Don’t take away our right to self-protect

*Don't take away our right to self-protect *No confidence in the Albany school board *Worship the sa

Don’t take away our right to self-protect

Re Feb. 1 letter, “Require gun permits to buy ammunition”: Great idea. Or is it? Al Capone and Bugs Moran would have loved the idea.

Can you imagine the money that could be made buying a box of bullets and selling them for four times the price?

The biggest problem with guns is the justice system. Don’t give a sentence to a criminal, then reduce it, no reduced time with plea bargaining, etc. Start holding judges responsible for releasing criminals early, who then go out and commit crimes over and over again. Let’s tie the hands of all law-abiding people. Remember if someone wants something, they’ll get it one way or another.

The next move for lawmakers would have to be to enact a law that would require keeping track of how many rounds you fired at a range or hunting, etc.

I am thankful to live in a state that allows me to protect myself.

Joe Statile

Conway, South Carolina

The writer is a former area resident.

No confidence in the Albany school board

I submit to you a community’s vote of no-confidence with the current Albany City School District (ACSD) board leadership.

I experienced a restless and sleepless night after attending an Albany City School Board meeting that was dismissive and deceitful about the superintendent’s resignation. The ACSD forced resignation from our superintendent Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, known as Dr. “V,” was without cause.

The Board leadership thought it justified to alert the media, internal school personnel, and community of their decision. During the board meeting, board President Kenny Bruce read the resignation declaration without professionalism, any remorse, neutrality or empathy in his voice. He smugly and insidiously read and announced Dr. V’s resignation. During his reading, it was clear that the board meeting attendees were displeased, disheartened, dismayed and shocked.

Immediately following the reading of the resignation, public comment began. Speakers conveyed the majority of meeting attendee’s outrage with the entire situation. Adding insult to the events already occurred, an older white male yelled disparaging, erroneous, biased, and racist claims about Albany graduation rates, single parents and their inability to raise productive citizens and he declared that black fathers were uninvolved in the lives of their children. Wow.

The upsetting part for me, as a black male, a surrogate father and a co-parent, is that this uninformed man believed it was acceptable to insult, denigrate and vilify in front of black males. Moreover, I am appalled about his arrogance and dismissive behavior because his comments reflected a type of dismissiveness by others that is commonly associated with privilege.

His racist comments were applauded by a few attendees near his seat. This action infuriated and upset many because his ignorance and behavioral display was unchallenged by Kenny.

Upon completion of his public comment, he then colonized a board member’s personal space who was visibly upset by all that occurred. At this point, he shouted to a community resident “are you a thug” to which the comment incited anger among most attendees. Fortunately, he was escorted out of the room before any one was physically harmed.

Most disturbing about the ACSD meeting was the undercurrent of racism not acknowledged or addressed. The board decision to force Dr. V to resign appears to be a scapegoat tactic for our under performing district. The meeting invalidated the work of volunteers who have supported under performing schools since September 2015. The board’s action gives no consideration or acknowledgement of the Community Engagement Team charged to help improve matters.

As a taxpayer, a homeowner, a product of the public school system and a foster parent to a student who attended the Albany High School, I am outraged that no significant improvement has occurred under any superintendent challenged to improve graduation rates and removal from persistent under performing schools in the system.

The impact of systemic, structural and individual racism continues to plague the Albany City School District and is embedded in the attitudes of a few who are making decisions for an urban district that represents over 70 percent of students of color. Given the lack of consciousness about racism, the struggles our youth face to be educated, and the board’s acceptance of a narrative that does not represent a majority is totally un-American. Our problems remain.

Therefore, I submit a vote of no confidence against the current board leader and other officers.

Barry D. Walston


The writer is a volunteer of Hackett’s community engagement team.

Worship the saints, not the reliquaries

Re the Feb. 1 Gazette front page story, “Saint Kateri supporters hope to buy reliquary”: I have always had difficulty with worshiping reliquaries; it borders on idolatry to me.

We are supposed to celebrate the lives of saints as models of Christian living. To break up a body after death and put it on display violates my sense of decency. To barter the relic compounds the injury.

Shakespeare had it right when he wrote as his epitaph: “Good friends for Jesus sake forebear to dig the dust enclosed herein. Blest be he who spares these stones and curst be he that moves my bones.”

James A. Bailey


Communities should be thankful for vets

Being a vet living in Niskayuna for the past 48 years, I read with interest the Jan. 27 article, “Veterans ask school board for tax break.”

Yes, most vets like me are older and living on a fixed income; we could use the support of the alternative veterans exemption. Interestingly enough, some surrounding school districts already offer this, so I’m told.

Also, as Bill McCale, a former Marine captain, offers, “We need to ask ourselves what kind of community we want this to be. And when there is an opportunity to show appreciation for our veterans, shame on us not to take it.”

I love to have young people say to me, “Thank you for your service.” Further, you could imagine my elation when one of my grandchildren offered me a gift of a t-shirt with the following: “If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.”

So nice to be thanked.

Owen D. South


Rebuilding Together grateful for support

On behalf of Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, I want to thank this wonderful community for the support we receive all year long in helping our neighbors stay warm, safe and dry.

We are grateful and continue to be humbled by your support, which enables us to partner with our community volunteers, corporate sponsors and paid contractors to all come together with one goal in mind — helping our neighbors in need.

Next time it rains, think about the new roof you helped us install for a family with children. When you shower, think about the wheelchair-accessible shower unit you helped us install, allowing someone to bathe for the first time in months.

When you leave your home, think about the ramp you helped us build, allowing the homeowner to actually leave her home for the first time in eight months.

We have grown by leaps and bounds since our beginnings in 2003 and that is because of you — our community of volunteers and donors who support us. We are Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and we can’t do it without you.

We sincerely thank our donors of all levels, from our premier sponsor — The Saratoga Builder’s Association — to our Pizza Patrons.

We are fortunate to live in such a giving community.

Michelle Larkin


The writer is the executive Director of Rebuilding Together Saratoga County.

Categories: Letters to the Editor

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