Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, May 14


McGraw’s actions violated ethics code

In The Daily Gazette’s article on May 3 (“Former town board member found in violation of ethics code, no repercussion”) regarding Denise Murphy-McGraw’s ethics violation, her attorney, Matthew Tully, states that “No ethical violation took place as there is no law, regulation or policy in the Town of Niskayuna that expressly precludes board members from voting on the employment of family members.”
Really? Mr. Tully goes on to refer to Niskayuna’s Code of Ethics but seems not to have read it. Ms. McGraw’s vote is explicitly and very clearly prohibited not only by the Code of Ethics itself, which she voted to enact, but also by New York State law.
But Mr. Tully would rather portray Ms. McGraw being held to account as “The public weaponizing of the ethical process in the Town of Niskayuna.” This is very Trump-like. It’s Giuliani-esque. And it’s pathetic.
Barbara Pidgeon
The writer is a retired Niskayuna Justice Court clerk.

Appreciate column on Mahler music

Regarding the wonderful column by Karen Cookson (“Feeling stressed? Get your fix of Mahler”) in The Gazette Sunday May 8’s Opinion section. Karen Cookson hits the nail on the head. Very informative and well written. Can we get more? How about one on Sibelius?
As a lover of classical music, this was wonderful. And if she has cows or other animals on those 100 acres, I’ll bet they are very contented.
Dave Schoch

Impressed with Tully’s leadership

We have watched with interest the ongoings of the Niskayuna school district. In the past three years, we have observed Kimberly Tully in her role on the school board and have been continuously impressed with her candor.
Kimberly has spoken out numerous times about recommendations that she has not agreed with but has always explained that once a decision is made, a board supports the majority opinion. It is refreshing to see someone in this position be able to support different opinions and not cause divide. Consensus is important in governance and Kimberly exemplifies this. We were pleased to hear that Kimberly has called for the creation of a budget and finance committee, as we believe that it will help the district control its spending and better utilize tax dollars. We realize that many people move to Niskayuna because of the reputation of the schools, but wise application of tax dollars is important, and Kimberly appears to understand this.
We hope you will join us in re-electing Kimberly Tully for the Niskayuna Board of Education.
Marjorie and Carl Ireland

Biden has devalued our investments

I personally want to thank President Biden for lowering my taxes. By enacting his policies and executive orders, he has reduced the values of our investment and retirement funds, hence lowering the taxes I’ll have to pay this year.
Gerald V. Marmuscak


Writer ignored Putin’s killing spree

Paul Rehm, who wrote the letter (“Ukrainians should heed calls for peace”) in the May 6 Gazette, condemning Ukraine for killing Russian soldiers might want to take note of Putin’s “religious” mentor, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who fully supports Putin’s invasion, which has featured the indiscriminate and deliberate killing of thousands of civilians.
No mention of that in his letter.
Roger Sheffer

Nisky voters can count on Tomisman

It’s that time again. Time to elect the Niskayuna School Board. Judy Tomisman gets my vote. I’ve known Judy for 17 years. We met on a softball field as dedicated moms, there to feed, cheer and support our girls. Since then I have been a huge fan. Judy has raised four kids through the Nisky schools and has always taken an interest in the bigger picture. She is kind, thoughtful and is someone you can absolutely count on. Judy Tomisman would be a huge asset to the Niskayuna school board. If you vote for Judy, you won’t regret it.
Laura Brennan

We’re losing sight of what’s important

Regarding all the talk over Will Smith’s slap on the Academy Awards – does anyone pay attention to what is important?
The phonies in the media and other celebrities are so outrageous, especially Whoopi Goldberg, who should have been fired for her own stupid comments.
Now comes politics. Oh yes, liberals hate free speech. It’s not liberals trying to ban books or make “Don’t Say Gay” laws.
Is this so important in your own life? Will it stop inflation or stop the massacre in Ukraine?
I would ask why a woman is the center of jokes over her lack of hair Not enough men in the audience?
As for behavior, it’s fine for celebrities to be weird in private. Who made the media and celebrities so judgmental and perfect?
Sue DeVito

