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Everybody's Column

Region already has a great heart center

I consider the April 10 News editorial, "ECMC plan premature," an insult to the Niagara-Buffalo region. The editorial discusses valid points about the dispute between Erie County Medical Center and Kaleida Health concerning development of a new heart center for Erie County. Regionalism and the Berger Commission's report are used in the discussion. Why, I wonder, are there so many mentionings, in numerous News articles, of the "region" to be all of Western New York?

Erie County is not the entire region! Niagara Falls already has, in existence, the facility ECMC is proposing for Erie County. It is called the Heart Center, and is located at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. It has the latest diagnostic equipment for heart disease. Buffalo does not need to duplicate what Niagara Falls -- within the region -- already has.

I can almost understand that the Berger Commission might overlook this fact, but the editorial board, composed of local residents, should be aware of this facility and should have offered it as an alternative to the multimillion-dollar facility being proposed by ECMC.

Donald Supon

Niagara Falls

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Why did News publish story glorifying Phillips?

It sure was great to be a part of the Alumni Hockey Benefit and the fundraiser at the Convention Center that raised almost a half a million dollars for Buffalo Police Officer Patricia Parete. It was nice for a change to see the media treat police officers with a little dignity.

That's why it boggles the mind that The News had to glorify Ralph Phillips as it did on April 8 with its story in the local section. Who knows? You might just interest another person who seeks notoriety by ambushing an unsuspecting officer with a gun.

Paul A. Roberts

Buffalo Police Officer, A District

Orchard Park

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Mental illness is still misunderstood

My family and I are so happy to see that the power of faith and prayer brought an end to a miscarriage of justice. We are very familiar with the illness of schizophrenia and can imagine the stigma that took place at the time of Anthony Capozzi's trial. New York State has since become more helpful in recognizing mental illness, but it still has a lot to do. I urge legislators to help law enforcement better understand mental illness.

Joseph Tritto

Tonawanda

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Secular reasons are often cause of violence

I take issue with the April 7 letter, "How can anyone deny religion fuels violence?" Though religion may play a role, secular reasons are often the root cause of violence. For example, the Sunni-Shiite conflict in Iraq is the result of one sect gaining political power at the expense of the other, which formerly had power uncontested.

To be more precise, religion's main role is to stir the peons' passion. The street-level terrorist might not care about American economic and political influence in the Middle East. However, when one ties the situation into religious matters, he will turn into a fanatic bent on killing. Religious texts as a whole do not advocate genocide, but portions of them are used selectively to do so.

The genocides experienced in the past century clearly show the baseness of humanity without religious zeal. They were instead spawned from a distrust of those who hold different values, the crux of any religious-based conflict. Though these cases do not necessarily implicate atheism or secularism in genocide per se, they clearly demonstrate that people can become violent toward others in matters other than religion. Therefore, religion is often a proxy for the inherent brutality of mankind rather than the cause of it.

Anthony Scott

Amherst

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Forget about rebates, reduce property taxes

"New Yorkers to pay income tax on property" should have been the headline on an April 7 News article, but instead it was "State property tax rebates will have added requirement." The article went on to explain two separate ways the State Legislature has connived to tax our property as income.

The first is simple and perhaps justifiable. The rebate will reduce the amount a property owner is allowed to deduct from state income taxes. But the second is less obvious. The Legislature has decided that the property tax rebates will now be income-based. The higher your income, the less you will receive in your rebate. This twist of policy will, in effect, tax your property as income.

This is a recipe for bad government, since it combines wealth transfer with additional paperwork. The idea should be scrapped before it is imposed. Otherwise, property owners are certain to see this scheme to indirectly tax property as income expanded and become ever more complicated, yet viewed as essential to balancing the state budget. Once implemented, we'll never get rid of it.

The way to reduce property taxes is to do just that. Reduce them. Don't make property owners jump through hoops to get back excess taxes already paid.

Daniel Mohr

Allegany

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Special-interest groups are killing all progress

I just can't believe the Bass Pro article in the April 8 News. The issues are so mundane. We have leaders to make decisions. Let's keep individual interests out of the equation. Having been in downtown Buffalo and viewed the 12 acres that the preservationists are worrying about, I think the protests are ridiculous. It's not even attractive. The entire cobblestone area is not worthy of the delays that they have caused. Our elected officials should not have to answer to every special-interest group that ultimately stops progress in any endeavor in Western New York.

I also read the article stating that the hotel plan for Elmwood and Forest avenues is dead. The three houses that were "saved" are certainly not worthy of being called landmarks. Stop worrying about lawsuits. Maybe they will go away if we have the nerve to act in spite of them. It really gets embarrassing to explain to people the lack of action in Buffalo -- for example, the bridge, the casino, the Aud.

Geraldine O'Brien

Tonawanda

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U.S. should enact law to stop animal cruelty

I was so glad to see the April 6 Another Voice about faux fur and fur used for clothing. I was surprised to find that not many people know that raccoon dogs are a staple in the fur market, and that they are commonly skinned alive in Chinese factories. A newly introduced bill, the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act, needs to become a law to stop this horrid cruelty. Please visit www.hsus.org for more information.

Michelle Peck

Irving

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