SPAC must rethink decision to cut NYCB to just one week

Thursday, January 3, 2013
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SPAC must rethink decision to cut NYCB to just one week

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s decision to restrict the New York City Ballet’s 2013 residency to one week is deeply troubling.

Their choice to push the NYCB off a “fiscal cliff” will not just affect the economic vitality of area businesses, it will also place the future of SPAC in jeopardy by eroding its reputation and prestige. It is the latest in bad management decisions plaguing SPAC since the 1970s.

NYCB is the world’s most celebrated dance company. In the last three years, its Saratoga residency has fallen from three weeks to five days. NYCB dancers, staff and orchestra members rent and buy homes here; eat in restaurants; shop and buy groceries; and frequent local business during their residency.

Tourists drawn by the quality and reputation of NYCB performances spend money locally, too. The five days allotted to the NYCB next summer is not a residency, it is merely a quick stint.

The dance companies that SPAC will replace NYCB with could not possibly draw as many people, or as much fundraising support. While these replacements would make a fine addition to programming, they can’t replace audiences built over nearly 50 years.

All around us, arts venues — from Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow in the Berkshires, to Proctors in Schenectady, to Glimmerglass in Cooperstown — survive and even thrive because they are run by experienced arts managers who have steeped themselves in dance or music all their lives. Given proper fundraising and arts management skills, SPAC could thrive, too. But if SPAC sticks to its current course, its artistic and financial slide will worsen.

There are steps SPAC must take to ensure its financial viability. Most of these recommendations were made in the state Parks and Recreation audit eight years ago but never followed. Among them: Hire a professional fundraiser — SPAC’s financial difficulties are caused by inadequate fundraising and outside support.

Analyze compensation and performance — the president, a SPAC employee, does not perform at the level commensurate with her compensation, which takes up nearly 4 percent of the center’s budget.

Reaffirm its commitment to the fine arts, centered on the music and dance residencies of the Philadelphia Orchestra and NYCB, which have been at the core of its mission since 1966.

Rely less on ticket sales and Live Nation and, instead, revitalize its Endowment Committee. Rely less on gimmicks like mounting cell phone antenna towers on the amphitheater as a substitute for solid fundraising.

Increase the size of the board of directors to include dance and music lovers, regardless of their financial status.

Join with the community. Due to past and present investment of public funds in SPAC, it is appropriate for that public to have a greater voice in the operation of the corporate affairs of SPAC.

Please join us to let New York state know of your displeasure. Contact Gov. Cuomo, and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Rose Harvey, and tell them that SPAC is headed in the wrong direction. Contact Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and request a new audit of SPAC’s books. Only political pressure may convince SPAC to reverse its course in 2014.

Don Drewecki


Lisa Akker

Saratoga Springs

This letter was signed by 10 others.

Pulling gun should spur automatic call to cops

Regarding recent mass shootings, some writers still suggest that guns do not kill people, but only people kill people. Do they claim that people own guns for the mere amusement of owning guns, but would never use them for their intended purpose? Do they keep their guns in a bank vault to protect against anyone ever using them?

Let’s get real and recognize that gun owners live in unreasonable fear of the outside world and intend to kill other people if they feel threatened and get a comforting opportunity to shoot. This isn’t rational for a civil society, but only suited for a brutish, dog-eat-dog and neighbor-shoot-neighbor world. The very essence of having a police force is to eliminate the shootout-at-the-OK-Corral mentality.

Pistols are designed solely for the purpose of killing people. It is only reasonable to assume that owners of these weapons intend to kill people. Assault rifles are designed solely for the purpose of killing many people. It is only reasonable to assume that owners of these weapons intend to kill many people. Why do we allow this?

The assault weapons ban merely recognized that those tools had no valid reason to exist except for massacre, and that they would be used for such if we allowed them into homes. Assault guns (and any rapid-fire weapons) are not even remotely connected to any right of self-protection.

