Keep New York City Ballet, as originally intended, at SPAC
In the last month, there has been much discussion about the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s announcement of the decision, arrived at through negotiations with New York City Ballet, to cut the ballet’s residency to one week in 2013.
New York City Ballet was co-founded by George Balanchine, one of a handful of choreographers whose permanent popular and canonical status is a fact. Perhaps fewer people know that George Balanchine also served on the development board of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. His direct participation in its planning “helped to define both the physical form and artistic agenda of SPAC. The New York City Ballet and [the] Philadelphia Orchestra were included in the charter for the organization whose aim was to bring cultural richness and quality to the area.”
I am shocked by the lackluster community reaction to this decision. Even when one removes emotion and argues for purely practical considerations (or, perhaps, especially when our region looks at how this situation affects it), there should be an outcry and vast support offered both financially and through volunteerism.
SPAC argues that budgetary concerns prevent the continued ballet residency, once at four weeks and now diminished to one, from appearing here as initially intended. New York City Ballet is losing money, as well, from having taken cuts in fees to appear here while, at the same time, their costs have continued to increase. If there is one simple answer in all of this, it is money.
And, that’s why Saratoga should be alarmed, as well. The ballet and orchestra have become part of the rich fabric of our region. Hundreds of people live here during the month of July as a result of SPAC’s summer programs. They spend money and they attract people who spend money.
There is also a subculture dependent on them. The New York State Summer School of the Arts and numerous dance schools make use of the exceptional skill, unparalleled in such concentration in few places in the United States, available to them through classes taught by ballet and orchestra members who represent the best of what our country has to offer.
SPAC and its leadership have made many positive moves to build an audience and increase attendance and it is still not enough. I suggest that we have to help or we will lose this treasure that was given to us. There must be a spirit of cooperation among all of us that will bolster efforts made by SPAC.
I am committed to this and, as my next act, will contact the president and board of directors to ask to be included at their next meeting to discuss possible ways in which we, individually and as a group, could help.
Lisa S. Mehigan
Obama giving Romney some of own medicine
Re July 19 Michael Gerson column, “President exploiting, while bemoaning, the politics of polarization”: Michael Gerson characterized the Obama campaign’s allegation that [GOP candidate Mitt] Romney may have committed a felony by filing false government documents as “partisan polarization on an industrial scale.”
Aw, poor Mitt. Obama “is attempting to destroy Romney before Romney can define himself.” I’d like to remind readers that Romney has defined himself already, repeatedly declaring himself to be a solid businessman with the credentials to create jobs. That makes his record at Bain Capital fair game for political attacks. Also, didn’t Mitt Romney use that same political strategy to destroy one opponent after another during the Republican primaries?
Why does Gerson whine about Democrats’ negative advertising when Republicans are just as guilty of using the same tactics, maybe even more so? To be fair, he should have noted this from FactCheck: “FactCheck.org found numerous instances in which Romney has also strayed from the facts in accusations against Obama. He [Romney] also claimed that he created 100,000 jobs at Bain Capital — a claim we found lacked support because it took credit for jobs added by companies long after Romney had left the Bain.”
Tonko’s kind of capitalism is not the common man’s
I went to Rep. Paul Tonko’s town hall meeting in Colonie on July 16.
He agrees with Obama on his decision to reject the construction of Canada’s Keystone Pipeline, ominously telling the crowd that it’s a pipe system that will go right through the heartland of our country, intimating danger to our farmlands. He told us they weren’t the types of jobs we wanted anyway.
Furthermore, he told us that the oil will simply go to Texas and then on to the world oil market. So what’s the sense? He failed to mention that according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, we have over 2 million miles of pipeline in our country, safely transporting hydrocarbons for use. As for jobs, China is very pleased to get those jobs and oil from our Canadian friends.
Tonko defended the new health care act (Obamacare). He talked about the many supposed benefits of government management of one-seventh of the nation’s economy without highlighting the 22 tax increases in the law. He didn’t talk about the additional 16,000 IRS thugs agents hired in order to harass us. Nor did he highlight the 111 new federal agencies created by the act.
Paul Tonko can be spotted at community events. He’s everywhere. How do I reconcile the Paul Tonko from Amsterdam and the one who goes back to Washington and votes against the wishes of his constituents?
I’m coming to the conclusion that Rep. Tonko, like our president, is a mastermind. Someone who thinks he knows the intricacies of our capitalistic system. You see, he knows how to manage a whole array of complex systems: health care, energy production and distribution, student lunches, etc. But he doesn’t seem to respect our God-given rights as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In public forums, he speaks glowingly about the entrepreneur, then wants the entrepreneur to check-in with him/government first before opening a business to see if it’s a job we want.
Elections are popularity contests. But this election year, more than any other, we must dig deeper. Paul Tonko’s voting record is abysmal for entrepreneurs and small business. The National Federation of Independent Business Owners Annual Report says that Paul Tonko consistently voted against the interests of small businesses, receiving an overall score of 29 percent.
Is he a citizen legislator or an unaccountable and entrenched government bureaucrat who places the interests of his political party and his long-term government career before those of the common man who pays his salary?
This year, don’t be apathetic towards your vote. As Thomas Jefferson said: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
The writer is a Republican town committeeman.
Circus is coming to Cobleskill, unfortunately
The Zerbini Family Circus is being featured at the Sunshine Fair in Cobleskill from July 27 to Aug. 4. This circus was cited for numerous instances for cruelty to animals, e.g., whipping of camels, a tortoise being hoisted over the ringmaster’s head, and a bison being forced to perform on a small block of wood where he fell off (www.youtube.com/watch).
I realize that this type of entertainment appeals to some people, but in my opinion this isn’t “entertainment,” especially for children. This circus was banned from the city of New Paltz by the mayor, who obviously cares about the treatment of animals.
Camels belong in the desert, tortoises do not belong in a circus, and bison should be free to roam. And none of these animals should be forced to spend their lives in small areas, confined to pens too small for them, or be forced to perform activities unnatural to their nature.
Contraceptives available outside of employment
In a July 20 letter (“Catholics can’t dictate to others on contraception”), Bob Scher seems to ignore his own argument.
Without judging the merits of the argument regarding contraception, I would point out that Mr. Scher says, in part, “[Catholics] are free to not use contraceptives as they wish. What they are not free to do is force their beliefs on their employees, which is what happens when they deny the coverage.”
Mr. Scher, you should also consider that employees are free to use contraceptives available from outside of their employment, so contrary to your letter, Catholic institutions are not forcing their beliefs on employees.
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