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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Redistricting is key to initiating reforms

I am running out of adjectives to use in describing the absolute dysfunction and horrendous abuse of power that our elected officials in Albany continue to display.

The latest example was how Albany closed the current fiscal year deficit of $1.6 billion. The solution? "Being creative" was how leadership described the move of $61 million from the University at Buffalo that was generated by tuition increases last month. Transfer of $306 million from the Power Authority was money that the agency "was not using," according to Gov. David Paterson. Why does the authority have that much money sitting there not being used in the first place?

New York State and its completely broken governance must change. Redistricting is the first step. It will take away incumbency protection so new representatives can be elected in enough numbers to force leadership changes. The citizens of New York must force the creation of an independent body to draw up districts that truly represent the population -- not gerrymandered to provide job security for politicians too beholden to their leadership. That opportunity will occur after the 2010 census. Or perhaps it will come sooner, since we're probably headed down the path toward state insolvency before then.

Paul Muck

Akron

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Residents of New York have no representation

The most amazing thing happened recently. I agreed with a Rod Watson column. This is amazing since this almost never happens. However, his column shows the frustration that is shared by many New Yorkers across the political spectrum. This country was founded when Englishmen, who were frustrated by so many failed efforts to get the attention of their government, said that is enough. Many of us today are at or near that point.

If three men can decide where and how much New York spends its money, I have to ask: What happened to our representative government? I remember things like: "Taxation without representation is tyranny" and "government of the people, by the people, for the people." We spend a lot of money electing and maintaining state government. Why spend that money if there is no real representation?

I believe that it is time for reform groups from different ends of the political landscape and those in between to come together to get state politics reformed. We can fight about our other issues later when we have a voice but for now let's get our voice back!

Albert Matteo

Elma

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Working families bear heavy burden

In the Feb. 6 article, "Albany avoids real change," The News reported the state is seizing 90 percent of the SUNY tuition increase to help close the budget gap. It is completely unconscionable that SUNY students are being forced to borrow money to bail out the state. SUNY students have little or no income and are living on loans that we will pay interest on for the next 10 to 30 years. This is an imbalanced way to create a "balanced" budget.

It's time for the Fair Share Tax Reform plan. Instead of schoolchildren, homeowners, SUNY and CUNY students, the disabled and the elderly bearing this burden alone, households making more than $250,000 per year need to start paying their fair share of the income tax. Wealthy New Yorkers got us into this mess and have seen their income tax slashed in half over the last 40 years.

When the state raised taxes on the wealthy after 9/1 1, the rich did not leave the state. Instead, the economy rebounded and the number of high-income New Yorkers continued to grow. It is time for the governor to act in the interest of working families.

Rebecca Hoffman

Buffalo

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Reinstate Delano with full back pay

Hopefully Donn Esmonde's Feb. 9 column will generate public outcry against the shameful action against Detective Dennis Delano. Without his decisive actions, Anthony Capozzi and Lynn DeJac would still be behind prison bars with no advocate for their exoneration.

I have no idea if there is validity in the conspiracy theories some have expounded regarding the roles of former District Attorney Frank Clark, Buffalo Police Commissioner McCarthy Gipson and Mayor Byron Brown attempting to punish Delano. Regardless, suspending him without pay was overly punitive.

It is particularly outrageous since numerous criminally charged persons, including city and county employees (even law enforcement personnel), and most inexcusably, alleged rapists and pedophiles, have been suspended with pay pending their days in court. In view of Delano's notable record of working to vindicate unjustly convicted persons, his suspension without pay is reprehensible and obscene. Shame on all who are responsible for this vindictive and draconian action and allow it to persist. Justice will be served by reinstating Delano with full back pay and all the benefits due him.

Conrad F. Toepfer

Getzville

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Don't punish Delano for seeking the truth

All I know about Dennis Delano is what I hear on TV and read in the newspaper, and after weighing this information, I think there are more pros than cons for the man. In my opinion, he is all for truth, justice and the American way. If action is taken by his peers to fire him, I'm sure there will be plenty of employers who would welcome a man with such integrity, determination and concern for his fellow man.