Eliminating this ban served no interest except the morbid fascination of dangerous people who wanted to play with dangerous things. The resulting massacres serve to remind us that we all suffer from removing this ban.

We need to melt down all rapid-fire weapons and replace home pistols with a cell phone having a GPS chip and a 911 button. The country would be a better place for it. If we cannot even manage this simple improvement, then at least the law should require that all pistols and rapid-fire weapons be kept in a locked, secure cabinet, with an automatic 911-type call whenever the cabinet is opened.

If people are allowed to carry guns on their person, the only legal reason for withdrawing the weapon from the holster is for self-defense. The holsters should, therefore, be equipped with an automatic 911-type call whenever the weapon is withdrawn.

Arthur W. Haberl


Great gun control ideas that would do nothing

I am writing in response to a Dec. 20 letter [“Several steps can be taken to control guns”] submitted by Mr. Henry Molt. In his letter, Mr. Molt offers numerous ideas to tighten gun control regulations. I especially like his idea of a $1,000 application fee and six-month waiting period.

Just imagine how many of the more than 50 shootings in the Capital Region could have been delayed if the street thugs had to wait six months to purchase their guns. (How about in Chicago — there have been nearly 500 shootings there!).

Of course, robbery statistics would likely increase as the young shooters begin saving their pennies in order to pay the application fee.

Here’s an idea — how about a $1,000 letter-writing fee and waiting period for letters like the one submitted by Mr. Molt.

Thomas Murray Jr.


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January 3, 2013
7:22 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Arthur W. Haberl absolutely, I just know that if there is a law banning guns the criminals will be afraid of getting caught and they will be the first to turn their weapons in. After all, look at the drug and DWI laws, we certainly don't have any illegal drugs on the streets or people driving drunk because of those laws. I think that you should put a big sign in front of your home that say's "Gun Free Zone", that way you and your family will be protected because the criminals know that guns are not allowed in your house.

January 3, 2013
1:51 p.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

wmarincic- Your attempt to correlate adherence to gun laws with obedience of drug and alcohol laws falls short, unless you believe that there is such a thing as gun addiction.

January 3, 2013
5 p.m.
wmarincic says...

redsox, I know for a fact that gun carry laws save lives, it saved my life in Albuquerque in 1984. I also know that if you ban guns that the criminals will still have theirs.

January 3, 2013
8:39 p.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

wmarincic- Your response has nothing to do with the point I made, as I said nothing about gun carry laws. You said, through sarcasm, that criminals won't pay attention to gun laws, and used as your evidence the fact that people still use illegal drugs and drive while intoxicated. However, those activities very often have addiction as a root cause. Therefore, your attempt at a correlation is inadequate, unless you are claiming that there is such a thing as gun addiction.

January 3, 2013
9:11 p.m.
ThePhilistine says...

Bostonredsoxfan, drug dealers who don't use and are not addicted to drugs are criminals who have and use illegal guns in crime and murders. They do not and will not care about any gun ban or law. These same people commit home invasions and other crimes. It is illegal to sell drugs but these guys do it anyway. Do you think harsher mandatory minimum sentencing tightening laws to get more control of drug dealing will stop them or do you think there is such a thing as a drug dealing addiction?

January 4, 2013
7:12 a.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

Most of those who purchase drugs do so because they are addicted, thus there is market for illegal drugs because of addiction. However, wmarincic didn't say anything about selling drugs, he said drugs on the streets. Likewise, he didn't say anything about drug dealers using drugs. Please stay with what was actually said in the original post.

January 4, 2013
7:23 a.m.
wmarincic says...

OK redsox, there are literally thousands of anti drug laws in this country and yet the prisons are full of people that sell drugs for a profit. Many of those drug dealers use illegal guns to kill their competition and also people they feel are a threat. There are many people that use drugs that are not addicts. My friends and I smoked weed a few times in the 70s, we were not addicts, just kids experimenting, so your statement that most people are addicts is wrong. There are DWI laws but thousands arrested every week in America, those laws are much more strict than they were just 20 years ago yet people still drink and drive. Do you think Rockefellers life sentence for drug dealing in 1974 stopped drug dealing? Sure didn't.

