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Letters to the Editor for Thursday, July 18

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, July 18

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Sick day benefit is worth it to taxpayers

Teachers who don’t use up their sick days during the school year provide their students with continued, consistent instruction which is not always the case when a substitute teacher is called in. 
Additionally, they don’t require the district to pay substitutes. 
When these classroom teachers retire, they are, by an agreement between their association and the Schenectady school district, fairly and contractually recompensed for their service and good attendance.
Eleanor Aronstein
Schenectady
The writer is a retired Hyde Park high school teacher.


Racial disparities must be addressed

The editorial about the NYCLU’s error in our analysis regarding racial disparities in marijuana arrests fails to mention one critical fact:
It was the NYCLU itself that identified the error and wasted no time in notifying both the Police Department and the media. 
We appreciate the problems identified in the editorial, but it remains that Schenectady, like virtually every major city in New York, continues to have astonishing racial disparities in marijuana arrests rates. The disparities are not 74 to 1, but the accurate – and undisputed — 10 to 1 disparity is deeply troubling.
Our error impacted only nine of the hundreds of statistics reported, and we take full ownership of that mistake. 
It should not be used as a pretext for police departments to ignore the extreme racial disparities in marijuana enforcement — and the responsibility of the police department to address the issue. The fact remains that police departments across the state still have much to do to build trust in communities of color. 
The NYCLU has met with the Schenectady Police Department and will continue to have an open dialogue with them concerning these issues.
Donna Leiberman
New York City
The writer is executive director of the NYCLU.


Kaepernick, ilk must offer up solutions

Apparently, Mr. Colin Kaepernick has felt it necessary to revitalize his flagging fortunes and those of Nike footwear by hurling the “racist” thunderbolt at another American icon, namely the Betsy Ross flag.
It would seem that all it takes is for one person who disagrees with or disapproves of anything from a flag to an idea is to characterize it as a “racist” one. Far too many foolish Americans then will rush in, apologize for their insensitivity, attempt to ameliorate the contrived situation, and then fail miserably in their attempts, satisfying no one.
I grow weary of this apologetic attitude on the part of so many Americans and I fervently hope that this attitude will cease and desist soon. But I am doubtful that it will.
In order to alleviate a flag crisis, perhaps we should all go to the store and purchase American flags before it is prohibited to possess one. Mr. Kaepernick and others like him have made a great deal of money playing a game that little boys play in the street. Yet he and his fellow malcontents have done nothing that I’m aware of to ameliorate the very real problems that they cry to the heavens about.
There are real problems in this world to be dealt with; not merely expostulated on. Mr. Kaepernick’s attitudes are as shallow as his beliefs. I grow tired of Mr. Kaepernick and the other prima donnas of his ilk.
Michael Decker
Schenectady


Charity gimmicks up in wake of tax law

In December 2017, President Trump signed into law a major piece of tax legislation that focused on making corporate tax rates more globally competitive. 
Less noticed was the impact this new legislation would have on individual households trying to decide how much money they would give to charity.
The bottom line is that to get a charitable tax deduction, I would have to give a significantly larger sum of money to any number of not-for-profits to qualify to reduce my taxes.
The consequence for charities may explain the escalating competition of ‘gifts’ they are now sending to households.
In the past six months, I have received unsolicited ‘gifts’ in the mail from charities that have included pens, two patriotic T-shirts, countless return address labels, a shiny nickel, a crisp dollar bill, a hand -held calculator, two tote bags and a vanity set. 
Seriously, I’m embarrassed. 
My charitable contributions have been cut in half with the new tax law. I’m feeling guilty, but not so guilty as to fall victim to their marketing strategy. So some of what I have received will go unused (some tossed).
I hope that in the competitive world of charities, limits have been reached. Hold it, that front door knocking may be a rescue cat from that animal rights group.
Dennis Wentraub
Schenectady

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