Farley deserves rap for what he said, and hasn’t done
Kudos to the Dec. 15 Gazette editorial [Farley's argument on school aid equity doesn't cut it] for calling out Sen. Hugh Farley on the growing schools crisis.
In an unusually blunt statement to the Gazette, Farley said his constituents should not bother to write him letters because Schenectady's problems are not as bad those in some rural schools. In reality, almost all our schools are reaching a crisis. Schools have been forced to make cuts to art, music, advance placement, guidance counselors, tutoring and much more.
Sen. Farley tries to absolve himself of responsibility for the state's education policy, but he voted for classroom cuts in Schenectady that were three times as large as those in wealthy suburban district's like Syosset. And he voted for even larger cuts to rural schools like Mayfield.
These policies were designed by Sen. Farley's downstate colleague, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Skelos is the guardian of funding for wealthy suburban schools at the expense of high- and average-need schools throughout the state.
Now that there is bipartisan leadership in the state Senate, maybe Sen. Farley and his upstate colleagues will finally work across party lines to put our kids first and politics second.
The writer is the Executive Director for the Alliance for Quality Education.
Curry Road Bridge taller than many truckers think
On a daily basis in Rotterdam, I witness tractor trailers traveling between Helderberg and Guilderland avenues on Curry Road (Route 7) stopping before they reach the underpass under the railroad tracks.
These truckers are pulling over, most of the time impeding traffic, because they think they cannot make it under the bridge which is marked 12 feet, 9 inches; but being a truck driver of 30-plus years, as other experienced drivers would know, the bridge clearance is 13 feet, 9 inches.
Bridges in New York state are marked one foot lower than what they are, unless the word “actual” is printed on the sign. These trucks are usually a standard height (the trailers) at 13 feet, 6 inches, meaning they have plenty of room to make it under the underpass.
I actually will pull up to them, get out of my vehicle, and tell them they can make it. Sometimes, I see them turning down Helderberg Avenue toward the [Mohonasen] school bus garage, which has a school crossing right next to it, and trying to go around by going down to County Line Road, which has several kids walking, riding bikes, etc., on it.
Then when they get to County Line with a 53-foot trailer, and huge over-the-road tractor, they cannot make the swing around the corner. I have done it many times, but I know the intersection.
In the last five years, I have contacted state DOT [Department of Transportation] about this problem several times, and have been to at least three Town Board meetings with this problem — to no avail.
The state refuses to change the sign to the correct height measurement, and would not even consider putting up a sign saying “13 feet, 9 inches Actual.” Eventually, something may happen after a kids gets hit on a bike on Helderberg [Avenue], or a trucker gets rear-ended pulling over on the shoulder, where the two lanes merge on Curry Road, near Stewart’s, or an accident occurs when certain truckers pull into the old Curry Road Plaza to turn around to avoid the underpass.
Two signs? What’s the big deal for safety concerns? I am sure anybody who travels that road has seen the trucks sitting with their flashers on, trying to make it under that bridge. Plus, if Golub and the firms in the Northeastern Industrial Park were to give these truckers directions to get off the New York Thruway at Exit 25A, instead of Exit 25, it would alleviate the problem.
Let’s stop the carnage in our schools!
I have signed a petition to pass sensible gun control laws in order to stop the shocking, unthinkable violence in our schools and our country, like what just took place in Newtown, Conn.
I am a teacher with two of my own children still attending public schools. I ask a few simple questions;
1) How much more blood will it take for our Congress to pass sensible, meaningful gun legislation? Or will they let the NRA dictate the conditions, as they have done so far?
2) How much longer will we wait to better protect our schools?
3) Does the Second Amendment give us the right to use guns as individual citizens or only as an organized militia?
I'd like to conclude with this passage from the Bible: "Whoever uses the sword shall perish by the sword." How much longer will it take for us (here in the United States) to learn this lesson?
I hope and pray that you will also take action to stop this madness and bloodbath in our schools and our country. Please, visit this site and sign the petition: www.avaaz.org/en/nra_enough/?bvVJCdb&v=20192.
Ottavio Lo Piccolo
The writer is an ESL teacher in the Schenectady school district.
Sunday’s editorial on solar power erroneously stated that 50 percent of Germany’s power is solar-generated. The correct amount is 5 percent. The statistic came from a Dec. 13 New York Times op-ed article that was corrected Dec. 15.
Additional letters on the Connecticut school shootings can be found on our Website.