Drescher will put district above self
In choosing a candidate for the upcoming Niskayuna school board election, scheduled for May 17, it is crucial to consider what and who the candidates represent.
Joseph Drescher represents Niskayuna. As a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician with Niskayuna Fire District 2, he selflessly gives his time (and at times, safety) to our community. Whether it is weekends, late nights, or holidays, Joseph Drescher will put us, our safety and our best interests above his own.
I truly have no doubt that Joseph will bring the same bravery and service to the Niskayuna school board.
As an attorney, he brings the same level of dedication to his clients. He zealously advocates for clients and will look at a case from every possible angle to achieve the best result for those that he serves. As a family law attorney, specifically, he knows the impact that decisions today may have on families down the road.
That is why, I say with complete confidence, that our entire community will benefit and thrive if Joseph Drescher is elected to the Niskayuna school board. It is in all of our interests to vote for him on May 17.
Need new thinking on clean energy
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort does not have the interests of New Yorkers in mind when he wants to restore local control over the siting of solar energy projects. (https://dailygazette.com/2022/04/24/regaining-local-control-over-large-scale-solar-decisions-priority-for-montgomery-county-exec-in-2022/).
He makes the typical not-in-my-backyard arguments that held up siting of solar and wind power until the creation of the Office of Renewable Energy Siting.
Meeting New York’s climate goals, which are mandated by law, requires a new way of thinking about how our land supports the common good.
If Mr. Ossenfort really had the interests of New Yorkers in mind, he would make very different arguments, such as: Here in Montgomery County we can use our abundant land to generate clean energy.
We can welcome large-scale solar installations, the revenue they will bring to landowners and the payments that will come to our towns. We can take pride in helping fight the climate crisis and take hope by seeing solar power being produced here for the benefit of our fellow New Yorkers.
No, Mr. Ossenfort, it’s not about preserving rural views. It’s about preserving a livable Earth for our children and grandchildren.
That means replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar power. We all have to do our part to make this happen. The state’s political leadership, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, must keep the interests of all New Yorkers in mind and resist calls to slow down solar and wind development. We have no more time to waste.
Charles A. Bishop
Niskayuna must focus on issues now
In the May 1 Gazette article (“’Move forward and do better’”) on changing the Niskayuna emblem, the town supervisor expressed enthusiasm for the project. There should be the same enthused response for fiscal conservatism, lowering taxes and monitoring spending.
During the 2021 campaign, we heard a great deal about the need for process. What process has been employed for hiring now? None! Various positions have been filled without any advertising and interviewing. The positions are the comptroller, whose salary is approximately $128,000; town attorney, salary $80,000 (former attorney’s salary $50,000); an attorney “on call” for $190 an hour; the hiring of a human resources firm; and the supervisor’s secretary, whose salary is approximately $50,000.
Wasn’t there anyone in town hall who could have been promoted to this position? When there’s no hiring process, friends and/or political friends are being hired. As the saying goes, rules for thee but not for me.
There was also a great deal of talk about the need for an independent audit. No one on the board has proposed this. They just keep spending. We heard that there’s a large fund balance. Shouldn’t that be used to lower taxes? No word on that! There was an increase for pool workers from $20 an hour to $24. Wasn’t this a big issue during the campaign? Well, it’s not an issue now. I wonder who will be getting those summer jobs — friends of friends.
A lesson learned is that we need to focus on issues not people.
Constructive dialogue is key to improvement.
Tomisman best for Nisky school board
I would like to state my support for Judy Tomisman for the Niskayuna school board. I have known Judy for many years. Judy is a graduate of Niskayuna schools and SUNY Oneonta. She and her husband raised their four children in Niskayuna. She is a great example of a community activist. She is or has been involved in many community organizations. Niskayuna Community Action Program, Niskayuna Foundation, Niska Day, SiCM, NiskyNow, Schenectady Street Soldiers and Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church have all benefited from her desire to make Niskayuna a better place to live.
Judy has spent 37 years working in child welfare, was involved in Niskayuna PTO and ran the Niskayuna School Craft Fair for three years and coaching Niskayuna Youth Cheerleading.
After speaking with her about her agenda, I decided to support her for school board.
Judy is looking forward to helping the new superintendent understand Niskayuna and with other board members guide him to success. She will make sure we have a fiscally responsible, sound and transparent budget that everyone can understand. And she will work to make sure that students and staff have a safe, happy and supportive place to grow and work.
Words matter when it comes to suicide
How we talk about suicide matters. Thank you, Gazette editors, for your April 27 editorial “Protect Kids From Threat of Suicide.”
