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Everybody's Column

Senecas are being unfairly categorized by outsiders

As a citizen of the Seneca Nation who does not operate, own or work for a Seneca business, I found the April 12 letter "Shop owners benefit, not individual Senecas," outrageous. Carl Paladino has classed every non-business owning Seneca like me as "poor" and said we would benefit from state intrusion. This claim is absolutely wrong.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer's scheme resurrects a horrible tradition that produced the Kinzua Dam: a dam built on the Allegany River in 1964 forcing 600-plus Senecas from their homes. This abusive practice is called treaty breaking and every Seneca wants it to stop.

Does the state recognize the principle "no taxation without representation"? The Seneca Nation people have never voted to tax any merchandise sold on their territories.

Thousands of Western New Yorkers work with Seneca businesses. These people will lose their jobs if New York State unilaterally imposes its inequitable tax scheme. This will truly impoverish many people and place an even higher unemployment strain on our region.

Finally, Western New York should ask why Paladino has chosen to speak for me and not the people Spitzer designs to put in the poor house.

Melissa Bach

Seneca Nation, Deer Clan Member

Salamanca

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Employees should buy Chrysler, and benefit

They say Chrysler is selling cheap. Daimler paid $22 billion a decade ago. Now Kirk Kerkorian is offering $4.5 billion. The biggest liabilities: pension and medical costs. Plants need to be shuttered; sales have fallen.

The Canadian Auto Workers are opposing the sale. They say Mr. K. and others of his ilk have a history of making big bucks by buying low, slashing jobs and then selling high. The CAW is probably right, which got me thinking:

Why don't the employees of Chrysler buy the company? If the price is low (which it seems to be), then it's a good investment. Moreover, since the workers would also be the owners, they will be more likely to adapt quickly to competitive market forces.

In our day, as the rich get richer and the working class slips ever downward on the economic ladder, here is an opportune moment to seize the day. The highest paid production workers in America could share the wealth of the ownership class. They could save their jobs by purchasing the company and make some good old fashioned Wall Street profit in the bargain. The price is cheap now. Buy low, as they say.

Robert F. Biniszkiewicz

Buffalo

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Free speech should rule, even for shock jocks

I think everyone can agree that what Don Imus said is vile and inappropriate. I would like to point out, however, that we have free speech in this country. Hate speech is hate speech and if Imus had to lose his job then so should people like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh regularly says hateful things about people he doesn't like. Al Sharpton has been known to say some pretty hateful things. Is it OK for him to say things because he is African-American? Why is it acceptable for rap and hip hop artists to say the same things Imus did?

Where do we draw the line? Imus attempted to make amends. I didn't listen to Imus, but he apologized and so he should have been left alone and allowed to do his show. Why should he be made an example of? Mel Gibson apologized and he was forgiven. Michael Richards, Kramer of Seinfeld fame, apologized and is forgotten. If you don't like the man or his show, you didn't have to listen. That was your right, just like he should have had the right to make an idiot of himself.

Michael Buyer

Amherst

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Government forces should be reduced

I would add my support to the recent News commentary, "Top-heavy localities try to bottom out." I believe Bruce Andriatch was completely correct in his view that too much government exists in our community. Reduction in government officials is one of the most effective means to cut costs while still providing services. However, I also have personal experience in the difficulty in passing legislation to obtain this goal.

As mayor of Sloan from 1997 to 2005 I attempted, on two occasions, to reduce the size of the Village Board by two members. There is no need for five trustees to run a village consisting of 3,000 people. A reduction would have provided cost savings of the trustee salary and perks without affecting any services. On both occasions, the majority of the board voted against it because it might threaten their political control.

I agree with Andriatch that people want change, and are beginning to vote out those who cling to the status quo for political reasons. In the recent village election, the incumbent was voted out while the trustee who voted with me to reduce the board retained his office. Hopefully this shall be a signal to the mayor and remaining trustees that it is time to reduce the board.

Ken Pokorski

Sloan

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Tradition of ashes is not only Catholic

The April 6 Associated Press article, "Church bars two lesbians from taking Communion," contained erroneous information. Ashes on the forehead is not associated only with Catholics. The Second Vatican Council, consisting of Catholic bishops and observers from other Christian faiths, met to assess Catholic-Protestant relations and take a new look at traditions abandoned by Protestant churches. The mark of ashes on Ash Wednesday is not only for Catholics, because it now crosses faiths. The ritual, a symbol of repentance and mourning to mark the start of Lent, has spread from Catholic, Anglican, Episcopal and Orthodox to the mainline Protestant denominations, most notably Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist.

Fran Tober

Williamsville

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News missed the mark on the Syria editorial

The April 10 editorial, "Talking to Syria" provides a couple of good examples of how mainstream daily newspapers tend to come up short on context. It's too bad the reader had to get to the end of the editorial before it was said that diplomatically approaching Syria was precisely what was recommended by the Iraq Study Group as well as a majority of Americans across the board.

Then The News said the Bush administration didn't want Nancy Pelosi in Syria, but failed to note the administration had nothing to say about the three Republican congressmen who were there only three days before.

These are but two examples of why serious readers of geopolitics are increasingly turning to the Internet for in-depth context on issues. They're realizing they can't count on daily papers.

Phil Schwab

Williamsville

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