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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Gestapo-like tactics are unwarranted for arrests

Several recent arrests in our area have me and many people I know concerned about the overwhelming assets used, in one case incorrectly, while apprehending suspects.

Some weeks ago, Dr. Pravin Mehta was apprehended at his office, accused of basically being one of the largest prescription pain medication pimps in the region. While his arrest certainly seems justified, did the feds have to incorporate multiple agencies, dozens of officers, automatic weapons and the like? Couple that with the almost immediate arrival of the media and this made for quite a circus event. Did someone confuse the doctor with the Unabomber? John Dillinger perhaps?

Breaking down doors with battering rams and a dozen agents to execute a child pornography warrant, even if valid, seems to be way over the top. I remember that Altemio Sanchez, one of the most heinous and violent deviants ever to exist in this area, was arrested by simply conducting a felony traffic stop. I'm sure that a lowly child pornographer can be apprehended in a similar way, providing of course the authorities have the right man. Adding automatic weapons to the fray only escalates the perception of Gestapo-like tactics from the very people we depend on to keep our neighborhoods safe from these predators.

I support law enforcement and the very good job it does, day in and day out. However, I do believe that given our country's $15 trillion deficit, the proper use of precious resources via the proper responses to threats would end up serving the public more appropriately, instead of providing for a cheap prop on the 6 o'clock news. I wonder what type of apology would be issued if the businessman in question had made a wrong move or, God forbid, had something in his hand. Things tend to get out of hand quickly when the adrenaline is pumping.

Sal Macaluso

Orchard Park

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White jury is capable of offering fair verdict

I just read the comment from Anthony L. Pendergrass, who says he is "absolutely appalled that in 2011, in the City of Buffalo, that a young black man is facing a white jury." I am also appalled that a supposedly educated lawyer in our community can't believe that a white jury is capable of rendering a fair and impartial verdict based on the evidence.

John A. Riford

Cheektowaga

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We ought to explore new stadium for Bills

The recent News article regarding the leasing agreement between Erie County, Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Bills and New York State raised many questions among stakeholders in this vital economic partnership. However, the possibility of building a new stadium was not discussed. As improbable as that might sound, many taxpayers believe the time has come to build something new, and for more than just football. Renovations to older stadiums cost large amounts of money and the idea of a new stadium either downtown or along the waterfront is far more appealing for the economic development and revitalization of our region then ever before.

Now that talks are on their way regarding leasing the old stadium for the next 10 years, wouldn't this be the perfect occasion to introduce and even debate the idea of something new among all interested parties? We as a community need to examine the long-term implications of having an NFL franchise in our area and the communal opportunity of keeping the Bills viable in Buffalo for the next generation.

Imagine a smaller, more modern stadium that complements downtown; with plenty of room for parking, employment opportunities and better access to Canadian cities. Such a building can also be utilized for concerts, car shows, rodeos, etc., which ultimately bring revenue to Buffalo. The move would encourage new business ventures, such as restaurants, hotels and public transportation.

A new Bills owner would be hesitant, to say the least, to move a profitable franchise with a new stadium, an excited fan base and a history of success to another untested market. Buffalo's political leaders need to discuss these basic ideas before the team is eventually sold and another great institution, business and tradition is outsourced away.

Sean Kelley

Youngstown

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Pushing high-speed rail is an expensive mistake

Ignoring the public's lack of interest in passenger trains, the Obama administration is intent on having taxpayers pony up hundreds of billions of dollars for our own version of "high speed" rail. There will be problems.

By any measure, the existing freight railway system in the United States is the best in the world. Among other improvements, deregulation of the industry some 30 years ago allowed the nearly bankrupt companies the freedom to charge market rates, resulting in lower prices and skyrocketing productivity.

Almost all of the proposed inter-city high speed rail service would be run on existing, although upgraded, freight rail tracks. Combining slow freight with fast passenger trains will be complicated, not least by the fact that freight trains do not maintain a strict timetable, but must change their schedules to meet customer demand. Why would we even consider intentionally sabotaging our excellent freight rail system for passenger trains that very few people seem to want? One needn't be a free-market libertarian to know that this is going to be a foolish and expensive mistake.

John Swanson

East Amherst

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Gravestones should be properly tended

I take care of three family plots in different parts of Mount Calvary Cemetery. If you have a flat stone to mark your grave and no one to take care of your place, you just might disappear into the ground. I have seen many, many markers go underground. I stopped and counted one day until I reached 200. I've contacted the office and the women in there tell me it's up to the family. But what happens when there is no family left? They claim it's too expensive to lift every stone, so they just go under the grass. Why do we spend the money to be buried in a cemetery? Can anyone help me to help the ones that are disappearing?

Mary Fial

Cheektowaga

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Private sector workers deserve a tax break, too

The Civil Service Employees Association retirees get a huge tax break by not paying any New York State income tax on their pensions. It is the appropriate time to give the private sector a tax break. The wealthy went to college, made sacrifices and worked hard in order to achieve their goals. Now it is time to swing the pendulum the other way by giving the private sector some perks and giving the wealthy a tax break.

James M. Boguslawski

Hamburg

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