Don’t be distracted by political diversions

“Bread and circuses” is attributed to Roman satirist Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenalis, (born 55–60 A.D.?)
It means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace, by offering a palliative: i.e. food (bread) or entertainment (circuses).superficial appeasement (Wikipedia).
Instead of looking at issues, policies and performance, voters are lulled into voting for and re-electing those who bring money to the district, entertainment and media bytes.
Entertainment includes the candidate for governor who seems to be running against school boards by touting a parent’s right to parent, and the candidate who claims he will add police and pay them better (without saying where the money is coming from) and claims to be an outsider when he actually worked for President Obama.
Then there is our old friend Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who put on quite the show defending the last president, violated her oath of office by ignoring his “high crimes and misdemeanors” and later his sedition, but visits local fire stations that want some federal money.
Bread and circuses.
In his farewell address, George Washington warned against political parties — sectionalism. Today more than ever, we need to study voting records, policies and whether those we elect are complying with their obligations, their oaths of office, working to help all Americans or all New Yorkers, and not just climb to power and promote their party. Don’t just accept bread and circuses.
Bruce S. Trachtenberg

Tully has earned another board term

I appreciate those who volunteer their time and efforts to benefit the community. Kim Tully has a long history of doing so. She succeeded me as PTO co-president at Rosendale Elementary and we worked together while she was its PTO secretary. During that time, I witnessed her excellent judgement and willingness to take the extra step wherever necessary. Volunteer organizations like the school board rely on people like Kim. Her commitment to the school community has been evident while serving Niskayuna. Her commitment extends beyond her three children in the Nisky schools. She asks questions, gathers facts and collects input from others in the community before making decisions. Kim’s humble nature allows her to calmly serve; she sees situations through multiple lenses: parent, teacher, student and community leader. Obviously the past two years have presented unique challenges. Yet the school district continues to operate at the highest level. Capital projects have continued, teachers’ negotiations have been resolved, a new superintendent hired and students continue to learn. Of the three board members eligible, Kim Tully is the only board member seeking re-election. She now has experience leading through a pandemic and as a reliable, thoughtful volunteer, she has earned my vote.
Cynthia Fairbanks

Cococcia will make things happen

Elisabeth Cococcia is a great neighbor. I am endorsing Libbie Cococcia who is running for Niskayuna school board. I’ve raised six kids in Niskayuna and my family has lived here for generations. She is my neighbor and has been volunteering in this community for years, proving she has a level of dedication to this community that is seldomly seen. I’ve seen her work tirelessly to make school events successful. When others turn around and realize there are too many obstacles, Libbie figures out a way to make things happen. She is not afraid to stand up for what’s right. If she doesn’t understand something or feels like she’s not getting the full story, she will stop and make sure her questions are answered before voting on anything. Please join me in supporting Libbie by voting for Elisabeth Cococcia on line two of the ballot. There is still time to get an absentee ballot by emailing [email protected] for information.
Anne Burger

Put Lady Liberty near transportation hub

Here‘s another great reason for returning the Statue of Liberty replica back to where she belongs.
I read the April 26 Gazette article (“Transportation hub coming to downtown”) about the great investment that COTA will be making in downtown Schenectady in the near future.
This is a great opportunity for Lady Liberty to come back home.
The transportation hub will be built right close to where the Statue of Liberty was home for over 50 years. The hub will bring thousands of people into the area and will be greeted by Lady Liberty just like she has done and continues to do in New York on Bedloe island.
The full cooperation of the city and federal governments will liven up the area even more with this new idea to transform the area into a place where more people will get a chance to see the statue replica in her full glory.
Sen. Schumer and Mayor McCarthy praised the move and the support that was needed to make this all possible. Mayor McCarthy said about the project, “This is based on partnerships. It’s working together.”
Now he has the chance to work together with the people and return the Statue of Liberty back to Liberty Park for all the people using the transportation hub for years to come. I can see the tears coming out of Lady Liberty’s eyes as she is transported back to where she belongs for more citizens to view her instead of where she is now.
James A. Wilson

