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Everybody's Column

>Buffalo police officers earn every penny of their pension

This is in regard to the letter writer who is so upset about the so-called obscene pensions some Buffalo police officers are making that are supposedly killing the taxpayers. Maybe he would rather the officers who put their lives on the line every day not do their jobs or work any overtime, and let the punks, drug dealers, rapists and murderers have free reign of the city so they can kill the taxpayers.

After what those brave officers have to go through every day and night on some of the roughest streets of the city for 20 years or more, they deserve every penny of that pension so they and their family can spend the remaining years of their life comfortably.

It's no one's business what those men and women make. They're the ones putting up with the city's garbage day in and day out and protecting the citizens while trying to get home to their families in one piece. Those officers are risking their lives every day, not the guy safe at home in the suburbs. To say that those officers are greedy is just plain ignorant and idiotic. There might be a little jealousy, too.

Joseph M. Tomasulo
Newfane

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>Don't believe the lies circulating in e-mails

I've heard some false statements circulating recently about candidates running in the November elections, and I want to make sure my fellow voters aren't misled.

Many of these smears involve presidential candidate Barack Obama -- such as the whisper campaigns questioning his Christian faith and lies about a whole host of issues. While many are focused on the presidential election, Republicans are using these dishonest tactics in races up and down the ballot, making it difficult for voters to determine what's true and what isn't.

All over the country, Republican campaigns and their front groups are trying to distract us from solving the real problems of our country. We don't need the dishonesty and distraction of these misleading attacks. We need to have a real debate about what we can do about gas prices, foreign policy, global warming and getting our economy moving again.

I think the American people want and deserve a better kind of politics, and I'm confident that on Election Day, voters will see through these attacks and support the candidate not with the best smear operation, but with the best ideas for improving our country.

Dave Winnert II
Buffalo

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>Big Tobacco's programs do not prevent smoking

Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, the nation's largest tobacco companies, distribute so-called youth smoking prevention materials to schools and other organizations. Schools and organizations may lack sufficient information to question the intent of these materials. The reality is that while the major tobacco companies insist that they do not want kids to smoke, there is no evidence that their "prevention" programs work.

In fact, the federal court found that the true purpose of these programs is not to prevent youth from smoking, but rather to create the illusion that Big Tobacco wants to be part of the solution to the youth smoking problem in order to keep legislators from enacting policies that would significantly reduce tobacco use. Philip Morris and other tobacco giants spend millions to oppose measures that are effective in reducing smoking, such as increased tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and funding for impactful tobacco prevention programs.

Erie 1 BOCES and the Western New York Tobacco Free Programs urge schools and organizations not to accept resources, money or prevention materials from or partner with tobacco companies. For free tobacco prevention resources, visit the Center for Disease Control's Web site at www.cdc.gov/tobacco and click on Publication Catalog.

Kathryn Huber
Coordinator, Tobacco Free Healthy Schools Program, Erie 1 BOCES

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>McCain was way off base in remark about teachers

I am concerned about the media not commenting on some of the comments made by Sen. John McCain in the final presidential debate. Specifically, he commented that members of the military should be able to come home and become teachers without having to take any exams or get certified to teach.

I have the utmost respect for all members of the military, but being trained to be a soldier does not make one trained to be a teacher. McCain's comment was disrespectful to teachers and the teacher education process we go through. The training to become a teacher is fairly extensive, and to belittle it in such a manner is appalling.

Finally, I would like to comment on McCain's apparent inability to control his facial expressions. Do we want someone with such lack of control dealing with foreign leaders in these difficult times?

Suzanne Hull
Town of Tonawanda

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>We need to cut spending, not increase taxes again

State and county governments need to sharpen their pencils. We need more spending cuts, not more taxes. There is still a lot of waste in government. Cut programs, jobs and perks, not funding the communities need. Erie County and New York State already have the highest taxes in the nation. How can anyone in government even consider increasing taxes, especially in this economy? How will we ever dig out of the hole we are in if our leaders continue to tax the hell out of everyone? Increasing taxes is no way to promote much-needed growth. We all have to tighten our belts. That includes government. It's their job and they should do it.

F. Thomas Pecora
Derby

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>Installing home sprinklers helps residents, firefighters

I would support a national building code that included residential fire sprinklers. Last weekend I installed a fire sprinkler system in my new home. The cost works out to $60 per sprinkler in a system of 26 heads.

I did it because sprinklers save lives. There are 400,000 residential fires in the United States every year and fire is the fourth-leading cause of accidental death. Statistics prove that in houses with smoke alarms and sprinklers, 95 percent of fires are survivable. Earlier this year in a Buffalo house fire, the three occupants perished within 15 feet of their front door. Even a small system of sprinklers covering stairways and doors would have saved them.

I also want to give the firemen a break. Sprinklers sap the energy of a structure fire. That makes it so much safer for firemen to enter the building and extinguish the blaze.

New plumbing methods made building the system easy. I began my quest for a safer home with a simple Internet search. There are companies right here in Western New York that can help homeowners with this life-saving technology.

Jeff Belt
Buffalo

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