Church does not take sexual abuse seriously

Just when you think the Catholic Church finally has learned its lesson about covering up for abusing priests, more shocking revelations come forward that continue to go unpunished in this reader's eyes.
Within the past month, Father Secondo Casarotto of St. Anthony's in Buffalo and Franciscan Friar Benedict Groeschel from New York City earned headlines with deplorable behavior that, minimally, would have resulted in termination for any other average citizen committing the same in his workplace.
Casarotto admitted to fondling an adult female in his rectory and was sent packing to his homeland of Italy. Criticism of Groeschel was dismissed by the church, who defended him as an old man in failing health who isn't responsible for claiming that children sometimes are the seducers of sex-offending priests. Groeschel also referred to Penn State abuser Jerry Sandusky as that "poor guy."
Certainly these behaviors, acted and spoken, would not be considered appropriate by society in any context. Certainly a punishment would be handed out to these individuals to show how far the church has come in dealing with sexual predators hiding within its walls. Think again.
Casarotto was allowed to remain as a priest in Italy, but forbidden to be in the company of women. In the case of Groeschel, the church hasn't decided if he should be disciplined. Really? In my opinion, neither of these men is fit to continue to hold a position that demands trust, decency and character.
The most reprehensible aspect of both of these incidents is not the deplorable action itself, but rather the church's lack of a "zero tolerance" policy toward this type of deviancy. Both priests should have been defrocked immediately after investigations concluded. Instead, both were allowed to continue "serving God" while laughing in the face of victims of this type of abuse all over the world.
John Walker

Energy companies drive public policy

This past week, as my plane descended over Chicago, I looked down on the ocean of flat industrial roofs just waiting for solar panels. I didn't see one. Unfortunately, while America listens to Rush Limbaugh and watches (heaven help us) "Honey Boo Boo," Germany is busy installing solar arrays, wind farms and animal waste-gas-powered energy systems in public buildings. It would seem so obvious that one source of jobs could be the energy sector, but not as long as energy companies are driving public policy.
Janet M. Goodsell
Grand Island

Kaleida should rethink Gates Circle developer

Chason Affinity's proposal to reuse the Millard Fillmore site as a veterinarian teaching hospital may well be "visionary." But more than an inspired idea will be needed if Kaleida Health is to reach its laudable goals for reuse of the prominent landmark.
The expressed purpose of Kaleida's million-dollar development competition was to "get the best ideas and the most capable developers to do something great" with the hospital site - great for the neighborhood, city, developer and Kaleida. For that goal to be met, Chason Affinity will need to substantially up its game from its performance the past several years at the southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest avenues.
In 2007, with vague plans to construct student housing, a Chason Affinity subsidiary signed a contract to buy several century-old buildings at Elmwood and Forest. A year-and-a-half later, despite a risky financial market, a group of unhappy neighbors and deed restrictions prohibiting "any business establishment," Affinity proceeded with the purchase, spending nearly $2 million for 11 parcels. When the developer subsequently announced its vision for the "gateway to the Elmwood Village," it proposed construction of a six-story, 175,000-square-foot "mixed-use" project poorly suited for the neighborhood, rather than the creative reuse of the quintessential "Elmwood Village" properties.
Unable to persuade the adjoining owners to approve its project, Affinity is now in court seeking to extinguish the restrictive covenants that protect its neighbors. During the intervening years, the developer's properties have been allowed to deteriorate in plain sight of residents, commuters and tourists. Affinity has been recently cited for code violations at eight of its properties.
Kaleida may want to think long and hard before designating Affinity the developer of the Gates Circle site.
Arthur J. Giacalone
Attorney at Law
East Aurora

Corruption abounds in positions of power

In our last election, I accomplished two things: I voted in opposition to Chris Collins and I supported Mark Poloncarz, who, in my opinion, was highly qualified for the position of county executive. He was capable, he was honest and he was above-board. He was, I thought, "a cut above."
I still oppose Collins, but no longer support Poloncarz. I assume that the county executive will utter many disclaimers, but he is like Caesar's wife and should be above suspicion. The highly politicized authorities in our area are salaried receptacles for friends, relatives and hangers-on of our "capable, honest and above-board" politicians. Poloncarz's brother should not have been appointed to the Water Authority.
It is sad that positions of power have such power to corrupt. It is sad that our idols often are proven to have feet of clay. It is sad that promises are not kept. It is especially sad that an area like ours, that is so severely depressed, continually elects officials who fail us, the people who have elected them.
For shame, Mr. Poloncarz!
Hallie Morrison Block

Bridge Authority should compensate homeowners

It is amazing how the Peace Bridge Authority came up with the money to pay $200,000 for the purchase of a home on Busti Avenue and $5 million for a rotting church home, and yet it couldn't come up with the money to purchase the homes between Rhode Island and Massachusetts streets. Something doesn't sound right.
Now the authority has decided to put a duty-free store right across from residential homes on Columbus Parkway (Seventh Street). I was a supporter of the expanded plaza, but I don't like the disruption this new plan will cause on these blocks. These homes, which should have been demolished, will be situated right in the middle of the construction zone. I fear our streets will be blocked and parking for some of the residents will be interfered with.
Residents who were duped by the authority should be compensated for the delays caused by this project. Many homeowners held off from making repairs in anticipation of this plaza.
However, let's not hold the authority all to blame. Obstructionist residents caused many delays, which resulted in the abandonment of the expanded plaza. They were not concerned with the improvement of the neighborhood but with their own selfish agenda.
Joseph A. Paternostro