Support women for Niskayuna board

I fully support Kimberly Tully for Niskayuna school board and I hope others vote for her.
She has volunteered tirelessly to improve our school district for years. In her current role as school board president, she has proven herself to be a collaborative and well-liked member of the board. As I drive around town, I see many homes with her yard sign This shows me that she has a great deal of support within our community.
I am voting for her because if her peers on the school board are confident in her abilities, having voted for her to be president of the board, and she is willing to keep volunteering like she has for years, it’s an easy decision given her successful track record.
As for the other two vacancies, I am voting for the other two women.
I like that Judy Tomisman has given so much to the community over the years and I like that Libbie Cococcia has held leadership positions with the school PTOs. I strongly urge everybody to vote for the three women running for the Niskayuna school board.
Eric Eliassen


Grateful for focus on security at schools

Regarding the hypocrisy of radical school board comments on BB gun incident as reported in the May 6 Gazette (“Student arrested with BB gun.”): A school board member puts a statement out with her opinion of school safety and the arrest of a student bringing a weapon to school.
I believe it was not too long ago that this school board member was leading a protest of Bumpy’s ice cream shop. After several days of protesting the business, the owner pulled a BB gun out and pointed it at the protesters. They called who? — the police. And the police responded as they should. Several police vehicles and a helicopter went searching for the business owner.
The hypocrisy is stunning by this radical school board member who has called for defunding the police and reportedly encouraged students to protest the community engagement officers appointment.
We are a society of laws and rules of conduct. This school board member seems to be interested in only protecting the criminal element of the student body. It is incumbent on the school board and its members to have the safety of the students and staff in the forefront of their policies.
I would like to thank the school superintendent and our police chief for having the foresight to institute community resource officers. The May 4 incident ended the way it did because there were measures in place for security. I am thankful this was resolved with no injuries.
Robert Sponable

Tully is innovative and hard-working

I support Kimberly Tully for her re-election to the Niskayuna Board of Education. Kim is hard working, conscientious, caring and innovative. She advocates for all the children of our district and as the current president of the board. Kim has been integral in many of their important and impactful decisions, always taking into consideration feedback from the community and all stakeholders. Kim is focused on our students’ welfare and also on our budget process, capital improvements and on the needs of our district for diversity, equity and transparency. She has earned and deserves another opportunity to serve us all again. Our district would be fortunate to have Kimberly Tully serve a second term on our school board.
Alyssa Kahn Ehrlich

Don’t vote for Drescher in Nisky

Niskayuna has been rocked by troublemaking social media accounts. I, for one, have had enough and applaud those working to take them on. That is why I find little to support with the newcomers to this year’s school board race.
I am especially disappointed Joseph Drescher has decided to pander to a Facebook group that’s never happy with anything our school district does. The group is filled with people complaining about everything and do not volunteer to make things better.
Drescher’s making of outrageous allegations of illegality by the district without showing us any proof is troubling. Dirty politics has no place in our school district. This campaign of fear mongering by a young lawyer without children in the district makes me wonder if electing him will cause three years of continued drama. He is married to a teacher within the district, so how can he ethically vote on anything involving teachers when his family will be personally enriched by those votes? I want school board members who will not make me wonder about their motives when they vote on things using my tax dollars or need to recuse themselves from all the major decisions that the board makes.
Michele Dollar

Kimberly Tully brings experience to board

Kimberly Tully brings forth integrity, experience, and commitment in her leadership as the president of the Niskayuna Board of Education; I recommend her for re-election on May 17. I value Kimberly’s depth as a long-term community member who is able to listen to people with kindness, respect, and regard for diverse perspectives when making decisions for the collective betterment of our school district. With experience as a special educator and legal educational advisor, Kimberly brings direct knowledge to the district. I regard Kimberly’s personal experience as a world traveler; her experiences positively impact thoughtful decision making with consideration of culture, diversity and equity. Kimberly commits to the expansion of appropriate mental health and wellness efforts needed at this time in education. Kimberly leads the existing board with mindful consideration of community input; capital improvement projects, adoption of the Anti-Racism and Equity in Education policies, and staff and student support are recognized accomplishments. Moving forward, I trust that Kimberly Tully will consider and best represent the collective needs and wishes of our community to assist the district in transition with a new superintendent and expand educational programming with balanced budgeting. Please vote Kimberly Tully for the Niskayuna Board of Education.
Kimberly Banker Jefferson

