Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Tuesday, March 23


Charter schools no answer to education

It’s dumbfounding that a charter school is again being proposed for Schenectady. Have we not already lived through the grift that is charter schools?
To remind anyone not around for the past decades or unaware of this education de-form, charter schools are terrible for the public from any perspective. Charters draw immense public funding away from already underfunded districts like Schenectady. Charters operate independently of democratically elected school boards and are thus completely unaccountable to the community.
Admission is application-based, which means that charters skim the top layers of students, have no obligation to serve everyone, and thus charters leave school districts with less money to educate the students with the most need.
Their usually non-union teachers do not all need to meet the state’s teacher qualifications. Twenty-five percent close within five years, 40% within 10 years, and 50% within 15 years.
Schenectady itself has already seen that failure with the International Charter School’s closure a decade ago. The most damning reality of all is that charters do not even accomplish their primary claim: improving educational outcomes.
Of the charters that survive, and even with all the advantages, decades of data from across the country has shown that on average charters do not perform any better than regular public schools. As a private business operated at public expense and beyond any public control, charters represent the worst aspects of neoliberal capitalism.
To use a phrase: Schenectady needs a charter school like it needs a hole in the head.
Samuel Rose

Ensure accusations are in right context

As much as I have heard about sexual harassment in the workplace I can’t understand why after being governor of New York since 2011 this is suddenly coming to light now.
Surely this type of behavior was the same in 2011 as it is now.
I watched Charlotte Bennett’s interview with Norah O’Donnell and read the excerpts from the New York Times. There is no doubt she was shaken up. However, as a survivor of a sexual assault, it is easy to conclude that her radar in that perceived atmosphere or potential situation was pinging loudly.
I don’t doubt the conversations between her and Gov. Cuomo took place, but sometimes leaping to a conclusion that “He didn’t get what he wanted” (CBS interview) can be easily taken out of context.
I am sure many of us throughout our lives have asked some uncomfortable questions or made some off-color comments to either co-workers, friends and even family members. I also understand that flirting and sexual innuendo within conversations can be taken many different ways.
Is it really sexual harassment?
We also know a woman that had the courage to leave an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her children and go to a shelter. Bravery, to me, that is unparalleled. However more often than not, she would categorize many men as abusers. No doubt, once again, the radar was pinging loudly. When someone is disliked as Gov. Cuomo is to many, it’s easy to villainize him.
Bob Belive

Minimum wage no match for NFL pay

Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, just signed a four-year contract worth $160 million. A minimum wage worker (paid $7.25 an hour) makes about $16,000 a year. At that rate he would have to work 10,000 years to equal Prescott’s four years.
David Childs


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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Joseph Vendetti

Mr. Belive:

Sexual Harassment in the workplace can and does take many forms. It doesn’t have to be physical unwanted touching. If someone in power makes “water cooler” or sexual innuendo talk uncomfortable its by law sexual harassment.

The Governor came right out and said that his actions when looking at them in hindsight were inappropriate. He was “trying” to mentor, make women feel comfortable, etc.

Ok – so he has admitted it. Why do we even need to waste millions of tax payer dollars on an investigation???

I would be 100% happy if the man just said – I’ve had a great run in NY, done some good things, but I’m not going to run for a 4th term.


I admit to being puzzled by the comments about the governor’s behavior to female subordinates. Given his nursing home actions he should have already been tossed out the door! As for the aggrieved females I hope each take the ousted governor to the cleaners.

William Marincic

Samuel Rose Charter schools have shown that they will give you a better education than a public school, they have also shown that you don’t have to pay a teacher as much money to get a good education as we have also seen with private school, Catholic schools, Christian schools all of those schools will give you a better education and the teachers are making about 50% of what a public school teacher makes. Hmmmmm. When the Republicans take control again in 2024 one of the first things on the table will be school choice which should’ve been on the table in the first two years of the Trump administration, I was disappointed but hopeful that we will see it again.

William Marincic

Gallup’s 2017 Work and Education poll found that 61% of parents whose children attend charter schools rate the education they receive as excellent or good, compared to 47% of parents whose children attend public schools.Jun 1, 2020

William Aiken

Samuel Rose is advocating the status quo for education that has repressed poor minority students, keeping them trapped in failing government schools. The Teacher Union opposes Charter Schools because they challenge the TU’s monopoly on the education system. Competition produces a better product. Without it, our schools have no incentive to improve and up their game.


