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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 07/20/2017

‘Free’ lunch to be offered in Sch’dy schools far from free

‘Free’ lunch to be offered in Sch’dy schools far from free

*‘Free’ lunch to be offered in Sch’dy schools far from free *Being a ‘brony’ nothing to be ashamed o

‘Free’ lunch to be offered in Sch’dy schools far from free

I take exception to your Aug. 21 editorial, “The tradeoff for getting kids to eat in school.”

Right after the celebration in my kitchen rang out: “Free french fries!” I had to remind my teenagers that these are not free lunches, but rather lunches paid for by taxpayers.

Why should the goal be to get 100 percent of students eating a government-provided, taxpayer-funded lunch? As far as the stigma attached to a free lunch, according to my kids that attend the high school, it is impossible to tell, since they all swipe the same cards to pay for their meal.

Isn’t it possible that some parents don’t want their children to eat the “free” lunches? I pay for, prepare and send a healthy lunch to school with my children each day. Now I will be paying twice and wonder if the healthy lunch I prepared or the “free” fries will make it into my daughter’s mouth.

While I know the school tries to provide some healthy options, given the choice between a salad or fries, which do you think teens will choose? And if this program is “successful,” will the follow-up be a taxpayer-subsidized program dealing with childhood obesity?

Now that we have removed the stigma of free lunch, I hope we have not created one for students who will continue to carry a brown bag to school each day.

My parents always taught me “there was no free lunch.” What are we teaching our kids?

Nancy Spencer

Schenectady

Being a ‘brony’ nothing to be ashamed of

In his Aug. 14 article [“Overboard worshipping ‘the Ponies,’”], John Kass expresses his confusion and revulsion concerning the presence of “bronies.” He correctly identifies brony as a term that refers to men and boys who have varying degrees of interest in the TV show “My Little Pony.” After which he casts aspersions on the brony community while simultaneously quoting sources in support of this phenomenon.

“My Little Pony” is a show about cartoon ponies, yes. But, more importantly, it is a show that teaches friendship, teamwork and cooperation across a diverse spectrum. The main characters each represent a different aspect of friendship (honesty, loyalty, generosity, kindness and laughter). They all have very different ways of seeing the world, and sometimes their personalities seem incompatible. They are not perfect, but together they compensate for each other’s weaknesses and save the world and each other many times.

Despite the fact that this is a sound message, and that Mr. Kass quotes sources explaining the positive influence of the show, he still goes on to shame bronies through the reinforcing of gender stereotypes.

He writes further and seems to lament that this brony subculture is not the result of “ulterior, hormonal motives.” The implication is that men who use traditionally feminine interests to manipulate women into bed are the norm. By contrast, men who value friendship and cooperation are presented as suspicious or bizarre. If the norm is manipulation and deception of women, what norm is he really defending?

Honestly, if we distrust men who value what we teach our children through these shows, why are we teaching children these values in the first place? When Mr. Kass writes “grow up,” does he really mean forget the moral values we were taught as children because that’s just not adult or “masculine” enough?

This to me reflects a larger societal problem.

Alexandra Weisse

Schenectady

State should stay out of it on swimming pools

Re Aug. 16 editorial, “Rules for pools are there for good reason”: I had a pool company (in Schenectady County) install an above-ground pool this spring, and was never advised of the required “improvements.” Not until my pool was installed did I request a permit for the upgraded electric system, and was advised by the town of what was needed to comply with the law.

I had to revise my plans for the deck, secure an alarm system, and install a swinging/self-latching gate. A licensed electrician installed the electrical (including grounding the water) and then two inspections, as

third-party inspections were needed. Why two inspections? The town inspector also advised me that a permit is needed when replacing the liner, as this is 50 percent of a pool repair!

I have an exterior camera system that secures footage of what transpires. Thus, who am I protecting: my family, trespassers or vandals? Why am I responsible for protecting uninvited guests? Why aren’t people responsible for their own actions?

I understand this is a state law and not a local/town issue. However, this is Schenectady County and not New York City, where housing and zoning are very different.

Are these upgrade “improvements” going to raise my taxes? The prior owner of my home had a hot tub, which raised their taxes; but once removed, the taxes did not decrease.

I think the state has too much control over what should be governed in our counties and towns.

Nancy Ostapow

Rotterdam

‘The Butler’ movie about past, but also today

Just watched the current movie, “The Butler.” Very well done with lots of familiar faces, but the important part of the movie was the reminder that we make our own history.

By our action or inaction, we make or allow things to happen. Our American history requires all of us to play our part — either as a steady volunteer, like the Freedom Riders during the time of civil unrest, or as citizens today who say “enough is enough,” in all the ways we are allowed to say it and even some that we are not.

Our inaction creates history, also. For those who want the United States to intervene militarily in the fight for Egyptian independence, I would ask if they are in for the long haul? Are you willing to spill more American blood long after the war is no longer “exciting,” as we have in other complex situations.

I understand the precarious balance in the Middle East is at stake at this time. We, civilized nations, have tried foreign intervention before, which has set up many of the current-day problems. Perhaps this time the people of the nations need to work things out themselves, just as we did during the civil rights/Vietnam War time. If you are against the intervention, have you called your representatives?

As in the fight for civil rights, the basis for the movie, there are many unintended consequences in trying to push changes onto a society, and there is always bloodshed. To change society, often people have to die; even for the placement of a new stop light or a more active police presence, people have had to die. Certainly for the formation of a new nation, people will have to die.

Hopefully, the reaction to the military takeover and preparation for review of the constitution with bring a bit of peace for this suffering country.

The movie, “The Butler,” is a reminder that many people died to give us the rights that we have at this time in history and we need to be watchful and active to prevent their limitation or abolition. We need to loudly and firmly speak out against the change in the Voting Rights Act that would limit the rights of many people to vote. We need to speak loudly against the degradation of the workers’‘rights to decent pay and safe conditions.

Why? Because what happens in one area of society, again as shown in the movie, affects the rest of society.

Janice Walz

Scotia

Placement of Erie Blvd. lights makes no sense

One of the goals of the Erie Boulevard reconstruction project was to make use of the abundance of space by incorporating vegetated medians and formal on-street parking.

The transportation engineers charged with the design apparently overlooked the fact that this region experiences events called snowstorms. The ornate street lights now in place have been located directly adjacent to the curb. Worse, for aesthetic reasons only, those same lights were placed without the typical, unflattering, concrete base, which is there solely to protect the light.

You are urged to visit the project site soon. Once the first plow comes through, those carefully selected retro lights, which can easily cost $20,000 each, will no longer be at right angles to the road surface.

With all that space to work with, why those lights were pushed right to the edge of traffic defies logic.

Rick Beerle

Schenectady

Where’s the view on Western Gateway Bridge?

I travel the Western Gateway Bridge every day. The solid wall attached to the sidewalk is a disappointment, You can’t see the river at all. I always enjoyed the view. The wall looks like a barrier at a U.S. embassy in the Middle East.

I have traveled this bridge for at least 50 years and don’t recall anybody going through the side barrier into into the river.

Thomas J. Walsh

Schenectady

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