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Jackson's name belongs on federal courthouse

I must object to the apparent preference of Gen. William Donovan over Justice Robert Jackson in the naming of the new federal courthouse. Donovan may be a military icon, but his influence and achievement in terms of the effect on our country pales in comparison to those of Jackson. He was the principal mover most responsible for the creation and impact of the Nuremberg trials, which recorded for all time the colossal guilt and murders that stained the world.

Jackson was a highly respected member of the Bar in Jamestown and Buffalo, but I knew him from three brief but strong contacts. First, in 1941, at the Harvard Law School, when I persuaded him to serve as chief judge of the moot court I developed at the law school. Second, in 1946, when I described the horrors I had seen when my Division (the 45th Infantry) had overrun the Nazis' first concentration camp at Dachau in Germany. Third, in 1946, when I talked to him about my role as chief of the U.S. military government courts in our headquarters at Wiesbaden, West Germany. I found Jackson to be a great man of humor, vision, sensitivity and drive. His work at the Nuremberg trials makes the feeble postures of the Holocaust deniers disappear in the winds of time.

Robert O. Swados

Kenmore

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Site should honor a true Buffalonian

I strongly agree with the Nov. 9 News editorial that Gen. William Donovan deserves to have the new federal courthouse named in his honor. Donovan grew up in Buffalo's Old First Ward and attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. He was an honor student, outstanding athlete and captain of St. Joe's first football team. After graduation, he went on to Niagara University.

Donovan was the only person in our country's history to receive the nation's top five decorations: the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the National Security Medal and the Oak Leaf Cluster. Our nation's most honored citizen and true Buffalonian should have his name on the courthouse.

Joseph Wolf

Williamsville

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Higgins was right to nominate jurist

Rep. Brian Higgins is making the most appropriate recommendation for naming the new federal courthouse, built to serve Western New York, in honor of Robert H. Jackson.

There is no doubt that William Donovan deserves appropriate recognition somewhere in Buffalo, since his name is being removed from the former downtown state office building as it is renovated for other purposes. But the new federal courthouse is not that place, as proposed by a Nov. 9 News editorial, when its naming can honor the most respected, worldwide jurist to come from Western New York. A Nov. 4 News article quoted several jurists, attorneys and legal academics praising Higgins' nomination. I join the chorus and urge Higgins to pursue his original intent.

For 20 years, Jackson served clients throughout Western New York as an attorney. In 1934, he answered the call of President Franklin Roosevelt to serve as general counsel to the Internal Revenue Service, beginning his public service in Washington. Promotions followed quickly in the Department of Justice to posts including solicitor general, attorney general and, in 1941, justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served until his sudden death in 1954. Known for his independence and eloquently written opinions, he gained the reputation as being one of the brightest and most articulate judges to serve on the court. His most important contributions may be the legal precedents set by the first-ever, multinational war crime trials at Nuremberg, Germany, after World War II when he was chief prosecutor. Those precedents continue to guide similar trials today.

Austin Swanson

Clarence

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Donovan deserves courthouse honor

I was disappointed to learn of Rep. Brian Higgins' support for naming the new federal courthouse in Buffalo in honor of Robert Jackson and not Buffalo native Gen. William J. Donovan. Jackson's legacy is honored by the existence of the Robert H. Jackson Center in his hometown, Jamestown. There is no similar recognition for Donovan in his hometown.

Notwithstanding Jackson's significant contributions to American jurisprudence, Donovan stands apart as one of the greatest figures in American history. His remarkable legacy spans the legal, national security and military arenas. He served the Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. attorney, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York, and as an assistant to Jackson at the Nuremberg trials. Donovan founded and led the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II, the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Command. CIA Director David Petraeus said that the "concepts pioneered by General Donovan and the OSS continue to guide those in the contemporary intelligence and special operations fields."

Donovan risked his life for the United States on numerous occasions in combat. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in World War I and remains the only American to be awarded our nation's four highest military decorations. After World War II, he served as ambassador to Thailand at the height of the Cold War. Upon learning of Donovan's death, President Dwight Eisenhower, no stranger to bravery, called Donovan the "last hero."

It is a shame that Buffalo may have lost this unique opportunity to honor a man who rose from the First Ward to become one of America's greatest patriots.