Mr. Vendetti,
I agree with you about wasting millions on an investigation. And yes he should move on. It just seems to me that sometimes these accusations are blown so out of proportion that they border on the absurd. More often than not is is better to walk away from someones stupid comments or actions rather than make a federal case out of it.


A fine suggestion with only one fault. Walking away from your poorly boss is i n only practical for those who are financially independent. As for the rest of us it is not!

Well-stated and reasoned letter Samuel. Our public schools are underfunded as it is without siphoning resources to charter schools that get to pick and choose who attends, aren’t accountable to the public that funds them, and according to every research paper I’ve read, don’t perform any better or worse than public schools. The federal government spends $80 billion on primary and secondary education, and over $700 billion on defense every year. Really shows where our priorities lie.

Joseph Vendetti


Underfunded? Matt you realized the cost in the City of Schenectady School District works out to $21,000 per student? Thats about 3x the price of yearly tuition at CBA, about 5x the price of yearly tuition at LaSalle, Catholic High, Bishop Gibbons, & Bishop Maginn.

At these schools the graduation rates, tests scores, attendance, etc blows the more expensive education out of the water. So how much more tax payer money would you suggest to make them not “under funded”? And then would that funding reverse the poor graduation rates? Scores? Etc?

You should know better than to compare those two schools. There is absolutely no comparison between the needs of an elite Catholic School and those of an urban public city school.
Shame on you for trying to make that comparison.

Joseph Vendetti


The price to educate a student at Mohonasen, Schalmont, Shen, Niskayuna etc hovers around the same dollar per student ($18,500-$22,500) accept they have some higher grad rates & test scores.

The point was Matt said schools are underfunded- there are no public schools in NY that are underfunded. Private schools do more with less, something our state, local & federal governments should try.

I think Larry Spring would strongly disagree with you.
I stand by my statement. If you want to compare these schools you need to compare the communities they serve. The formula for the way state funds are distributed has been flawed for a long time. I’m no expert on it but I’ve followed the good work people like Spring did to improve it.


Your use of the term underfunded is inaccurate! If people want to provide more money to their local school system they can raise their school taxes. If school systems wanted to spend more on students they would have one school administrative unit for each county.

Why should the Federal government provide money for locally made decisions?

The ability to spend other peoples money is widely known to be a recipe for irresponsible behavior!

William Marincic

Democrats continue to blame poor graduation rates on underfunding. The biggest mistake was allowing Jimmy Carter to create the Department of Education in 1979. When I grew up we had one teacher for 35 kids and we learned more than kids learn today. Today in my grandson’s class there are 15 kids two Co-teachers, a student teacher, and a teacher’s aid. Do you see the problem yet?


While mourning the loss of the 10 people killed in the mass shooting in the Boulder, Colo., Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), an outspoken gun-rights advocate, said now was not the time to “advance a political agenda.”

Can’t wrap my head around why attempting to help prevent mass shootings by implementing universal background checks isn’t a no brainer for representatives on both sides of the isle.

Compliments of the gun industry’s biggest fan:
In a Twitter post this Tuesday the group said that in the wake of the shooting, now is not the time to discuss gun control and warned against “emotional sensationalism” in regards the mass shooting that left 10 people dead, including a police officer.

“[W]e must rally around those who are enduring the loss of those whom they knew, loved and cherished. We must not provide notoriety, fame, or press to a murderous monster,” the Twitter post read. “Do not speak the killer’s name. Do no write the killer’s name. Do not post the killer’s name. This person deserves nothing to be remembered of him.

“There will be a time for debate on gun laws. There will be a time for a discussion on motives. There will be a time for a conversation on how this could have been prevented. But today is not the time. Today is the time for grieving and healing,” the post continued.
The small but loud Ted Cruz says we should go after the mentally defective, not “lawful gun owners”. The NRA and it’s legacy of corruption and sedition make a good starting point.


Ted Cruz says we should go after the mentally defective, not “lawful gun owners”.

If that were the case he would never own a gun.

