New York

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, June 15

Your Voice

New Yorkers pay too much for education

In the June 9 story about Johnston school budget issues, it’s implied the school board was somewhat irresponsible for keeping tax increases at reasonable levels.
As noted, the levy increased by a total of 55 percent from 2003. 
Looking at additional statistics from the same time period, the Social Security Administration says the average salary has gone up close to 50 percent, while $100 then would be worth $138.88 today, less than a 34 percent increase. So salaries and the cost of living all fall in line with the Johnston increases (and the costs of the people actually paying the tax bills). So this seems very reasonable to me.
The article pointed out Broadalbin’s 160 percent increase, which unless coupled with increased student enrollment is a prime example of extreme irresponsibility.
And we hear so much talk about out-of-control college costs and increases. But when it comes to K-12, there is never enough money. Consider this, Burnt Hills spent $21,990 per K-12 student last year, according to the latest data. Compare to SUNY Geneseo, where full- time students pay $22,260 total, of which $13,214 covers room and board, items not covered at BHBL.
People complain about the cost of college but in New York, it’s actually significantly cheaper than your local high school. Thank goodness for the tax cap.
William Farmer
Burnt Hills

Palliative care rules need to be reformed

I always look forward to reading Sara Foss’ informative columns. But the one on June 4 was one that really hit home with me because of my experience one year ago with the palliative care system as stated in the Medicare Law.
The New York Conference of Retired Americans in April passed a resolution addressing my issue about the present Medicare law on palliative care.
I was the caregiver for my husband, who had Alzheimer’s and a blood disorder.
Not wanting to discontinue his treatments, we opted for palliative care instead of hospice.
When we wanted to go to our home in St. Lawrence County, where my husband could enjoy sitting on the deck overlooking the lake. Otherwise he was a prisoner in his own house. We were told we needed to be home-bound in Schenectady county to receive palliative care. 
Medicare states three reasons to leave your home: go to doctor appointments, go to church or to hair appointments.
These restrictive and punitive Medicare rules need to be loosened or eliminated to be in accordance with the best practices for palliative care and provide the best care for each patient.
It’s important to know the three reasons that are allowed for a patient to leave home while getting palliative care and to make changes for the quality of life of all.
Mary Pritchard

May be time to end the Israel experiment

Sadly, Bruce Tractenberg, in his May 23 letter, and others of his ilk overlook the terrorist actions of Israel: shooting unarmed civilians, forced detentions, appropriation of property, assassination of politicians, destruction of infrastructure, the list of Israeli crimes goes on.
But he does bring up a good point: Israel’s right to exist.
Israel was created out of a collective European/American guilt over the Holocaust. It was the last gasp of colonial powers in an already largely post-colonial world.
A nascent Israel then terrorized, rounded up, or otherwise routed the resisters and totally disenfranchised them of their property rights.
The original terrorists in the Middle East? Jews. Doubt that? Look up the King David Hotel bombing or the Irgun policy. 
The reason Bruce Trachtenberg and other Zionists can get away with all of their wild claims about the inherent goodness of Israel and label any criticism as “anti-Semitic” is because of Americans’ lack of world knowledge.
If someone came to the community where my family had lived for a thousand years, decided they liked it and stole it, forced us to live in tin shacks in a ghetto with limited access, limited building supplies, even limited calories (Israel has at times calculated and limited per capita caloric intake), I guess I’d probably be angry too.
The so-called terrorism in the Middle East was entirely predictable, and it has been largely aided and abetted by the United States. 
But one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. It may be time to end the experiment called Israel, and return the land to those who had owned it for centuries.
James Van Dijk
Saratoga Springs

Cuomo should make  declawing cats illegal

I urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign into law the bill to make declawing of cats illegal in New York. New York stands for reason and compassion and should be the first in the nation to ban this cruel practice.
It’s barbaric and inhumane to declaw a cat. People rationalize that it’s best for the cat. But anyone who genuinely loves and respects their feline friends would never declaw.
As far as permitting this abusive practice to continue “as a last resort,” I say no. It’s too easy to bend the truth to suit an expedient owner. Animals should not be treated as disposable commodities.
Stand up to the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and pass a law with teeth, claws and integrity. How a society treats its animal companions is telling.
Rosemary Christoff Dolan