Having lost my only child (a kind, compassionate oncologist) to depression, I’m in a position to speak on this subject, especially to media who use unacceptable words: “committed suicide.”
Not criticizing — sharing knowledge. Your editorial references words that should never be used together: “committing suicide.” I used to say this, but now it hurts my ears and, more so, my heart.
Stigmatizing phrases are ingrained in our vocabulary. If you find yourself slipping up, that’s OK. … Correct yourself out loud. Let others know your words were hurtful, thereby offering positive learning. We would not say “committed or successful cancer,” but “died of cancer.” Say “died of suicide.” It will take time, but with effort, we will see a shift in how society addresses this issue. This is the advice of the majority of expert institutions, not my personal opinion.
“Committed suicide” dates back to when suicide was considered a sin or crime. One “commits” adultery, murder, rape. Using the correct terminology with regard to suicide erases stigma, encourages people to seek help, may even save lives.
Saying “died by suicide” helps erase the blame/shame element. If we can save one person by changing our vocabulary, it’s worth it.
Together let’s erase stigma and increase awareness that mental illnesses that can lead to suicide are treatable and often preventable.
Brain health is possible; no one should die in isolation and despair.
Nisky school budget spends too much
The Niskayuna school district just can’t help itself. So, after all this talk about raiding the fund balance of millions to balance a budget, the district receives an increase in state aid of over $5 million. Surely the taxpayers will see no increase and perhaps a decrease in their tax bills this year? Who am I kidding?
They are proposing to not only spend all of the state aid increase, but they figured out how much more they can spend to get right to the district’s limit (tax cap) and increase taxes by 2.87%. They add numerous high-priced positions, bring back old positions, add as many courses as possible resulting in salary increases of $3.3 million, and a benefit increase of just under $2 million. In the history of Niskayuna budgets, never have we seen a 6.8% increase in spending without unfunded mandates involved.
This does not include the capital project approved and just getting underway. This is absolutely ridiculous, but I am certain the residents of this fine town will pass this budget and disregard the numbers as they trust the board and school leaders. Over the years, they have not earned that trust. This is just another budget that overspends what is necessary to provide the great education our students need. Totally unnecessary spending to obtain the same results.
Taxpayers should not be happy with this budget, and our senior citizens trying to afford taxes in Niskayuna should be livid.
The writer is a retired school business administrator.
Mother’s Day a good reminder to get tested
Mother’s Day is celebrated on Sunday (May 8). On this day, and throughout the month, women are encouraged to make a mammography appointment. This day serves as a reminder to all women that the best defense is early detection.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), in 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of breast cancer (men and women combined) are expected to be diagnosed in the United States. The estimated new cases of female breast cancer in 2022 in New York is 17,800. About 2,710 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2022.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start, how often to get a mammogram, and what the best screening options are for them.
Although it is rare, men can get breast cancer. Learn about symptoms of breast cancer in men and things that may increase your risk.
Reduced-cost or free mammograms are available throughout the United States. If you do not have health insurance, the Cancer Services Program offers free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings to women aged 40-64 and men aged 50-64.
Please call 518-841-3726 to see if you are eligible for these services. Take the time to encourage the women in your life to get their mammogram. Their life is worth it.
Wendy Lucas (R)(T), R M
The writer is the Women’s imaging supervisor, St. Mary’s Healthcare RAO Pavilion.
Blame for Mideast conflict is misplaced
I was startled to see in the opinion piece by Nicholas Goldberg (“Israeli-Palestinian conflict not fading away as some hope”) in the May 1 Gazette that the fundamental problem in Israel is Israel’s own “intolerable, indefensible military occupation” of Palestinian lands.
He went so far as to cite Israel’s “middle-of-the-night raids, land confiscations, house demolitions, settlement building, institutionalized discrimination and abusive arrests and detention,” matters that are more commonly glossed over or ignored.
And he got perilously close to the heart of the matter, that the self-defined “Jewish state,” in which, by law, the right of self-determination is “unique to the Jewish people,” fairly assures that the Palestinian population will be robbed of their land and shot or locked up if they protest.
I’ve come to expect more even-handedness on this uncomfortable subject, blaming the Palestinians for resisting the theft of their land equally with the Israelis for perpetrating it, or worse, blaming them entirely.
I hope Mr. Goldberg is prepared to be denounced as an anti-Semite. Meanwhile I commend The Gazette for printing such a risky piece.
Board is natural step for Judy Tomisman
When I heard Judy Tomisman was running for the Niskayuna school board, I thought, “Why?” Why would anyone volunteer to be accountable to the public and Commissioner of Education like school boards are? Opinion pages reveal the public has very differing thoughts on public school curricula, school personnel wages and plant maintenance. And not everyone is courteous or reasonable expressing their opinions.