Because one party is controlled by the NRA and their fringe, heavily-armed lunatic base, and the other is the party of sensibility and reason. Even Antonin Scalia, in his landmark Heller decision said that the 2A is not unlimited, and is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. But in today’s GOP, it might as well have been RBG writing that opinion. Real responsible gun owners I talk to believe in more restrictive gun laws, as does over 60% of the country, but the GOP doesn’t care what their voters want, only what their loony, insurrectionist, Q-Anon-believing base wants.

I’ve hesitated to comment on sexual harassment in general because as a male I’ve rarely been harassed, but also from my male perspective I’ve been stunned and saddened by the number of other men I’ve encountered who seemed capable of and demonstrated a sense of entitlement over women (not to mention other races). And it goes both ways, I’ve known women who knew how to abuse men, sometimes with false accusations of harassment, but they’re a tiny fraction of the whole.

That said, the political and ideologically intense times we find ourselves in now call for restraint in who we point fingers at. We’ve just seen the passing of a twice impeached (indicted) President who has yet to answer for his crimes, and a supporting cast of characters willing to follow him into a false sense of victimhood over losing. His political party has also shown extremist, violent tendencies which we have yet to see the limits of. With that backdrop, a concerted campaign to bring down an otherwise successful Governor of the other party (a Governor who made the President look like a bumbling, narcissistic fool simply by being competent) should be expected, and they know that tossing around the sexual harassment accusations are a very effective (and sleazy) way to dent an opponent. That’s a reality.

It’s especially sad to see so many Democrats willing to toss the Governor under the bus in light of this environment. Shades of the Al Franken affair, but the other side watched and knew they could easily throw this grenade into the public discourse and continue the mayhem.

This isn’t to take Cuomo’s side, nor diminish these womens’ claims. There are two investigations going on and as Cuomo rightfully states, let’s get the facts, let’s let the investigations finish. Notably there were no claims of “witch hunts”, or insults or threats of revenge as the other side lets fly with glee. Just let’s get the facts.

Last week it was shown 53% of NYS voters did not want him to resign. Call us the Silent Sane Majority.

Martha Bencic

“Insane” woman weighing in here, Chuck. He broke the law- specifically the one HE signed, and he admitted it (partially- he still denies putting his hands on anyone). He needs to go NOW (pun intended). The goal is zero tolerance for sexual harassment. If the other side is willing to tolerate it, that’s their problem. I don’t want to support a party that looks the other way because it’s “their” guy. Enough hypocrisy and ENOUGH misogyny. Almost all of you men need to go take a seat, keep your mouths shut and ffs, keep your hands to yourselves.

Oh, and the nursing home coverup should have people screaming for his resignation/ impeachment. What the hell.

That sure wasn’t my suggestion.
Reread the comments you’re reacting to.


With the one exception to Martha’s “well said” zero tolerance for sexual harassment is when it applies to Donald Trump.

Would that include the statewide law enforcement revisions he mandated?
Would that also include the leadership he showed during the height of the pandemic (that got him elected to Chair of the Association of Governors)?
How about the Marriage Equality Act?

Will you be holding him accountable for those too?
AGAIN, i’m not defending him. I’m simply pointing out it’s a little more complicated than just screeching for his head.
And there is this thing called “due process”.


Chuck, I believe Martha’s accountable for everything comment is making reference to my post about Trump when answering Joe, not about Cuomo. Sometimes these lines get twisted.

Yes, I can see that. Thanks.
But to Martha: I stand by my points wrt dealing with Cuomo.

Martha Bencic

Interesting use of the word “screeching,” Chuck. I don’t think you’d use that particular word if you thought I was a guy.

Cuomo has done nothing but drag ass on progressive legislation/ used the IDC to slow it down or block it. All credit goes to the progressives that didn’t let up until he acted (albeit reluctantly). He’s gone back on his word on bail reform (a classist, racist system). Still dragging on legalizing weed, taxing the rich. He’s surrounded himself with Republicans/ former R’s. Wiki the Moreland Commission if you aren’t familiar with that fiasco. Witness his hand picked JCOPE blocking a subpoena RIGHT NOW that would shed light on what he’s up to (see TU article on that). Witness him canceling the presidential primary in NY last year, using covid as a cover (he backed down when sued by Yang, Sanders and the ACLU). He literally tried to take away YOUR right to vote and almost got away with it. That is the absolute height of evil.

