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Revising Collins's Golf Score

It was fair to a fault of you to score a birdie for Collins’s performance in the wake of the crash of Flight #3407 (“The Real Score,” Artvoice v10n44), but let’s follow that wake past the aftermath and into the next budget year. In the 2011 budget, Collins cut several jobs in the medical examiner’s office, some of same people who had pulled remains out of the wreckage of both plane and home, transported them, identified and autopsied them, dealt directly with their grieving families, etc. They showed up last November 10 at the same Legislative hearing we in the arts community were present at to testify on behalf of cultural funding. Speaking on their behalf was one of the flight #3407 widows, Robin Tolsma, who spoke out against eliminating the jobs of the people she called “last responders,” who had dealt so professionally and sensitively with the remains of her husband and all the other victims when that flight crashed into a house in Collin’s own town of Clarence.

In my pocket notebook I jotted down one of Mrs. Tolsma’s statements at the hearing: “They have helped me through the worst, the absolute worst nightmare of my life.”

Her pleas to save these few jobs fell on Republican Legislators’ deaf ears, however, and consequently Collins’s eventual veto of Democrats’ proposals to restore these and vital positions in other departments was sustained.

> Ed Cardoni, Buffalo

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