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Manna praised Anderson for serving his country

Let me first start off by saying I am not related to Mark Manna and wouldn't know him if he walked by me on the street. Being a resident of Amherst, I do know he is a council member, and he seems to be doing a good job. He is questioning the use of a town law. His interest in this doesn't seem to be rooted in "political posturing," as suggested by Julia Anderson in her recent letter to editor, but rather common sense. The law was never intended to be twisted to suit one's own desires, and Manna is right to question how this law is carried out.

It seems to me that Mrs. Anderson is the one doing the attacking, not Manna. Manna praised Jay Anderson for defending his country. As for "political posturing," he appointed his dad, "an experienced, elected official" who was arrested twice for driving while ability impaired and fired from his job in 2001 for soliciting political funds. "Most residents" I talked with said a resounding "no thanks" to that choice! Mrs. Anderson and I are obviously talking to different residents. She certainly has a right to speak for herself and her family, but please don't speak for me and others, as many of us don't feel as she does.

I've seen no evidence where Manna is "attacking a soldier who is serving his country." This whole thing is not about whether her son is leaving to defend our country, but what's happening after he leaves. Good luck and God bless Jay on his duty. And thanks to Manna for his concern and effort when it comes to the Town of Amherst. Many of us do appreciate it.

James J. Kalinowski



Richardson Complex should not be priority

I just saw on the news that New York State is funding a project to renovate the H.H. Richardson Complex at a cost of $100 million. Is this the most important thing to be spending our money on when people are being laid off and cuts are being made because of the lack of money available in New York State?

Teachers are being laid off, college tuition is being raised, food banks are begging for donations and roads are in such disarray I feel like my auto will not last too long going through these obstacle courses. And New York State is going to fund a $100 million project to renovate a historic building? Don't you think that should be put on hold at this time?

Daniel A. Caputa



Small non-profit groups are struggling to survive

Recently, WNY Ford Dealers awarded keys to a new vehicle to three "non-profit" organizations. Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Erie County, Boys & Girls Club of Eden and Alcohol & Drug Dependency Services were the lucky recipients. Scott Bieler, chairman of the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee, said they were chosen because they were "financially sound but don't have the money to buy vehicles on their own."

They don't have money? The tax returns of these "non-profit" organizations show combined paid salaries and benefits of $7,770,193. Alcohol & Dependency Services receives $3.4 million from Medicaid, the Boys & Girls Club of Eden receives $107,218 in government grants and Big Brothers/Big Sisters receives $550,284 in government grants. Our tax dollars help fund these organizations, yet Ford chose to generously donate vehicles to these organizations.

I am involved with a non-profit group and was one of 80 applicants for the Ford Friendship Express Program. We prepared and submitted our application and extensive supporting documentation, and shortly thereafter received a denial letter. Our truly non-profit group pays $0 in salaries, no benefits, no perks. Unlike many organizations, we cannot afford to employ professional grant writers to apply for taxpayer-dollar funding. Unlike these three groups, we do not receive one penny from the government.

Solely through the dedicated work of our all-volunteer group, our fundraising events and donations, will we continue our efforts to provide shelter and veterinary care to countless dogs who have been abandoned, abused and neglected, and work toward alleviating their suffering caused by cruelty, neglect and ignorance. However, we'll do so with the brand new vehicle we just purchased -- a Chevy.

Shelly Gordon


ABC Basset Hound Rescue



Rumore should forego cosmetic surgery rider

As a parent of a very talented and dedicated young teacher who happens to be one of the 104 who received a "pink slip" from the Buffalo School District in early August, I strongly urge Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore to let go of the cosmetic surgery rider in the BTF health plan.

Does he really think that many teachers are maimed by student attacks in one school year that would require or justify this type of superfluous coverage? There are very few folks who have such extraneous health coverage. Rumore is putting 104 teachers' careers at stake by fighting for this rider.

He is being asked to forego this rider for one year, then renegotiate it next year. Where's the harm in that? When he renegotiates, he should specifically negotiate so that abuses cannot be made to the coverage (i.e., an investigation by a panel that includes both BTF reps and medical industry reps must show that the cosmetic surgery is required as a direct result of a student attack or a specific injury incurred while on the job teaching).

The U.S. economy is very bad, and putting teachers out of work at this time should be Rumore's main concern, as well as the disservice this does to the students, although I dare to say the BTF's past record has less to do with that than what I will call "adult employment issues." Furthermore, like it or not, there is a changing tide in America with respect to unions, and he would be well-advised to adapt to the times in which we live.

If he really is an advocate for the teachers of the Buffalo School District, I urge him to compromise by giving up the cosmetic surgery health care rider and do the right thing for the teachers. Keep them employed doing what they do best!

Sheila Bunda



Last thing U.S. needs is Texas governor at helm

Molly Ivins, the deceased, syndicated columnist, bless her, had Texas politics down pat. She wrote several columns concerning the never-ending workload that burdens the governor of Texas. It is so stressful a position, according to Ivins, that several predecessors of George W. Bush chose to manage the governorship from their ranch, rather than from the office in the capital at Austin. Once again we have a Bush-like character springing to the forefront of the would-be Republican nominees. God help us all.

George D. Poe


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