Ali’s racist comments not worthy of praise
Regarding June 5, Gazette headline: “Boxing champ told it like it is in Union College visit in 1968”: Two of the five quotes in this short article are as follows: “We don’t hate white people, we know them too well. And the only solution to today’s racial problem is separation.” Really?
He is also quoted as saying: “Islam means everlasting, eternal peace.”
No comment as to the truth and wisdom of that one.
By the way, the remaining three quotes are equally racist or mocking and would spark unending outrage if uttered by a white person.
Is this really what your Gazette reporter thinks is “telling it like it is?”
How far do we go in giving tax breaks?
This is in response to Mr. David Potts’ June 3 letter [“Spa golf course owed veterans a discount”] demanding a discount to play golf on Memorial Day at the Saratoga Spa course.
To be candid, I am a Vietnam-era person who was fortunate not to have been drafted. Mr. Potts felt that he was entitled to a discount, the Niskayuna school board is giving veterans a school tax break, and finally New York state is implementing a plan to give vets a pension enhancement. Service to our country is certainly commendable. But the draft ended in 1973, and since then, we have had an all-volunteer military.
When we start giving preferential treatment to a certain class of citizens, where does it stop? Why not include volunteer firefighters, paramedics, or any volunteer that gives back to the community? Where should it end?
That said, any military person returning from Iraq or Afghanistan should receive whatever assistance they need from the federal government to put their lives back together. It is deplorable to me that these young women and men are finding it difficult to get a job.
Niska-Day must stop pushing stereotypes
Jo Anne Assini [May 29 letter] and Tricia Margas [June 2 letter] are absolutely correct in their assessment of the Girl Scout Niska-Day float. The problem, however, goes beyond this one float. The problem is a racially and culturally insensitive Niska-Day theme.
Three months ago, when looking up the date of Niska-Day celebrations, I discovered this problematic theme. I immediately contacted the committee responsible for organizing the festivities and deciding the theme. I received an email almost a week later brushing off my concerns. I followed up, hoping to start a dialogue, questioning their alleged “community feedback” and suggesting other themes, but was unabashedly ignored.
I expressed my concerns that the “Fiesta” would include harmful stereotypes of sombreros, maracas and mustaches. From what I’ve seen from Niska-Day 35, this did indeed happen. In Niskayuna, a town of mostly white, non-Latino people, this display was blatantly racist.
These assumed stereotypes of Latino and Hispanic people are the basis of prejudice against these groups. There is a way to appreciate and celebrate other cultures, but Niska-Day 35 was a clear example of cultural appropriation.
Niskayuna has a reputation for being wealthy, unaware, white people. We cannot allow this thoughtless and offensive display of “town pride” to continue to perpetuate this false representation of our town. We have to do better.
SATs should get top priority over a game
This is in response to Wayne Bertrand’s comments in Jim Schlitz’s June 4 article [“Schalmont baseball faces big test before big game”] regarding the Schalmont baseball players and parents requesting a slight game time change to accommodate players scheduled to take the SAT test on June 4.
Here are some facts. Only 4 percent of all high school athletes in any sport will participate in college athletics at any level. However, at Schalmont High School, 90 percent of the student body will attend college. The SAT is a required college entrance exam. A good or bad score can mean the difference between being accepted or denied at your school of choice, and also can greatly affect merit aid.
New York State Public High School Athletic Association Director Wayne Bertrand’s comments equating the Schalmont request from student-athletes and parents to move the start time of the Class B state playoff game from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to moving the game time for a prom or senior trip are unbelievably ignorant and disrespectful to both the students and parents.
Mr. Bertrand states it is impossible to move the games due to logistics. This is completely disingenuous. I have been at these games, and literally, as long as the field is lined, the only change that would need to be made is to tell the umps to show up at 3 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. It is more likely that someone from the NYSPHAA had plans to be at their lakehouse by 4 p.m.
The SAT is only given on four dates for juniors. Those dates are posted a year ahead of time and you must sign up for the test months before the test date. To ask students to skip one of the few chances they have to take the SAT on the off chance that your baseball team might make it to the regional final is, frankly, ridiculous.
Mr. Bertrand needs to re-evaluate what the mission of the NYSPHSAA is. Is it student first-athlete second, or vice versa?
Private schools would help education, taxes
Schenectady homeowners face two significant and seemingly intractable issues affecting the quality of life — sky-high property taxes and the quality of public school education. Fortunately, there is one solution that could quickly reduce property taxes and increase the quality of education, if only our politicians would face the issues head-on.
Consider that the 2016-2017 Schenectady City School District (SCSD) budget is about $200 million to service about 10,000 students. That means, through simple math, that SCSD spends about $20,000 per student on average each year.
Of that, approximately $55 million is raised through property taxes. The remainder, or $145 million (or $14,500 per student), is provided by New York state and the federal government. Also, consider that the cost of private education in the area is less than $10,000 per year at religious institutions and ranges between $15,000 to $18,000 at other private schools.
It seems clear that if parents were allowed school choice and state/federal aid were attached to the child instead of the school system, the Schenectady public school system would wither in short order and most students would enroll in private schools, effectively eliminating all school property taxes.
As a result, property values would increase significantly, providing welcome relief to the long-suffering residents of Schenectady. I think we can also safely say that the quality of a private school education is better by almost every measure compared to the SCSD, making living in Schenectady more attractive as a result.
I can think of no other single act that would rapidly change the outlook for Schenectady as a whole.
Police learn a lesson in McCarthy pursuit
Gary McCarthy, much ado about nothing. The actions of Gary were not treated in a “truthful” manner. Heads will roll.
The Schenectady police were put in an impossible position for which there was no safe out. Lesson leaned by police. Never give a commanding officer or politician a break. You will get hurt. Best you go out the door on your feet.
Gary McCarthy epitomizes the eternal politician. Turn them out every election cycle, party affiliation be damned.
Does Gary know how to fall on the sword for the good of Schenectady? I doubt it.
My Irish grandmother: “Every lie you tell, you must tell 49 lies to cover up. Each of those lies requires a lie.” “It is easier to catch a thief than a liar.” So maybe there is a method to Gary’s madness.