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Unemployment figures lacking in proper context

Friday, July 11, 2014
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Unemployment figures lacking in proper context

The July 4 Associated Press article ["June job growth robust"] touting the 6.1 percent unemployment rate failed to mention a couple of important numbers.

The drop in the unemployment rate was aided by 110,000 people dropping out of the workforce in June. Plus, no mention was made of the unchanged workforce participation rate of 62.8 percent.

If the workforce participation rate was what it was in 2009 (65.5 percent), the unemployment rate would still be double-digit.

Richard Baluch

Delanson

Judge was too easy on animal abuser

I read with a bit of satisfaction the July 4 article ["Woman gets 45 days in jail for beating dog"] in The Gazette regarding convicted dog torturer Dana Jarvis, who "stood shaking and crying" as the judge mulled over her sentence, which could have been up to a year in jail.

According to an eyewitness account, Jarvis "twice punched her boyfriend's German shepherd and then kicked it in the shoulder as it fell to the ground." This poor animal obviously loved, trusted and respected Jarvis or she might not have gotten away with that. That German shepherd could have caused great harm to her had it chosen to fight back and defend itself. Instead, I'm sure it was "shaking and crying" after her brutal attack.

The difference is that the dog did nothing wrong and surely didn't have a clue as to what provoked Jarvis' rage. I'm disappointed that she only got 45 days in jail and that the judge didn't order a psychological evaluation and perhaps some anger-management classes to help her control herself in the future.

Her "boyfriend" who owns the dog is no better, as he stood there watching Jarvis' attack. What kind of man tolerates that behavior? This dog should be removed from this volatile situation and given to someone who will give it the love and care it deserves.

Jarvis can't own an animal for three years while on probation. But what's to keep her from brutalizing this dog again, out of the sight of witnesses, when she visits her boyfriend? Obviously, he will not defend the dog.

If there's anything you can do to help this dog, Judge Matthew Sypniewski, please do it!

Donna Gizzi

Ballston Lake

Help clean up litter on scenic bike trail

After a three-day summer weekend, one would expect some litter on a scenic bike trail, especially near the trailhead, close to Schenectady County Community College, the little park with the gazebo looking out over the river. People evidently assume that the city collects garbage, as there is no trash can there.

Proceeding west all the way to the functional end of the trail, where the train cars have been parked for decades, there are no trash cans at all. And one might bike or hike a half-mile between discarded plastic bottles and candy wrappers. One might go a month without seeing another person out there on the trail picking up after the litterers, although the Canalway Trail has an "adopt-a-trail" program for maintenance and litter pickup. Evidently, the participation along this section of the trail is minimal.

Between Lock 8 and SCCC, the density of litter increases dramatically. There's always a soda can or milkshake cup at the Rice Road parking lot. Further east, what looks like a dropped deck of cards has been ground into the pavement for at least a month.

A couple days ago, I found 30 individually wrapped Band-Aids and a two-years-sobriety medal from Alcoholics Anonymous; finally, a dirty diaper, neatly folded and placed on the guardrail near the exit ramp to the community college.

Want to help? Wear surgical gloves and bring a tall kitchen plastic bag.

Roger Sheffer

Schenectady

Editorial on tenure did not reflect reality

I read your June 30 editorial, "Tenure's time should come," and deeply regret the continued misinformation about tenure being shared with the public.

You say that, "tenure has, for all practical purposes, outlived its original intent and its unique value as a tool to protect good teachers from bad firings," as if none of those factors mentioned, "nepotism, vindictive school superintendents, dissatisfied parents or their own controversial teaching methods" could possibly happen anymore. No justification for that conclusion, which is patently absurd, is offered.

Indeed, I have a teacher friend in Indiana, where unions have been weakened and tenure all but abolished, who, just recently, lost her job due to nepotism. There is also a very strong suspicion that she's been "RIFed" because she dared to exercise her First Amendment rights in criticizing the questionable education "reforms" being implemented nationwide.

But the worst statement, that "tenure also protected unqualified or poor teachers because of an expensive, time-consuming and arduous hearing process" is egregiously inaccurate. Tell me, who is to blame when an obviously guilty defendant is found not guilty? The defense lawyer or the prosecutor?

Tenure demands concrete evidence by district administration and when such evidence is presented the case rarely goes to a hearing. The vast majority of these cases are resolved through negotiation before the process, known as a 30-20A in New York, even begins and results in the teacher resigning.

The only time the full due process is carried out is when there are questions of evidence or of the teacher's guilt. In such cases, due process is critical to the integrity of the profession.

The continued dissemination of misinformation regarding tenure is doing very real damage to the teaching profession. That a respected publication such as The Gazette is engaged in this behavior is very much of concern. One expects the opinions of a newspaper's editorial board to be fully vetted and supported with facts.

Michael Lambert

Greenfield Center

Full-time legislature answer to corruption

Your July 4 editorial ["Big money follows the powerful brokers"] that took Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to task for "getting rich on outside revenue" missed the mark.

The ethics and campaign finance reform you called for are laudable goals, but they won't fix a system that's designed for corruption. What New York needs are full-time Assembly members and senators who have strict limits on outside income.

While paying higher salaries for full-time work will cost taxpayers a little more, the change will help to inject integrity into the legislative process and end the abuses that everyone abhors.

That is, everyone except our "part-time" legislators.

David B. Boelio

Galway

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