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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

>Brown administration is plagued by scandals

It appears Mayor Byron Brown gave Leonard Stokes a "stay out of jail" card. Apprehended for using a stolen handicapped parking permit, Stokes successfully demanded to be taken to Brown's office and was released with no charges filed. (The News, Sept. 6) Stokes also had a "tap the poverty program" permit. Brown "asked" his Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. to be "helpful" to Stokes. Brown's wink-and-a-nod generated $160,000 in poverty funds to help Stokes' doomed upscale One Sunset restaurant.

The upcoming FBI investigation will tell us more about both One Sunset and Brown's possible federal Hatch Act violation for pressuring city employees to work on his campaign. Meanwhile, HUD's investigation of 19 apparently improper uses of poverty funds may cost Buffalo millions in fines.

Brown's responses to these scandals are "I didn't know," "we're checking the facts" and "it's all political." Of course it's political! It should be! The political actions and policies that confirm and dramatize the corruption, cronyism and arrogance of Brown and his administration come to a head on Tuesday, when the primary election determines who will be mayor of Buffalo for the next four years.

Irving J. Rubin


>Why is mayor so clueless about what's going on?

Mayor Byron Brown cannot be trusted to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Many questionable incidents and practices with criminal and ethical charges have blanketed his administration. The latest involves One Sunset and its owner Leonard Stokes.

It is amazing to me that a mayor who claims to be running such a tight ship always knows so little of what is going on in his administration.

My concern is not so much about this one incident but the collective issues raised during Brown's tenure: One Sunset; misuse of block grant funds; the investigation involving his son and the stolen vehicle; interference with a construction site where a young worker was killed; not honoring Freedom of Information requests; coercive campaign e-mails sent to city employees; and the list goes on.

When are the voters going to realize that Brown cannot be given an office of public trust, because he cannot be trusted?

Joshua D. Hall


>Brown has a hard time telling people the truth

Am I the only one who believes that Mayor Byron Brown talks as if he is as dumb as a bag of rocks? He seems to have a hard time telling the truth. First he denies his son was driving the family car, which he was. The only reason he admitted it was there was tape of it. Next he doesn't know anything about the e-mail ordering people to help on his campaign. Then he doesn't know anything about all the money given to Leonard Stokes from the BERC. Well, maybe as chairman of BERC he should show up at some of the meetings. Records show that he almost never goes.

Now he is back in the news because he allegedly interfered with a police investigation involving Stokes. I believe an investigation will reveal that they are more than acquaintances.

Bill Higgins


>President delivered an inspiring speech

President Obama gave an inspiring speech to America's students at the opening of the school year. As an educator, I applaud the president for his inspirational speech. I was elated to hear him emphasize staying in school and working hard to succeed. Obama spoke to the kids, not at them.

The critics of the president's speech have no rationale for this. What they really fear is his great communicative skills, intellect, leadership and sincerity.

William L. Shipengrover


>Obama is great example of the value of education

What has become of us? More importantly, what has become of the Republicans? Have they so indoctrinated their members with hatred for the president of the United States that they feel they are entitled to slap him in the face?

The son of a single mother, raised by his grandparents, who rose above his circumstances to become president, wanted to address the children of America.

Obama is the greatest example we have in these United States of the value of education, studying and attending school every day. He has shown us that no goal, not even the presidency, is out of reach for all children. He wanted to convey this message to all school children as they begin the new school year.

Many children did not hear this message. Their school leaders, or their parents, were afraid he was going to try to indoctrinate their children with items from his "liberal agenda," so they either banned his address or gave parents the right to opt out of it. This is America at its worst. I feel sadness for all of us, especially the children.

Joan Spillman


>Reasonable Republicans no longer have a voice

I did not vote for Barack Obama. He is, nonetheless, my president. I respect him and I respect the presidency.

The president of the United States has not only the right but the duty to address the whole country -- including school children -- about important matters. Period. A bully pulpit is either used or wasted. Parents also have the duty of discussing these remarks with their children.

I am fed up with whining Conservatives and Republicans ruining the image of my party. Who is left to speak for us reasonable Republicans?

Ray Ammerman


>Government can't run health plan successfully

The federal health plan begs these questions of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

How can the federal government successfully manage a health program when it cannot run the Postal Service even though it often increases the prices for stamps and mailings?

How can it manage a health program when it mismanages the Social Security system, which is based on the working-life contributions of Americans?

How can it manage a health program when it failed miserably to prevent the greatest recession in American history?

How can it regulate a national health program when its regulatory agencies, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve failed miserably to prevent a disastrous recession?

Arthur Parks


>Find workable solutions to cover all Americans

I have been following the health care debate with deep interest. I understand many of the concerns being voiced about the current proposal. But what I can't understand or countenance is our giving up on the urgent need for genuine health care reform. We are long past the time when every citizen, regardless of economic status, must have complete access to needed health care. And a nation that lays claim to decency and ethical standards can no longer allow profit motives to drive health care costs out of sight.

This country placed a man on the moon 40 years ago. Do our legislators now want us to believe that there are no workable solutions to the current health care dilemma? Surely there are men and women in the House and the Senate who see what can and must be done. Is it too much to hope for an authentic dialogue, evidence-based, that will give all of us relief from unbearable costs and universal access to a most basic human right?

Sister Mary B. Connors


>It's hard to accept loss of two brave firefighters

I have shed many tears since the loss of the two firefighters I never met, Lt. Charles "Chip" McCarthy and Jonathan Croom. Their deaths are very tragic and difficult to accept or understand, but they died doing what they loved and believed in; fighting a fire and attempting to save a stranger's life. Someone they believed to be trapped in the deli inferno on Genesee Street.

I have lost a lot of faith through the years trying to understand why good men and women of the Fire and Police departments lose their lives or are robbed of a quality life while doing their jobs. The only explanation I can think of for these latest two heroes is that it was their time to leave this earth, so God decided to take them doing what they did best and loved doing -- fighting a fire. I still have a problem accepting or understanding their loss.

Bonnie Donohue
West Seneca


>Funeral for city heroes leaves us talking proud

I got the answer last week: It's not the Bills, it's not the Sabres, it's not the Bisons, but the two firemen who gave their lives. God bless them and their families.

It was great to see the turnout of firefighters from all over the city and how the police, public and media treated them. I now know what talking proud means.

Jim Haas


>Get our soldiers out of Afghanistan, Iraq

Apparently George Will woke up the other day and realized that we should leave Afghanistan and Iraq. Bravo, George! His parents must be very proud. It's only taken him six or seven years to figure this out.

Anyone with a modest understanding of history and culture knew that we were on a fool's errand to invade and occupy those countries. Sadly, our country was governed by an administration that confused our ability to invade, conquer and occupy with our right to do so, and a feckless Congress that sold its birthright to secure its precious seats.

Who can blame the Afghans for trying to drive us out of their country? Remember, neither the Afghans nor the Iraqis asked us to come to their rescue. What would we do if the United States was occupied by a foreign invader? Moreover, if either the Afghans or the Iraqis wanted to live in a democracy, they would have established such a government on their own. We should know; liberty cannot be given, it must be taken.

I do, however, give Will credit for admitting what he now thinks. Unfortunately, most of those who advocated for and supported these immoral acts of aggression will never admit they were wrong for any reason.

Joseph R. Riggie

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