‘Special interests’ in Common Core fight are legitimate

Friday, October 18, 2013
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‘Special interests’ in Common Core fight are legitimate

Re Oct. 13 article, “State education chief scraps Shen visit”: Sorry [State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.] went through a tough meeting in Poughkeepsie on his PTA tour of New York to answer questions on the Common Core, which led him to cancel the remaining four stops, including one in Shenendehowa. But people have serious questions.

King says he was looking forward to telling parents about Common Core and other reforms, but “unfortunately, the forums sponsored by the PTA have been co-opted by special interests. . .” Well, the “special interests” he is referring to are the parents of the children being subjected to Common Core. Parents, as indicated in the PTA, sponsor of the events!

Dr. King, they aren’t just “special interests,” they should be your primary interest. We have grave concerns about the Common Core and our questions are legitimate. Yet now you have refused to make yourself available to answer them. If you are worried so much about special interests and how they are “dominating” the discussion, you need to turn and look at the corporate entities with a huge financial interest that all want part of the $16 billion Common Core is expected to require for implementation.

The special interests you should question in the Common Core equation include Pearson, the group responsible for all the textbooks, professional development and tests. Or Inbloom, the company responsible for gathering all the data on the children. Or the technology companies, as Common Core will require schools to invest heavily in technology to meet the testing requirements.

The children in our schools are the most important “special interest,” and their parents speak for them. Just because you cancel the opportunities for the parents to speak doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice. We will still demand that you listen because our children’s education is at stake and Common Core has many concerning issues. Parents want you to represent our children first!

Commissioner King, you can run but you shouldn’t hide.

Will Farmer

Burnt Hills

The writer is a former school board member.

Prop 5 environmentally unsound, so vote no

On Nov. 5, voters will be asked whether or not they support Proposition 5, which authorizes a land swap between the state and NYCO Minerals in Essex County. If approved, it would allow NYCO Minerals to mine in a wilderness area adjacent to their current open pit mine in Lewis.

Since 1895, voters have approved exceptions to the Constitution’s “Forever Wild” provision for the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves only 22 times and only for specific purposes that have a net public benefit or value. This proposed exchange with NYCO will be the first time that the voters are faced with an amendment to Forever Wild whose only justification is the convenience and bottom line of a private corporation.

It is easier and cheaper for NYCO to mine our public wilderness next to its current mine than it is to mine the many other lands it owns just a few miles away.

We have hiked on the wilderness threatened with mining and can attest to the fact that it is a majestic, old-growth forest used by many forms of wildlife. It should not be sacrificed to convenience a company that has many alternative ways to secure the minerals it needs. To destroy such a forest with new roads, bulldozers, noise, lights and explosives, without a clear public purpose and benefit, appears to us as senseless and abhorrent.

We urge voters to uphold Forever Wild by voting no on Proposition 5. NYCO is an important employer in the Adirondack Park, but it can afford to spend a little more to unearth minerals on its own lands. And New Yorkers will sleep better at night knowing they have prevented the destruction of this special public environment and maintained the integrity of the world’s only constitutionally protected forest.

David Gibson

Ballston Lake

The writer is a partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

Moreland Commission should nail Silver

Great letters in the Gazette by Robert Karandy [Oct. 8] and Neil Nusbaum [Oct. 9]. Hopefully, people who read them will consider their comments.

One career politician who comes to mind is Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Assembly since 1994, who does not believe he should resign for his cover-ups of sexual harassment by Vito Lopez and the secret settlement of $103,000 in taxpayer money to two women victims.

The speaker must be pretty powerful because he still reigns.

Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission is supposed to investigate corruption in government and hopefully improve ethics, maybe starting with Speaker Silver.

Could this be possible?

Shirley Guidarelli


If only we could start over with Congress...

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative or independent, Congress is the butt of numerous and well-warranted jokes.

At present, my bet is that most of us would like to see a tabula rasa [blank slate] take place in our capital immediately. Those elected to take the place of the present members of Congress would be held to term limits and subject to the laws followed by those they govern. Such a thing is something devoutly to be wished and all but improbable. However, would it do any good to organize a multimillion-person march sometime soon, demanding accountability from those in the Capitol building?

