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Everybody's Column

Time to stop harassing ?migrant farm workers

We love living in Western New York, where local fresh produce is abundant and readily available in our farmers' markets and grocery stores. Recently we met some hard-working migrants who pick and pack these fruits and vegetables. It is because they pick in the sleet, rain and frost that we eat nutritious foods. Imagine what life would be like if we no longer had people willing to labor in this way. There would be produce rotting on the vines, on trees and on the ground and the cost to the consumer would be devastating.

We recently traveled with 100 other concerned citizens to Albany to meet with Sens. Mark Grisanti and Tim Kennedy to urge them to vote for Senate Bill 1862, which would give farm workers the right to fair wages and bargaining rights.

We listened to the workers' stories of harassment. We wonder why Homeland Security is spending so much time and effort seeking out these hard workers. Shouldn't it be spending more time looking for terrorists? These people have immigrated to our land to find work and support their families, much as our ancestors have done. Many of them have been working the same farms for a decade or more. They work in fear every day that they will be arrested. When incarcerated, these people are not told why they are in jail. Many are not given phone calls in a timely period, many are not read their Miranda rights. These workers contribute to Social Security, Workers' Compensation, state taxes and federal taxes.

We all desire safe borders, but this has gone too far. It is time to put a stop to this bullying and harassment within our borders.

Wayne and Peg Alt

Western New York Peace Center

Rural and Migrant Ministry


Money speaks loudly ?in justice system

While everyone claims that our criminal justice system is the best in the world, it leaves a lot to be desired. Money talks, and very loudly, in this system. Two recent cases involving drinking, driving and death are excellent examples.

The 24-year-old from Lancaster with modest means and a conscience stepped up to the plate and pleaded guilty. He appears to be truly remorseful and will likely spend a number of years in prison. Meanwhile, a doctor with influential friends and unlimited resources, whose only concern seemed to be himself, will walk free. Justice for all does not come cheap.

Norman H. Niedzielski

West Seneca


Criticism of verdict ?is unfair to jurors

As a former prosecutor with the Erie County District Attorney's Office, I am disappointed at the opinions of "shock" or
"astonishment" expressed by other former prosecutors in regard to the jury verdict. This has served to add to the frenzy led by certain "talk" radio hosts and inflame the general public's opinion that the jury was incompetent. This frenzy has apparently pushed certain unhinged individuals to communicate violent threats to Dr. James Corasanti and his defense counsel.

None of these "talking heads" attended any appreciable portion of the trial, yet they feel qualified to publicly call the verdict into question. This is an insult to the 12 brave citizens who heard all of the evidence and put their lives on hold for weeks to serve our community.

As a prosecutor under Kevin Dillon and Frank Clark, my co-workers and I were specifically instructed to tell the press, or anyone, that we respected the jury's decision if a case resulted in a not guilty verdict. James Bargnesi is the only current or former prosecutor I have heard deliver that simple and classy message.

It is clear that the jurors all took their duty seriously and followed the law provided by Judge Sheila DiTullio.

Denis J. Bastible

East Amherst


Guests have no clue? what black tie means

OK, help me out here. As I was reading The News on June 9, I came upon the picture page and the photo of the "gala at the zoo." To my astonishment, it stated that it was a black-tie affair. Really? I know things have gotten casual, but black tie, to my knowledge, still means black tie.

Looking at the picture, you can't miss the gentleman in the foreground wearing a black tie, jacket, vest and pink pants! I also saw someone in a Hawaiian shirt, and our former county executive wearing casual pants with an open-collared shirt talking to a gentlemen in a summer suit.

Some of the women actually look like they know what black tie means. But I did spot a lady with a canvas bag slung over her shoulder and wearing slacks and a top.

Boy, am I glad that Miss Manners didn't see this picture. It makes Buffalo look like we haven't a clue. We have dumbed down in so many areas in our lives. Can't we leave black-tie affairs what they were meant to be, please?

Lucille Wozniak

West Seneca


Vendetta against unions ?will backfire in long run

The recent Wisconsin recall election and victory for Gov. Scott Walker is an example of political shortsightedness and economic illiteracy. Case studies from Labor Economics suggest the long-run effect of the recall vote will cost Wisconsin taxpayers more out of their pockets. First, there will be a decline in public worker morale, accompanied by a decrease in labor productivity. The cost of doing government business and completing projects will increase as productivity declines. Second, the supply of potential public employees in the labor market will decrease as job seekers will look elsewhere for more gainful employment. This decline in supply will force Wisconsin's government to increase wage-benefit packages to attract qualified employees. The vendetta by Walker and his right-wing cohorts to attack public unions and collective bargaining will backfire over time.

We in New York are fortunate that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was able to rein in spending by including all stakeholders in the budget dialogue. It will produce long-term fiscal stability. New York should be the role model for fiscal responsibility for the rest of the nation and definitely not Wisconsin.

John Huttenlocker

North Tonawanda


Outrageous behavior? is becoming the norm

On June 10, I was pumping gas in Amherst. I was wearing my sunglasses and facing the store. Out of the door walked two women about age 30 who were noticeably overweight. They accused me of staring at them. I did see them, however, I was pumping my gas, not staring at them. Next thing I knew, something hit me in the face. It was a hard yellow ball. I didn't know what hit me. They drove off, flipping me the bird and yelling out the window "ha, ha, Superball."

We are living in a society of barbarians on the road (road rage), in the neighborhoods (shootings), with workplace bullies, drunken drivers who don't own up to their offenses and get away with it, thanks to the defense lawyers, and now this type of behavior.

Rose Mary Grancharoff Girone