No U.S. interference in Venezuela’s affairs

In my May 2 letter, I stated incorrectly that the current president of Venezuela won “the 2018 election widely recognized worldwide as fairly conducted.” A leading candidate was blocked from participation and the election was highly flawed. I regret the error.
Nevertheless I still believe the United States has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela, topple the Venezuelan government or strangle the Venezuelan economy with devastating sanctions now in place.
In late April, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research published a report on the negative impacts of U.S. sanctions, which stated there “is no doubt that all of these sanctions since August 2017 have had severe impacts on human life  and health.”
The sanctions may have caused over 40,000 deaths in 2017-2018, and more than 300,000 people are at risk due to lack of access to medicines or treatment, including thousands who depend on antiretroviral treatments, dialysis treatments or who have cancer.  
The report said the sanctions “are a death sentence for tens of thousands of people who cannot leave the country to find medicines elsewhere.”  Food imports declined from $11 billion in 2013 to $2.5 billion last year, intensifying hunger and malnutrition.   
The report said the sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration are illegal under the charter of the Organization of American States, international human rights law, and treaties signed by the United States.
I favor a Venezuelan national referendum and fair elections without U.S. threats and sanctions.    
Tom Ellis

Farm labor demands will hurt small farms

I see that farm workers are demanding overtime and the right to organize.
I find this disingenuous, since the farmers that employ them are themselves working excessive hours and still operating at a loss, i.e. they aren’t paid anything.
In chess, several moves are required for checkmate. On one hand, the federal government sets milk prices below the cost of production for most of the small and humane farms. They force agribusiness to go large and run crowded factory farms in order to make money and at the same time destroy any competition from local or family farms. Most farmers are independent to their own detriment and are mainly interested in farming, not politics. 
The checkmate move now comes from the labor required to run the farm.
We are used to getting benefits at the expense of others. Some make the analogy  that milk costs more than gasoline. However, l don’t need to buy 40 gallons of milk a week to survive. Most of us can afford to pay a fair price for milk and in so doing preserve family farms.
Farm-family children are leaving the business. When their parents are driven out or quit, we are dead.
As one said, “Unless you can raise your own meat and produce, don’t complain about farmers with your mouth full.”
Bruce Martindale

No, Trump is not a backer of Neo-Nazis

Regarding Michael Boehm’s June 6 letter, (Is this how you make America great again?), when has President Trump ever said there are good Neo-Nazis? The only instance that is mistakenly referred to are his comments having to do with the Charlottesville’s protest march of taking down Robert E. Lee’s statue. Yes, there were Neo-Nazis there, but there were also good, common folk protesting. So when President Trump said, “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” he’s referring to the good, common folk. Trump specifically disavows the Neo-Nazis throughout the interview; the transcript can easily be found online. Mr. Boehm subtlety associates Trump as a Neo-Nazi, a point that can be further refuted. First, Trump was in Europe commemorating the D-Day invasion, which led to the defeat of the Nazis, something that a Nazi sympathizer would find difficult to participate in.
Second, Trump is arguably the most pro-Jewish president we have ever had, having moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that no other president could muster the courage to do. MAGA.
Mark Brockbank

No driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants

Hmmm, driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants to “make it easier for them to get to work” huh?
Well, that’s a fantastic solution on how to aid and abet illegal immigrantion. Just tell me why? They can get into our country, get hired and pay no taxes, but when they can’t get to work, we just give them licenses? Have we gone mad? This is the biggest bunch of lunacy I have seen in a long time. I know, some of you feel righteously sympathetic to those who raise the rates of everything in our country for yourselves and others, and you feel the need to help these folks.
Instead of licenses, let’s give them paperwork. Good ol’ immigration paperwork that they fill out, wait however long the legal process works, and let them become legal citizens. Anything short of that, you might as well give the country away.
Does anyone else see the door opening for them to get other documents once they secure a New York state driver’s license? It’s just mind blowing that our governor is even considering this. Oh wait, it’s votes for him. Now I get it. 
Brian Baldwin
Burnt Hills

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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