Americans of all colors, races, ethnic backgrounds, etc., marching arm-in-arm, chanting, “Give us jobs, stop the abuse of entitlements and put our country on the right track!” Wouldn’t that be something?

Allen R. Remaley

Saratoga Springs

Hoffman’s should move Playland next to Guptill’s

Famed newspaper publisher Horace Greeley’s advice to those seeking fortune and fame was “Go west”. Today, my advice to the Hoffman family, which operates Hoffman’s Playland, is to relocate their mini theme park four miles north on Route 9 and team up with the Guptill family, which also operates a wonderful family-oriented business.

As Hoffman’s Playland continues to be surrounded by modern development, it is becoming an island whose time is running out. With each fleeting day of summer-like weather, grandparents, parents and their children worry that these may be their last opportunity to enjoy this true Capital Region icon.

A partnership between these two family-run establishments may just be the ticket for the future. With beautiful acreage, fresh air and facilities adjacent to the Guptill Roller Rink and Coney Express ice cream concession, the ideal location exists just four miles north.

If this idea can become reality, Capital Region children may enjoy the fun for years to come. “All aboard!”

John Harpur


Democrats can’t have it all their own way

Re Teresa Seeger’s Oct. 8 letter, “GOP would take nation in the wrong direction”: She is correct when she says, “We the people elected our president,” but we did not elect a king. This nation’s greatness is because we have checks and balances, so no one person can dictate their power over us.

It is good that everyone has different views and that you can choose a direction for your own life. She goes on to say that the GOP is going in the wrong direction, but she doesn’t or can’t say what direction that is. Just a blanket statement that means nothing.

But then she goes to the old standby: It’s George Bush’s fault. According to her and the Democrats, everything bad for the past 12 years has been Bush’s fault.

And when that doesn’t win the argument, they resort to name-calling. I guess I’m not entitled to my opinion if it’s not their opinion.

Ken Glindmyer

Rotterdam Junction

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October 18, 2013
3:22 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Yes, Mr. Glindmyer, “no one person can dictate their power over us”, however, it sure seems that 40 or so tea party Congressmen and Senators, (who don’t believe in these “checks and balances” established by our Constitution), can. This tiny group, with the support of Speaker Boehner, held the entire country hostage trying to circumvent the Constitution’s “checks and balances” and force the end of a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President and deemed Constitutional by the Supreme Court. We hear shouts from tea partiers to get back to the Constitution as written by the Founders. The involvement of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches are the “checks and balances” established by the Constitution. Have they read it?

The total human and economic cost of their grand standing has yet to be determined, but at least $24 billion had been added to our National Debt. Perhaps if they thought that Constitutional remedies such as winning elections and legally repealing the Affordable Care Act by a majority in Congress and signed by a tea party President was possible, they wouldn’t have to take Our Country to the brink every couple of months.

October 18, 2013
5:41 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

More gibberish from janesjoy. Congress funds everything janesjoy. Those 40 or so Congressmen "are" the checks and balance. Parroting "Hostage" over and over only makes you sound absolutely ignorant of how the founding fathers framed our form of Government. They do not have to fund it and they funded every other aspect of Government. It was your wanna be King and the idiot from Nevada that shut down the Government. Those are the facts. Maybe you should put down your DNC handbook and pick up the Constitution. You might just find that half the crap you parrot as rights is no where in there.

October 18, 2013
11:10 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Jane, Obamacare was not deemed Constitutional by the SCOTUS, the opinion by Justice Roberts was that it was not up to the court to cancel "bad legislation" it was up to the voters, the issue was the lie that Obama said the fines were not a tax but went into the SCOTUS stating they WERE a tax thereby going around they anti-trust laws that would force a consumer to purchase something or be fined. You liberals want to bash The Tea Party but they are fighting for their constituents wishes just like you liberals are fighting for welfare and free handouts. If you notice the red/blue map, all of the democrats are in large cities where welfare, poverty and high taxes are king, NY, IL, Mi, Ca, etc. Obama is nothing but the great divider and the liberal rants from the left wont ever change the facts.

October 18, 2013
1:31 p.m.
ChuckD says...

