Progress with mandate relief vital to Schoharie County
There has been an effort by Schoharie County’s Mandate Relief Committee since last October to meet with the governor’s Mandate Relief Commission. I am happy to announce, as chairman of the committee, that a meeting was held May 9 in the office of the lieutenant governor.
The meeting, composed of nine state commission members and seven Schoharie County representatives, addressed eight specific mandates the county has been seeking relief on. They are Medicaid local share, early intervention, education, physically handicapped, pension reform, indigent defense, probation, public health and temporary assistance to needy families. These mandates represent extremely large payouts for our county. For example, our Medicaid share is approximately $5.5 million per year.
Without relief to our county, town and village budgets will never experience the trickle-down effect. Through the course of the meeting, I believed that our message was heard.
Bill Cherry, our treasurer and recovery coordinator, was explicit in his overview of the county’s financial well being. His contribution to our effort was extremely helpful.
There was also a request made for the governor to have someone look at the financial stability of all counties, towns and villages that suffered extreme monetary setbacks due to [tropical storms] Irene, Lee and [Hurricane] Sandy. The governor announced May 14 he’s appointing a committee to study and lend assistance to those counties, towns and villages.
Schoharie County is the only county in the state to have requested a meeting of this nature, seeking relief for all county residents. It remains to be seen what the commission will do with respect to the mandates, but it is comforting to know that one of our requests has been addressed by our governor himself already, and we thank him for that.
The writer is town supervisor.
Another problematic technicality in SAFE Act
Re state laws governing the disposal and sale of firearms, there is currently an inquiry being addressed by DEC that was posed by several volunteer sportsman education instructors.
During sportsman education courses, firearms are “transferred and possessed” from the instructors to the students and back again. Under the SAFE Act, it appears that the instructors and the students would be committing a violation while we are instructing them in the safe and responsible handling of firearms — unless a background check was performed each time.
My fellow instructors and I have labored to provide new hunters with the means to be safe and responsible individuals. New York state has benefited greatly through our efforts, as hunting in New York is one of the safest sports, with over 600,000 hunters in the woods annually, and an incident rate of less than 1 percent.
Moreover, the state has enjoyed revenue from sportsman license sales and the economic benefits that hunters provide. Annually, volunteer instructors certify 30,000 new hunters, who spend, on average, between $60 and $100 on their licenses, or about $2.4 million, using an average of $80 spent per person on licenses.
You should also be aware there is a growing movement to not only cease all gun sportsman education classes across the state until this matter is resolved, but also to refrain from purchasing 2013-2014 licenses by the existing hunting community. Could the state afford to absorb the impact of such an action? Could upstate communities absorb the economic impact of such actions?
Not only does this act seem to affect this group, but also state police firearms training instructors and students, the National Guard, the Air National Guard, and any and all state and federal personnel who require firearms certification on firearms they do not currently own. The Border Patrol, county sheriffs’ deputies, local police, security firm employees, peace officers, and any other individuals who are required to be certified or trained in the use of any firearm, where one firearm is “transferred and possessed” during the activity, are subject to this law.
In addition, all “junior shooting programs,” such as 4-H, and many private sportsman’s clubs, where the individuals have to use a firearm they do not own and have to borrow same, will have to cease, as background checks are currently required under this law for the “transfer and possession” during the training activity, and would have to be performed at each training session.
The fact remains that in the haste to implement the SAFE Act, a crucial review was not conducted, and the ramifications of this law were not considered. Or were they?
All that has occurred, to date, has not been to make the public safer, but only to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens. Is this what Gov. Cuomo intended?
Gov. Cuomo has, again and again, said that “the people of New York must trust their government.” How can he expect that to happen, when, from his office down to the Senate and the Assembly, all that has been brought forward has been to impose unrealistic mandates, make criminals out of law-abiding citizens, while at the same time the criminals are laughing their heads off at the governor and us?
Isn’t it time to review the provisions of the SAFE Act, and correct this law to reflect his original intent — to penalize criminals and make the public safer?
What’s that funny smell at Duanesburg High?
It is not often that an issue offers the opportunity to be as short and to the point as the cancellation of the organic chemistry class at Duanesburg High School [May 16 editorial].
The cancellation of this class and subsequent decision to award only pass/fail grades does not pass the odor test. Someone needs to discover the source of this foul odor.
Coverage of anti-SAFE Act rally seemed biased
As an organizer of the anti-SAFE Act rally at the Guan Ho Ha Fish and Game Club held on May 15, I question the numbers that the Gazette reported for attendance.
We figured we had well over 500, not the 200 the Gazette reported. There were cars parked for a quarter mile in either direction from the club, and all three of our lots were packed.
In addition, you seem to allude in your acerbic cartoon published May 17 that the politicians who spoke at our rally were an intrusion. They were present because we invited them. They stood up for us and voted against the unconstitutional NY SAFE Act, and we wanted to hear from them.
The state representatives who voted for this flawed law will hear from us next November.
Plot people don’t know jack about compassion
Re May 18 article, “Jack’s Place has four walls to go with dream”: What a wonderful project the Falvo family is doing by providing a place, free of charge, where hopeful and grieving families can stay while loved ones are dealing with terminal illnesses confined to the hospital for extended periods of time.
What I don’t find so wonderful is the attitudes of the people living in the “historical GE plot” who put more emphasis on their neighborhood “status” than caring for people in their darkest moments. Shame on them.
For honor guards, every day is Memorial Day
Americans should take their hats off and salute all the honor guards who continue to serve their country long after their military service is over.
These dedicated veterans, from all wars, continue to stay active and perform the military rights that honor our veterans in their time of need. This takes place on a daily basis at all national cemeteries and other cemeteries.
I say thank you, thank you, for your continued service to our fallen heros. Our country and families of these fallen, departed brave veterans thank you. We can’t say enough for your kind deeds and service to our country.
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