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Let taxpayers decide on courthouse name

Who owns the beautiful new Federal Courthouse in downtown Buffalo? This question relates to whose voice is most important in selecting the name for the building. Local residents clearly support local war hero Lt. Col. Matt Urban, while a number of politicians appear to be supporting Pennsylvania-born Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who also presided over the Nuremberg Trials.

Since the new building was built and is being maintained by taxpayer dollars, the taxpayers should have the right to name the building for a truly local hero. Urban is the most decorated combat soldier in U.S. military history. For the past four years, the people have petitioned to honor our local hero -- born, raised and educated in Buffalo. Led by Norm Skulski, about 11,000 people have spoken by signing the petition. The decision regarding the name of the building should be made by the people and not the politicians who are the servants of the people.

Urban represents the millions of American military men and women who made this building possible by preserving our freedoms, including the right to a fair trial. Had it not been for our own military, and men like Urban, there never would have been the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazis where Jackson became well-known. Our legislators have the responsibility to vote to reflect the wishes of their constituents, not make their own choice. It is important for the City of Buffalo and its residents to be proud of, celebrate and honor their local heroes.

Leonard E. Amborski

Orchard Park

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Mother Teresa's view of abortion says it all

Roe v. Wade was well celebrated with the viewpoint of the writer in the Jan. 21 News. There were well-compiled facts, facts, facts. However, as with all topics for discussion, there are two sides to a story.

My heroine of all times, in her simplicity of life, is the beloved Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Her simple quote is brief, but says it all: "It is a very great poverty to decide that a child must die that you might live as you wish." Just as the writer celebrates, I mourn the 54 million babies who have died since 1973. I will continue to pray for all those who will meet a brutal death as Roe v. Wade continues.

Ilona Klein

Blasdell

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Don't blame the TSA for fewer passengers

I'm writing in response to the Jan. 23 News article, "NFTA calls for more courtesy from TSA." Good article, but at the same time, it seems like smoke and mirrors. I travel extensively, and when I do, it's the Buffalo leg that is one of the most pleasant. NFTA Chairman Henry Sloma seems to be looking for a scapegoat for the airports' decreasing passengers.

Is it a credible argument that the TSA is the sole reason for decreased passenger traffic at the Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports? If it's poor customer service, how come we never heard about this when passenger enplanements were at record numbers a few years ago? Is that to say this has nothing to do with the economy, fuel and fare increases, baggage fees, etc?

I would suggest it has more to do with the fact that the NFTA and most every public authority is a bleeding artery of taxpayer funds. If we magically eliminated the TSA, how would the Buffalo airport replace the $2.2 million in grants the TSA provides for transit police and K-9 units? And what about the $400,000 grant for security cameras that never existed until taxpayers helped; cameras that should have been installed when the new facility was built in 1997, but the NFTA "didn't think it was important at the time"?

I hope when Sloma is done making the airport "friendlier," he takes a moment to address the implosion of the NFTA: cutting the transit police, mission creep of being a land owner of waterfront property and slashing of core bus services, leading to total mission failure.

The News itself brought to light that this is an issue exclusively of the NFTA, when comparing our inept transit authority to Rochester's, which is alive and well. Sloma must lead from the front. He faces serious issues, and focusing on cosmetic changes will only result in a short tenure for him, and continued hemorrhaging of the NFTA.

Jerry T. Tidd

Grand Island

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Gingrich has nerve attacking Romney

Why would anyone pay more taxes than he is assessed? It is a ridiculous question but one that Newt Gingrich, an equally ludicrous candidate, insists on asking. Mitt Romney is an upstanding, religious, eminently qualified gentleman who is running for president. This in contrast to Gingrich, who is not only morally deficient but also inadequate in many other ways. This man was forced to leave the House of Representatives under questionable circumstances. Would you like to have him enter your house, via the media, almost every evening? Is it gullibility or naivete that causes so many to swallow his pugilistic words? He is the quintessential Washington insider whom we are hoping to eliminate.

It is the law governing taxes that needs to be changed, not the person being taxed. Let's wake up and open our eyes to the true meaning of honesty and integrity in government. Would you rather have as president a man who has been put down on ethical questions and unfaithful to his marital vows or a truly moral, religious gentleman who has shown that he will be a strong, reliable leader?

If we are foolish enough to nominate and, God forbid, elect Gingrich, the American people will get exactly what they deserve: a member of the Washington establishment, a garrulous talkative individual and a truly incompetent president.

Alice Szanyi

Kenmore

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Leaders need to set new goals for NASA

We've conquered putting men on the moon, we landed an exploratory rover on Mars and we "played" with an International Space Station in low Earth orbit for a very long time. Except for unmanned deep-space probes, NASA's job in space, it would seem, is largely done.

While congratulations for these achievement are certainly in order, enough already, I say. A new NASA must now emerge, but with the acronym now standing for National Administration for Solar-power Acquisition. Its task shall be to sufficiently harness the sun's energy for all of our energy needs, thus saving all organics for the food chain and making us truly energy independent forever for the first time.

It is an overwhelmingly obvious move and would then make the space coast the sun power coast with massive employment opportunities for many skills. Here's hoping our national leaders have the necessary vision for this and do not go on with "make work," much-reduced "space business" as usual.

Elmer F. Clune

Tonawanda