Charles Pinck

President, OSS Society

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It's easy to see why Collins lost

During his concession speech, I almost laughed when Erie County Executive Chris Collins said, "Sometimes life isn't fair." However, some very real questions of fairness came to mind. Not "fair" was Collins turning his back on county health clinics. There was nothing "fair" about forcing the County Legislature to sue him to release monies he already appropriated with a signed budget. Nothing noble, either. His midnight technical maneuvers to thwart the Legislature were certainly not "fair."

Maligning the industry of 40 cultural groups, some of which have struggled to create jobs for more than 30 years, with more hard work and sacrifice than he will ever understand, was both unfair and flat out ignorant. Thumbing his nose at the Justice Department -- as suicides continued on his watch -- was unacceptable.

Does Collins honestly believe being held accountable is not fair? He also said, "I just can't imagine what else we could have done. " Yet he invited The News to photograph that "Wall of Chris" in his mansion while his payroll cuts put people out of jobs.

From the get go, his administration ignored Erie County's desperate need for regionalism, turning his back on all of Buffalo. Then he insulted the tens of thousands of patrons countywide whom those belittled 40 cultural groups and libraries serve.

Finally, was his blatant disregard for that bulwark of democracy, the system of checks and balances. People who believe in democracy take serious note of such arrogance. Our government needs leadership, not neo-fascist corporate despotism. A resounding 53 percent of the voting electorate just taught Collins that lesson.

Patrick Cornelius

Buffalo

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Voters may be sorry they chose Poloncarz

Under the administration of Erie County Executive Chris Collins, residents enjoyed virtually no tax increases, due to his total commitment to smaller government and less government spending.

Despite the worst economy in many decades, this is exactly what he promised to do.

The voters have spoken. We now have a liberal Democrat who is beholden to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic leaders, in the pocket of big unions and a very easy mark for Ralph Wilson. Congratulations, Erie County. Don't complain when you get your 2012 tax bill.

Robert G. Peterson

Hamburg

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Protesters offering hope of better days

I approached the Occupy protesters cautiously, for I am not an articulate person. But I have a passion for justice. I have seen the poor neglected while working with the homeless and volunteering with refugees. I know people go hungry in this country while others dine lavishly. I am bothered by the lack of compassion from those with full refrigerators. My anger is aroused as corporations rob the poor by not providing a livable minimum wage and laying off their workers.

The bottom line in business is profit, not people. We excuse it because it is capitalism, but it is morally unacceptable. Not only do our business practices favor the rich, so do our politicians. Money is power. It influences our politicians with campaign funds and, therefore, it influences our laws. In our society, the rich oppress the poor, which should be detestable to all.

I am retired, so I gain nothing by protesting except to make my voice heard. On that cold day, I sat and talked with my new, young friends. We discussed what changes could be made to bridge this economic divide. We explored ideas for funding campaigns so the average person would have more influence. I encouraged my impassioned friends to take a lead in this Occupy movement, for they were wise and well-spoken. Their passion and their idealism reminded me of the '60s and the hope we had of a better day. The world is listening, occupiers, and maybe this is the better day.

Deborah Nykyforchyn

Hamburg

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Why did group need to go to Puerto Rico?

Excuse me for noticing, but last week The News printed an article stating that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Latino Legislators from New York State were in Puerto Rico discussing jobs for Latino youths in New York. On Nov. 15, The News printed an article stating that New York faces a $350 million shortfall in its budget. What's wrong with this picture?

Why did the governor feel the need to go to Puerto Rico with Latino legislators to discuss anything? Don't we taxpayers already provide offices and meeting space in New York for just this purpose? How much did this little jaunt cost us to send these people to Puerto Rico for this working vacation? To top it off, each of these elected officials will probably write off any out-of-pocket costs as business expenses on their tax returns.

Of course, the cost of this trip wouldn't touch the budget gap, but this is only one more drop in an already overflowing bucket of unnecessary spending.

Constance Hubert

Orchard Park

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Stempniak out of line with nasty comments

Who's the fool now? Dino J. Fudoli, who turned his life around 10 years ago, the Lancaster voters who elected him or Board Member Donna G. Stempniak, who called Fudoli "a fool" on her Facebook page?

As a relatively new resident of Lancaster, I was appalled at the audacity of Stempniak to make the statement, "God help the Town of Lancaster," without giving this gentleman a chance to prove himself. I can only hope that the other four board members will give Fudoli the opportunity to fulfill his campaign promises by working with and not against him.

Marcia Sunday

Lancaster