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Everybody's Column

IDA boards do not represent the people

The qualification of state statutes to be constitutional is described in a May 4 News article, "acts of the Legislature are entitled to a strong presumption of constitutionality." This is based on what? Are legislators constitutional scholars? Is each proposed statute examined through the legislative process as to constitutionality? Not likely.

Then go to the editorial in the same issue regarding industrial development agencies. Here we find prime examples of questionable propriety. Each such agency, originated by state statute, fails constitutional conformity as non-representative taxing authorities.

Somehow we continue to forget this nation exists as a republic. The most operative relative provision appears in Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution: "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." The logic being that representatives are directly voted in place by the people.

Matters of taxation and representation were priority issues in the founding of this nation. IDA board members are politically appointed and have no relationship to any vote of citizens. This arrangement has no legitimacy if we are to be a government of, "We the people."

Donald G. Hobel

North Tonawanda


Republicans can favor the Affordable Care Act

Larry Zielinski's April 29 Viewpoints article comes from an honest and respected former CEO in health care.

It is surprising and encouraging to hear a Republican supporting President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Zielinski pragmatically cites the individual mandate, accountable care organizations, electronic records, health information and insurance exchanges for individuals as necessary to reform our broken health care system.

I certainly hope there are other open-minded Republicans who do not automatically dismiss and malign the Affordable Care Act because it was signed into law by a Democratic president.

We should all be concerned about the common good. As Zielinski says, "We should build on the law's strengths and continue to improve on its weaknesses." Indeed, going backward is not a viable option. The Affordable Care Act is the best anyone has come up with so far.

Catherine Hoerbelt, R.N.



Don't condemn Corasanti before legal system can work

Before the trial of Dr. James Corasanti began, a hailstorm of opinion worked overtime to condemn him.

The law says we are innocent until proven guilty, with competent evidence in a court of law that should not be swayed by good or bad publicity. Outrage for the tragedy of the victim should not short-circuit this hallmark of our legal system.

Right from the start, this man was publicly pilloried for "not cooperating" with the police. But we later found he soon met with the police, unlike a defendant in another case who hid for more than a week fixing his damaged car.

If Corasanti had shown obvious signs of inebriation the moment he met the police at the gas station, he would have been charged with driving while intoxicated on the spot, but he was not.

Because we grieve for the victims, it is no less grievous to condemn someone wrongly. It has taken way too long for the doctor's side of the story to come out.

A rash of similar accidents has occurred, but because this one involved a human being who was successful at what he did, it has now morphed into class warfare. We happen to be one of the families that owe this doctor the life of a loved one, not once but twice in a very serious medical condition. He is truly one of the best.

No matter what angle one views this tragedy from, it is heartbreaking. But the equally savage conduct displayed so far by so many is disgraceful and shameful beyond words.

Just because we are all overwhelmed with grief for the victim cannot give way to conviction by public sentiment.

Stasia Zoladz Vogel

Former prosecutor, Town of Evans


High student loan debt should be the top issue

The presidential election cannons are loaded and the first shots fired. The battlefield, education. The fodder, our children. As candidates dance around the question of student loan debt, the real issue of skyrocketing higher education costs is ignored.

The once revered degree has become an invoice supporting outrageous salaries, unsustainable benefits and retirement packages and an endless list of fees and surcharges. Never has an institution so entrusted with the success of a future generation been so irresponsible as to set it up for failure.

Optimism for that future has been replaced by dread as college graduates face seemingly insurmountable, financial liabilities. At more than $900 billion, student debt has now surpassed credit card debt in the United States. The chances for a full and sustainable economic recovery are a pipe dream as this generation is ill-equipped to get married, start a family, make major purchases, qualify for a mortgage or even move from their parents' home.

Let's hope the smoke clears on the front line so we can take aim at the actual enemies plaguing our most valuableasset.

Bob Pfeiffer



Iranian policy deserves a thorough examination

Now that support for an attack on a third Muslim nation in a little more than a decade is again being voiced, some historically informed reflection on the consequences of such action may not be amiss.

First, the targeted state also has a military option. In the fall of 1941, Japanese leaders believed that the United States, "like a dragon cunningly asleep," would, with its ever-extending oil embargo, destroy Japan's ability to function. Their riposte was the attack on Pearl Harbor, inaugurating a full-scale engagement with the United States. Iran can do a good deal of damage in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.

Secondly, anything less, or even as much, as the "large-scale bombing campaign" complacently envisaged by Greg Slabodkin's April 19 Another Voice column can hardly ensure the permanent elimination of Iran's as yet-nonexistent military nuclear capability. The air wars against Nazi Germany and North Vietnam both proved disappointing. And a failed attack would surely provoke what is most feared.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threat of a unilateral Israeli attack has already succeeded in limiting President Obama's freedom of action, in all likelihood the major goal. As for his vociferous supporters in this country, they should be careful what they wish for. The rest of us can only trust that our leaders have thought through the implementations and implications of their Iranian policy.

Paul Guinn

East Aurora