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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 2

Thursday, August 2, 2012
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Facts don’t justify editorial’s harsh judgment of Paterno

Your July 25 editorial [“Penn State, Paterno get their just deserts”] was way off base. As heinous as [assistant coach Jerry] Sandusky’s acts were, he was still given the opportunity to defend himself. [Head coach] Joe Paterno was never given this opportunity.

The football program at Penn State was focused on building character and academic achievement while striving to do one’s best on the playing field. Winning was always good, but never the most important thing. Paterno’s accomplishments in his 60 years at Penn State are remarkable. It is sad to see editorials like yours attempting to strip these away without really understanding the facts of the matter.

The incident you mentioned in 1998 (a youngster told his mother that Sandusky had hugged him in the showers) was reported to campus security and was also investigated by the State College police and a case worker with the Department of Public Welfare, but the matter was dropped. Joe Paterno was not involved in this matter, but was apparently informed after the fact. In hindsight, it was a shame that the matter was not pursued further at the time, but it was the mother, not Joe Paterno, that should have pressed on.

[Special Investigative Counsel] Louis Freeh’s report held one item that has been taken as evidence that Paterno was directly involved in a cover-up of Sandusky’s crimes. In 2001, [assistant football coach] Mike McQueary reported to Joe Paterno that he had witnessed Sandusky (who was no longer employed by the university) and a boy in the showers. In the state’s earlier investigation, McQueary had asserted that he was too embarrassed to tell Paterno that he believed he had seen a sex act.

Paterno had McQueary contact Vice President Gary Schultz, head of campus security, to report the incident. The matter was also brought to the attention of Tim Curley, athletic director, and Graham Spanier, president of the university. The decision to not report this incident was made by the top administrators of the university, and according to an e-mail examined by Louis Freeh, Joe Paterno was involved in a discussion with Tim Curley to have Sandusky seek counseling and to report the matter to the board of the Second Mile, the charity organization for troubled youth that was founded by Sandusky.

Curley did meet with the executive director of the board and informed him that they were “uncomfortable with the situation ... but nothing inappropriate had occurred.”

While it is possible that Joe Paterno sought to protect his football program and persuaded top administration to not report the incident, it is more likely that he thought that this was a repeat of the 1998 incident and that clearly Sandusky needed professional counseling. Unfortunately, we will never know the truth of the matter.

I believe that Chris Raymond, former editor of the Daily Collegian, said it best — “[Joe Paterno] was the school’s heart and soul, its visionary leader. I understand the public’s outrage, but I also know that no small part of the venom was directed at a man who dared to hold his program up as an example of what could be.”

Charles R. Blunt

Middle Grove

The writer is a graduate of Penn State, Class of 1960.

Family to high-tax N.Y.: “We’re outta here!”

We are voting with our feet. New York is no longer meeting our needs, and we believe that moving to a different state will be the best thing for our family.

The first need that New York is not meeting is the need for smaller government. Compare New York’s 690-plus school districts to Florida’s 63. There are many, many fewer superintendents and their staffs to pay in Florida. This leads to the second need that New York does not meet. It is important for us to keep our taxes affordable. Less government lends itself to lower taxes. Florida has no income tax — at all. New York is the perpetual leader in the “contest” of having the highest property taxes in the country.

Compare New York’s 4.5 to 5 percent of value property/school tax to Florida’s 1 to 1.5 percent of value property/school tax. According to Education Week, Florida and New York rank among the top five public school systems in the country.

To add insult to injury with regard to our experience in New York, we recently learned that we will have to pay a nearly $1,000 sales tax just to sell our house and leave this state. This is not a capital gains tax — it is a sales tax. On top of that, we have to pay $5 for the privilege of filing the tax form associated with the tax.

More and more, we are also feeling a need to be free from the influence of unions. Florida is a right-to-work state while New York is heavily influenced by the deep pockets of public unions. This, of course, fuels the high taxes we seek to escape.

