School Board should dismiss Williams now

The News editorial regarding the crisis in the Buffalo Public Schools is a condition that the Board of Education should have addressed months ago. How many more things have to go wrong before the board realizes that this superintendent is not the man to lead the schools through these trying times? If James Williams couldn't make it in Dayton, Ohio, what made the selection committee think he could make it in Buffalo?

Just the things he has done wrong, or failed to do, should be grounds for firing him -- without buying out his contract with hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars. Let's stop rewarding incompetence. It is hard for me to comprehend why Board Member Christopher L. Jacobs did not make such a motion the night Williams lit into him with unjustified venom.

While the editorial saliently pointed out many of Williams' shortfalls, it failed to offer much substance in how to try to solve the problem -- a Herculean task. The suggestion of Regent Robert M. Bennett to retain the services of Superintendent Erie 1 BOCES, Donald A. Ogilvie, a proven administrator, is an excellent one. I would like to add another suggestion: the appointment of an advisory board. I found such a board invaluable during my years as vice president of the City Campus of Erie Community College.

There are a number of former board members, administrators and professors from the schools of education at the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College who might agree to serve on such a board.

Shortly after Williams took office, I stopped in his office to congratulate him. I suggested that because he was new in town and needed time "to learn the territory," he might want to avail himself of people such as these. His brusque reply was that he did not need anyone to teach him how to run a school district. Time has sadly proven otherwise.

Oscar Smukler



Williams' performance is far from satisfactory

I'm trying to make sense of something that is beyond sensible. James Williams was on television the other evening and stated he was given a vote of satisfactory performance by his peers and that he was comfortable with a three out of five rating. I hate to tell Williams, but that three out of five rating brings him in at a whopping 60 percent. I know his parents would not have been proud of him if he had brought home a report card with an overall failing grade.

So enlighten everyone in Buffalo, Mr. Williams. Why are you comfortable with performance at substandard failing levels? What more can you do for the Buffalo School District in the next year or so that you will be superintendent? How about study real hard so maybe before you retire, you might even make honor roll.

Jim Lion Jr.



Obama's proposals make perfect sense

In two speeches in May, President Obama has set forth a positive and thoughtful outline to encourage negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians for a long-overdue peace settlement. It is surprising that more than 20 years after Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin sealed a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, peace between Israel and the PalestinianAuthority is still so elusive, in part because of missteps by both sides.

A May 29 News editorial says Israel's 1967 borders are indefensible, but Israel proper is more than three times the size of the Palestinian territories. Israel's long-term security will be assured more by peaceful relations with its neighbors than reliance on a relationship with a distant power such as the United States.

International law calls for a victorious state to give residents of annexed territories the rights enjoyed by other citizens, which Israel has failed to do.

The editorial is a recipe for years of continued stagnation and combative squabbling. It reads like a list of talking points from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, whose influence was reflected in the "enthusiastic reception" Israel's hard-line prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, received recently in Congress.

The United Nations didn't establish the state of Israel, the people of Israel established the state. The United Nations called for partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The editorial summoned up several hoary cliches to devalue America's relations with the Arab world.

Obama is doing a service to our country and world peace by his recent proposals. Many Israelis, I feel, believe that fairness as well as Israel's long-term interests indicate that their Palestinian neighbors deserve statehood rather than continued subjugation as a conquered people.

Paul Carroll



Hamas never recognized Israel's right to exist

Norm Tederous' June 6 Another Voice erroneously asserted certain "facts" that were incorrect. Specifically, the PLO and Hamas have never recognized Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and there are no 1967 "borders" -- these were instead armistice lines left over from the Arab aggression of 1948-49. Israel has in fact recognized and advocated, some would say self-destructively, for the existence of a Palestinian state.

Anwar Sadat could not have offered recognition of Israel prior to 1973 because up until the October 1973 war, Sadat adhered to the three "no" policy articulated by the Arab states shortly after the 1967 war: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel. In fact, Israel sought negotiations between 1967 and 1973, offering to return all territories for peace, and was refused.

