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Everybody's Column

Young kids should not? have to walk to school

Frankly, I'm flabbergasted and shocked to learn that in Cheektowaga-Sloan, a proposition to eliminate busing less than a half-mile for elementary students, and less than a mile for grades 8 to 12, was passed by voters. Why, you ask? To save $14,000 on a multimillion-dollar budget. That must equate to saving a few pennies on school taxes, if that.

I'm sure the rationale for this senseless proposition was, "You have to start somewhere to cut school spending." What is next? Eliminate snow removal, lawn maintenance, cleaning of buildings, school lunches, school nurses, building repairs and so on. At least all of those cuts will save taxpayers a few dollars on their taxes. But making children ages 6 to 12 walk a half-mile to school in all kinds of weather is criminal. Surely there must be a state law that mandates putting children in dangerous situations is illegal.

Will all sidewalks be plowed in the winter so kids can walk safely to school? If not, will the police enforce the clearing of snow from homeowners' properties and issue summonses for those who don't comply? Wouldn't it be ironic if someone who voted "yes" for this proposition and saved pennies was fined $50 or more if his sidewalks weren't cleared? I'd call that poetic justice.

I hope all parents thus affected will demand a revote on the defeated general budget and on this ridiculous busing proposition. Since a taxpayer was able to garner enough signatures on this issue to force the district to put it on the ballot, surely a parent could also gather enough signatures to have it on the ballot again on a revote.

Philip Fanone

West Seneca


Releasing too many details? about case taints jury pool

Is it getting more difficult to get a fair jury trial in a high-profile case? I recently watched a TV presentation of some very convincing evidence that George Zimmerman's story regarding his encounter with Trayvon Martin is true. Renowned defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz said on camera that, regardless of whether Zimmerman could have avoided the encounter by staying in his car, he still has a solid self-defense case because of clear evidence, recently made public, that he was being beaten. Can 12 people be found in Florida who have not been influenced by such pretrial reporting? If so, what might be the intelligence level of such people, who pay no attention to the news? Do we really want a jury of non-engaged and potentially ignorant people? Most importantly, why are such details, whether they appear to support or incriminate the defendant, released to the public before a case goes to trial? Their pretrial release seems to weaken the reason for a trial and ultimately to pollute the cause of justice.

Kevin H. Siepel



Local rowing groups ?need to clean up act

I read The News article about the graffiti problem in Buffalo with interest, hoping that the City of Buffalo was planning to take action with waterfront graffiti that is perhaps overlooked because of the tradition it represents.

Graffiti on the retaining walls of the Niagara section of the Thruway along the Black Rock Canal immediately assaults the eyes of everyone visiting Broderick Park or taking a walk or jog on the Bird Island Pier. This graffiti is in the form of huge banners painted on the cement and displays the names of winning rowing teams and, in some cases, the names of the team members.

I hope that the second "graffiti-busting" team will begin to address this decades-long practice with local rowing organizations and impress upon them that this tradition is no different than any other form of vandalism in the city and they should expect the same consequences when the teams they host deface our waterfront. It's great to see more people taking advantage of the recreational opportunities our waterfront is finally able to provide, but the local rowing organizations should seek an alternative for the winners of their competitions to express their team pride.

William E. Kae



Most students, faculty ?oppose moving ECC North

As a full-time student at Erie Community College North Campus, I read the article on Joel Giambra's push to consolidate the ECC campuses with great interest. I am struck by the fact that not one benefit to the student population was addressed. Aren't we important? I have yet to find any student, faculty member or support staff member who endorses this plan. This article supports the feelings of most: that this is purely a political action, being forced on the students, faculty and staff of ECC, as well as the taxpayers. The idea that moving the campuses into the city will help retail business and reverse migration is ludicrous. Not one valid study was presented to support this fantasy.

I noticed also that not one mention of the cost for this move was given. Frankly, if the county can only afford to maintain the ECC North Campus in a "tattered" condition, how can the county afford to relocate it?

If Giambra would like to leave a lasting legacy, perhaps he could work to fix the broken school system in Buffalo. That will do more to revitalize the city and stop the migration than spending millions to relocate ECC.

Kate Fanning



Schumer should focus? on serious problems

Regarding the front-page article expressing Sen. Charles Schumer's disdain for Eduardo Saverin's Facebook stock, may I suggest that he worry less about the ants and tackle some of the elephants that are trampling us to death.
Saverin may or may not be trying to avoid millions in taxes, but it is a fact that our government, through leaders like Schumer, waste millions every day because they don't solve the problems we hired them to solve.

John Lincoln

East Aurora


Ads attacking Hochul ?mislead the public

Just when you thought your TV viewing experience couldn't be assaulted by a more obnoxious interruption than a car salesman, along come the Kathy Hochul attack ads. They're like fingernails on a chalkboard.

My favorite part is when they ask if Hochul knows something we don't about "Obamacare." Clearly she does. She knows (as do all of us who have taken the time to really understand health care) that the Chamber of Commerce has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to distort "Obamacare" to protect a few larger members who do not want to have to pay to ensure that people have high-quality healthcare. In doing so, it is floating the misleading idea that "11 million people will lose their employer-based health care coverage" under the law, and cherry-picking a figure in a new Congressional Budget Office spending estimate.

When something is repeated over and over, it often takes on the perception of being true. There is certainly room for debate about an issue as important as the future of our health care options, but the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should be ashamed of itself for its underhanded deception.

Francis J. Grates