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Amherst Board wrong to promote favoritism

My comment is in response to the Sept. 19 News article regarding Human Resources Director Robert P. McCarthy. The Amherst Town Board was offering free financial seminars on town property courtesy of Waddell and Reed. How nice. As a design consultant for one of Amherst's furniture showrooms, can I offer free seminars as well? No, of course not. The town is a place of administration, not solicitation. McCarthy thought otherwise.

Council Member Mark Manna was the only board member to raise the red flag on this preposterous idea. The outrageous impropriety of inviting the financial firm of Waddell and Reed to offer free advice and discounts to town employees smacks of favoritism over other Amherst firms and clearly invites trouble for the town should a client suffer any losses.

In defense of his action, McCarthy said the University at Buffalo accepted the prestigious firm's offer as well. Clearly, the Town Board is not a university, and clearly, McCarthy needs more education as a human resources director. But I am glad he brought up the analogy because as a taxpayer, that does not sit right with me either. The state, the town, all localities should have all agencies compete for their business.

It is this kind of decision making that is tremendously disturbing to all taxpayers. Favoritism and blatant disregard for consequences seems to be the cornerstone for all bureaucrats who proclaim, as McCarthy did in The News, "I'm very apolitical; it makes for longer careers." McCarthy is not apolitical; he is apoplectic. Is this the best Amherst can do? Let's all hope McCarthy's career is not that long because he can't handle controversy or human resources.

Carmella Lonzi

Amherst

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Court shows no mercy in death penalty case

When I turned in the other night, two events were on my mind. Iran was releasing two Americans convicted of spying, and the U.S. Supreme Court was considering a stay of execution for a man on death row. Each prisoner claimed innocence. Each prisoner had evidence that his claims were true. Each authority, irrespective of its motives to do so, was showing a degree of mercy. When I awoke the next morning, only one had followed through.

Dan Newberry

Buffalo

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Palestinian statehood won't be good for Israel

Trudy Rubin's Sept. 21 column asserted that a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood could be good for Israel. This assertion and the reasons she cites for it are erroneous. A U.N. vote granting the status that the Palestinians are seeking will enable the ongoing Palestinian strategy of delegitimizing Israel by refusing negotiations and instead attempting to impose a solution. It will bring the creation of a Palestinian state one step closer, while the Palestinians continue to deny the status of Israel as a Jewish state. It is a violation of the Oslo Accords, signed by the Palestinians, Israel and the United States, in which both parties pledged to refrain from unilateral actions.

Rubin cites Israeli settlement activity as being a primary cause of the present deadlock. She neglected to mention that Israel essentially froze settlement activity for 10 months, during which the Palestinians refused to negotiate until the final two weeks, at that point issuing impossible demands as conditions for negotiating. She neglected to mention that the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords with Israeli settlements already in existence, so they were obviously not then considered to be an insuperable obstacle to peace, and should not be an obstacle now since the majority of settlement building has been inside the settlement borders, and Israel has already offered land swaps on numerous occasions as compensation.

Rubin cited the 2002 Arab peace initiative as a reference point for a possible U.N. resolution. She neglected to mention that this initiative, which calls for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines, contradicts U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. The 2002 Arab peace initiative also calls for an unlimited Palestinian right of return, not to a nascent Palestinian state, but to Israel! This is a recipe for the end of Israel. Under no circumstances would this be, as Rubin puts it, "good for Israel."

Daniel H. Trigoboff

Amherst

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Faith in God enables hopeless to carry on

Donn Esmonde's Sept. 18 column, "A billboard nonbelievers can believe in," unfairly berates the Ten Commandments and Catholic belief in the Immaculate Conception and the resurrection.

With faith, tradition, Revelation and the magisterium -- guidelines for living in this world, so we'll be happy in the next -- are crucial to the core of our convictions.

Esmonde's comparison of tenets held by believers to those of nonbelievers evidences disregard for what the faith considers sacred. It appears today in our economic condition of lost jobs, lost homes and dire financial straits for some that undeniable truths enable the hopeless to carry on and keep trying. It's a little jarring to read on a Sunday a somewhat flip attitude to what makes life worth living for countless individuals.

It's a challenge today to practice your faith, and it takes courage to share it with others. Of this we can be certain -- we are our brothers' keepers. All of the material help in the world can't satisfy man's innate hunger for God.

Mary T. McLaughlin

Buffalo

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Libraries play vital role for many of our citizens

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I walked to my neighborhood library, the Kenilworth branch in Tonawanda, only to find it closed. I was startled. I knew the hours had been cut, but of all days to close, why Saturday? This is the best day for many patrons, especially families, to visit. As Judith H. Golde pointed out in her Sept. 22 My View piece, neighborhood libraries like the Kenilworth are much loved and much used, and they can have a lifelong impact on children. I've frequented the Kenilworth Library many times in the 19 years I have lived nearby, and it is always busy.

What a pity that County Executive Chris Collins, who slashed the county's subsidy for libraries before restoring funding this week, doesn't seem to understand the vital role libraries play for so many county citizens, especially the poor. Worse, he publicly stated that he doesn't use the libraries himself. Though that may be true (a sad enough fact by itself), as a county taxpayer I find it highly insensitive. It's embarrassing to have a county executive who admits this publicly.

As a longtime educator and frequent library patron, you can be sure I will vote for Mark Poloncarz for county executive. His plan for the county libraries, as laid out on his website, illustrates that he understands that libraries are one of Erie County's greatest assets. I hope that soon I'll be able to visit my neighborhood library again on Saturdays.

Sharon Green

Buffalo