Rotterdam needs meter exemption

Rotterdam received another Santabarbara letter on April 21. He asked everyone to contact the town supervisor about why she wants “water meters on residential homes.” His letter, courtesy of New York state taxpayers, is disingenuous.
Supervisor Collins addressed Santabarbara on April 6. It stated, the town board had no plans for meters and they are not included in the current board’s comprehensive infrastructure plan. She did ask for his assistance by providing the necessary “exemption” for the state Department of Environmental Conservation DEC meter mandate.
An amendment is imperative for Rotterdam to opt-out.
Was the assemblymen sleeping for four years? Was he not interested in any of the prior boards’ plans which did have meters included in his own hometown? No communication about the grant, too? He is Rotterdam’s very own Chicken Little – ask the supervisor. He’s playing the town as his fool. Are you enjoying his drivel?
Santabarbara delivered zilch; no town halls with stakeholders; the prior board’s plans were never presented. No grant? But now he’s upset? Oh my.
There’s a ticking time bomb here; the next major water main break(s). There were nine water main breaks since 2018 under his tenure.
Rotterdam deserves better. Santabarbara’s stale 4-year-old promise is incomplete. He should be ashamed of himself.
Santabarbara should introduce the amendment for the meter exemption, and the state Senate sponsor as well. The amendment needs to pass by the end of session in June.
Don’t hold your breath but do hold him accountable.
Renee Mertens

Many reasons to support Kim Tully

As a parent of children attending school in Niskayuna, I have a vested interest in having members on the Board of Education who are student focused. It is clear that Kimberly Tully’s goal has always been to better the lives of the children in our district. Whether it be through her volunteer service on PTOs throughout the years, or as the current Board of Education president, Kimberly puts the needs of our children first.
During her time on the Board of Education, I have personally reached out with questions, and she has always responded quickly and courteously, providing excellent guidance and information. As a parent and prior educator, Kimberly has the unique ability to look at our district and truly understand on multiple fronts where our district stands out, and where we can do better. She is conscientious and responsible when making decisions and clearly explains her decision-making, especially on the larger issues facing the district. I am confident that if re-elected, Kimberly will continue to work tirelessly for our district.
It is for these reasons, and more, that I hope you will vote to re-elect Kimberly Tully for the Niskayuna Board of Education on May 17.
Deanndra Macomber

Tully provides leadership in Nisky

Kim Tully unequivocally has my vote because I believe she has the experience and wisdom to help lead the district through its current challenges. Whether it’s addressing the concerns of students, parents, teachers or administrators, Kim has an extensive background as a previous educator and knows firsthand the issues and expectations that we, as citizens, all have for our children. Kim has a unique perspective and a vested interest as a parent of three children (they attend Rosendale, Iroquois, and the high school). Over the last 10-plus years, Kim has volunteered countless hours working with teachers in the PTO at various schools. Kim has established a strong reputation of working collaboratively with others, researching alternatives on every issue, and it is well known that she listens to different viewpoints before a collective decision is made. I believe we are at a critical juncture in the district.
It will behoove every taxpayer to vote for whom they believe will not only provide experienced and proven leadership but will do so in a caring and respectful manner. For these reasons, I will be voting for Kimberly Tully as I believe she is the best candidate to represent my family on the board.
Karyn Berry

