St. Adalbert will fail under diocesan plan
Does the Diocese of Buffalo have something against St. Adalbert Basilica because we appealed to Rome to keep our doors open? Based on the Vatican's ruling and the diocese's twisted implementation of that ruling, it certainly appears so.
The Vatican ruled that the basilica must remain open and accessible as a place of worship, and that it is up to the Diocese of Buffalo to integrate this ruling into its plans to merge St. Adalbert and St. John Kanty parishes. Rather than embrace the spirit of the ruling and give the merged parish the best chance for success moving forward, Bishop Edward Kmiec has instead ruled the basilica will become an oratory that can be used only for rare special occasions. This will go into effect after the Sept. 18 Mass celebrating the 125th anniversary of our parish.
This is simply setting us up for failure. Without a regular weekend Mass, the merged parish won't have the resources to maintain the building, And, yes, it will be up to the parish to maintain the basilica, not the diocese. So St. Adalbert is to have no regular Mass and no diocesan responsibility, despite Kmiec's recent ruling that St. Casimir parish was to become an oratory as well, but would have a regular Sunday Mass and would be under the direct care of the diocese.
Kmiec and the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo are clearly creating a double standard, and in the process are putting at risk the oldest basilica on the East Coast and the faith communities of both St. Adalbert and St. John Kanty. I cannot imagine the Vatican had any of that in mind when it issued its ruling.
Wine store relocation doesn't merit tax breaks
It is absolutely ludicrous that Premier Liquor, or Prime Wines as it prefers to be called now, which is leaving lowly Kenmore for more fertile fields in affluent Amherst, should receive a half-million dollars in tax breaks thanks to the Amherst Industrial Development Agency. Never mind that the Kenmore patrons, among others, made this liquor store what it is today.
The IDA lauds the fact that new use will be brought to a vacant site in Amherst. Does anyone care what happens to the abandoned Kenmore property?
I applaud Robert Ciesielski, the lone member of the IDA board to vote against this ridiculous tax break, and agree with his statement that "you've got a very good business in Kenmore that's making money, and you're bringing it here." Why would store owner Burt Notarius not approve of this move? It is definitely to his advantage. After all, the name of the game is money, not customer satisfaction. And, in the final analysis, isn't that what it's all about?
America must abandon trickle-down economics
I own two economic textbooks that say trickle-down economics has not worked. It did not work during the '80s (remember "stay the course"?) and early '90s when two presidents quadrupled the national debt, mainly through their tax policies.
Then President Bill Clinton raised the top marginal tax rate by 10 percent while trickle-downers warned of dire consequences. What happened? We added 23 million new jobs, balanced the budget and paid down the national debt.
Then our next president lowered tax rates again, especially for the highest earners. What happened? We had the worst job-creating administration in our history and added $5 trillion to our debt. Now a lot of politicians are saying that tax increases on the rich would be a job killer. Why are they saying this when it is so clearly not true? Few Americans have studied economics, and we are inclined to believe something if it is repeated often enough and if it comes from our own political party.
Alan Greenspan and Robert Reich are two of too few economists to repudiate these false claims. I really wish the public could hear from economists on this issue, rather than just from improperly motivated politicians.
WBFO sale will make public radio stronger
The proposed sale of WBFO-FM 88.7 by the University at Buffalo to local public broadcaster WNED is a smart move. Our flagship NPR station will join forces with Buffalo's two other public radio stations and its public television station, creating new opportunities to serve listeners. A combined operation allows for better alignment of programming, stronger news coverage and more effective use of donor and taxpayer funding.
From its founding by UB students and faculty in 1959, WBFO has earned a national reputation for innovation and leadership. I believe WNED will build on this legacy to make public radio even stronger in the region. I look forward to the next phase of WBFO's evolution.
Chairman, WBFO Community Advisory Board, Buffalo
Tasers are dangerous, even potentially lethal
A July 31 article in The News stated that the Town of Evans will start equipping its police with tasers. The chief of police said, "this is just another non-lethal tool to calm situations down." Non-lethal? That is being misleading or misinformed. Scores of people have died as a result of being "tased." Many of these deaths could have been prevented by using means other than a taser. Non-lethal? No way. They're considered dangerous enough that our state carries the possibility of mere possession of such a weapon by a regular citizen as a criminal offense. These devices are potentially lethal and to state otherwise is wrong.
Drive-through windows are bad for our health
Perhaps we should eliminate drive-through windows. I am not in favor of telling business what to do, but I do like to ponder the greater good. It occurred to me the other day while waiting for coffee at the drive-through that this would probably cut way back on fuel consumption, considering how many vehicles idle daily on a national scale in these lines.
I also began to consider the law of unintended consequences, and it would seem to me that we could kill a couple birds with one stone. For example, it may cut back on childhood obesity, which could save in the long run on health care costs, because it is far more healthy to have turkey breast sandwiches and fruit slices than fried this or that. There might also be an increase in revenue for local markets as people plan ahead. The only downside I can see is that we lose a convenience in a society addicted to the next most-convenient thing. It would also mean a loss of business for these national chains, but do we really need a fast-food restaurant on every corner?
Michael P. Connelly Jr.