reflect that realism. Now that the national party has slowly but surely been infested with anti-diplomacy hawks and religious zealots, I am fed up. The nation does not need, nor is it the place of Congress, to pass bills that garrison the government in our bedrooms and hospital rooms.

The economic health of Americans will only continue to suffer if one $80 billion off-budget allocation after another for the Iraq invasion is approved with a wink and a nod. Our nation can only grow weaker and our military less able to confront real threats if Congress shows no interest in putting an end to the president's disastrous elective war making. Our nation can only grow less healthy and more impoverished if the reality of the need for a national health care system is denied because of lobbying by the health insurance industry.

I am so tired of the rubber stamping of foolishness and folly. I am optimistic that the Democratic-controlled Congress will reinject that much-needed realism into the policy deliberations that it faces. It has much to undo, as well as do.

Kevin R. O'Connor


>Many comic readers find 'Pickles' funny

I am writing in response to the letter, "News should drop 'Pickles' comic strip." I wondered what was printed that was so bad, so I looked up the cartoon to see it for myself. Where is the writer's sense of humor? "The object of the sadism was a little kid." What? This is America, where humor is allowed and acceptable. I laughed at the cartoon. If The News took out all content that could offend people, it would be a blank sheet of paper.

Michael Weimer
Smethport, Pa.

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