January 4, 2013
8:14 a.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

wmarinic- First, you said nothing in your original post about the use of guns by gun dealers. Second, "most" means more than 50%. Just because many people who purchase illegal drugs are not addicts does not mean most aren't. The point of my original post is that there are many people who violate drug and alcohol laws because of addiction. Your statement that people still drink and drive despite stricter laws actually supports that. Adherence to drug and alcohol laws is challenged by the reality of addiction. Unless there is a similar challenge to people obeying gun laws (i.e., gun addiction), your correlation is falls short. Gun use is always a choice; drug and alcohol use by an addict is not a choice in the same way.

January 4, 2013
12:34 p.m.
wmarincic says...

redsox lets try this then. It is not gun addiction, it is our right under the constitution to own guns. Statistics prove that the only thing that gun bans do is that they kill more citizens who are unable to arm themselves. The largest murderers in history are the governments that took the guns from the people. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Assad just to name a few. Do you actually believe that can't and wont happen here?

January 4, 2013
3:41 p.m.
ThePhilistine says...

Bostonrefsoxfan, The drug dealer who stands outside in the street all day and has drugs on him is "drugs in the streets". Also do you really think most(meaning more then 50% in your world) people arrested for DWI are all addicted alcoholics? Addiction is not the sole root cause of people ignoring laws. Greed, power, lust, jealousy and rebellion are some others. Most murders with firearms are made with illegal guns. Lanza had to shoot his mother in the face to get the ones he had. What law will stop a person like that?

January 4, 2013
5:24 p.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

1) I never said there was such a thing as gun addiction. I asked you if you believe there is.
2) I did not argue with you about gun bans. My post was about your attempt to correlate the violation of drug and alcohol laws with violation of drug laws.
3) Your attempt to engage me in a conversation about gun control appears to be an attempt to divert the conversation away from your initial statement.

1) A drug buyer can also be "drugs in the streets."
2) I did not say that I believed that most people arrested for DWI are alcoholics. However, certainly many of them are.
3) I never said that addiction was the sole cause of violations to drug and alcohol laws. I did say that addiction is a challenge to those laws.

January 5, 2013
2:18 a.m.
ThePhilistine says...

boston, what you seemed to think is that since there is not such thing as an addiction to guns, gun control laws will be more likely to be followed. This of course is nonsense. Good day to you sir.

January 5, 2013
2:08 p.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

Let's stick with what I wrote, and not try to guess what I was thinking.

January 5, 2013
7:22 p.m.
ThePhilistine says...

bostonredsoxfan ( no real name given ) says...

wmarincic- Your attempt to correlate adherence to gun laws with obedience of drug and alcohol laws falls short, unless you believe that there is such a thing as gun addiction

It does not fall short, criminals do not care about the law addicted or not. Thats why they are called criminals. No matter the root criminals dont care a out the law and 90% of gun murders are done by gang members who use illegal guns. How will any new law take these guns from them? It wont it will take them away from those who choose the right and exercise responsibility.

January 5, 2013
8:38 p.m.
bostonredsoxfan says...

As I have stated previously, there is a causal relationship between addiction and violations of drug and alcohol laws. A heroin addict buys and possesses heroin because he or she is an addict. That does not mean the person doesn't care about the law, but rather that the addiction overrides the person's desire to obey the law. I have known several people who had engaged in criminal behavior by way of engaging in their addictive behavior (i.e., buying and possessing drugs) who, once they had overcome their addiction, no longer committed crimes. The addiction was causal, not their disregard for the law. Therefore, the correlation between adherence to drug laws and that of guns laws is inadequate, at best.
As to you statement regarding gangs and illegal guns, that is off-topic.

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