Reopening Schenectady’s Oneida school is a bad idea all around
I am a lifelong Schenectady resident who has have lived within a few blocks of Oneida school the entire time. I attended Oneida in kindergarten and first and second grades prior to the opening of Zoller Elementary. I was also a student at what was than called Oneida Junior High, in Grades 7 through 9.
The May 23 article regarding the possibility of reopening Oneida school, was quite disconcerting to me. Robert Hendriks, executive director of the Educational Legacy Planning Group, appears determined to convince the school board to reopen Oneida. The resurrection of Oneida would be a grave mistake for a number of reasons.
Parking in that densely populated, multi-family housing area is at a premium. The expansion of Ellis Hospital has created a situation where commuting employees, patients and visitors have made the parking situation nearly intolerable. The city went so far as to limit parking on the first block of Glenwood Boulevard to two hours. This has been an inconvenience to those residents, pushed the parking problem farther down Glenwood and added problems to Parkwood Boulevard, Woodward Avenue and many other nearby streets.
The problem is now bad enough without the reopening of Oneida adding to it.
Mr. Hendriks proposes to move the 381 existing Elmer Avenue students, along with 152 additional students, to Oneida. Where will school teachers and added staff park? Not to mention the additional congestion of students being picked up and dropped off.
Second major problem — East, Center and West alleys. These narrow thoroughfares are rows of tightly packed garages that are sparsely traveled. When Oneida school was open, these alleys were spawning grounds for graffiti artists, drug salespeople, vandalism and much more crime. Why invite this sort of behavior?
Another important consideration: Knowing the great importance of physical fitness, I can’t imagine any school board wanting to open a school with such limited green space. The school grounds are obviously small.
Part of Mr. Hendriks’ sales pitch is that the state would “likely” pay for 96 percent of the estimated $18 million Oneida renovations. He then goes on to say the state would pay only $24 million of the $34 million cost of a new school. That is only 70 percent. I don’t understand why the percentage difference, but even if this were correct, the cost difference would not justify the problems created by reopening Oneida.
Why not make this a win-win situation? I would imagine that Ellis Hospital would jump at the chance to purchase this property and alleviate its space issues. This would relieve congestion problems for residents.
A more suitable location would also be a better environment for students to work and play!
Louis M. Restifo
Don’t dismiss raps vs. Obama as political
To the people who think the investigations into the Obama administration are just a political witch hunt by Republicans, here is a news flash.
I am referring to some of your letter writers, including Richard Alvarez [May 22] and your left-wing columnists, E.J. Dionne [May 17] and Richard Cohen [May 15] — to name a few.
Mr. Alvarez’s letter approves of IRS actions to scrutinize organizations with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name. I am going to surprise you all and agree with him, sort of. As a professional income tax preparer for 26 years, I know about tax laws. Under IRS regulations, for an organization to be considered a 501(4)c non-profit, its primary purpose has to be charitable, educational or recreational, and it supports social welfare. It can engage in political activity if the organization submits proof that it is primarily a social welfare entity.
Knowing the tea party groups as intimately as I do, I honestly would say their primary focus is not social welfare; they should have applied for a 527 political organization.
Still, that does not excuse the IRS from being overzealous and utterly intrusive in their approval process. And they didn’t just target “tea party” or “patriots” groups. They targeted donors to Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates, as well as conservative religious organizations.
The IRS also did not show impartiality to other organizations that said they were “liberal,” or “social welfare” organizations that promoted President Obama and Democrat candidates. It wasn’t just the IRS but the FBI , ATF [Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms], EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], HHS [Health and Human Services], and DOJ [Department of Justice] that targeted conservative and “tea party” groups.
The other issue Mr. Alvarez and others pooh-pooh is the Benghazi disaster. Mr. Alvarez claims it has been thoroughly explored since before last year’s election. That is blatantly false. There have not been any answers from the president or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as to what Ambassador Chris Stevens was doing there, and why, a few weeks before it happened, security forces at Benghazi were severely reduced in spite of a credible threat of an attack. Mrs. Clinton’s excuse that some decisions were made far below her is preposterous.
Lastly, Mr. Alvarez and others have said that DOJ spying on the Associated Press was justified because the AP leaked a national security story. Bunk! The AP had the story a week before it published the story and held it [back] at the White House’s request. The [AP] published [it] despite another White House request to wait a day because the White House wanted to issue a release first and take full credit for something they thought was good news for the president.
If these situations had happened under a Republican president, Democrats would be howling from the highest mountain that the president should be impeached.
When a government does things like this to anyone, it is too big. Make no mistake, they are attempting to take control of all of us. This is all about violating our civil rights.
Niskayuna budget got what it deserved
I take umbrage at the tone of your May 23 editorial [“Crunch time for Niskayuna schools”], indicating the only reason to vote against the Niskayuna school budget was to save tax money at the expense of education.
It seems the writer thinks that all school budgets should be passed, no matter how badly they are presented by the school board, with little or no justification presented to the public.
A school board has a fiduciary responsibility, which the author ignored and the Niskayuna School Board did not fulfill.
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