The war of 1956 was a defensive war by Israel in response to years of attacks by terrorist fedayeen from Egypt. The war of 1967 was a defensive war by Israel in response to Egypt's closure to Israeli ships of the Straits of Tiran, an internationally recognized casus belli. Israel's war in Lebanon in 1982 came after years of terrorist attacks launched from that state, and in 2006 after a cross-border attack by Hezbollah abetted by the Lebanese Army. Israel's action in Gaza in 2008-09 was defensive after 7,000 rockets were fired into Israel by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

Israel bombed an illegal nuclear reactor in Syria, supplied by North Korea, devoted to weapons production. The Israeli bombing of Iraq took out Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor, for which Tederous should be grateful if he values the lives of American troops. Israel bombed Tunisia after it sheltered, aided and abetted PLO terrorists in 1988. Israel bombed Jordan after Jordan launched an attack on West Jerusalem in 1967. Mischaracterizing anti-Israel propaganda as facts does nothing to promote peace.

Daniel Trigoboff



Parade aims to honor sacrifices of veterans

This letter is in response to the resident who asked that politics be kept out of the West Seneca Memorial Day Parade. The parade is sponsored and organized by the West Seneca Veterans Committee to honor those veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our great nation. We invite our elected leaders to join with veterans to honor our nation's war dead, but we make it clear that no politicking is allowed while marching.

Two calls were received from County Executive Chris Collins' office asking if he could participate in the parade. Collins was welcome to join with us, but in both calls it was made clear that the passing out of political literature by the marchers was not allowed. Memorial Day is a time of solemn reflection on faith, family, duty, commitment, heroism and honor. Collins did not march in the parade; he instead chose to pass out political literature on a day when America mourns its dead. The Veterans Committee had no control on what took place on the sidewalks along the parade route.

One of our state representatives had requested to say a few words at the ceremony following the parade and he was denied. The West Seneca Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony is organized by veterans to honor the memory and the sacrifice of those veterans who can no longer speak for themselves. This is how it should be.

James E. Manley

West Seneca Veterans Committee

West Seneca


Criticism of Collins was unwarranted

This letter is in response to the criticism of Chris Collins and his attire at the Memorial Day Parade. As an Army veteran of three tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I could not care less if Collins wore a clown suit to the parade. He is setting up an environment that the writer's father, God bless him and his service, was a benefactor of after World War II -- gainful employment and responsible government.

As far as I am concerned, Collins is doing the most patriotic and best thing for our country -- enabling people to find a job and being responsible with our tax dollars. I was fortunate enough to leave the Army and come back to Buffalo and work, but there are not enough stories like mine. Collins' previous success as a business owner and balancing a budget in the third poorest city in America during the worst recession since 1929 make him a leader. That is the type of leadership that would make me follow him into a foxhole. Clown suit or not.

Bryan R. Mackey

Capt. U.S. Army, Retired, 10th

Special Forces Group, Airborne

Clarence Center


Energy companies fail to give us whole truth

Page three of Chesapeake Energy's 2011 website states, "Based on reviews of state oil and gas agencies, there has not been a documented case of drinking water aquifer contamination related to the fracking of a deep shale natural gas or oil well." Another website states hydraulic fracking "has been used since the 1940s in more than 1 million wells without a proven case of fresh water contamination in the United States."

Thankfully, Larry Beahan and Josh Fox, the banjo player-slash-theater director of the award-winning documentary "Gasland," bring an essential element to the fracking issues proposed by geologists-slash-engineers-slash masters-of-environmental science. That missing element is truth.

The June 5 Viewpoints story on flooding contains the shameful and truthful statement, "The Pick Plan, advanced by Col. Lewis Pick of the Army Corps of Engineers, was sold to members of Congress with the promise that Indian lands only -- no white lands, towns and cities -- would be inundated by the dams."

Are energy companies ignoring the truth about polluting wells and shamelessly selling lies to Congress?

Fred Tomasello Jr.



Buffalo can do better with tourism slogan

"Buffalo For Real." Really? Did someone really get paid to come up with this? How about, "Buffalo: Cold Hands, Warm Hearts." No charge!

Sheila Bestry