Grisanti sacrificed his integrity on vote

I watched Mark Grisanti's speech on the New York State Senate floor explaining his vote on same-sex marriage. Now I am so excited for him to share these amazing documents and treatises he has been studying for several weeks. Of course, we will need his superior attorney intellect to explain the complexities of these illuminating writings. Perhaps I can recommend some additional reading like "Faith and Reason" by Blessed John Paul II, since the senator seems to fall prey to the false idea that the two are somehow mutually exclusive.

Poor Grisanti never had a chance. When faced with visits from a "Sex and the City" star and a former hockey player, it is no wonder he caved. Throw in the wise words of Lady Gaga and I can see why Archbishop Timothy Dolan's guidance was put aside.

The inexperienced Grisanti agreed to take the fall, vote against his conscience, go back on his campaign promises and be convinced by the governor that he was actually doing the right thing. I hope Grisanti received something worthy in exchange for his integrity. The governor sees this as an example of progressiveness to the rest of the country, but the rest of the country sees it as just another misguided New York moment.

John P. Brewster



All should applaud Grisanti's decision

I am writing in response to the vote Mark Grisanti made for gay marriage -- in other words, universal marriage. I was taught in school (yes, real history lessons) that this country was founded on a separation of church and state, and further, personal feelings. It is based on the rule of law stemming from this principle.

James Madison in the 18th century knew the real trouble states can get into when this principle is forgotten or neglected. Read history and find out. Madison and his colleagues created a masterpiece of government for us, all of us, to follow. Grisanti did just that. I applaud him for it. We all should. All of us.

Janet Reiff



High ticket revenue comes as no surprise

The June 26 front-page News article about how Amherst was a leader in traffic violation revenue came as no surprise. Last September, I was welcomed to the Town of Amherst with a $100 fine plus an $85 surcharge. My offense? Driving 150 feet on a paved shoulder to pass stopped vehicles so I could enter an open right-turn lane. Somehow the degree of the penalty did not seem to me to fit the crime.

Gerould R. Stange



Mandatory overtime isn't employees' fault

There has been a lot of media attention lately concerning public employees' pension and pay. While it seems like we are all "scamming the system," that is hardly true.

I represent corrections officers at the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden. There is a shortage of officers and County Executive Chris Collins refuses to allow the hiring of more officers.

These corrections officers have been working, and are being mandated to work, six days a week and sometimes 16 hours a day. Due to the shortage of officers, there's no end in sight to this mandated overtime. This is a public safety issue for the public at large, the visitors who come into the facility, the employees who work there and the inmates.

When you visit the website containing salaries and pensions or listen to all the rhetoric, remember I said mandated. The corrections officers are not asking for overtime, nor do they want it. The officers would much rather be home with their families than locked up 16 hours a day because they are being required to work additional hours. They have committed no crime. When their salaries and pensions get criticized, no one will remember that this overtime is the result of Collins' refusal to staff the jails properly.

Joan Bender


CSEA Erie County Local 815


Rubins' sculpture is a wonderful addition

When I first saw Nancy Rubins' new sculpture rising in front of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, my heart leapt with its energy, scale, movement and wit. The purely abstract qualities of the piece that behaves like a hovering, spinning crystal are enough to make it a wonder. The fact that it is made of aluminum canoes adds not only an element of humor, but also ties it to the history of Buffalo and Western New York, so significantly shaped by waterways and the Great Lakes.

I suspect that with time, the naysayers will open their eyes, minds and hearts to this piece, which I think may become something of an icon for the area. It is always a wonder how the Philistines in our midst so quickly dismiss new visions. Even the music of Beethoven was called "unnatural" by some critics in his day.

Wayne Geist



Korean War veteran is an incredible man

After reading the June 20 News story, "Rising above combat's cruel fate," about Alfred Kalinowski, I can only say: What an incredible human being. I asked many people to please read the article for the following reasons: It was incredibly inspirational. It showed great bravery in the face of possible adversity. And it illustrated monumental perseverance.

Where many people might have given up, Kalinowski picked himself up "by his own bootstraps" and went forward with his life, i.e., marrying, raising a family, getting a productive job and becoming heavily involved in every kind of community activity possible.

He is the epitome of a living lesson to all of us to follow his example in our everyday lives. God bless Kalinowski.

Judge Joseph S. Mattina (Ret.)



Creating library district will hurt homeowners

Many of the vanishing number of aging World War II combat veterans, their widows and others stand to be adversely impacted by Erie County Executive Chris Collins' plan to create a special library district.

If this proposed district is treated as a traditional special district (such as water and sewer districts) this tax portion would shift from the general county/town real estate tax levy category to that of the special district. The net result will be to decrease the real property tax exemption that these veterans currently receive and thereby increase the overall amount of their tax liability.

Furthermore, special districts frequently entail additional administrative expenses and could result in yet another level of government. Who would appoint personnel to these choice administrative positions?

Donald G. Symer