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What you need to know for 01/23/2018

Fiscal realities forced one-week residency on SPAC and NYCB

Fiscal realities forced one-week residency on SPAC and NYCB

*Fiscal realities forced one-week residency on SPAC and NYCB *Solis was a stealth secretary of labor

Fiscal realities forced one-week residency on SPAC and NYCB

The Jan. 3 letter, “SPAC must rethink decision to cut NYCB to one week,” presents a false picture of SPAC’s commitment to its mission and New York City Ballet’s [NYCB] residency.

The letter claims that SPAC pushed NYCB off a “fiscal cliff.” This ignores the facts. The 2008 reduction in the ballet program from three weeks to two was a cost-saving measure initiated by NYCB. Let me repeat: This change was initiated by NYCB, which has been working for several years to whittle down unsustainable operating losses.

This move halted the residency’s ballooning deficit temporarily, but costs relentlessly crept back up, causing SPAC and NYCB to scale back the 2013 program to one week. The ballet’s executive director, Katherine Brown,expressed hope that “a new financial model” could ensure the residency’s future. To this end, SPAC has been working with NYCB to devise ways to restore a two-week program in 2014 at a sustainable cost for both organizations. These efforts are ongoing.

Ultimately, a not-for-profit’s mission can only be fulfilled if the organization itself remains viable. With the performing arts everywhere in need of support in this difficult economy, today’s philanthropists — including SPAC’s — will not give to entities lacking viable financial structures.

One point on which we all agree is that NYCB is a jewel. Building on the ballet’s legacy at SPAC is our goal. However, it can’t be achieved at the expense of SPAC’s financial stability or the quality and breadth of our other world-class programs.

People are entitled to their opinions, but not their own facts. The letter’s signers, the majority of whom are not SPAC members, must realize that the issues surrounding this residency are not due to a lack of commitment to NYCB. Rather, they are a response to new economic realities and a determination to keep SPAC strong for future generations.

Marcia J. White

Saratoga Springs

The writer is president and executive director of Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Solis was a stealth secretary of labor

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is set to take a powder. It will be interesting to see who Obama nominates to take her spot. The news that Solis was stepping down is buried in small print within the mass media [the story appeared on PageA2 of the Jan. 10 Gazette as a three-paragraph news brief).

Here we have one of the most important Cabinet positions in the world for working people, and there is little mention of the change that is about to happen. It fits well with the Obama mind-set.

Solis will be remembered for her lack of a progressive agenda, especially in the area of individual worker rights. Her inertia was established early in her term. Hilda who?

Obama’s “card check” was lost in a quagmire under her administration. And let us not forget the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster [Apr. 5, 2010]. Whether it involves Obama, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, or Hilda Solis, working people in this country continue to take it on the chin.

The huge gap between the haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor, continues to widen. Working people need a substantive advocate. That person certainly won’t come from one of the two political parties that dominate this country and are owned by corporate “Amerika.”

I would also like to commend The Daily Gazette for publishing the Robert Scheer column. He cuts through all the baloney. He presents to the readers the facts involving the underlying financial problems that today’s entrenched politicians sweep under the rug.

John Newell Jr.


Grandkids shoot guns responsibly, competitively

I know we are all grieving over the horrendous events that have taken place at Sandy Hook Elementary School and there are no words that can make any of this go away. But I think we need to allow ourselves to go through the grieving process before we demand that all gun owners be penalized for the wrongdoing of a mentally disturbed individual.

My husband, sons and two grandchildren are members of a local gun club where they shoot their rifles in competition. The club membership is made up of military, ex-military and law officers as well as other individuals who meet strict qualifications. They also need to be sponsored by a current member of the club. They are an elite group of men and women.

The club instructs their young members how to handle their rifle and instills in them to respect the rifle at all times. It is important that they realize the responsibility that goes with owning a rifle.

My 14-year-old granddaughter currently holds the junior open and the women’s national record for long-range shooting for shooting 1,000 yards across the course. She wants to become a veterinarian, and we are hoping that she will be able to do that with the help of a scholarship for being on a shooting team at a college. (Yes, some colleges do have shooting teams.)

Our 18-year-old grandson holds the junior TR [target rifle] rifle 1,000-yard record. He is currently studying criminal justice at Hudson Valley Community College with the hopes of become a New York state trooper.

It is with great pride that I tell you this. They are great kids, and we hope that someday they could be on the USA shooting team and eventually be part of the Olympics. I am so proud of my grandchildren and their accomplishments.

So, please, let’s stop and take a breath. Don’t take away our right to own a rifle. What we need to do is figure out how to stop people from gaining access to these guns illegally.

Sallie A. McGill


To stop the violence we must remove the guns

Re Jan. 8 letter, “Despite protests, Saratoga gun show will go on as scheduled,” by David Petronis: I’m appealing to all Americans to take back America. We also have our rights to live in a society without guns.

The increase in violence — the accidental handling of firearms, domestic violence, mass shootings — is a problem every day throughout the whole country and is getting worse. The government has done nothing over the many years and now it’s an epidemic.

How to stop this insane violence? The young wouldn’t have had handguns if there were none made. Accidentally firing at someone, killing a person, would not have happened if they didn’t have a gun.

In a domestic argument, the hate at that moment becomes a time to destroy each other — by a gun.

Handguns and semiautomatics, especially, need to [be] removed from our society now. Gun owners need to stop being selfish [about] their little hobby and stop stuffing it down our throats with their stupid, demanding ways.

Let’s clean [up] our America; write to our government and make them listen to us. I will.

Ruth Benacquista


No, NRA, gov’t isn’t coming to take your guns

Re the Jan. 7 letter by Jeremy Douglas [which said the government was “threatening to disarm our citizens”]: It is a bedrock principle of the NRA that an armed citizenry can prevent a tyrannical government from seizing control of the United States.

This quaint notion is not only anachronistic but also absurd. Such a government would by necessity require the complete support of the military.

Consider the following scenario. Commander Douglas, toting his AR-15, leads a band of rebellious patriots to the wooded hills to plot the insurgency. A short while after their encampment is located, an ERW [enhanced radiation weapon] is detonated overhead and the Charlton militiamen are instantly killed by an intense burst of neutrons. A military dictatorship will care not a whit about their demise or their precious Second Amendment rights.

The NRA has popguns. The military has thermonuclear weapons — not muskets. This isn’t 1789.

Paul Sator


To know Chief Kilcullen is to appreciate him

Congratulations to the city of Schenectady administration for the selection of Brian Kilcullen as Schenectady chief of police [Jan. 8 Gazette].

Chief Kilcullen’s fair and pragmatic approach to law enforcement and department administration will be of great benefit to the city of Schenectady.

Lenore and Tom Lanka


The writers formerly lived in Niskayuna, knew Kilcullen’s family and belonged to the same church group.

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