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Cuomo distorts and deceives with commercials

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Cuomo distorts and deceives with commercials

Am I the only one who is annoyed by the incessant TV commercials by Gov. Cuomo touting all of his “successes”?

First he began running the ridiculous commercials featuring schoolkids dancing in a mini-mart thanking patrons for buying lottery tickets to help education. Nowhere does the commercial say how much (if any) of the lottery money goes toward education.

Another favorite is the one where he supports charter schools, which have accounted for millions of taxpayer dollars being diverted to what are essentially private schools whose teachers don’t have to adhere to the same certifications and standards as public schools. Charters can also pick and choose their students, which is a luxury that public schools don’t enjoy.

The icing on the cake is the commercial where Cuomo takes full credit for halting and re-evaluating the Common Core curriculum and testing. He thanks parents and teachers for “making their voices heard,” while neglecting the very important fact of how he and his education commissioner, John King, were earnestly supporting Common Core until the public outcry against it became too loud to ignore.

Make no mistake, our governor is a master politician, which means he is also a master at distorting the truth to suit his own purposes. We need to start holding him and the Legislature, who never seem to oppose him, responsible for their actions. That means the press needs to take a more active role in exposing the lies and half-truths being fed to the public on a daily basis via the TV commercials.

After all, Cuomo promised to clean up New York government when he first took office. What better place to start than with the governor’s office.

John Angilletta

Scotia

High cost of rolling back prices in Ballston

Walmart in Ballston? Ballston folk fret driving miles for the basics. Yet, the rationale for nearby “low prices every day” withers when considering the costs of Walmart: unconscionable procurement and employment policies, increased crime, burdens on infrastructures and public services, ugliness.

Ballston has an average per-capita income of $33,777. Not so Walmart employees. In 2012, three-fifths of Walmart “associates” earned less than $25,000 and many received no benefits. Walmart employees constitute the largest corporate segment of Americans on food stamps. U.S. Walmart hires 550,000, or nearly half its total workforce each year, as people quit or are terminated.

If we buy Walmart’s claim of grocery prices 10 percent below its competitors, we should weigh the quality of factory-sourced products against the value of regionally grown foods of New York stores. Moreover, we know the high cost of low prices for our neighbors, whether they are producers compromised by Walmart’s low-price contracts or workers seeking a living wage.

Not yet opposed to Walmart? Individuals or families in vehicles may sleep overnight at Walmart, which asks you to “contact management in each store to ensure accommodations.” A 2012 university study found that: “If the corporation built a new store, there were 17 additional property crimes and two additional violent crimes for every 10,000 persons in a county.”

Julia Kirk Blackwelder

Ballston Spa

How Sch’dy got its potholes back

After many years of disrepair and neglect, the city of Schenectady found a reasonable and economic means to repair the streets of the city. Gone were the numerous bone-rattling, shock absorber-breaking potholes, and in their place was a smooth and aesthetically pleasing road surface.

Ah, but not for long. Corporate America in the form of National Grid decided it was time to upgrade their gas lines and thus, they tore up our newly repaired streets and left in their wake badly filled-in holes with equally bad asphalt surfaces.

So next winter when the frost will heave these holes upward and break the thin asphalt covering — allowing water to seep in and further degrade the surface, resulting in new bone-rattling, shock absorber-breaking potholes — will National Grid be held responsible for their shoddy street repairs? I doubt very much they will.

And thus, the taxpayers of the city have ceded to the corporate world another piece of their wealth in the form of the cost to repair these streets in the future, along with the repairs to their vehicles and the increased insurance premiums. In addition, the effort to beautify the city will have been in vain.

Wayne Gage

Schenectady

Senior shortsighted on school taxes

In an April 25 letter, Sherry LeMay opined that because she was a senior citizen with no children, she felt entitled to opt out of paying school taxes because, having never sent a child to school, she “had gotten no benefits from paying this tax.”

Seniors who feel this way seem to regard these levies as an unjustified transfer of wealth, when in reality school taxes are actually an investment in the future of all of us. Aside from the broader societal value of an educated populous, seniors like Ms. Lemay benefit in a very personal way from public education.

We need an educated population to drive an economy capable of funding a massive monthly transfer of wealth — not from the most mature among us, but to them in the forms of Social Security and Medicare.

We are all in this together.

Rich Leon

Glenville

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