I next thought, “of course she is. The school board is a natural progression in Judy’s lifetime of community support.” As my children advanced through the Niskayuna school and sports programs, I frequently came across the Tomisman name.
From the Niskayuna Community Foundation, to NCAP, to recreational baseball leagues and parent teacher organizations, Judy Tomisman was committed and involved.
She volunteered but served many times as a leader or organizer. I don’t think I know a family more committed to the Niskayuna Community than the Tomismans.
I know Judy to be a compassionate leader and team player, who listens to others and is dedicated to improving the lives of those around her.
I believe she will make ethical decisions that consider the entire community and am pleased to support her bid for election to the Niskayuna school board.
Anne Marie Heim
Access to money key to political corruption
Mr. John Figliozzi’s latest column (“We’re all to blame for continued political corruption”) in the April 24 Gazette raises some interesting questions but manages to miss the elephant in the room. While he concedes there is corruption involving both parties, New York remains overwhelmingly Democratic, as are the crooks. He, a partisan stalwart, would have that political corruption is due to “all of us.” I don’t recall Cuomo campaigning for the “Buffalo Billion” or Sheldon Silver running on a kickback campaign. Rather, their corruption was executed in the shadows — no one chose that.
Political corruption has to do with the intertwined vices of power and money. Power allows politicians to access money and use it to leverage it for more power. Sexual coercion is power’s bastard offspring.
The salient question remains, does political power corrupt people or do corrupt people seek power? The noted political economist, 1940’s bank robber, Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks replied, “because that’s where the money is.” The money is in government now.
If we want corruption out of state government we need money and power out of the reach of politicians. Jeffersonian small government anyone?
Let Cubans thrive by lifting U.S. embargo
I have just returned from a visit to Cuba. It was a wonderful trip full of learning and discovery. It also made me feel great shame about the harm that our country has inflicted on the Cuban people through the embargo.
We saw poverty. We saw lines of people waiting hours for bread and for milk. We heard many stories of the difficulties of satisfying life’s basic needs.
It is undeniable that Cuba’s government has been repressive and has trampled on human rights. It is also undeniable that they have had some terrible economic policies. But where is the argument that says the embargo is likely to help the situation?
Clearly, the goal when the embargo was put in place soon after the 1959 revolution was to encourage another revolution. This was a rational perspective at the time. But, after 60 years of the embargo, it is irrational to take this perspective today. The present regime is here for the foreseeable future. So why shouldn’t the United States do the right thing and lessen human suffering?
Even though my stay was short, I was able to see the incredible ingenuity and patience of the Cuban people, finding creative ways to deal with the hardships caused by the embargo. Cuba could be an economic powerhouse, given access to resources. This creativity and ingenuity has a better chance of affecting a revolution than any embargo. The United States should end the embargo.
Kusnierz’s actions show he must resign
Let’s play Double Jeopardy. Answer: One is full of crap, the other will be in 2023.
Question: What are Saratoga County Board of Supervisors chairman Theodore Kusnierz and Moreau’s Route 9 sanitary sewer project?
Three pending lawsuits against Kusnierz from current and former county employees isn’t enough to shame him into resigning.
His legendary – and nauseating – public and private tirades as Moreau town supervisor/councilman and county board chairman make him unfit for elected office. Yet he thrives on the chaos.
Now he’s botched the town’s sewer project by not securing a waste disposal agreement before construction began. Kusnierz has added $9 million to the project cost so waste can be sent to Saratoga’s treatment plant, under the auspices of the county Sewer Authority.
Note to county taxpayers: A detailed report shows Kusnierz is applying a “gift” of $3 million from you to partially offset his buffoonery. He’s also banking on receiving government grants for which the town hasn’t applied for yet.
Kusnierz, who ran unopposed for reelection in 2021, still saw fit to host a fundraiser at Prime at Saratoga National and amassed nearly $23,000 in campaign donations. This Godfather-type respect came from individuals, commercial and residential developers, corporations and politicians – many of whom conduct business with Moreau and county governments.
This pay-to-play list can be viewed via the state Board of Elections website.
When will authorities investigate Kusnierz and his decrepit enablers?
Democratic Party not what it used to be
I grew up in a Democratic family.
I do not recognize the current national Democratic Party. In the past, they were for the little guy, working men and women, and had some integrity.
Now they are for killing babies, illegal immigration, criminals, against free speech and lust for power at any cost. They do not know how to tell the truth. Never admit being wrong.
