Don’t print bogus claims about Sch’dy charter school
Re the March 22 article, “Neighbors: School resulted in ‘chaos’” by Justin Mason: I’m a teacher at the International Charter School and proud of it. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with the Charter Schools Institute making unsubstantiated claims about our school and its employees, now we have to deal with neighbors making absurd, unsubstantiated claims.
I have worked at this school for five years. This is the most irresponsible piece of reporting that I have ever read. I read your paper daily, and until I was involved in one of your stories I never experienced such bias. How can your paper report such unsubstantiated claims as “garbage choking adjacent streets.” Do you really believe for that if garbage from our school was choking local streets that the town of Rotterdam wouldn’t have done something, or that your paper wouldn’t have reported on it before now? How believable is the neighbor’s claims that we didn’t clear our sidewalks of snow, or that the “ever-changing staff” at the school had any impact on neighbors?
I [recall] the last town meetings regarding our move into the Draper Building, and we have lived up to expectations detailed by the town. We may have had a light shining into a neighbor’s window, and traffic twice a day may be a problem, but beyond that this article was pure fiction.
Why don’t the neighbors just admit the real problem? As stated by several concerned neighbors before we moved into the Draper building, their real problem with our school was that they didn’t want “those” children in their neighborhood. They were concerned that the children at our school would have the run of the neighborhood which, of course, they don’t because we have a closed campus.
I’m sure that talk of the Schenectady school district taking over the building will cause neighbors the same concern. Yes, those same students would be enrolled at this school.
If you could find one substantiated claim that one of our students caused a disturbance or harm to the neighborhood, then you would have a story. But until then, I wish that the Daily Gazette would stick to reporting the facts and only the facts.
Wright divisive, but his message isn’t all wrong
Carl Strock’s March 20 column asserts that Barack Obama “has been cozy for the past 20 years with a racial demagogue,” and thus lowered himself to the level of Eliot Spitzer. He further states that in both cases, the “private truth is ... at odds with the public persona,” and implies that this inconsistency is damaging to Obama.
The preacher at Obama’s church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has been a fierce critic of the United States, making remarks from the pulpit such as “God damn American” and other hateful, divisive statements. This appears to be the basis of Strock’s complaint.
In his March 18 speech, Obama was at pains to reject these ill-tempered statements regarding the United States. He condemned Wright’s statements as divisive at a time when we need unity, and racially charged at a time when we need to come together. He objected to Wright’s view that sees white racism as endemic, which elevates what is wrong with this country and fails to recognize that progress on healing the wounds of the past is possible, though not in just one election cycle.
But Obama also pointed out that these controversial outbursts from Wright are occasional and not repetitive. His experience has been that the Rev. Wright has generally had a constructive influence on his life. While he disagrees with Wright’s bitter, overstated rhetoric, he finds their mutual relationship has been sufficiently positive that he cannot disavow him.
The remainder of his speech expressed a very positive outlook on the future of race relations. The reaction, as reported by the March 20 New York Times, has been unusually positive. Some have regarded the speech as among the greatest in American history.
Most Americans perceive Rev. Wright as a hate-monger who preaches antagonism toward whites. Actually, he is a complex figure who is sometimes a reckless speaker. His central message is not anti-white hostility, but greater black self-reliance. He preaches “hope, hope, hope.”
The Obama campaign has led many white Americans to listen for the first time to the black conversation, and they are thunderstruck. This demonstrates that a national dialogue on [the subject] is painful, awkward and essential — and that the dialogue needs to focus not on clips from past sermons by Rev. Wright, but on far more urgent challenges.
Then we may achieve our goal of getting to not a black America, or a white America, but a United States of America.
Real ID will be a real invasion of privacy
For those of you who are not aware, “Big Brother” has been taking steroids.
On May 11, the Real ID Act will be federally implemented. This means all 50 states will be required to have a wealth of information stored on their drivers licenses; from your birth certificate to your social security number. Without it, you won’t be able to board an airplane or enter a federal building without a strip-search.
According the federal government, this ID is to combat terrorism and to keep us safe. Terrorists will always be able to obtain fraudulent documents one way or another. Real ID won’t be able to show evil intent, either.
Departments of Motor Vehicles will have their hands full as well. They’ll have to restructure many of their computer databases, there will be longer lines, slower service and higher fees.
Identity thieves will be in their glory. The creation of a single, interlinked database, as well as the requirement that each DMV store copies of every birth certificate and other documents presented to it, will create a “one stop shop” for today’s criminals. This could also be exploited by the private sector. Already, bars often swipe licenses to collect personal data on customers. Imagine when every convenience store learns to grab that data and sell it to data companies for a dime.
Montana’s Gov. Brian Schweitzer has already told the federal government to take a hike, we will not comply. New York doesn’t have to, either. We need to stand up against “Big Brother,” and call our representatives and demand that they not allow this in our state.
Slow down, save gas, money, the economy
If the truckers are willing to slow down from 75 mph to 65 mph [Gazette, March 23], and in some cases to 62 mph, this would save millions of gallons of diesel fuel.
If private motorists across the nation would take heed of this idea, just think of billions of gasoline that could be saved. Or if we could get legislators to do some good for their constituents, and lower the speed limits in their prospective states, then everyone will be doing their fair share to get our nation on the right track in conserving fuel.
The way we are wasting our fuel supplies now, in no time at all we will be back to odd-even rationing to fill our tanks. Or do we want to go back to long, long lines of cars waiting to fuel up? Or do we want to start paying $4, $5 or $6 a gallon?
If that comes about — recession. How about a depression?
Coleman J. Ellen
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