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Where there's smoke...

   What with all those candidate and issue kisses of death endorsements to get in the newspaper, this eddie about new research on the dangers of second-hand smoke had to wait its turn.

- Smoking laws saving lives
   Where there’s smoke, there are heart attacks.
   That’s the conclusion of a report released recently by the independent Institute of Medicine. Its experts Nosmoking studied the conclusions of many other reports and determined that bans on smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces often lead to significant declines in the number of heart attacks.
   This data should push those jurisdictions still wondering whether they should ban smoking in public places in the direction of doing so. In New York, where comprehensive smoking limits have been in place for six years, the report goes firmly in the I Told You So File.

   Here's the AP article. Here's the study. Here are the concurring opinions from The Wichita Eagle and The Birmingham News and a dissent from The Republican-American in Waterbury, Conn. 

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

Editorials: Today's editorial board meeting (11/4)

Whew. Now, welcome to the first official day of the 2010 election cycle.

First order of business, though, is to look back at yesterday's elections. That was topic one picked up at today's edboard meeting, and aside from individual races some obvious things stand out -- the abysmally low voter turnout, the shift in dynamics at the Erie County Legislature and downsizing for the Niagara County Legislature.

We'll also be looking at Karzai & corruption, and at the teen driving tragedy in Clarence.

Oh, and about that 2010 election cycle: It's be a busy one. We'll be voting for governor, the entire state Assembly and Senate, and (if memory serves) state attorney general and comptroller. At the federal level, all House members and a senator will be chosen. And I think the Erie County Clerk race is in 2010, too. I could look all that up, but there's time . . .

-mike vogel 

Editorials: Today's editorial board meeting (11/3)

Traditionally, the editorial board marks the end of the election season by kicking back with a no-outside-meetings, Hawaiian Shirt Day. We're not sure why, but we think it has something to do with margaritas, and we're still waiting for the delivery.

In the meantime, though, we still have work to do (recognizing, of course, that some of you will challenge that statement. Get your own Hawaiian shirts).

So we'll be looking at some proposed reforms of the practices health insurance companies use in regard to paying for out-of-network providers, at downtown development and at a compromise on the federal shield law. None of that sounds particularly compatible with Hawaiian shirts, but maybe the margaritas would help.

-mike vogel

Blight not unique to Buffalo

   Another example of great minds running in small circles.

   An editorial in Thursday's Buffalo News:
- Help on easing blight
   Mr. Donovan, tear down this house. And this one. And this one. And that one over there. Donovan
   That’s the message federal Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan should take with him from his visit to Buffalo last week. It should help him, and others in power in Washington and in Albany, see the need for more state and federal aid to help this and other cities deal with the growing problem of abandoned and derelict houses.
[Catch the allusion: What famous quote is this lead borrowed from?]
   [Buffalo News photo of Donovan flanked by Rep. Brian Higgins, left, and Sen. Chuck Schumer.]

      A major editorial in Sunday's Detroit Free Press:
- Saving the most salvageable neighborhoods
   Detroiters and their elected leaders also must begin planning now for a radically smaller city, whose population may officially fall to 750,000 in the next census. "The city's master plan has always been out of touch with reality," said John Mogk, a Wayne State University law professor and urban planning expert. "The 2010 census will bring shock and awe."

   Accompanied by this column by editorial writer Jeff Gerritt
- ... And ridding the city of its major symbols of decay
    For symbolic reasons alone, the city must rehabilitate or raze the Packard Plant and Michigan Central Station* . They're not nearly as corrosive as the 78,000 vacant buildings that blight Detroit's neighborhoods, but they have come to represent and define our city. They're the first stop for out-of-town journalists trying to get a whiff of Motown's rusted gears, and poster shots for documentaries such as History Channel's "Life After People." Detroit's inability to redevelop these two imposing sites reflects its inability to control its image and destiny.

- City officials battle plague of abandoned, unwanted houses - Sandusky (Ohio) Register
- Clean-up program demolishes abandoned house - Columbus (Ohio)
- Empty homes a symbol of pain, economic and otherwise - Jay Bookman/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- HUD demolition dollars make Muncie neighborhood look better - Muncie (Ind.) Star Press

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
* Warning: Memory hog

Editorials: Today's editorial board meeting (11/2)

Hi, everyone. Get out and vote tomorrow -- reach your own conclusions and exercise the most precious right you have in a democracy.

In the meantime, very short edboard meeting toda. With our campaign review season essentially over, I have a couple of people taking time off to detox. So we've picked up only one new topic today, the city's slow response to HUD problems and the cost of the delays to local social service agencies.

-mike vogel 

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