Categories: Letters to the Editor
Elect energetic voices to Mohonasen board
Re May 7 letter, “Set politics aside and solve education crisis,” Dominic Cafarelli obviously hasn’t been paying attention as he credits the test refusal movement to the teachers.
The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union was late to join. And although they helped increase the numbers, they are not the impetus behind the movement. Parents are. I’m not sure how long Mr. Cafarelli has served on the board, but he and other board members who have served and done nothing while the state and federal government have seized control of our schools are the real reason test refusals have increased to record levels this year.
School boards should be defending local control, defending students against excessive testing, defending districts against the Race to the Top and Common Core initiatives. But instead, they have accepted the changes without questioning and without resistance.
Mr. Cafarelli ends his letter with ”working towards a solution, we can get back to the job of educating our students.” The question parents should be asking is why is it taking so long for the school board to come up with a solution?
Mohonasen residents should stop waiting and elect new board members, Chad McFarland, Pat Ryan and Pamela Young.
Grateful for service of firefighters, police
On Wednesday night [May 6], it was the smell of smoke that brought forth a reminder of the importance of serving others and the community.
We were just wrapping up a Bible study at Rotterdam United Methodist Church when we were made aware of the smell of smoke in the area of the church office.
An immediate phone call was made to 911, and within a few short minutes, three fire departments responded to our church building on the corner of Curry Road and Helderberg Avenue. It turned out to be a relatively small electrical issue, but it took the combined efforts of quite a few firefighters to discover the source and ensure the safety of the church building.
Amid a parking lot filled with flashing lights, we were reminded of the importance of serving others as we watched volunteer firefighters from Rotterdam Fire District 2, Carman Fire Department, and Fort Hunter Fire Department, along with officers from the Rotterdam Police Department.
Our community is blessed to have a caring police force and such dedicated men and women who volunteer to serve as firefighters. They are truly community servants who are committed to protecting and helping others.
We, the people of Rotterdam United Methodist Church, are tremendously grateful for each responder who showed up on Wednesday night. Thank you for your service to the communities you serve. We will pray for your continued safety.
Rev. Karen Smith
The writer is pastor of the Rotterdam United Methodist Church.
Barbara Mauro has earned another term
I was truly saddened to open the paper and see Mr. Steve Benton’s May 6 letter. I had thought as a community we had moved beyond the negativity of 2013-14. It is truly unfortunate that people wish to handcuff our community and return to chaos and turmoil.
With all the positive accomplishments that have been made over the last year, I simply cannot comprehend this pattern of thought. If folks in the Niskayuna community wish to return to the dysfunctional years where the focus was clearly on personal agendas with little or no consideration for our kids’ future … well, that is your right.
The past year has solidified to me that when we focus on the correct topics, show committed leadership and support our kids, teachers and staff, we are able to move a great school system to be even greater.
What voters need to focus on is not the negativity of the past, but what are we going to do next and who the correct folks are to get us there. Barbara Mauro has committed a lot of time and effort into our school system. I have never questioned her dedication, understanding of the issues or honesty. If people wish to dwell on the negative, they must also understand the many positive aspects Barbara has brought forward for the schools and our community.
I hope Niskayuna voters will not be swayed by negativity, but look hard at what has been accomplished in the past year. Please remember those accomplishments have not been achieved by any one individual, but by a collection of experience, cooperation, debate, compromise and seven people working to achieve the best possible environment for our students, staff and community.
Let’s not forget Barbara is one of those seven, and credit needs to be given where it is due; I have enjoyed learning from Barbara over this past year, and while we don’t always agree on issues, I hold her in the highest respect and enjoy working with her.
It is my hope that our community will see past this negativity and support the folks who have proven they have the experience and have displayed their commitment to move our school system forward as Barbara Mauro has.
Stop hurting workers to balance the budget
As a member of the American Federation of Government Employees [AFGE], I work hard for my pay and retirement. You have probably heard that government retirement is on the chopping block. But what you may not know is how much we have already sacrificed in the name of deficit reduction. Workers, like myself and my colleagues, have already given $159 billion for deficit reduction; that’s billion with a “b.”
Some politicians in the House and Senate have passed a new federal budget that digs even further into our retirement security, our health insurance and our pay. These budgets will nearly octuple the amount I pay for my retirement plan without increasing my benefits by a cent. This represents a permanent pay cut, or three weeks of lost pay every year, for the rest of my career.
My colleagues and I have done more than our fair share and continue to provide services that the American public has come to rely on. Government workers like me have sacrificed enough — not only have we paid more than our fair share in our economy, but more than 40 percent of federal employees are veterans. We cannot continue to treat our federal employees like an ATM.
It’s time for politicians to stop scapegoating public servants and focus on delivering quality services to the American people.
The writer is secretary-treasurer for AFGE Local 3343.
Garrow brings fresh ideas to Mohonasen
I would like to talk about the Mohonasen school board election coming up. There are seven candidates to fill three positions and quite a myriad of candidates.
Looking them over, one candidate stands out considerably. Dan Garrow is by far the youngest candidate and I feel this is a tremendous asset to his list of qualifications. He was a student at Mohonasen just a few years ago. This alone provides us with first-hand experience and a fresh look at some of the issues facing the students and faculty.
Dan Garrow has been out and about in all of our neighborhoods going door to door, talking to the people in the area and listening to their comments about the district. He is energetic, intelligent and by far the most dedicated candidate listed.
I strongly urge everyone who is in the Mohonasen school district to take a good look at each candidate and you will see for yourself the one who stands out. It’s time we bring some new and younger blood to the table, with youth, fresh ideas, enthusiasm and sincere concern. Dan Garrow is, by far, the right choice.