I think Delano committed a venial sin to correct a mortal sin, and the punishment of suspension does not fit the crime. Delano has done a lot of good to overcome the evil and he should be given some recognition and respect, especially from his peers.

Mary Thomas

Buffalo

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Department needs more cops like this

The arbitration hearing for Cold Case Detective Dennis Delano seems to me to be one big public relations snafu on the part of the Buffalo Police Department. True, he disobeyed policy rules at the Police Department and conducted an independent investigation in search of the truth. But a one-month suspension without pay, I believe, would have been a sufficient disciplinary action for this "transgression."

The present attempt to fire him from the force is just plain wrong. Because of his tactics, he was able to free Lynn DeJac from 13 years of unjustified imprisonment and contributed to the release of Anthony J. Capozzi.

We need more people like Delano who are willing to stick out their necks and bend the rules in search for justice. Using initiative seeking justice and truth has never been a detriment in the search for what is right, has it? Delano is not a rogue detective but a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and I for one would like to give him a medal for being the crusader he is.

Norman Machynski

Cheektowaga

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How will Suleman support 14 children?

It has been reported that Nadya Suleman wanted a big family, and was angry that she was an only child. Life is about choices. As adults, we need to make choices that are also responsible to society. We need to provide for our children financially without looking to the government to support them.

In my job, I see citizens and immigrants having children they can't support financially, and going to the government to support them. This is one of the reasons why the cost of welfare is so high. Entitlement of benefits is believed by many.

Yes, we have the right to have children, but not at the expense of our fellow citizens. The same people who have chosen to have only the number of children they can financially support now have to support irresponsible people through taxes.

I understand that Suleman didn't want to destroy her frozen embryos. Maybe she could bless a childless couple who desperately wants a child and can provide for that child. Now that is a responsible person, and the most wonderful gift that could be given to both her child and the childless couple.

Nancy Szarowicz

West Seneca

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Mother of octuplets is judged too harshly

While I would never advise a single woman to have eight kids, I'm disgusted at the public scrutiny and harsh judgment Nadya Suleman is receiving. I'm equally as baffled that the same culture that embraces and celebrates Angelina Jolie, also unmarried, who opted for six children (and counting) is so quick to chastise Suleman.

Even though I question her decision to have six embryos implanted -- she could have donated some or all of them -- when she already had six kids, I admire and respect her decision not to have them destroyed or abort some of them in utero.

Robyn E. Jobity

Lackawanna

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Erie County executive owes Indians apology

County Executive Chris Collins attacked not only essential retiree health insurance benefits, but all Native Americans, when he used a derogatory term as he gloated over his broken promises to our public employees.

Collins' comments in the Jan. 31 News were explicitly racist and unacceptable, period. In the name of decency, this newspaper and every citizen of Erie County should demand his apology or resignation. There is no room for racism, much less such explicit bigotry, in a public official sworn to uphold the Constitution.

William W. Berry

Buffalo

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Why are pro-choice people upset about baby's death?

Why are pro-choice people upset about the baby who was tossed into medical waste to die? They've just elected a president who is poised to hand down legislation legalizing abortion of full-term children.

As a physician, I know nothing occurs at birth that makes a child more human than in the womb. If it's acceptable to kill children inside the womb, then it must be OK to kill children on the outside. The event is no different. The dismemberment or chemical death of a child inside the womb is "emotionally sterile" and "clinical." No one is required to see the child struggling or hear the human cry. The freedom-of-choice people's emotional comfort is what is upset.

As a physician, I know life begins at conception. As a humanist, I'm appalled that unborn humans are treated with the same respect afforded a rat. As an American, I struggle to understand how we champion human rights while we destroy the most innocent among us.

Florida is a sobering reminder of where we are, where we're going and who we've chosen as our leaders. This is not the legacy I wish to leave my children.

John Brach, M.D.

East Aurora

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