Letters to the Editor for May 25
Cuomo has good plan to boost protection for those with special needs
The Self-Advocacy Association of New York State [SANYS] supports Gov. Cuomo’s legislation to establish a justice center for the protection of people with special needs, and encourages everyone to join us in protecting more than 1 million New Yorkers who receive human services from abuse.
SANYS is an organization run by and for people with developmental disabilities, and we believe people with disabilities and special needs have a civil right to be treated with dignity and respect. We also deserve to receive the support we need from state agencies and nonprofit organizations in an abuse-free environment.
Unfortunately, for too many us who depend on staff for care and support, the threat of abuse remains far too real. In the last year alone, we know that 10,000 allegations of abuse were filed against the staff. Many of these allegations were found to be true, but the abusers have often gone unpunished. Even employees who are dismissed for misconduct make their way back into the system and continue to work at other group homes or facilities.
We credit Gov. Cuomo for understanding the need for comprehensive reforms, and proposing the creation of the justice center, which will help ensure the safety of those of us who depend on others to live valued lives in our communities like any other citizen.
We believe the key pieces of this legislation — a 24/7 statewide hotline to report abuse, uniform definitions of abuse across service systems, and a justice center — will provide us with the ability to hold people accountable and will make a difference in our lives.
More will have to be done in the months and years ahead, and we will continue to advocate for all who need care and support. For instance, along with the governor’s reforms, we encourage the development of a code of ethics. Specifically, we recommend the code put forth by our friends at the National Association of Direct Support Professionals. How different it would be for those of us who receive services if every day, and in every interaction with people with disabilities, direct support professionals kept in mind the first statement from the Code of Ethics: “As a direct support professional, my first allegiance is to the person I support; all other activities and functions I perform flow from this allegiance.”
Finally, we salute the thousands of caring and dedicated staff who support us with respect every day. We especially appreciate those who stand up for the people they support and report abuse when they see it.
The writers are, respectively, immediate past president and co-director of policy for SANYS.
‘Progressives’ shouldn’t interfere with Constitution
The United States is an exceptional nation. It is exceptional because, unlike most nations, it has a birthday: July 4, 1776.
On that day, America declared its independence from a king and boldly stated that men have inalienable rights, awarded by God to all men — not rights granted by a king or the state.
America is also exceptional in that its founders knew that to maintain independence and freedom for the long term would be extremely difficult. Quoting Thomas Jefferson: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” To safeguard against this, the Founders did their best to devise a system of checks and balances between three branches of government to help ensure that the central government would have defined and limited powers.
Unfortunately, even the best of plans can be thwarted by “progressives” who think that the Constitution must adapt to changing times. What progressives do not realize is that the ideals and principles of the Constitution are timeless, and they must not be adjusted to current, populist ideas and should only be modified via lawful constitutional amendment, for example the 19th Amendment, providing women the right of suffrage.
Writer’s take on Glenville ‘disaster’ was right on
Re May 21 letter, “No wonder Glenville can’t keep up with bulk pickup”: Hats off to Mike Aragosa for his recent opinion on the bulk pickup that made Glenville look like a disaster area.
I, too, have driven through the town more than once and wondered why people would put out what they did, in the manner in which they did.
Your paper allows Mr. Aragosa to publish his opinions, but responsible letters should also attempt to provide solutions. His did just that and made complete sense. I hope the town adopts his suggestions.
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