Board should show support for taxpayersI was surprised to learn Pat Lanotte was seeking to return to the Niskayuna school board after her unexpected and costly resignation two years ago.I will never vote for Pat because as reported in The Daily Gazette on February 23, 2016, she was the sole vote on the school board to prevent the parents of service members killed in combat (these parents are called “Gold Star Parents”) and disabled veterans from obtaining a school property tax exemption. I believe that shows a lack of empathy and compassion to these members of our community.Pat often speaks about her fiscal skills. However, when it comes to Gold Star parents and disabled veterans, she appears to me at least to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. I plan to vote for Brian Backus, a retired military officer, Kim Tully, the wife of a Purple Heart recipient, and Greta Janson, who is willing to listen to the needs of our veterans and senior citizens on fixed incomes like myself. Being on the school board isn’t all about the kids. As elected officials, they should consider people like me when they vote on financial matters and show some empathy and compassion for those who don’t have kids in the school system. Carlene IrelandNiskayuna Nisky school board must listen to staffAt the last meeting of the Niskayuna Board of Education, a number of representatives from the five bargaining units in the district made known their concerns about lack of morale within the district’s workforce. And the superintendent, Dr. Tangorra, has responded to the community in a letter on the school district’s website.I have been a close observer of two school districts in the Capital District. One is Niskayuna by virtue of having sent our three children through its schools. The other employed a family member. Morale issues are occurring in both districts.My son serves in the Navy as a submariner. He and the roughly 100 other sailors on a boat almost never see the light of day. They only know what goes on outside when it flows from the captain, down through the officer ranks, to the enlisted sailors. The sailors are stuck there. They cannot even jump ship.But my son tells me the morale on the boat (a “good” boat versus a “bad” boat) is directly in the captain’s hands. And the reputation of a boat travels with it. So while the sailors may be largely powerless to change the morale, the captain’s superiors are not. They hear the scuttlebutt and they can act.The parallel to a school district is not perfect. So while my son legally cannot decide, “Tomorrow I’m out of here,” school district employees can and do “jump ship” anytime the aggravation becomes too great. But superintendents and their direct staff indeed have superiors. They are the school boards and they need to pay attention to what their “sailors” are reporting.Jim FogartyNiskayuna Slate will keep Nisky schools moving aheadAs former members of the Niskayuna School Board, we implore you to pay attention to this school board election. Between us, we have 18 years of service. Our years of experience give us a great deal of perspective, especially about some of the difficult days of our board service. Days when school board members did not work well together. Days when school board members spent too much time choosing sides of an argument rather than working to build consensus. Too many times votes came down to the same four voting one way, and the other three voting another. And too much focus on who was “right” and who was “wrong.” Fortunately, the current board is working well together for the benefit of our students and the community. Our community needs to keep the momentum progressing in a positive fashion.Please thoroughly research each candidate before you vote. We did and are supporting Brian Backus, Greta Jansson and Kim Tully. Brian is the current board vice president and has 40 years of military service. He has a proven record of building consensus and making decisions focused on kids. Greta is a local business owner with a diverse academic, professional and cultural background. Her message is positive and collaborative. Kim brings an educator’s perspective and years of service to our schools. Her message likewise is focused on keeping the board moving forward, not backward.Make sure your vote keeps our kids and our community moving in the right direction.Debbie Gordon and Bob WinchesterNiskayuna Get involved to get better governmentOn May 13, it was my privilege to attend the annual meet the candidates for school board night put on by the League of Women Voters.Thank you to them not just for putting on the event, but also giving the first question to my son, who is a second grader at Paige Elementary. His question on bullying received varying answers, some that I found disappointing and others encouraging.However, what distressed me the most is the fact that only about 30 people attended, or less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of our community. Of those 30, only three were minorities. All