It's unfair to blame lawyer for conviction

I am writing in regard to the article appearing on the front page of The News on Feb. 8 titled, "Convicted of homicide, but convinced of innocence." As the daughter of Dennis P. O'Keefe, the defense attorney in the case, I find this article very disturbing. My father always believed in the innocence of Ann Marie Truscio and worked hard to defend her. His whole life was devoted to law and trying to do what was right.

At the time the family contracted him to do this case, they knew he was a retired federal prosecutor. He worked long and hard hours in regard to Truscio's defense. He even studied the pancreas and diabetes under an expert physician to better understand the medical dynamics involved. It was very upsetting to me as I read this article to get the feeling the family and others are blaming my father for Truscio's conviction. If they were unhappy with his representation, why didn't they say so during the two years he spent preparing for the case?

Not only was he her defender, but he became friends with the Truscios and was often invited to their home. My father died in September 2010. He is not here to speak for himself. Truscio has been out of prison for years. Why now? Apparently a jury found enough circumstantial evidence to convict her. Why make the deceased a scapegoat?

Kathi Mitri



Both sides approved jurors in Mack trial

Rod Watson's column, "Lady Justice's blindfold gets thrown away," takes exception to the recent verdict in the David Mack trial, claiming racial and situational bias among the white jurors and the actions of the white cops involved. The jurors had to be agreed upon by both sides, and the five cops who arrested this individual were cleared of wrongdoing in previous hearings. One would think this would put an end to Watson's claim of racial injustice in this event. His writings drive a bigger wedge in the so-called racial divide. When will he realize that justice is not spelled "just-us"?

Albert Damiani

Grand Island


Let parents decide if teens should tan

New York has some of the strictest laws in the nation regarding indoor teenage suntanning. Under present law, no owner, operator or employee of a tanning facility can permit the use of an ultraviolet radiation device by people under the age of 14. Additionally, if a teenager is between the ages of 14 and 18, he or she is precluded from using the device without a parent's written consent, signed in person, at the facility, and only after reading all warnings and being made aware of the risks. The consent is valid for only a 12-month period.

The Health Department has issued reams of regulations with which our businesses have to comply, including numerous safety provisions such as the mandatory use of eyewear and sanitation for the equipment. At some point, government has done its job and parents need to take charge. There is a real simple solution to this matter and it won't cost the taxpayer a penny. If parents don't want their teens to have suntans, they can say no.

Advocates on the other side of this issue make hyperbolic claims about the dangers of sun exposure and getting a suntan, but the science is not there to back these claims. The Food and Drug Administration and the New York State Department of Health have studied and regulated this industry for decades and have done an admirable job. Just two years ago, the Health Department started collecting the highest licensing fees in the nation to pay for the oversight of the industry and inspections it regularly performs on our businesses. This is already a highly regulated industry.

There are more than 700 of these small businesses statewide employing thousands of New Yorkers and adding millions to local economies, and we deserve to be treated fairly by the decision-makers in Albany. The teen tan ban is a solution in search of a problem. Let parents raise their children.

Dan Humiston

President, Tanning Bed

Cyndi Leonard

President, Total Tan


Public participation is being hamstrung

Did anyone catch the meeting notice on page D5 of Sunday's paper? It was really eye-opening. "Come to City Hall on Feb. 16 at 10:30 a.m. to become involved, to help draw the lines for redistricting." It actually read "meaningful public participation begins with you." All of these statements are quite true. So why is it scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on a work day, downtown, where there is very limited, expensive and inconvenient parking?

Did you ever notice our elected officials say they want us involved and then make it almost impossible? This ensures not too many will make the effort. Taking off from work is not an option since we all have to work just to be able to afford to live here. They count on the fact that not many ever show up; this way they can do whatever they want. We all need to wake up and get involved and demand that such meetings are held somewhere at a time when the masses can attend. Then maybe we can make a difference.

Bonnie Eschborn



Subway stations do not protect us from weather

My husband and I are senior citizens and we have the time and the money to enjoy venues offered downtown, either at Shea's or the arena. Parking is a problem for us because it usually entails long walks to our destination. We thought we had found the perfect solution when we drove to the LaSalle Subway Station. We have a handicap permit and were able to park our car practically at its doorstep. We entered a brick building, bought our round-trip tickets at a very reasonable price and took an elevator to the downstairs floor where we sat on a bench and waited, in comfort, for our train. It let us off at the doorstep of Shea's and nearly at the doorstep of the arena. So far, so good.

But then we had to come home. Ugh. Again, the stations were nearby, so walking was not a problem, however, the waiting was. There's one little bench, so most had to stand. But worse, there are plexiglass partitions with large openings at the top, bottom and sides and the front is completely open, letting the frigid Lake Erie winds in. We were all freezing and the wait seemed to be an eternity.

Why these openings? I'm only venturing a guess, but I think it is so people don't stifle in the summer. If that is the case, how about this: A building with air conditioning in the summer, or removable glass partitions that can close off those bitter winds in the winter, and be removed to let in the gentle summer breezes? If there is any place that calls for a closed-in station, it is downtown right next to the lake! We've tried the subway three times in the winter and will not subject ourselves to this type of torture again until someone makes the wait for the train humanely possible.

Marge McMillen

East Amherst