Focus attention on solving real problems
The third letter about Niska-Day insensitivity in two weeks has finally pushed me over the edge. JoAnne Assini (May 29), Tricia Margas (June 2) and Anna Mattis (June 9) all feel the sombreros, maracas, mustaches displayed in the parade to celebrate the theme of a Mexican Fiesta were “blatantly racist.”
Well, how would you celebrate a fiesta theme? Just ask Disney World. In the Mexican pavilion, they sell the sombreros and maracas. Apparently Disney World, which we know is very sensitive to criticism, has “no problema” with it. And Donald Duck wears a sombrero, as do the Caballeros.
I, like many others, am so tired of this psuedo-sensitivity and extreme ridiculous political correctness. All I can say is when you write, try focusing on the real problems of this crazy world. How about the injustices inflicted on our Indian population, our homeless veterans, the genocide going on in Sudan and other countries.
And let’s keep celebrating our Mexican friends with music, food, sombreros, and yes, even mustaches.
Remember veterans today on Flag Day
Today, June 14, is Flag Day. I know why the American flag moves.
“The American flag does not fly because the wind moves past it. The American flag flies from the last breath of each military member who died serving it.”
The writer is a Vietnam veteran.
Grateful to NYRA for new trees at the track
A big “Bravo” to the New York Racing Association (NYRA) for its impressive tree-planting effort during the cool weather early this spring. Saratoga residents have been abuzz at the sight of all these new trees. Towering shade trees have long been key to the unique appeal of Saratoga’s beloved flat track, just as the majestic trees of Saratoga Springs were historically a prime attraction of our city.
In recent decades, the trees in the race course's forest had matured and then declined. It is exciting to see NYRA take such bold, forward-looking action this spring to reverse this decline. Their investment will benefit all who enjoy the track for decades to come.
We at Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project applaud NYRA for their thoughtful effort, beginning with a tree inventory, followed by the development of a comprehensive multi-year planting and management plan, and finally, the concerted action that put a diverse cohort of large-growing trees in the ground this spring.
NYRA also appears intent on preserving most of the grand older trees that contribute such sculptural magnificence to the grounds. It is heartening that NYRA’s efforts seem guided by the same goals — to “preserve and expand the urban forest” — to which the city committed itself in its 2013 Urban Forest Master Plan.
We wish NYRA the best as it works to nurture these young trees to full maturity. The decision to plant early in the spring has given the trees a good start, since the ample rains and generally cool temperatures during May help trees to get established.
Well done, NYRA. You have set a standard for planning and planting trees to which all Saratoga residents who value the urban forest can aspire.
The letter was also signed by Rick Fenton, Alexandra Morgan, Lin Whittle of the Sustainable Saratoga’s Urban Forestry Project.
Confederate flag not welcome at parade
We are heartsick that a motorcycle brigade chose to display a Confederate flag in the annual Memorial Day parade in Saratoga Springs on May 26.
The brigade carried several American flags and at the very end, the last man in the brigade, all by himself, carried the Confederate flag. It was meant to be seen and it was a very clear message.
That flag represents to people of color that their lives are of little to no value. It represents that slavery is permissible, lynchings are OK, and black people not only do not deserve equal treatment under the law, they are not even worthy of protection under the law.
It was a slap in the face not only to our black veterans, but the entire black community of Saratoga Springs. It was a slap in the face to anyone who believes in the inherent dignity of all people.
Here in the North, we cannot even claim the “heritage” argument (dubious as that argument is). The Confederate flag is simply a message that people of color are hated and not welcomed.
If the motorcycle brigade had been displaying a Nazi swastika flag, we have no doubt that not only would they have been told by the organizers to remove the flag, they would have been denied permission to march. The American Legion would have immediately thrown them out right then and there.
That not one single news media present noted or covered the presence of this symbol of hate and death-making is a sad commentary on the quality of journalism available to us as citizens of this community.
Any symbol that advocates the dehumanization of, and violence towards, any group of people should be not allowed on government-owned property and or at government-sponsored events.
The people of Saratoga Springs are better than this and deserve to be treated as such. We are pleased that the mayor’s office is taking steps to ensure that we as a community are.
Ballston Spa missing benefits of farms first
Re June 2 article, “Town Board approves controversial developments”: I extend my thanks and commendations to the two councilmen who remembered the farms-first motto, which once distinguished the town residents who wished to maintain the rural quality of our community from those who pressed for development.
The farms-first supporters lost, and along with the loss of farmland, the town also lost natural environmental beauty, wildlife variety and habitat, uncongested traffic, social amity and the serenity of a comfortable pace of everyday living.
From The Gazette article cited above, it appears that development proponents continue to carry the day.
Dorothy M. Butch
Frances Perkins owed recognition for service
I read with interest the June 9 Opinion piece, “Remember the women whose talents America wasted.” Eleanor Roosevelt is mentioned, deservedly so. But rarely mentioned these days in such discussions and others about women who deserve to be pictured on U.S. currency is New York’s own former Industrial Commissioner and U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (1880-1965).
Perkins’s talents were not wasted, as governors Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt used her education and skills to further their labor and social welfare programs, many of which were proffered by Perkins.
Smith appointed her to the State Industrial Commission in 1918 and FDR appointed her industrial commissioner in 1928. FDR then brought her to Washington in 1933 as U.S. Secretary of Labor, a position she held until 1945, when she moved to the U.S. Civil Service Commission. She spearheaded many of the New Deal programs that continue to benefit folks today.
Frances Perkins was a truly remarkable woman who should not be relegated to the dustbin of history.