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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/19/2018

Would-be animal shelter director got raw deal in Saratoga

Would-be animal shelter director got raw deal in Saratoga

*Would-be animal shelter director got raw deal in Saratoga *Constitutional rights not unlimited, SAF

Would-be animal shelter director got raw deal in Saratoga

Re March 20 article, “Shelter appointee rejected”: One would wonder why there was such a media frenzy over a Saratoga County appointment. The turning over of Maplewood Manor has not caused such a stir and many of the clients there contributed to the growth and prosperity of Saratoga County.

One would wonder what an appropriate age would be for an animal shelter director? If 22 years is too young and the retiring director is 55, is some number half his age or twice her age an appropriate number?

One would wonder what is wrong with a business degree from Siena College? One would think it would be great preparation for a director — 12 employees with a budget of $800,000-plus, not really the national budget!

One would wonder why anyone is concerned about one’s father’s contributions to the Republican Party? The amount is minimal over the period of time calculated. We are talking about an eight-year span. Compare it to other builders in the county. My observations are that you need to spend more money than that to be politically connected.

One would wonder if anyone would be concerned if it weren’t for the salary proposed? Does anyone think there would have been so many applicants if the salary were half?

One would wonder what happened to the supervisors to cause them to turn? Wasn’t something mentioned in the newspaper about contributions?

One thing one doesn’t need to wonder is why the Republican Party can’t get it together in this country. What the supervisors have done is a good example of why!

Denying Christine Abele the position is going to be Saratoga County’s and the animal shelter’s loss. Her qualifications as well as her love of animals seemed like such a fit.

Lastly, it will be interesting to see who the concerned citizens, that weren’t going to continue their support of the shelter, find acceptable. At least we’ll learn what the appropriate age and experience for the pay should be. The media certainly has helped to make it an issue of interest.

Donna Micklas


Constitutional rights not unlimited, SAFE act OK

I support the right of individuals to possess firearms for sporting purposes and self-defense. However, I am concerned that in the angst accompanying passage of the SAFE Act, the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution has been misunderstood.

In the case Heller v. DC, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008, the court ruled by a margin of 5-4 that “the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

But, continuing to quote from the decision, “like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.” According to the majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, otherwise famously known to be a duck hunting companion of former Vice President Richard Cheney, “it is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

“For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the amendment or state analogues. The [Supreme] Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. [The United States v.] Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those ‘in common use at the time’ finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

This suggests that a ban on assault rifles is consistent with the Second Amendment, as may also be a ban on large-capacity clips, in addition to stricter controls on the sale of arms. I would venture a guess that when the SAFE Act was drafted, attorneys for the New York state executive branch evaluated the constitutionality of the proposed law and deemed it likely to be so.

With respect to the March 11 letter to the editor of The Daily Gazette that opined the passage of the law to be related to Gov. Cuomo’s presidential ambitions and went on to compare the legislative process to that used by Hitler, I suggest that it is at least equally likely the governor felt compelled for public safety reasons to take substantive action after the horrific tragedy at Newtown, [Conn.], with the hastened effort to enact SAFE motivated by a perception that any gun control legislation would result in an increased rate of gun sales, including those of assault rifles.

In conclusion, it is my hope that the SAFE Act proves to be a step forward in reducing gun violence in New York state.

Alan Maddaus


Nisky school taxpayers can’t afford an 8% hike

This letter is in response to the March 21 article, “School board trims proposed tax hike.”

As a Niskayuna resident, an approximate 8 percent tax hike is unacceptable. There are many residents who will not receive a salary increase of 8 percent in 2013, and there are many middle-class families and senior citizens who simply cannot afford an 8 percent tax increase.

I agree with Mr. Richard Baker’s March 21 letter regarding “Nisky school officials still have cutting to do.” According to the district’s financial projections, they will still have a deficit in 2017. How many times will the district have to override the tax cap to reduce the deficit? Many districts have had to make serious cuts so that the burden is not placed on their taxpayers.

I believe that the school board and school officials are not making the necessary hard decisions because they expect the budget to pass. The reason for this expectation is the low voter turnout on school budget issues. Just this year, on March 14, only 895 residents voted on the bonding. Niskayuna has 15,000 registered voters. In the last school board election, only 3,305 residents voted. This low voter turnout is not holding the district responsible for their decisions, and the residents are paying the price for it.

Even with the STAR program, our school taxes are higher than our county and town taxes together. The support of public education is very important, but holding the public sector accountable should not be construed as a lack of support. Until the residents hold the school district accountable, I believe that hard decisions will not be made.

If New York state can pass a budget with a 2 percent increase, then a school district should be able to have a more reasonable tax increase that the residents can afford.

Linda Rizzo


Society needs to know facts, and talk about rape

As an advocate for victims of sexual assault, I feel it is imperative to speak up. In light of the recent press on the Steubenville, Ohio, court case and the fact that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it is time to educate our communities and begin a dialogue about a topic that is often disregarded because it is difficult to talk about.

Studies indicate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18. Teens 16-19 are 3.5 times more likely to be victims of rape than the general population. It is estimated that 70 percent of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. An estimated 90 percent of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol. One out of every 33 men have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.

Sexual assault is among the most common causes of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. There is a 50-95 percent chance that a victim will develop it. The average age at which children are sexually abused is between seven and 13. Despite the stereotype of a stranger in a trenchcoat, 90 percent of the time the child knows his/her abuser. Because of stereotypes and rape myths in our society, it is common to blame the victim for dressing suggestively, having too much to drink, taking a walk alone, inviting someone into his/her bedroom.

However, no matter when, where or how it happened, sexual violence is not the victim’s fault. Bad judgment is never a rape-able offense! Sexual assault is not about “sex” it is about power, control and humiliation. It is abundantly clear that we have so much work to do!

Lori Sendra


Schoharie County is not a sovereign nation

Congratulations on your March 20 editorial questioning the wisdom of Schoharie County legislators’ posturing regarding New York state’s new gun control law as if Schoharie County were a sovereign nation independent of the laws of the state and nation of which it is a part.

It’s a bit scary witnessing governmental leaders behaving like yahoo rednecks. I suspect that the sheriff of Schoharie County is under obligation to uphold the laws of New York state and will.

Donald Sayles


Read between lines of guidance counselor’s list

In the March 20 Gazette letters to the editor, a Schenectady high school guidance counselor [Megan Quivey] for grades 9 and 10 may have told us more than intended.

She lists the students as: “athletes, musicians, actors... and future scholars.”

You might have hoped a guidance counselor would start such a list: “scholars...” (without the word “future”) and go on from there.

Clyde Maughan


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