We believe that our need for autonomy will be better met elsewhere. Florida offers freedoms that New York does not offer. For instance, I can eat transfat in any county in the entire state of Florida. I can no longer purchase my favorite soft serve ice cream with chocolate dip in Albany County because of its ban on transfat. We seek to escape the “nanny state” environment and be allowed to make grown-up decisions for ourselves.

We love our community and many of the people in it. However, the government has made it unpalatable to continue to work, pay taxes and raise our children here. We bid you adieu and wish you all the best.

Chris Patricca

Niskayuna

Obama has done well to keep us out of war

President Obama should be praised for keeping the United States out of foreign conflicts during his nearly four years in office. He could have easily involved us in wars in Libya, Syria, North Korea or even Iran.

Instead of getting us into more conflicts, he chose to get out of Iraq even though he had many critics. President Obama has not escalated the conflict in Afghanistan but rather set a timetable to get us out. This policy of keeping the United States out of war will save the American taxpayer billions of dollars in the long term. In addition, the lives of many American service personnel will be spared.

A large part of our current astronomical debt can be attributed to our wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We will be paying for these wars in dollars and emotional harm to our soldiers and their families for many years in the future.

By keeping us out of foreign conflict, President Obama has done much to secure the future financial and emotional well-being of this country.

Walter J. Morlock

Schenectady

Anti-frackers need to find a new Mecca

It is ironic that Charles Rielly’s absurd anti-fracking July 26 letter to the editor appeared on the same day that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the all-clear to drinking water in Dimock, Penn.

In a statement, the EPA said it sampled drinking-water wells that served that community and didn’t find any contaminants that would warrant further action.

Dimock, as many people know, is the Mecca of the anti-fraccking, environmental religion. Sorry to say that it was all a hoax concocted by the documentary “Gasland.”

Mr. Rielly’s letter, in the style of the hysterical Karen Cookson articles that preceded it, was devoid of any facts and full of name-calling against a true patriot, Russ Wege, an engineer who actually knows what he is talking about and is not afraid to express it in his excellent past op-eds in the Gazette.

I am surprised that the Gazette allowed this type of loony expression. But I guess that the no-nothing environmentalists are granted a certain leeway that would never be granted to thinking people.

Mike Blyskal

Glenville

Police finally acted on Bedford Road speeders

I would just like to say “kudos!” to the Schenectady Police Department. It appears there was a letter to the editor last week [July 26] that someone actually read and acted on!

As the previous writer explained, our road (Bedford Road) is a drag strip during commute time. This has been an issue for years with multiple requests made by residents for speed monitoring. For the last three days, there has been just that! It appears the city may be bringing in some revenue (several ticketed) and our issue may be getting some attention.

Thank you, Schenectady police!

Now if we can get the city to approve some stop signs on our street, we would have a permanent solution to our problem. Anyone reading today?

Anne DeNero

Schenectady

Letters Policy

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There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.

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comments

August 2, 2012
9:09 a.m.
biwemple says...

I'd love to move out of NY because of the taxes, but I don't think I'd choose Florida as a new home state of choice. Their infrastructure is overwhelmed these days (esp in Orlando area) and its too hot in summer. Go West to the Rockies. NY needs to clean house.

August 2, 2012
9:17 a.m.
justapto says...

I see you want to give your children the opportunity to gorge on trans fats, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc.
Go to California and grow big, unhealthy and be free.

August 2, 2012
9:47 a.m.
muggy says...

To Chris Patricca. I feel your pain! I've also enjoyed your letters to the editor over the years. Your independent thinking and love of freedom will be missed. You join the 200,000 residents each year leaving this over-regulated/over-taxed state. Best to you.

August 2, 2012
1:38 p.m.
patricca says...

To Justapto: Did you read my letter? Did I mention gorging on transfats, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs? If you don't agree with my move, that's fine. But, please get your facts straight. I was not insulting to you, why do you feel the need to be insulting to me?

To Muggy and Biwemple - thank you for your support.

August 3, 2012
9:10 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

Chris Patricca is making the right move. If all the whiners moved out of NY, it would be a nicer place to live. Or, you could fight to change things and make NY a better place. I'm sure Florida has plenty of faults, too. So put up, shut up or move out!

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