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Everybody's Column

WBFO program director has done an excellent job

Jeff Simon is entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts. Of course when Simon does his research relying on Facebook friends, as he wrote on Aug. 3, it is no wonder that his journalistic efforts suffer.

First, WBFO was never a full-time jazz radio station. Second, shame on Simon for condemning long-time program director David Benders. Simon wrote, "few arts or media executives in this city's last 40 years have done the city more harm than Benders." Really? Because WBFO only plays 40 hours of Simon's jazz per week? It is perfectly acceptable for Simon to wish for more jazz that he so loves, but it is impossible for WBFO to play 80 hours per week of everyone's favorite music and there is no reason for WBFO to cater just to one newspaper critic's wants. WBFO used to program folk music, bluegrass, world music, and classical music -- perhaps someone else's favorite. What do News music critics Mary Kunz Goldman and Jeff Miers want to hear? WBFO used to play their favorite music, too. Sorry, can't satisfy everyone.

The community deserves more from The News than Simon's diatribe against Benders using research gathered from Facebook friends and the July 28 News article that took two reporters to write a story based largely on a press release. Where are the questions to people who may have an opinion about the sale of WBFO other than University at Buffalo and WNED administrators? Maybe there are opinions other than those of Simon's Facebook friends and the press releases by WBFO and WNED.

Daniel Sack



Anderson could name a better replacement

With a population of more than 100,000 people in Amherst, one would think that Amherst Council Member Richard "Jay" Anderson would recommend someone to replace himself while he is serving in the Persian Gulf who does not have as sordid a past as his father, Richard Anderson.

I applaud the senior Anderson for not having "anything to drink in 13 years." That doesn't qualify him as the best replacement for his son on the Amherst Town Board. I am certain that there are a great many Amherst residents who would appreciate being considered as Jay's replacement who have never had a drinking issue and have never improperly solicited an employee for a political contribution.

Just because the junior Anderson apparently has the right to appoint his father doesn't make it the right appointment. I hope Jay will reconsider and make the appointment of his replacement less of a family affair.

Joel H. Weiss

East Amherst


Don't punish victims in pursuit of justice

I am writing in regard to the Aug. 2 Another Voice, "Antiquated legal system is a drag on state's economy," by Thomas M. Stebbins. All New Yorkers want to see Gov. Andrew Cuomo take measures to stimulate the New York economy and create much-needed jobs, but eliminating workplace protections and punishing the victims of negligence and their families is not the way to do it.

Stebbins wants us to believe that limiting victims' rights to access our civil justice system would benefit the people of New York. But eliminating vital protections for workers and consumers only helps big business -- and hurts average New Yorkers.

The notion that these measures advance economic development is a common myth. The truth is that these proposals merely shift costs from hugely profitable corporations to regular taxpayers, leaving New Yorkers to pick up the tab for injuries.

Just as eliminating workplace protections won't make New York more attractive to business, depriving patients of their right to the compensation they deserve won't curb health care costs. Rather, it has been well-documented that increasing patient safety and quality of care is not only safer for New Yorkers, but also a much more effective way to reduce costs, without punishing victims.

Preventable injuries cost all New Yorkers. Protecting workers and consumers makes New York a stronger state. To continue to grow New York's economy, we need to focus on creating good jobs and strong communities, not limiting victims' access to justice.

Leslie Kelmachter

President, New York State

Trial Lawyers Association


Library looks lovely both inside and out

The story of the resurrection of the Lafayette Hotel is what took me downtown, but what took my breath away was across Clinton Street at the library. There is a magnificent garden on the portico. It might be the only beautiful botanical space in all of downtown. Whoever is responsible for it ought to become the city's or Buffalo Place's gardener. Kudos to the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library for making the entry to its building as pleasant as the library's new interior.

William F. Rogers



Volunteers are the heart of Red Cross chapters

As a past chairman of the Niagara Falls Chapter of the American Red Cross (2002-2003) and one of the principle negotiators of the consolidation process that formed the Niagara County Chapter in 2008, I feel it is important to mention a few points not reported in previous articles concerning the most recent mergers.

The local chapters flourished for close to a century before these successive mergers. The rich tradition of the Niagara Falls and Lockport chapters was very strong and extremely well supported. The many volunteers need to be mentioned publicly. Many have given of their time for 30, 40 or 50 years. There is no better feeling than helping your fellow citizen with basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter after an unfortunate event. Wonderful local leaders gave of their time by serving on committees and their chapter's board of directors. Concurrently, the generous financial donations from the respective communities made it all possible.

The consolidation process is understandable, and sometimes inevitable, in this day and age in the for-profit as well as the not-for-profit worlds. The National Red Cross, which has had its own set of problems in the recent past, obviously feels larger chapters can be much more cost effective. Yet it is incredibly important not to forget the local volunteers and donors because they are the strength of the organization. They are the ones who feel proud to give willingly of their time.

Service delivery to people in their time of need is of paramount importance and the reason the Red Cross is such a critical entity to our community. But we must never forget the contributions of our local volunteers and leaders and what they do for this great organization. I urge the new regional Chapter of the American Red Cross and the board of directors to remember this during future deliberations.

Brendan P. Dowd, D.D.S.


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