You two again, two of the most hapless corporate tools I've heard.
I don't pretend to speak for janesjoys who does a damn good job for herself, but I'll add that you and the Tea Party, if you had the intellectual curiosity, would do well to read up on King Pyrrhus. You're living it out but there is no victory for you.
The only "check" the Tea Party has provided is to try to break the game when they saw they couldn't win. And the only victory you can hope for on your present path is to keep trying to game the system with futile voter roll purges, closing of key polling places, obsessive/compulsive filibustering and other monkey-wrenching. The American people will speak again and the "Right" will continue it's painful slide into extinction, shouting all the way.
Good riddance, we need to move ahead.

October 18, 2013
9:16 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

The ten poorest states are all red states, and all of them get FAR more federal money than they contribute.

October 19, 2013
5:06 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

Tell me ChuchD, what are we moving ahead to? 17 trillion now. Where is ahead? 25 trillion 30 trillion? What will make you really happy? The total collapse of the American economy and way of life? Sounds to me that is your end game. You think those that oppose lack your superior intellectual curiosity? Educate me. When and how does that unsustainable debit disappear? When do these unsustainable deficits end? Give me one example of a state run by liberals that is economically sound. How about a city? A lemonade stand? Im trying to be intellectually curious now, so help me out here. You three handout taking lefties can help me join the club with some deep intellectual responses. Just make sure I can understand them since being Conservative means I'm sorta slow.

October 19, 2013
7:19 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Fritzdawg, a liberal lie.
Most of the 10 poorest states are Republican” is a quote of CNN’s Jack Cafferty. It appeared in his “Cafferty File” blog last September 22, and was accompanied by the opinion, this is “something the GOP can’t be too comfortable with.” Indeed, in an election year, you can bet that Democrats will try to make hay with those data.

My previous column made the case that Democratic Party policies have induced the impoverishment of America’s poorest cities. Turnabout is fair play. If Republican policies have led to the economic stagnation of entire states, whereas Democrats are only responsible for ruining cities, then the Dems might have the stronger campaign talking point. Let’s examine the 10 poorest states to see if Republicans are to blame for their relative economic standing.

The poorest states, based on per capita income, are, from first to last: Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, and North Carolina. Of these, exactly half—Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, and West Virginia—have Democratic governors and three have Democratic majorities in the lower house of their legislature, so these state governments can hardly be classified as completely Republican. On the other hand, only North Carolina voted for Obama in 2008, so in that sense, these states may be leaning Republican.

I will let you read the rest on the site.

October 19, 2013
2:40 p.m.
Phils2008 says...

wmarincic, had you given him enough time ChuckD (intellectual curiosity guy) probably would have spoken to Fritz about this. He would have explained some of the causes that may make Fritz statement true on the surface. He would have pointed out the Northern Elites goal of trampling down the Southern states economies after the Civil war to keep them in poverty. He would have pointed out the larger (by more then 20%) number of poor minorities in those states collecting the bribes given them by Democrats. He would have pointed to an agricultural economy that typically pays low wages because Northern elites want cheap food. There are any number of reasons for this that a deep thinker like ChuckD would be pondering. Fritz? He may not be so deep!

October 20, 2013
3:38 a.m.
janesjoys says...

Phils2008, you ask ChuckD “What will make you really happy?” I can’t help but wonder what will make you and your fellow writers happy? You seem to know exactly what us liberals want, so let me give a try at what you and wmarincic would like for this country.

First, let’s eliminate all government subsidized healthcare: Medicare and Medicaid. Planned Parenthood will also be a thing of the past. After all, we have the greatest health care system in the world! Those that can afford it will still have it.

Next let’s privatize that pesky Social Security. It should be quite easy for those making minimum wage to save a considerable chunk of change from each of their two part time jobs to be able to afford to retire at age 75 or so. Of course, this doesn’t help the unemployed.

Oh, let’s not forget public education. Not sure how this might work. If you do away with public schools and give families vouchers, isn’t that still government intervention in what should be the family’s responsibility. Perhaps if we just home school all kids, we can instill ALL of our own values. Plus, I am sure we could get some used books from the 1950s since that was socially a much better time.

I haven’t even mentioned how great it would be to eradicate SNAP.

