News is being unfair to Sheriff's Office

I'm writing in response to the editorial, "More jail oversight needed," in which the Erie County Holding Center is described as a place of "carnage." Really? Carnage is defined as "massive slaughter, as in war." Three suicides in four months is certainly regrettable, but can hardly be called carnage.

While The News admits that even the best system will not thwart every suicide attempt and that all requirements set out by the Commission of Corrections and the Justice Department were followed, the sheriff is still attacked as "disengaged" and "not caring." What more can the Sheriff's Office do? All requirements were met! We would have to have one deputy for every inmate to watch them 24 hours a day to eliminate the chance for suicide, which is impossible.

Now we're at a point where an inmate is suing the county because he tried to kill himself. God forbid he is held responsible for his own actions. No, the county must somehow be responsible. I'm offended that an attorney is actually taking this case. I hope the judge throws it out.

For The News to call this a "continuing disaster" is unfair. The News continues to show an inflammatory bias against the Sheriff's Office. This editorial was no exception.

Scott Emerling

Orchard Park


Schroeder's record inspires confidence

The News editorial on Mark Schroeder's lack of fitness to be Buffalo comptroller is prompting me to respond. Schroeder has represented my area in the State Assembly for the past eight years. In that time, he has earned a reputation as a hard-working, honest and very independently minded public servant.

Schroeder took on the most powerful man in the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, for not supporting the University at Buffalo 2020 initiative. Most elected officials just vote the way party bosses tell them to vote, so they can gain favor with committee leadership roles thereby earning more money for themselves, rather than doing what is best for the common good.

I think independence and honesty are the most important qualities in the city comptroller position. A careful look at his record shows Schroeder has them in abundance.

If blame for not having a race for the job must be laid, then ask the Republican Party why it did not offer a candidate. Maybe the county executive race and concern for a heavy turnout in Democratic Buffalo was the reason.

Give Schroeder a chance before you railroad him out of the job. Based on his record in elected office, I think he will make an outstanding comptroller.

John F. Glose

West Seneca


Lifelong learning should be our goal

The recent News articles and editorials focusing on education, primarily issues around Buffalo Public Schools, were most informative and prompt this idea. What if the Buffalo Niagara community began a serious effort to see lifelong learning as its objective, not just education at the K-12 level?

Lifelong learning invites everyone to the table -- children and adults. It also includes all of the stakeholders included in the six News editorials and many more. For instance, the recent National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference should leave no doubt that our region is blessed with a legacy of cultural gems. Picture each one as a stakeholder and lifelong learning "treasure island."

Our libraries, the Darwin Martin House Complex, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo Tours, Buffalo Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Science Museum, Niagara Power Museum, Historical Society, Naval Park, Erie Canal, Forest Lawn, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, Kleinhans, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Roycroft Campus, Hull House, Fort Niagara, college and university galleries, just to name a few, should have yellow school buses constantly in motion. Schools can creatively engage the community and private sector to help fund each tour.

Consider, the Albright-Knox played host to 17,000 students last year through one grant from the private sector. As a gallery docent, specializing in creating adventurous school tours using New York State standards, I believe lives can be changed by these "treasure island" cultural resources.

However, a lifelong learning experience can happen if children have a family member as a chaperon. I have noticed this often happens with private and home school tours, but seldom occurs with public school tours. As a community, we can both encourage and creatively fund this idea for all of our advantage. By doing so, we will also enhance the membership base for our various cultural organizations.

Raising the high school graduation rate a few percentage points is an important goal, but engaging the entire community to become a unique, lifelong learning community because of the rich legacy we have inherited seems a far more worthy goal for Buffalo Niagara.

Dennis Galucki



Poloncarz's election is a step backward

A Jan. 2 News headline read: "Poloncarz pledges to put people first." He comments that since government is not a business, it should not be run like one. His interpretation of the business mission is: "A business is concerned with maximizing profits to benefit a select few -- its owners or shareholders." Mark Poloncarz, a business attorney, has a troubling, narrow view of business. A business cannot make a profit unless it serves the wants and needs of its consumer market with its products or services.

Business delivers multiple contributions to our community. And the major incentive to a business venture risking its capital, time, talent and energy is the hope of a monetary return or gain (profit) on its investment. Yet Poloncarz made that inducement sound ignoble -- that a work ethic and talent drive are beneath a government's value system. There was no mention that business supplies people with paying jobs and benefit packages. Or that those working residents also pay taxes, which in turn provide a tax base to pay for the escalating salaries and generous benefit packages of the implied more noble government employees.

Sadly, his mind-set is nothing new. It's the same approach that led to the former massive debt and resulting embarrassment of an appointed control board overseeing our county leadership.

Poloncarz has already appropriated $5 million from Chris Collins' 2012 budget to reinstate funds for the arts and other non-essential services. He reneged on Collins' appropriation of the needed $6 million to the Buffalo Zoo, and instead is borrowing the reduced appropriation of $3 million. More recently he has borrowed another $7 million for the county's legal settlement. So, right off the platform, we are now $10 million in debt.

Poloncarz didn't unseat Collins. Brain fog did.

Pamela Occhino