LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Chaotic Commander-In-Tweets

    As a veteran I am concerned with the chaos our Commander-In-Tweets creates with his child-like tweets.  How can our military put faith in him when he continually tweets out ridiculous accusations and false information, and questions advice from his generals?  How can we believe what he says?
    Many tweets are designed to deflect criticism of him and move people’s thoughts in his direction. These diversionary tactics might work as the CEO of his company where he had absolute control, but it will not work with Congress and the media.
    If Trump is to succeed and implement his policies, he needs Congress and the media on his side.  He will not succeed by proposing half-baked policies, and insulting people and institutions that disagree with him.  Executive Orders do not stand the test of time.  They are easily rescinded.
    Trump believes all publicity, including negative publicity, is beneficial, but this doesn’t work when you are President.
    Our Commander-In-Tweets is sowing chaos, doubt and confusion in the minds of the American Public, our military, and the world, and it is endangering the security of our country and our status in the world.  Mr. President, please get normal.
Donald Moskowitz

WNY Children’s Psych Center Should Remain in West Seneca

Dear ARTVOICE, On July 26 NYS Apellate Judge NeMoyer decided to continue weighing whether or not the WNY Children’s Psych Center should be merged with the Buffalo Psych Center, a facility that currently only serves adults. Anyone familiar with this case knows the gravity of the situation, but our local media has overlooked some crucial facts. For example, why did the NYS Office of Mental Health appeal the State Supreme Court’s decision to block construction at the Buffalo Psych Center? Was it only due to the financial costs of maintaining the building in West Seneca? Why did Governor Cuomo sign a bill that discontinues prosecuting 16 and 17 year olds as adults only in criminal matters? Does he not sympathize with WNY adolescents dealing with mental health issues? Ann Marie T. Sullivan, the Commissioner of th Office of Mental Health, claims that community health services need to be consolidated to save money. Does integrating children and adults into one facility really save money? If so, at what cost to the children? Sullivan has admitted there are outpatient (and one inpatient) sex offenders receiving treatment at the Buffalo Psych Center. How is it safe for children to be on the same grounds as sex offenders receiving mental health treatment? Indeed, the Buffalo News has already reported how the Buffalo Psych Center failed to prevent incidents. (http://buffalonews.com/2016/04/16/girl-14-rescued-from-lethal-chokehold-in-atta ck-by-psychiatric-patient/) If other psych centers that cater to young people have been merged with adult facilities across the state, how have the challenges of serving minors and adults been overcome? How will quality services be provided to children and adults if we merge those centers? NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan has suggested using the West Seneca facility as an Opiate Treatment Center (http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/politics/2017/06/29/cuomo-gallivan-kearns -wnycpc-petition-psychiatric.html).This is an excellent idea. In the midst of the opiate crisis we need more services for those struggling with addiction. I personally lost a best friend to a heroin overdose where fentanyl, a highly potent opioid, had been cut into the batch. I have personally spoken with people who could not get immediate inpatient care or had to wait to get into a treatment center. This is unacceptable. If the psych centers are merged, Senator Gallivan’s proposal should be embraced. Above all, I do not understand why we would reduce services for adolescents who are dealing with mental health issues. If anything, we need more, not fewer, services, especially in rural areas. The local news media needs to investigate and report on all aspects of the proposed OMH plan. We must reach out to Commissioner Sullivan and pressure Governor Cuomo to change his plan. A bill that provides sufficient funds for the WNYCPC to remain in West Seneca would be the most responsible step forward. In absence of that, converting that facility into a drug treatment center while responsibly administering services to minors and adults in Buffalo should be our top priority. Our young people deserve nothing less.
Anthony Baney Erie County Green Party

Immediately Remove Carl Paladino

Morally and philosophically speaking, how can Carl Paladino be permitted to continue as a wounded-duck member of the Buffalo Board of Education? Simply explained, Paladino can because he is protected by the first amendment right of free speech, no matter how racially-offensive and warp-minded his toxic, published spew in Art Voice was, shockingly, to virtually all in Western New York.

His unexplainable and disgraceful public utterances are unforgiveable for anyone, especially an elected, city official.

His offensive speech clearly violates the decorum that is expected of a city official and to note, a highly-educated, Syracuse law school and St. Bonaventure University graduate, who represents all public school children in Buffalo: A great honor that has been stained irreparably by his arrogance and lack of moral judgment. And now he is running for cover, asking for protection, even forgiveness, for his wrongful, disturbing comments.

It is now a case of too little, too late, Carlo, who is the prize son of hard-working, Italian immigrant parents, bred in South Buffalo’s Lovejoy community, and provided with all the Catholic-school training and private opportunities to learn the true meaning of respect, knowing the difference between right from wrong. It is simply inexcusable, given his background, privilege, and substantial resources along-the-way.

The Paladino distractions have annoyed almost all the teachers and even infuriated some. The teachers want him removed immediately, and they have organized and continue to mobilize and demonstrate at rallies at city hall.

We should remember that former BMHA Director Joseph Mascia was charged with a racist tirade, caught on audiotape, and was removed by Mayor Byron Brown. Mayor Brown’s ruling is equally applicable to Paladino’s case and his fall from grace.

Why then is Paladino protected by the first amendment’s right of freedom of speech and Mascia is not? The two cases are really similar, racially-offensive, and politically divisive. They are both city officials and serve the same constituencies, and they have both broken the golden rules of public servitude – decorum and officialdom.

Maybe Mayor Byron Brown needs to intervene here but he cannot. It’s technically up to NY Education Comissioner Mary Ellen Elia to do what is right here. She needs to be consistent with Paladino as well and issue an executive order to rid us all of Paladino’s antics and tirades like Mascia was by Mayor Brown last month: What is good and right for one city official is also certainly good and right for another city official. It’s time to make it two-for-two, and please send Paladino packing permanently, Commissioner Elia.

Let’s get focused on the real issues and the business of education like improving existing programs and continuing the notable work in broaden learning and recreational opportunities for Buffalo students and their families during after-school and on weekends.

 

By Al Bruno,

Teacher and Writer