politics are local. If We the People wish to effect change, then we must be willing to put in the time not just to go to the polls, but to also attend events such as this. To do otherwise results in an ill-informed electorate and frequently results in the status quo being maintained, thereby stalling growth in programs that directly affect We the People. It also results in candidates who are ill-informed in what the electorate desires, making them unable to properly represent their constituents.I implore that the people of Schenectady begin not to just comment, but act, become educated on candidate positions and show up to the polls and vote. For if you don’t, then nothing will ever change.Ed Smith Jr.Schenectady Tully cares about Niskayuna schoolsI support Kimberly Tully in her candidacy for the Niskayuna Board of Education. I worked closely with Kim as a fellow officer of the Rosendale Elementary PTO for three years. That experience taught me that Kim possesses many fine qualities that make her an excellent candidate for the board.If Kim is elected to the board, her collaborative nature will enable her to work well with her fellow board members. Furthermore, she is a careful listener who seeks out varied viewpoints in order to fully understand an issue. All stakeholders can be confident that they will be heard by Kim. Additionally, Kim is conscientious and responsible when making budgetary decisions.Kim’s background as an educator makes her a uniquely qualified candidate in this election. She cares deeply about children and our Niskayuna community, and will ensure that students, teachers and community members all feel valued and supported, while remembering her duty to be fiscally responsible.I hope you’ll join me in giving Kimberly Tully one of your three votes for the Niskayuna Board of Education on May 21.Anne HellerNiskayuna Bring back Lanotte to help district again Niskayuna is fortunate to have five candidates for the Board of Education, and I thank them for their willingness to run. I endorse Patricia Lanotte as my top choice. She has an outstanding and proven record previously serving on the board, including saving the district and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars with her unmatched fiscal know-how. During her two-year tenure as board president, the levy increased only once, by 0.41 percent. As a Birchwood parent during the “close Birchwood years,” I’m grateful for her support not to close one of the five elementary schools.What’s unfortunate, however, is that there are people bashing Ms. Lanotte’s record and erroneously blaming her for special election costs held in 2017 to fill her seat when she stepped down for personal reasons. Holding a special election, as opposed to appointing a person to finish her term, was entirely up to the remaining board members. Some people are also “demanding” that she tell them what those personal reasons were. That’s none of anyone’s business. But what is our business is that she has indicated those reasons are resolved and she’s ready to commit again. The Niskayuna school district needs Patricia Lanotte. I say that as a parent of two high school students. Her finger is on the pulse of our community, students and teachers. Pat’s vast knowledge of key issues facing our district and, again, her unmatched fiscal experience makes for an ideal board member. We are fortunate to have her running again for the Board of Education.Paulette DoudoukjianNiskayuna Respect the president and let him do his jobPaul Tonko is at it again. He knocks U.S. Attorney General Barr. People who live in glasshouses should not throw stones. Good Americans should respect an elected president. I didn’t like President Bush, but I respected him as the president. All you stupid liberals are hurting this country. We are laughed at by other countries because of the way you liberals treat the president. Don’t be surprised if we have December 1941 again. Support him. Let him do what he said he would do if elected. You liberals will not give him a chance to do well for this country. The Democratic party liberals are not for this country or the people, but for the party. Why did they want Hillary in office when she had our men killed? She also made millions selling our uranium to Russia. Wake up. I am a good Democrat, not a liberal. I voted for Trump. I also went and registered Republican so that I could vote for him in the primary. We needed a strong president in office to protect us and our country. We have been a weak country for the past eight years, before he became president. I pray that our young don’t have to protect this country, like we had to in 1941. God bless America and President Trump.Vincent BelardoAlbany Lanotte not a backer of open meetingsPatricia Lanotte voted to oust the superintendent at an early Friday morning school board meeting in 2014. The meeting was supposed to be an open meeting, but nobody showed up, including a reporter from The Gazette. Open meetings are supposed to be open, except when the