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Everybody's Column

Foss saved Philharmonic by resigning as director

The recent death of Lukas Foss, the Buffalo Philharmonic's fourth music director, has elicited much comment. While I certainly agree with the positive appraisals of his musical genius, his real legacy to Buffalo was not what he did while he was here but the courage he showed by resigning his post in 1959.

At that time the boards of directors of the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics were proposing merging the two orchestras. The logistical problems alone would have made such a move impossible. Foss announced his resignation and stated in a lengthy New York Times interview: "I don't want to preside over a funeral." The resulting publicity effectively killed the merger. The artistic integrity of the Buffalo Philharmonic was more important to Foss than his own job. In my opinion, this was his finest hour.

In some of the recent news coverage, I have noticed a trend to diminish the contributions of past music directors with regard to the "conservative repertoire" they performed. I find such comments, several by "critics" of dubious credentials, to be both impertinent in tone and inaccurate in fact. In eight seasons as director, Josef Krips conducted 58 different programs in 116 pairs of concerts, including 61 contemporary works -- not exactly an "old world European orchestra." Foss' legacy is secure in its own right and does not need enhancement by demeaning the orchestra and his predecessors.

Richard Myers

Principal Trombonist, BPO, 1955-1994

Grand Island


'Three men in a room' render delegates useless

Why do we bother sending Western New York delegates to our government in Albany? The "three men in a room" just pushed through legislation to cut our budget deficit. One item should set off alarm bells to our delegates -- raiding the New York Power Authority for $300 million. This is the agency that is supposed to lower electric rates in Western New York to help create jobs. Where were our senators when this was passing?

The University at Buffalo is our largest local employer. The university raised tuition recently to enhance its educational program. So Albany, which controls SUNY, just snatched that money and stuffed it into the general fund. In other words, it disappeared. Where were our Assembly members when this happened?

We could keep our Western New York delegates at home for all the good they are doing. In fact, let's just eliminate them and save the money.

Carl Jacobs



Health care for elite is far better than ours

I was very sorry to hear about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's pancreatic cancer. I wish her well and a long life. However, it was very interesting to me that it was discovered by a "routine" CT scan. How many of us are entitled to a "routine" CT scan? No one I know of.

Last January, I was having a stomach problem. I saw three doctors and not one diagnosed me correctly or even suggested a CT scan. If they had, I would not have had the life-threatening situation I experienced from June to September.

It wasn't reported that the justice had any symptoms of her problem but was fortunate to have had this test that probably will save her life. Can you imagine the "ordinary" people who would be saved if this test was given at an annual exam?

Gayle M. Ciraolo



GOP is out of touch with working people

Republican economic philosophy is simple and straight forward. "Cut taxes" and watch the economic good times "trickle down" to the peasantry. That's you and me. A party that has resisted a raise in the minimum wage for a decade, introduced massive corporate welfare gimmicks and cunningly introduced legislation and policies aimed at breaking unions is now self-righteously indignant about the current administration's plans to alleviate the economic crisis that Republican rule has created.

This week, Republicans will be posturing themselves as members of the party of Lincoln. What a travesty. What a sacrilege. Let's take a look at Lincoln's thoughts on labor and capital. In his first annual message to Congress on Dec. 3, 1861, he had this to say about the subject: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights."

If the Republican Party wishes to establish a new image among "working" people, it must first end its lengthy affair with the Chamber of Commerce.

John Roach



Letting stores sell wine will kill small businesses

Gov. David Paterson's proposal to allow the sale of wine in supermarkets makes no economic sense. It merely provides a budgetary quick-fix in the form of licensing fees while costing the state thousands of jobs and millions in future revenues.

I can assure you that grocery stores won't go out of business if they can't sell wine. However, since wine accounts for as much as 85 percent of a liquor store's sales, many of these locally owned and operated family businesses will be forced to close if the governor's proposal becomes law.

Shouldn't Paterson be promoting small businesses -- the lifeblood of the U.S. economy -- in New York State, and not discouraging, or in this case, effectively destroying them? Please visit for more information on this ill-conceived proposal.

John Tilert



City, county must reach accord to care for parks

When the city of Buffalo and county of Erie parks and recreation merger took place four years ago, I was told by politicians that the city would pay for the workers' salaries and the county would manage the situation better, thus enhancing services for the taxpayers. During this co-existence, the Olmsted parks look good but the smaller city parks maintained by the county look deplorable.

When calling local officials to complain, the city points fingers at the county and vice versa. Now Erie County wants to close the city community centers and pools, blaming it on funding that the state may no longer provide. I thought the services were already being paid by the city. I also thought there was a contract in place. I hope the city and county do not continue blaming each other and just solve the problem. Don't balance any budget on the backs of innocent children. To deprive city children of a place to cool off in the summer or get warm in the winter is very sinister.

Steve Patrick


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