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Everybody's column

Nursing home cameras will help reduce abuse

God bless Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for placing hidden cameras in nursing home rooms. Much elder abuse is assault, pure and simple, and those in any way involved, including staff who avert their eyes, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Residents in nursing homes are often thought of as "other," not normal adults. But they are your mother and father, sister and brother; they are you if you need "rehabilitation."

Assault occurs too often, but more frequent is neglect such as hygiene violations, leading to serious illness and even death. We urge putting cameras also in hallways where residents are left immobile for hours, often without having sanitary needs addressed.

The industry is concerned about privacy. Please! What would you prefer: no one seeing assaults and violations, or observation by someone who can help?

Unfortunately, cost restricts placing cameras in every room. So how about encouraging families to put in their own? How about amending rules so that state inspectors can enter and observe facilities without being required to announce whom they represent? And how about requiring truly professional training for nurse's aides, who have the most contact with those unable to defend themselves?

Leonard and Janice Aldrich



Buffalo schools must pay teachers their fair share

The News article detailing the $119 Buffalo School Board surplus was completely irresponsible and misleading. Chief Financial Officer Gary Crosby fails to mention that the teachers have not received a single raise for five consecutive years and only once have received the contractually mandated longevity "step" increase in that same time frame.

It is obvious that board members can spend like drunken sailors while the crew manning the oars that power this ship is not receiving its fair share of the "rations" -- an "equitable distribution of available funds."

Our school system can only thrive and excel if it can attract the best and brightest young educators to work in the very challenging learning environments that exist in our schools. This cannot happen if the teachers are not rewarded fairly for their heroic efforts on behalf of the children. Five years without a single salary increase and four years without mandated step increases is not fair treatment by anyone's definition.

Pay our teachers as if our children's future success depended on them.

Peter J. Hurley



Let's preserve a few items from St. Gerard's Church

As a family member of former members of St. Gerard's Church, I want to express my mixed feelings in learning of its possible fate.

Months ago, I made a request to the Buffalo Diocese to remove a single stained-glass window from the church, given by my grandparents, Anna and John Streit, and preserve it in the public eye. The window is in such a place that it could easily be switched out.

It was our hope that the window could be kept in town, at the Buffalo Religious Arts Center, a new museum dedicated to the preservation of regional religious artifacts. My family has endeavored to work with the center to make the removal possible so that the window could be removed in an inconspicuous way.

Unfortunately, the diocese has not yet responded to our request. I feel we need to preserve some aspects of St. Gerard's beyond just "green space and a marker." I understand that the relocation of the structure benefits both the dioceses of Buffalo and Atlanta. However, maintaining a few artifacts, such as our family's window, is important to former parishioners. Families would appreciate it if the diocese would honor the church's former members by taking the opportunity to preserve just a few items from our precious church.

Pat Codd



The best and brightest haven't done very well

In regard to Chris Collins' statement about the raises in his "inner circle," he stated that "we have to keep the best and the brightest." Haven't we heard this line before? Time and again. If we've been keeping the best and the brightest around here running our governments (see control boards, city and county) then we are in serious trouble.

Once again Collins is raising the pay of commissioners, and making new high-paying positions, at the expense of the lowest paid -- the people who actually do the work. So the administration gets more and the workers get shown the door. Is this the Six Sigma model? Stick it to the workers so your buddies get more?

Ray O'Neill



Powell should recognize we need McCain at helm

I am very disappointed in Colin Powell supporting Barack Obama over John McCain. Powell really is showing his true colors when it comes to loyalty. Whatever happened to his "cut it off and kill it" attitude of the first gulf war? If he doesn't see we need someone with military experience like McCain, a decorated hero, as commander in chief over a person with no military experience, he is wrong.

I would sleep better at night knowing we have a hawk, not a dove, leading our nation. When the terrorists attack our country, we want someone who could lead us into victory, not defeat. We need a leader, not a person who will just smile and try to smooth talk our enemies.

Sandra E. Jackson



Country would benefit from Obama's smarts

In recent years, we have listened to conservative commentators redefine our vocabulary so as to give certain respectable terms negative connotations. First, it was "liberal." Just to label someone as "liberal" was equivalent to calling that person a child molester.

But my Webster dictionary defines "liberal" as "holding, expressing or following political views or policies that support civil liberties, democratic reforms and social progress." I'll bet that this describes a strong majority of Americans.

Lately, the word "elite" has been twisted to imply something worse than a serial killer. Webster defines "elite" as "the best or superior members of a society." Haven't all our past presidents, from Washington to Lincoln to Reagan, and yes, even George W. Bush, been "elite"?

Shouldn't our citizens desire leaders who are more intelligent, better educated and sophisticated in their grasp of complicated issues? I certainly want a president and vice president who are smarter than I am.

I suppose that faced with this analysis, conservatives would unhesitatingly label Noah Webster a "liberal elitist."

Michael Silverman


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