notification process is not followed. That’s what happened here. The school board president did not apologize, but said it “was an oversight and it will not happen in the future.” She was voted out at the next election, as were other school board members who chose to run. It’s time to send Ms. Lanotte the same message. Open school board meetings are supposed to be open to all, and notifications should be made in a timely manner. Don’t vote for Patricia Lanotte. Joseph J. HehirSchenectady Be fair and positive in Niskayuna schoolsHaving been a resident in Niskayuna since 2006 and heavily involved in our schools and community on a volunteer basis, some of you know me and know that I don’t shy back from voicing my opinion. Unfortunately, I’m again dismayed by the politically charged atmosphere that I see rising up in our Niskayuna community in regards to the upcoming board election. It shouldn’t be who you know, but who the better candidate is. It should be a positive, not negative experience.We should be supportive of the candidates, not bashing them or actively working to undermine them.Those of you that remember 2013 like I do, it wasn’t a pretty picture. The community was divided and it took the patient and steady leadership of John Yagielski to bring us back together. I urge everyone to play fair and be positive, even in a politically divided county, let’s be a supportive and united district. Sonya WardNiskayuna Farm Act will speed up demise of farmsFarmworker Fair Labor Practices (FFLP) Act (S2837/A2750) will add significant labor costs to small family farms.The increase in minimum wage has already started to impact profitability of small family farms. Twenty percent of New York dairy farms have already gone out of business in the last five years. This decline will continue, especially if the FFLP is adopted.Labor-intensive farms and greenhouses are also continuing to go out of business due to minimum wage increases, the cost of doing business in New York and the impact of regulatory oversight. If FFLP goes into effect, this will cause closures to increase significantly.Farmers face the same costs as other businesses. However, weather, short growing seasons and shelf life of produce have severe negative effects.The loss of a number of farms and the lack of profitability have been substantiated in exhaustive studies by Farm Credit East. This information is available to the public. The small family farm as we know it today could be facing extinction. FFLP will speed up the loss of farms. If FFLP is implemented, knowing our political system, it would be impossible to change or eliminate.I don’t want to sound like an extremist, but I feel small family farms are in dire trouble and will be forced to close the barn and greenhouse doors and walk away. Please contact Albany and advise them of your concerns and the need to keep the backbone of rural upstate intact.Bill GinieckiScotiaThe writer is retired from a four-generation farm established in 1885. Lanotte has ability, experience to serve One estimated to number in the billions, the passenger pigeon ended up extinct. As far as I know, this is the worst tragedy wildlife have ever suffered at the hands of humanity, and it happened in the United States.We use words like “empathy” and “character” a lot. Those who care about animals are more likely to care about humans. If our leaders past, present and future want me to think these positive terms apply to them, they should focus on the suffering we’ve caused, and they can start with the passenger pigeon.Colin YunickCharlton I write in support of Pat Lanotte for Niskayuna Board of Education. I have known Pat for three decades. She is a person of unwavering integrity and principle. Our district faces challenges that have not been provided adequate resources. Anxiety and stress level are at an all-time high, with not enough social workers and school psychologists in our buildings. Morale among district staff is at a record low. Financially, the district seems to be doing well, but there are surplus funds that have not been allocated for student services/curriculum nor to offset the future tax levy. The funds are being allocated for future, unidentified uses. Why?Pat’s goal has been to provide every student with the best environment in which to succeed. With her financial background and her proven ability to build a budget from bottom up, she will ensure that the district’s budget reflects that goal, and that funds are appropriated according to needs of our students. All of them.Pat explained that the personal matters that caused her to resign her prior tenure on the board have resolved. Unanticipated matters can result in unexpected decisions. I understand and take her at her word.As a 27-year Niskayuna resident, taxpayer and parent of two Niskayuna graduates, the only question for me is this: Who has the best experience and ability to address issues affecting all of our students, faculty and district? Pat Lanotte. That’s why I will be casting a vote for Pat Lanotte for