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Seneca casinos are not helping economy

I have to respond to the letter from Robert Odawi Porter, president of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

First, I must state that I enjoy going to his casinos. My wife and I are responsible people, and we do enjoy gaming. But do I really believe that these casinos are a plus to local economies? No way! Let's face facts. Out of every 1,000 customers, only four leave the casino with their money.

Many clients who normally attend the Buffalo Creek Casino are undereducated and low-income patrons. The money they spend is probably money that should have gone for rent, food, bills and children's clothes.

Now, for the monies spent at casinos, consider the local stores and businesses that lost out on millions. Yes, there is a trickle-down effect. But you would have to be a fool not to realize the economic loss for these businesses.

Not too long ago, New York State issued $500 cash payments to be used for children's school needs. During that same period, the New York lottery set a record for scratch-off lottery tickets sold. Please, Mr. Porter, don't insult our intelligence.

Christopher M. Swan Sr.

Hamburg

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People should dispose of medicines properly

For readers concerned about how to properly dispose of their unused or expired prescription medicine, there are several options available.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Take Back Day, scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is a free, anonymous and voluntary program at more than 5,327 sites across the nation, including St. Joseph Hospital, Buffalo State College "C" Lot and the Erie County Botanical Gardens. For a complete list, visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.

Unwanted or expired medicines can also be immediately disposed of in the household trash, and the website www.smarxtdisposal.net offers guidance on such disposal. SMARxT Disposal recommends that all unused medicines, unless specified otherwise by the Food and Drug Administration, should be mixed with water and kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds or something that makes it unappealing to eat; sealed in an opaque container safely secure from children, pets and others; and discarded in household trash to be later incinerated or placed in a government-approved solid waste landfill.

Sharon Brigner, MS, RN

Deputy Vice President, State Advocacy Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

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Why does Esmonde mock Dyngus Day?

In response to Anderson Cooper's apparent ridicule of Buffalo's Dyngus Day celebration, rather than defend Buffalo as a proud city rich in ethnic tradition, Donn Esmonde has disappointingly taken the opportunity to characterize the city as small-minded and mock the proud heritage of one of its ethnic groups.

Dyngus Day celebration activities do not represent Polish-Americans poking fun at themselves, as he suggests, but are simply associated with having fun. These are not unlike activities that are part of the St. Patrick's Day Parade or the Italian Festival. Like the organizers of those events, Buffalo's Dyngus Day organizers should be lauded for transforming one ethnic group's celebration into an event that unifies the city by welcoming those of all ethnicities.

Additionally, the celebration raises funds to support restoration of one of Buffalo's cherished architectural landmarks. If Esmonde chose to make jokes about the foods, traditions or celebrations of any other ethnic group, or mockingly described religious customs of another culture as "self-imposed fasting," he would be characterized as a bigot and his job would be in jeopardy.

Sandra Englert

Grand Island

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BTF members entitled to secret ballot voting

The April 22 News article about Phil Rumore and teacher evaluations brings a question to mind. Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon stated that about 150 Buffalo Teachers Federation members voted down the latest plan for evaluation. A secret ballot is always key to an accurate vote. Is the voting secret in each school building or is the voting conducted with a large group, yea and nay?

This aspect of voting has always bothered me -- you never really get the true vote unless it is secret, conducted throughout the day and then counted. If 150 teachers were at the leadership meeting, they represent 150 teachers. On this critical issue, we need a secret ballot voting process for all of the 3,000-plus Buffalo teachers. With such an important decision at stake, it is imperative that a voting process is conducted where every teacher can remain anonymous and free from intimidating influences and each teacher's vote counts.

Linda Ulrich-Hagner

East Aurora

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Problems in Lovejoy are an embarrassment

What an embarrassment to Buffalo and the Lovejoy District. It is outrageous that any person feels that they have to move from one district in the city to another to be accepted.

I hope the Cooper family knows there are many tolerant, accepting people who value the inclusion of all people in our neighborhoods.

I will never understand how someone can hate another person because of a God-given gift -- skin color.

Chris Greene

Buffalo

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Remove Veterans Affairs from Pentagon's control

The attempt to intimidate the veteran community's opinion regarding the government's military spending won't work. Veterans are not only veterans, who receive health care, disability and educational assistance through the Veterans Administration (which is funded by the Defense Department), they are also citizens, taxpayers and workers. They know that the dead-end and disastrous foreign policy followed by the U.S. government since the end of World War II has served as a justification for the massive military budgets that every year have boosted corporate profits and helped create the $14 trillion federal deficit.

To end this attempted intimidation, Veterans Affairs should be removed from the political and economic control of the Pentagon. To end the existence of this "permanent war economy" with all of the sorrow and waste that accompany it, the profit must be taken out of production for the military. This can be done by nationalizing the corporations that receive those government contracts. Only by taking the profit out of war can we begin to solve our domestic problems, develop a constructive foreign policy and enter into a new historical period.

Al Donohue

Buffalo