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Everybody's Column

>Gundersen faced unfair attack over his temporary residence

There has been unfair criticism of Dan Gundersen over where he has been living in the few short months since he was nominated to oversee economic development upstate. Because he had a temporary apartment near Albany, it was suggested that he was not keeping true to Gov. Eliot Spitzer's promise to establish a headquarters of the Empire State Development Corp. in Buffalo. Not true.

What most people do not understand is that the state economic development apparatus consists of two entities. One is ESDC, a public benefit corporation that has been headquartered in New York City and now, as the governor promised, has an upstate headquarters in Buffalo, which Dan leads. There is also the Department of Economic Development, which is as critical as ESDC, and which always has been headquartered upstate, because a constitutional department of state government must have its headquarters in Albany.

In addition to his appointment as upstate ESDC chair, Dan has been nominated as economic development commissioner, so that the two agencies have coordinated management.

For 20 years the ESDC chair tried to manage the Department of Economic Development from New York City while rarely present at our headquarters. Dan is trying to be a visible leader to his people in both organizations, which will certainly make us more effective for all communities in New York State and he shouldn't be criticized for it. I concur with The News that he should be confirmed.

Jeff Janiszewski

Public Employees Federation

Dept. of Economic Development

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>Immigration problems call for a better solution

Plans call for 370 miles of fencing, 200 miles of vehicle barriers and the eventual hire of 6,000 border agents. All this is for as much as $7.6 billion, and it also wouldn't be completed until 2011.

Is it just me or does this plan seem to be an outrageous amount of money to spend just to keep Mexicans out of our country? I can't help but think that the money could be used for some other issue; something that could directly benefit people in the present. I think the country has bigger problems to deal with than people actually wanting to come here to work or live.

It is ridiculous to build fencing and barriers. Immigration problems need to be dealt with in other ways; not by the barbaric building of walls to separate us.

Jacob Czelusta

Cheektowaga

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>Pope has neglected to reach out, again

I read with some disbelief the other day of the pope's assertion that eternal salvation lies only for those in the Catholic Church. Once again the church, and specifically the pope, have missed the opportunity to mend fences and unite.

Another million-dollar payoff in California recently should be a call for a more conciliatory tone. Why should I be surprised, this from the church that served up its youth as appetizers and then just moved the priests or cut all ties rather than accept responsibility? But that is for another day.

Instead of welcoming people, the pope continues to alienate its followers. I am Catholic, my wife and children are practicing Episcopalians and if I am to believe the pope I will not be seeing them in the hereafter. Gone are the days of pray, pay and obey.

One only has to look at the diminished congregations to see that the Catholic Church is at a crossroads. I find it hard to fathom that the Lord is up in heaven checking backgrounds. I think rather He is shaking his head saying "Boy, I dropped the ball with this guy."

Timothy P. Morris

Kenmore

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>Peace Bridge delays are decades too long

I was born and raised in Western New York. After high school, I left the area for college and for service in the Marine Corps. After marrying and settling in Florida, my wife and I did the unexpected -- we came back to Buffalo. When we came back, I noticed that a lot had changed. But not everything. There still isn't a new Peace Bridge.

As a youngster, I vividly recall the trips we would take to go to Toronto or any number of other destinations north of the border. Today, those same trips give us one thing to look forward to at their end -- a congested, uncomfortable wait at the Peace Bridge on the way home.

Congressman Brian Higgins has it right: The delays have gone on long enough. Let's build a new bridge, let's get commerce going across this border, and let's prove, for once, that Buffalo and Western New York can get a project done for the betterment of this community.

Kerry A. Zelazny
Kenmore

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>Government does not know its core mission

Sometimes, it is good to reflect on where we, as a nation, have been, our status today and where we are going.

The present general picture as we see it is a disaster. Most notable and obvious, we have a "government-by-lobby." More insidious, we have a spectacle of many congressmen guiding their sons and daughters into positions as lobbyists. Congress was originally designed to be our protector but is now known primarily for its huge salaries and annual raises. The worst aspect is its abject fear of a lying president and his coterie of thieves. Otherwise, we would not be in Iraq.

We are fortunate to have Congressmen Higgins and Slaughter as our representatives.

Seemingly, we look at government as top-to-down-to-local. This is a serious mistake. We should better look at local governments as the heart and soul of our lives, that really understand and fill our needs -- health, social, financial and the future of our children -- from local to the top.

I am filled with dismay at the antics of our two major political parties. I have therefore become a member of the Conservative Party, and will carefully examine the credentials of future candidates.

Jim Patrick McDonald

West Seneca

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>Selling of property pays for church scandals

Every week the Catholic Church preaches about being sorry that it has to sell off churches and property just to survive when, apparently, the money raised from these sales is used to pay for sex abuse across the country. Which brings to mind all the closings of churches and schools here in Western New York. Is it really for the good of the church or just to pay for scandals?

At any rate, any money raised by the church could be better spent than to save the church embarrassment and to protect sex offenders.

Does the church really think that the parishioners can't see this?

Richard Swain

Kenmore

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