With summer comes threat of skin cancer

With sunny days here, people are spending more time outside. To exercise, start a new hobby like gardening, or spend time with friends, Mother Nature is a wonderful gym, and our backyards/parks are places for meet up.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and the Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) program wants to remind everyone to protect their skin against cancer.
Melanoma is the deadliest type and mostly caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays come from the sun or indoor tanning devices. Nearly 4,000 New Yorkers get melanoma each year.
Men, especially men older than 50, are at higher risk for melanoma because they’re more likely to work outdoors.
Good news: About 90% of melanomas can be prevented.
Follow these simple steps to lower your risk of skin cancer while enjoying the outdoors:
• Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher. Apply 15 minutes before going outdoors and again after swimming or sweating.
• Wear a wide brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and pants when possible.
• Wear sunglasses that block UVA/UVB rays.
• Avoid direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Follow these tips on cloudy days, as clouds do not block UV rays.
The CPiA program works in local communities to raise awareness about skin cancer and the dangers of indoor tanning.
We provide education and help community partners to adopt policies that promote sun safety and prevent skin cancer. CPiA works with schools, daycares, businesses, municipalities, and more.
For more information about CPiA, visit or call 518-770-6815.
Kelsey Carpe
The writer is health education promotions coordinator, Cancer Prevention in Action Program of Fulton, Montgomery & Schenectady Counties.

Excited to vote for Tully in Niskayuna

I am excited to vote to re-elect current school board President Kim Tully in the upcoming election on May 17. Kim is a thoughtful leader, and a kind and compassionate friend.
In the seven years that I have known Kim, I have watched in awe as she has poured countless hours and seemingly limitless energy into volunteering to serve our schools. From Rosendale PTO president to PTO council president, to school board member, to school board president, Kim has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to ensuring the quality and vitality of our schools.
Kim’s background in education also makes her particularly well-suited to continue to serve on the school board. Kim taught in special education and is currently the director of educational advisement at Tully Rinckey PLLC. On the school board, her experience as an educator is evident in her thoughtful decision-making on critical issues that impact Niskayuna’s students and teachers.
Kim and her husband Mathew are devoted to our community and have particularly deep roots in Niskayuna Rowing, Boy Scouts, and at Rosendale, Iroquois, and Niskayuna High School where their children attend. Kim also volunteers with the Schenectady SPCA and Street Soldiers. Please join me in voting for Kim Tully.
Ainsley Gordon Moloney



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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Karol Newton

 Renee   you are spot on.  Rotterdam doesn’t need water meters now or ever.  Maybe the town board shouldn’t have sold water to Guilderland.  Maybe the town board needs to pay attention to the residents and not what the town board wants.  They seem to forget they work for US.

William Marincic

Karol, the previous town board full of democrats sold water to Guilderland, the new town board has stated dozens of times including the meeting on Wednesday (were you there) that they are against metering. So I’m confused as to what your complaint is.


      Mr. Spondable: your use of the term “radical” and “reportedly” speaks volumes in a dog whisper.  Just to be clear: the member of the school board you are wink wink nudge nudge referring to is a duly elected member of the Board.  Her political activism was public knowledge prior to her election. She is advocating for the health and well-being of all students when she acts in her capacity as member of the Board.  She is not alone in her reluctance to embrace an increase of police presence in schools.


      Mr. Spondable: your use of the term \”radical\” and \”reportedly\” speaks volumes in a dog whisper.  Just to be clear: the member of the school board you are wink wink nudge nudge referring to is a duly elected member of the Board.  Her political activism was public knowledge prior to her election. She is advocating for the health and well-being of all students when she acts in her capacity as member of the Board.  She is not alone in her reluctance to embrace an increase of police presence in schools.

William Marincic

Robert Sponable of the four school board members running two are Jamaica Miles friends and supporters, they are Kristen Holler and Emily Willey-Aulet. If you go to the facebook site of the Schenectady Conservative Perspective you can see the videos of the League Of Women Voters forum where Holler and Aulet both say they would have voted against the Community Resource Officers which is in line with Jamaica Miles. I will state again that I have known Emily Willey for more than a dozen years and though she has a heart for children she is also a radical in the same vein as Jamaica Miles who stated that she is excited and happy that Willey and Holler are running for the school board. Everyone that wants an end to the Jamaica Miles circus needs to vote for Vivian Parsons and Catherine Lewis who are more than qualified and are the “Parents Choice”

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