As for due process, if impeachment proceedings start, he only has to step aside, not resign. And if impeached, Tish James’ investigation will still proceed.

If you were fooled by his acting/ Emmy-winning performance at the height of the pandemic, that’s on you for not scratching beneath the surface.

I reiterate my call for you to sit down and be quiet- er, stop “screeching”.

Cool it, Martha. I’m on your side. You must’ve missed that in your rage.
I certainly don’t need your demonstration of “mansplaining” of the issues surrounding Cuomo. I could have cited the very same issues you brought up as Cuomo disappointments. As a Sanders supporter (and the ONLY reason I’m registered Dem), the attempted cancellation of the NY Primaries left me with a particularly bitter taste. He doesn’t make the call, but I have no doubt he leaned into the Board of Elections to do so.

My problem with you and the rest of the shrieking mob is that you’re not seeing the forest for the sickly Cuomo trees. Does it matter that the entire Republican Party is side-by-side with you? You bet it does because this kind of thing is right out of their playbook. As I said before, the depths of depravity that this party’s capable of knows no bounds and feeding into this anti-Cuomo frenzy is red meat for them. The only skill they’ve been able to demonstrate is monkey-wrenching. How easily you forget that. A proper investigation by the capable AG James (a breath of fresh air, in my book) will hopefully sort this out. So please put the pitchfork away until this is sorted out.

Speaking of pitchforks, here’s a little insight into me: I come from a tight-knit extended family of a long line of dairy farmers. My mother and her two sisters and brother grew up knowing how to push cattle around, toss hay bales all day and fend off sketchy farm hands and other farmers. They don’t pull punches and let you know how they feel and can drink and swear with the most seasoned trucker, and they can see right through you. “Salt of the earth”, as they say. I was raised by strong women and knew very early in life that women deserve the same place in society as men, and I’m the same way (even in real life). If I think you’re screeching I’ll tell you and I don’t give a damn if you’re a man or woman or other.

And one other thing: Thank you for the PSA below.

Martha Bencic

Chuck, I bet you think Cy Vance is going to save us all too.

I will not “cool it”. Your dairy farm stories don’t impress me. I have stories about that particular kind of Peyton Place and they are brutal.

Joseph Vendetti


All Republicans don’t agree on every issue! All Democrats don’t agree on every issue! Nor should they. Following a blind belief that every Democrat is right and every Republican is wrong or vise versa is the reason why we have the messes in this Country.

Frankly the more stories that come out about Governor Cuomo the more he appears to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Trump was to dumb to be that – he is a wolf in wolfs clothing.

1.) Cuomo has been bullying other politicians, reporters, and frankly anyone with a different opinion this his for years;
2.) Cuomo manipulated nursing home data;
3.) Cuomo profited with a book deal on Covid based on that data;
4.) Cuomo has been accused now by 9 women (current & former workers);

So Martha has every right to feel the way she does!

We’re blowing a great opportunity, Joe.

Democrats/Liberals/Progressives could be demonstrating American ideals and withholding judgement until the courts and law enforcement officials sort it out, and indictments or censures are meted out.

But no, what I hear and read is hysteria with a laser focus (and a detectable amount of glee) on the Governor. A Democrat for better or worse. And there’s certainly no shortage of “you’re with him, or against him” attitude. This is a politician who was reelected twice, elected to be Chair of the National Governors’ Association and at least is being given some space to defend himself by 53% of the voters.
And I know right now some will read that as a defense of Cuomo.

It. is. not.

This is the state of play in this game. This is not the previous President in whom it was hard to find good in. If you’d step back and try to see the big picture maybe you’d see it’s more nuanced than bullying the bully.

Or is that the image you want the Democrats to portray? Is that now the new reality?
Mob rule, got it.

I appreciate your hopefulness that all Dems and all Reps don’t think alike but 74 million proudly pronounced their inability to think for themselves, and their politicians are following them right along. This isn’t a matter of simply differing viewpoints, it’s a nearly monolithic, march-in-step spectacle following a fantasy, versus reality. But I also think this calls for a unified response, the iron fist in the velvet glove.
The Left is always gonna have diverse viewpoints, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But this is beyond reason.

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