Hamburg Board needs to stop playing politics
Members of the Hamburg Town Board have chosen politics over common sense and successfully made themselves look like selfish fools in the process. By confirming what was rumored last week and abolishing the position of deputy supervisor, the four Democrats serving the board chose to represent their own partisan interests as opposed to representing their constituents.
Thomas Best Sr., a conservative appointed to the now-defunct position by Republican Town Supervisor Steven Walters, was a good choice for the town given his experience and ability to provide an independent voice for the people of Hamburg. The Democratic board continues to stifle progress in the town by placing a personal agenda to oppose the Republican supervisor at every opportunity that presents itself.
Many in attendance at the Town Board meeting voiced their displeasure by walking out. But they would be much better served, along with the rest of the voters, to truly voice their displeasure with this Democratic board at election time in November.
Niagara Greenway Plan should be endorsed by all
As a resident of Amherst who is active in church and civic groups that promote care for the common good, I support the Niagara Greenway Plan. I am amazed that a group of elected officials and school administrators in Niagara County cannot endorse this plan. Surely, the Niagara River belongs to us all, and should be managed for the good of all.
Many of us are drawn to the water, to the flowing water of the Niagara River for spiritual renewal and refreshment. Many of us enjoy the river for recreation and outdoor exercise. Some of us spend hours fishing from its banks. All of us sleep better at night, just knowing that the beautiful Niagara River is available whenever we seek a respite from the rat race.
The Niagara Power Coalition should reverse itself, to protect the commons for the good of all, and endorse the Niagara Greenway Plan. Gladys Gifford
Animal-free circuses are more entertaining
Teaching our children compassion toward nonhumans begins at home. Parents teach their children to care for and not abuse the family dog or cat. Later these children grow to adulthood, raise their own families and teach their young the same values.
But somewhere down the line compassion for all nonhumans stops short. Parents think nothing of taking their children to the big top. These parents, for some reason, aren't able to equate the suffering of their dog or cat with elephants, big cats, bears, etc. The tradition of the circus is so ingrained in our culture that most individuals fail to see the abuse. The circus has become a form of institutionalized cruelty.
The message is clear as many cities have banned animal acts. Besides, there are various circuses playing around the country that employ humans only. These venues are every bit as entertaining as the traditional circus. Some say even better. One example is the Moscow Circus.
The City of Buffalo needs to join the list of municipalities that have banned such cruelty.
Jeffery L. Termini
Town of Tonawanda
Deputy acted properly while under attack
The actions taken by Deputy Benjamin Pisa were correct in every way. Having been a member of the Erie County Sheriff's office for over 35 years, I can speak from experience. Having been a member of the SWAT team for 15 years, I would like to respond to a Jan. 9 letter.
All firearms training I received included a three-shot drill -- two to the body and one to the head -- when an armed subject was advancing on you. The writer's suggested use of a Taser was not an option, because deputies are not issued one. Faced with the belief that his partner had just been slashed in the chest with a hunting knife and that Roger Duchnik was advancing toward him, Pisa had a choice to make -- pepper spray or firearm. His choice was the correct one.
Had Duchnik stopped, he would not have been shot. I find it hard to believe anyone would think the deputy should have drawn his cell phone and called family members while he was under attack by a man armed with a deadly weapon. The fact that Duchnik had mental health problems and was not taking his medication is of no concern as he charges at you. He is just as able to kill you as someone without health problems.
William G. Gourlay
Minimum-wage hike is desperately needed
The current minimum wage in the United States has not been changed in the last 10 years, which is unfair to the millions of people across the country who work full-time jobs, but still struggle to survive below the poverty line. At a minimum, the new Congress should change this rate of pay to $7.25 an hour and President Bush should sign it into law.
Most small businesses would support a fair raise in the minimum wage. It seems that only the large corporations publicly oppose it. The current rate of pay is impossible to support a family on. In this country, we should expect and demand a better way of life for everyone, especially those working in the most difficult jobs for the least amount of money.
Idea of military training for children is alarming
After reading a recent My View column that extolled the benefits to youth of growing up in the old Soviet Union, I am thoroughly confused. The author began by praising her training as a child in which she learned "warfare preparation" about "chemical, biological and nuclear weapons," how to "load and take apart a pistol and an AK-47 rifle with my eyes closed" and how to "shoot targets from standing, prone and running positions."
But these activities, the author indicated, were aimed at her enemy, "the United States of America, the biggest capitalist country in the world." So far, this sounded to me just like so much Communist propaganda.
But then she wrote that U.S. schools should now be providing the same type of instruction. Children should learn "discipline and respect for oneself and others, the ability to obey authority, physical and mental fitness and, most important, the introduction to military preparation." This could have been written by a member of the conservative put-them-in-prison-and-throw-away-the-key crowd.
Could a Communist, conservative or conservative Communist please explain?