Groups need to stop? protecting molesters

I find it quite amazing how people like the Oct. 27 letter writer try to justify and defend organizations that are accused of past sexual abuse of children. Yes, it's all about promoting and protecting the image/reputation of these squeaky-clean institutions that turn a blind eye to pedophilia. Was the writer a Boy Scout master? I never was, but I am one of the victims of the 1,247 accusations of sex abuse from 1965 to 1985 that he cited. I was molested at the age of 8 by my older brother's Boy Scout master, right after my grandfather died. If you haven't been violated by a Scout master, etc., you have no business defending religiously affiliated organizations under the guise of religious freedom.

He says the report "is really about the continued attacks on religious freedom." Religious freedom isn't a license to abuse our children. That's why our Constitution specifically cites freedom from religion; freedom from people with dangerous religious beliefs who allowed people like me to get molested. Then they turn a blind eye, pat the molesters on the back and look down in scorn on the victims for even daring to smudge the honor of these molesters and the institutions that protect them.

Toby Tyler



People seem to forget ?respect must be earned

A recent letter writer has apparently forgotten or not learned that respect is earned, it is not "conferred" when one gets "initials" after his name.

Medical personnel (doctors, nurses, etc.) especially seem to function under the misguided opinion that it is perfectly OK to address health consumers by their given names. They seem to forget that we, the consumer, pay for their services and as such are just as deserving of respect as they, and perhaps even more so.

It angers me that the writer referred to support staff in such a demeaning and denigrating fashion. I sincerely hope she doesn't work in a local hospital or other health-related facility where the "aides" and "mop jockeys" provide services to the patients and residents on a daily basis. The services these people provide ensure the safety and comfort of these people, who are no longer able to do it themselves. They probably have more contact with these people in a shift than medical professionals have in a week.

It would be my earnest suggestion that she get off her pedestal before someone knocks her from it. It could prove to be a long, hard fall.

Kay Adamczak



We must face reality ?about climate change

Congratulations to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. At this very critical time for all New Yorkers, he displayed the courage to use the words "climate change" which, sad to say, most politicians will not whisper in spite of the obvious facts. I doubt if the words were used in the presidential campaign, if so very rarely. It is like the elephant in the room, even though Americans are aware that it is happening. Perhaps it is part of human nature to deny something we really are afraid of. I applaud the governor for his honesty in saying that we have to deal with preparing for the new reality of frequent violent storms. A problem cannot be solved until we start to face it.

Alternative energies are part of New York State's plan for the future, and I applaud the forward thinking of Cuomo. However, we need to face the real elephant in the room, and that is the continued use of fossil fuels. The oil and gas companies have a stranglehold on the energy markets and our country, and we all need to be courageous enough to stand up and say that we will not continue to destroy our environment – not only for ourselves, but the children to come.

We need to make huge changes in the way we live, and soon. This is the most serious threat the world has ever known and it's going to take all of us together to mitigate it. We need strong leaders who will stand up and speak the truth. On Tuesday, Cuomo took a step forward toward that goal. No one can do it alone, but he will find there is a lot of support out there.

Judy Fitzgerald



Schools need relief? from state mandates

The Buffalo News editorial on the need for mandate relief was right on target. The "doomsday clock" for finances for our area school districts is ticking. As a School Board member in the Cleveland Hill School District, I agree that districts must be realistic and efficient. But most expenses are driven by mandates. We need the state to loosen its grip on schools because the money to pay for its mandates is not there. We need the help of our governor and elected officials. This is beyond the scope of further cuts. Restructuring can be explored to help save programs, but it does not restore funding.

We've exhausted our local taxpayers and the business base has eroded. Our funding from the state has been decimated, and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy further impacts the state's financial condition. Pension and health benefit costs will go even higher, and still Triborough protects salaries and benefits whether or not a community can afford them. Local communities are left holding the bag, but now it is an empty one.

School officials and School Board groups both locally and statewide have again and again sounded the alarm. Our elected officials must address what unfunded and underfunded mandates are doing to our schools and our communities.

Paul Kunkel



‘Me first' drivers ?put others at risk

I drive on the highway to and from work. All summer long, construction on Route 400 reduced the highway from two lanes to one, and every day there was a backup. This backup is also often seen by the blue water tower where the 290 merges with the 90.

With the winter driving season soon upon us, the biggest problem here is not the road, but the motorists whom I have come to think of as "me firsts." These are the drivers who know their lane will soon be ending, but instead of changing lanes now, they stay in their current lane, riding it until the very end and passing as many vehicles as possible, before forcing themselves into the lane.

By practicing such driving habits, they help to create the very "bottleneck" they seek to avoid because everyone else has to wait twice as long not only for the automobiles truly ahead, but for all the other automobiles that would normally be behind them as well. I wonder, if we were all in line at the store, do they think it would be OK to walk ahead of everyone in line and go straight to the counter for immediate service?

Barring an actual emergency, such drivers need to stop and think about how their actions are affecting those around them. More than once I have felt endangered by a reckless motorist, including the one who drove over the grass on the 400 to go around me so he could merge in at the last moment. If we can learn to think about how our actions affect others, the highways and our world would both be a safer and better place.

Jennifer Patterson

Orchard Park