Repealing phone law? is a ridiculous idea

As a middle-age guy with roots in Kenmore-Tonawanda, I usually enjoy Bruce Andriatch's take on life. However, I strongly disagree with his Dec. 11 column calling for a discussion about repealing the law that bans talking on a handheld cellphone while driving. I can only hope he was kidding.

Every single day I am endangered by countless clueless people driving and crossing their lane markers while they are holding their phones to their ears. Just because so many do it does not make it less dangerous. Just because the law is not enforced does not make it a bad law. Just because there are so many other distractions doesn't mean we should not eliminate one proven to be dangerous.

Andriatch notes that statistics do not show a correlation between passage of cellphone regulations and safer highways. Of course they do not; nor will they, as long as people ignore the law.

Undercover enforcement and stiffer penalties could make our roads safe from cellphone users. The revenues generated would easily pay for the expense of added enforcement. When people start paying a penalty commensurate with the damage they cause, then we may see people stop their dangerous behavior.

Handheld cellphone users kill innocent people, just like the drunken drivers who kill our friends and families. We need harsher consequences for anyone, drunk or sober, who acts with wanton disregard for the safety of others.

Marty J. Walters



Where's all the uproar ?for lives lost to abortion?

What a hypocritical society we live in. I recently opened the paper to find a photo of a rally where a protester held a sign that read "NRA Stop Enabling Murder." Wow. So it's the National Rifle Association's fault as to what happened in the killing of 20 children?

Now here is the great part of life. There were no signs in the crowd saying a word against Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Organization for Women or the American Civil Liberties Union. It is my constitutional Second Amendment right to be able to own a gun, but there is nothing in the Constitution that gives these people a right to kill children in the fashion of their choosing. What a moronic society I live in.

David M. Riford



Put Central Terminal? out of its misery now

The recent News story regarding the dilapidated condition of the Central Terminal was a real eye opener. There is an immediate need for $800,000 to repair the vaulted roof. This is small change compared to the $3 million needed for roof and masonry repairs to the 17-story tower. Then there is the additional estimated cost of between $50 million and $100 million to restore it. I find any discussion of expending these sums of money to repairing the Central Terminal to be ridiculous.

Buffalo is America's third-poorest city and in desperate need of many improvements. I cannot imagine many folks agreeing that spending this type of money for this purpose is high on the agenda. Hats off to the Oishei Foundation for denying a $2.5 million grant request for this backward plan. Throwing good money after bad is downright nonsensical.

The money raised to restore the nine-foot dial clocks and the recent $3,000 for a frosted gaslight should have been used to take many pictures for memories' sake before the wrecking ball comes in and does us all a favor by razing this eyesore.

I believe that good jobs, safe neighborhoods and productive schools are what we need to revitalize Buffalo. Renovating a clock and light on an obsolete building is a silly, feel-good effort that serves no useful purpose. Let's crank up the bulldozers and put the Central Terminal out of its misery. It is time to start looking forward to what this area could become instead of constantly trying to make it what it once was.

M. Scott Chismar

Lake View


Thompson's hiring? looks like a kickback

Never in my wildest dreams did I think Erie County would hold the line on raising property taxes four out of five years, but that doesn't change this region's dismal economic future one iota. Other than being flush with scarcely funded government pensions, mandates, entitlements and high public utility rates, this region has a strong history of political kickbacks on the friends and family plan. The Dec. 11 News article, "Mayor names Thompson to head jobs agency," shows a long personal friendship between the two.

Antoine M. Thompson is expected to receive a salary of $79,757 to start, which is no chump change unless you're a spoiled professional athlete. Thompson has a long history of public service in Buffalo and unemployment rates are rising astronomically, so it begs the questions: Should this position even exist, and was the appointment a political kickback? The Buffalo firefighters haven't seen a raise for more than a decade and Mayor Byron W. Brown hopes his friend will create other meaningful jobs. Good luck to the future unemployment situation in Buffalo.

Tom Colligan



State missed a chance ?to improve two schools

We're all aware of the dysfunction of the Buffalo School Board and its inability to lead our schools. Now it seems that the State Education Department is setting a new example for dysfunction.

The state missed its biggest opportunity yet to help the children in Buffalo by not recommending the approval of charter applications for East High School and Waterfront School. Federal law allows for the turnaround of a failing public school by closing it and restarting it as a public charter school. The state proved its lack of understanding of the law by not developing a clear process for approval of charter restarts. How does one hand not know what the other is doing? It is typical bureaucratic dysfunction at its worst.

Additionally, the group proposing the applications has broad expertise with successful school operations. This includes Tapestry Charter School, which is listed on the State Education Department's website as one of the top charter schools in the state for successful practices.

With 44 of 57 schools in failing status, affecting 26,000 of the 32,000 students in the district, this decision should have been a no-brainer. How many more generations of children are we willing to throw away before the adults figure it out? The only way around the toxic relationship between the unions and the district is to close failing schools and restart them as public charter schools. By doing so, resources go directly to the school and to the programs that benefit kids most.

Does the community realize that half of our city tax dollars go to support this broken system? The state has a responsibility to this community by making good on its promise to close failing schools. Time to wake up, speak up and do what is right for kids.

Kenneth Peterson