For example, their spokesperson, Jen Psaki, tells us that the southern border is closed and under control? They did a great job getting out of Afghanistan? They are for funding the police when they have supported efforts to defund the police. Joe Biden says he has never spoken to his son Hunter about his business dealings with China, Russia and the Ukraine? They have nothing to do with the present inflation. Or the United States becoming energy dependent because of their policies?
If you never admit something is wrong, you can never correct it. They deceived the American people on why they kept Joe in the basement during the campaign. We now see for ourselves every day that he is physically and cognitively not up to the job. The complete lack of honesty and integrity is appalling. The strangest thing is, they know we know they are lying but they keep lying! They must be following the premise that if you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it — everyone will eventually believe it. Mind boggling.
St. Clare’s retirees continue to suffer
I write a lot of letters to the editor to support the St. Clare’s Hospital retirees, but I am seeing more people who are writing great articles to support our beloved retirees.
It is so refreshing to see others writing to tell of their concerns about what is happening to the helpless retirees.
I remember like it was yesterday when my sister’s son and his wife told me what the St. Clare’s Hospital did to both of them.
Jerry and Kathy Adach, who are my family, worked at St. Clare’s Hospital for a combined 59 years. They were both told that they were getting no pension due to the pension collapse. That is when I decided to put signs in front of my house to let the people driving by know that the St. Clare’s Hospital retirees’ lives mattered to me.
Then I started writing letters to the editor, which explained firsthand what my family, plus how the other 1,100 retirees and their families, are watching all their hopes and dreams disappear when their pensions could have been saved.
This has to be so hard on the retirees because they are all up in age. This has to be the worst case of abuse, and someone should be held accountable. The retirees can’t eat, sleep or think straight. All they can do is think about who took all their pensions away. They will never forgive them.
Walter “Neal” Brazell
YMCA is up, running and ready to serve
The Capital District YMCA (CDYMCA) has been in Schenectady County since the 1850s.
From housing young men working at GE to providing city residents an escape to Camp Chingachgook at Lake George, the CDYMCA has been a vital part of the Schenectady community.
The last two years have presented enormous challenges for us. Once a $45 million a year organization, effects from the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced our annual budget in half. Hard financial decisions were made, cutting our staff and permanently closing our Duanesburg facility.
During the lockdown and our financial challenges, the CDYMCA never stopped serving our community in Schenectady County.
From providing childcare to children of essential workers to distributing almost 1.4M pounds of food, we worked endlessly to support the Capital Region during a time of crisis and uncertainty.
We have worked diligently to bring programs and services back to Schenectady.
On May 1, all of our facilities, including Schenectady, reopened for seven days a week.
We are providing childcare to thousands of children through early childhood learning, after-school programs, and camp. We are bringing back programs like our Black and Latino Achievers program, helping high schoolers develop skills, raise academic standards, graduate from high school, and focus on career goals.
We are more than a gym and swim. Membership to the CDYMCA means an investment in our community to make Schenectady County an even better place to live.
We invite you to join us at the CDYMCA.
The writer is president and CEO of the Capital District YMCA.
State, nation need Problem Solvers
I propose the formation of a “Problem Solvers” political party.
The only requirement to become a member will be the willingness to be flexible. The goal of the party will be to negotiate and compromise with Democrats and Republicans to ease the challenges facing our country and state.
My hope is that those in the middle of the political spectrum will support this organization. A neutral third party like this will reduce the partisan rancor we currently face.
The number of politicians will not have to be large to have a big impact.
If just 10% of the U.S. Senate (New York State Senate) and 10% of the U.S. House of Representatives (New York State Assembly) are Problem Solvers, the Democrats and Republicans will each have to seek their support to pass any legislation.
The small group of Problem Solvers will become the most important legislators in the land.
More importantly, there will be no more gridlock. The wheels of government will turn once again.
Liberal media keeps trying to get Trump
If your only source of news is the liberal news outlets (papers, TV, radio, etc.) then you may not be aware of the following. The New York City grand jury probe into Donald Trump has been adjourned and no charges have been filed against him.
Be aware this is not the New York state attorney general probe, which is something completely different.
However the investigative journalists from all the liberal outlets have found a new smoking gun, linking Mr. Trump to something much bigger. The Chicago Fire of 1871 that supposedly Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started when she was being milked has now been determined to have been caused by Mr. Trump.
Apparently, he was there and irritated the cow in some manner. This then caused the cow to react and kick over the kerosene lantern which started the fire.
Most news outlets have not carried this story yet because Mrs. O’Leary was a Democrat politically (as is everyone in Chicago, per the political machine) and the liberal press does not want to sully her name again.