So, looks like we are looking at a mass of uneducated, unhealthy, unemployed hungry Americans. Perhaps we can construct some camps for them, but that would cost the Government and we would still have to feed them. Or not. So, what would we do them?

October 20, 2013
5:50 a.m.
wmarincic says...

OK Jane, let's play your game. Medicaid and Medicare worked just fine, only problem is government unions making the workers too lazy and not catching the massive fraud. Planned Parenthood is an abortion factory that murders thousands of babies every week, maybe we should be teaching more abstinence in school rather than sexual diversity. I know that I'm far from experienced investor, I'm a different type of finance manager but my 401K has gone up at least 6% year after year. BTW they are talking about raising SS to age 75 because the system is broke from the govt. constantly raiding the fund. Vouchers are school choice and it seems like the best education is private schools that are not run by teachers unions where even teachers that molest their kids are defended and stay in their jobs for years. Look at the 60 Minutes story on it. The bottom line is we do need the core values of the 50s with the technology of today. Good bye Jane, you have a great day and God Bless.

October 20, 2013
9:21 a.m.
janesjoys says...

wmarincic - I didn't think you could answer the simple question: What will make you happy? You just keep knocking things with nothing to replace or make better. This is not a game. It is the future of this great country.

October 20, 2013
1:12 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Jane, what would make me happy? Term limits and School Choice.

October 21, 2013
4:45 a.m.
Phils2008 says...

janesjoys, just rambling on with DNC talking points. You never sit and analyze Conservative positions. We are looking at a mass of uneducated, unhealthy, unemployed hungry Americans they are called Democrats. Uneducated, because they are too lazy to read. Unhealthy because anything goes and hungry because booze, lottery tickets and smokes are more important then food. When you actually take the time to read up on Republican positions and understand exactly what they are saying I'll answer your question, but explaining them to the DNC talking point machine you are now is a waste of time.

October 21, 2013
7:55 p.m.
ChuckD says...

You both mock intellectual curiosity? You think this is all a game?
Seriously? What are you, 14 years old?
For God's sake find a forum where your ignorance isn't so glaring and take pnotto and his sermons too. We'd love to have an spirited debate with real conservatives but you lot are clearly in way over your heads.
I'd love to hear why, if your self-righteousness is so righteous, is your popularity dropping like a stone, and how that translates into a winning strategy?
It doesn't of course but there is a way out of your mess, sadly it involves intellectual curiosity.
Good Luck!

October 22, 2013
9:39 a.m.
wmarincic says...

ChuchD, that's the problem, you so called intellectual elitists. Democrats are the party of No and the party of enslaving people with your welfare. If Democrats cared about Americans and jobs they would be sending letters to Obama about opening the country to illegal aliens and to Cuomo about illegal aliens getting in state discounts for college. I was talking about the difference between Seattle Wa. and Fayetteville N.C. to a friend, my son is stationed at Ft. Bragg in N.C.and my daughter is stationed at Ft. Lewis in Wa. Seattle is a liberal state full of homeless people, high taxes, high cost of living, gas prices over $4 a gallon and 10% sales tax and a high state income tax and traffic cameras on every corner like a Police State. Fayetteville is clean, housing is inexpensive, gas is under $3 a gallon, no or low state income tax sales tax around 4% and is Conservative. Both states have a huge military presence so the only difference is Liberal Wa as opposed to Conservative N.C.

October 22, 2013
10:14 a.m.
gazettereader says...

Fayetteville's crime rate is more than 50% higher than Seattle's. Heck, crime in Fayetteville is worse than Schenectady - No gas in Fayetteville is under $3/gallon - . Don't believe the lies conservatives tell you. Like they always say - "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

October 22, 2013
2:47 p.m.
wmarincic says...

The reason Seattle has a lower crime rate is that they do NOT arrest drug offenders. Marijuanna is now legal, the open air heroin and cocain markets are so large that they don't even arrest street dealers that deal across the street from the County Courthouse. Get YOUR facts straight gazettereader. As a matter of fact the TV show Drugs Inc. is running a show on the Seattle drug trade, maybe you should watch it, it's disgusting. Also, when I was in Fayetteville last Dec. the gas I bought was 2.97 a gallon.

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