DUNKIRK Voices emerge on the violence

Finally. An elected lawmaker in Dunkirk has chosen to end the silence on an important issue, noting that government is more than just filling potholes, running festivals and approving the always controversial loud speaker permit.

In the Sunday OBSERVER letters section, Fourth Ward Councilman Michael Civiletto voiced concerns about the recent violence in the city, including an incident that took the life of a 15-year-old girl. The stabbing, which took place May 15, happened as at least 50 people watched while others took video.

“I’m sad, I’m angry and I’d love to be able to do something to stop these things from happening,” he wrote.

Applause to him. Acknowledging the delicate issue, of course, is a start. Other city leaders — including the school board — continue the silent treatment in hopes the tensions will just all go away.

But remember, Dunkirk. A man was injured in a city shooting on East Second Street in March. On May 7 about 17 gunshots were fired in the area of East Sixth and Leopard streets around 11 p.m. and city police were near Second and Main streets a day later investigating another reported incident.

Religious leadership in the city also deserves credit as it is working on addressing the community issue. One plan is for a get-together in Washington Park in a couple of weeks though details are still being finalized.

Loud speaker permits, which is a rubber-stamp function of council, is a quality of life issue. It is also a gutless governmental decision when real problems surround us.

Gunshots and stabbings are a matter of life and death, not politics. That deserves much more attention — and noise — from those current elected leaders who are hiding from reality, but telling you things are getting better in the city while asking for your vote again.

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