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Mychajliw shouldn’t keep Tonawanda Coke donation

New York is poised to finally shed our unfavorable image. We’re about to move beyond our smokestack past of polluted air and unsafe waters, and create a more “blue and green” economy, as local environmental groups describe it.

Like so many in Western New York, I was appalled that the management of Tonawanda Coke chose to place profits above the health of its employees and neighbors, and I was proud of our government when Tonawanda Coke was held accountable for its actions.

But when politicians like Stefan Mychajliw take large campaign contributions from Tonawanda Coke, a company convicted of criminal acts of contamination, they are profiting from actions that willfully poisoned our surroundings. By accepting cash from Tonawanda Coke, Mychajliw tells polluters that what they’ve done is OK, and that even though they’ve harmed our community, they may still help decide who governs it with their profits.

It’s ironic that public servants, who should be leading us forward, instead are holding us back. That fact should not be lost on Erie County voters. It would be gratifying to see Mychajliw give the contribution he took from Tonawanda Coke to a local environmental group. We would all breathe easier.

Linda J. DeTine

Buffalo