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Everybody's column

Why is mayor trying to keep PBA from testing for mold?

How can Mayor Byron Brown repeatedly deny any adverse health effects on the employees at the D District Police Station? The city's own report states several different types of mold were found in the building, including Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is a very toxic black mold. Exposure can result through inhalation, ingestion and dermal exposure. There are too many health problems from just this mold to list.

An officer complained that many working there were sick. The city then hired a company to clean the air ducts, prior to air quality and other tests. If there are no health risks, then why is the city making it extremely difficult for the Police Benevolent Association to do its own testing? The city is requiring people who go into the building for testing with the union to have a $1 million liability insurance policy on themselves and each vehicle that will be in the parking lot while testing. I'm sure the testing company would be insured, but I know of no one who has a $1 million liability policy on himself or his car.

If the building is as safe as the mayor is saying, then why the major roadblocks and stipulations for the PBA to do its own tests? It makes one wonder what's really in that building.

Debbie Cordone

Cheektowaga

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Israelis reveal contempt for U.S. with Biden snub

As if we needed any further evidence of Israeli contempt for the United States, and its control over the U.S. political environment, the recent exchange between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government serves as a perfect illustration. First, the Israelis insult Vice President Biden by throwing their plans for further settlement expansion right in his face while he is visiting to try to restart the peace process talks.

When the Obama administration rightly complains that this action undermines the possibility of the peace talks, Benjamin Netanyahu pleads innocence, the U.S. Congress then upbraids President Obama for his impudence and showers Netanyahu with professions of support when he visits the United States.

We are the tail -- being wagged by a country that has a blank check from our Congress to pursue its own schemes, regardless of how much harm it causes to the Palestinian people, or how much trouble it causes for us in the Middle East.

Eric A. Gallion

Blasdell

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High taxes, lack of jobs spur many to leave area

As a lifelong Erie County resident, I am often perplexed by the reaction to the Buffalo region when traveling regularly for business. Contrary to what I thought would occur, not one person who has ever been to Buffalo has ever reacted negatively to the region when I tell them where I'm from. I read with pride the reaction of the region's out-of-town guests at the NCAA first-round tournament games in the paper and found it to be very consistent with what I observe while out of town. It occurs to me that our reputation outside the region has very little to do with the weather, the lack of entertainment, restaurants or anything of the like.

I think more likely, it's shaped by the countless expatriates who have left. However, I've never known people to leave the area because they couldn't find a place to eat, a play to see or a game to cheer at. They filter out across the country and tell favorable stories of hard-working families, die-hard devotion to local sports teams, strong diversity and a bustling arts scene. But they choose to leave in spite of all of that. Ask 100 former Buffalo residents why they left and 95 will answer with a variation of the same word: money. They leave because of a nationally leading high tax burden, lack of a high-paying job market and a bleak promise of significant change in the near future.

Sean Wittmann

Orchard Park

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Time for public workers to face reality, share pain

Recently, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, along with several others, proposed a salary freeze for New York teachers as a way of addressing the severe state budget crisis. Predictably, the head of the state teachers union responded by saying that taxes should be raised on the "wealthy" and that "working people" are being punished. I am tired of public employee unions co-opting the term "working people" only for themselves.

I am an Episcopal priest and an attorney and my wife is a retired IT professional. None of our professions has made us wealthy and we are "working people" too. It is disingenuous for public employees to portray themselves as oppressed victims of a punitive state, when they receive compensation and benefits far surpassing most workers in the private sector. The rest of us pay heavy taxes to pay these generous benefits that we cannot even dream about. After years of reckless spending, everybody should now share the pain, especially public workers who have been so richly rewarded.

There is a great disconnect between work in the private sector and work for government. It is time that public employment is shaped by fiscal reality.

The Rev. Allen Farabee

Buffalo

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Abusive priests are criminals, they must be treated as such

A pedophile is a person who strikes hatred into the hearts of citizens. Pedophiles receive jail time, are put on a watch list for the rest of their life and are never allowed to work with children. Yet an Associated Press story in the March 16 News discussed a man who didn't face jail time, and two years later was put into a position to abuse children again, because that man was Reverend H., a priest.

The article, "German pedophile priest is suspended," is one of thousands of articles describing priests being let off easily. The Vatican covered up these crimes, not reporting them to the police, and silencing families. It's disgusting how these priests get only a slap on the wrist and are sent back to children; this will only encourage future abuse. Brendan Smith, an Irish priest, sexually abused dozens of children before he was stopped. He is one of many coverups involving 15,000 children in Ireland. This is absurd, abhorrent and vile. These are not men of God. They are criminals, and they need to be treated as such, or things will only get worse.

Sara Ellen Cutsinger

South Wales

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U.S. needs to negotiate for peace in Afghanistan

The insurgency in Afghanistan just presented its peace plan titled a "National Rescue Agreement" to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Since our U.S. military is leading the fight, the United States should welcome the proposal, and send a high-ranking official, perhaps Vice President Biden, to Afghanistan to review and begin negotiations to move the plan ahead. If the United States is truly wanting peace over there, now is the time to prove it.

J. Sam Miller

East Aurora

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