Niskayuna School Board on May 21.Sunny LeeNiskayuna Writer was wrong in criticism of LanotteI found Stephen Benton’s May 10 the letter about not bringing Pat Lanotte back to the school board offensive. Mr. Benton thinks all is well in the school district. Really? He’s living in a fool’s paradise. Employees at the last school board meeting stated morale is very low. Morale is low in a district that has the highest school taxes in the county and one of the highest in the state. Well, this news doesn’t do much for my morale as a taxpayer. Lanotte’s resignation has nothing to do with her running for the board. Lanotte is an independent person and stands up for values. If asking financial questions, if being concerned about the fund balance, if wanting a budget without a lot waste is being divisive, then I applaud divisiveness. Her voting for the current superintendent doesn’t mean whatever he does, she has to support. Anyone involved in hiring knows that how a person interviews and how the person performs isn’t always the same.Her background is extensive. She served in the military and has a strong financial background. She knows more about finances than the whole board together. She’s not a political pawn. By the way, we have a current board member running for town council. In my opinion, this speaks volumes. It’s about time that this school district has a Board of Education that is not from the political arena and shows concern for the overtaxed and overburdened taxpayer. Maybe I’m the one living in a fool’s paradise.Linda RizzoNiskayuna Tully will bring best to the school districtAs a mom of three children currently attending Niskayuna schools, it’s of the utmost importance to me that they receive the very best the district can offer. In line with that, I believe we must have strong leadership and school board members that are focused on preserving the things that have already made Niskayuna schools great and are also passionate about ensuring the future for our students and the district is even brighter.I can say without a doubt that Kimberly Tully would make an excellent school board member. I’ve known Kim for about 10 years, and during that time I have gotten to know her personally as friends and neighbors, and professionally through several PTO initiatives we worked on together. Kim is a tremendous asset to our district. She is smart and dedicated, organized and hard-working, and most importantly she is truly passionate about making our schools and the projects she works on the very best they can be. She is also one of the most genuine and nicest people you will ever meet. I have full confidence in Kim’s ability to take her background, experience and passion for our schools and put it to work to benefit our children as a member of the Niskayuna school board. She has my vote, 100 percent.Lori BirminghamNiskayuna Lanotte has the right experience for boardNiskayuna is blessed to have four wonderful candidates running for its school board. I’m sure each would have a positive effect on our schools. One candidate sets herself apart from the others. Pat Lanotte was elected to the school board during Niskayuna’s darkest hour. When she was elected, Niskayuna was facing a tax revolt, dealing with a superintendent crisis and a great deal of community distrust. She spearheaded the Niskayuna school district’s revival. She was instrumental in bringing John Yagielski to Niskayuna. She analyzed their financial records and helped restore fiscal soundness to their budgeting practices and an overall confidence in the district. No one is more dedicated, determined and open-minded than Pat. She isn’t interested in winning popularity contests. She’s interested in establishing and interpreting the facts through her mind and her heart. She isn’t interested in being right. She wants to do the right thing. She’s demonstrated that she’s willing to make difficult decisions to benefit children. I’ve spent most of my 62 years in education and I’ve never met someone so detail-oriented and driven, and yet has such a big heart. She’s level-headed and will listen to your concerns. Pat Lanotte has proven that she can lead and navigate difficult times. When I think of Pat Lanotte I think of integrity and compassion. She represents the core values and beliefs that make up the very fabric of our community. That’s why I’m urging you to support Pat Lanotte for the Niskayuna school board. Joseph SkumurskiNiskayuna Support sale of old Elmer Avenue School Voters in the Schenectady City School District should vote yes on Proposition 2 to authorize the school board to sell the vacant Elmer Avenue School to a developer, who will convert the building into market-rate apartments for middle-income residents.The school district will receive a $450,000 payment from the developer, the full appraised value of the building. The sale will put the unused school building back on the city tax rolls and relieve the district of the cost of maintaining a building it can no longer use. The conversion to apartments will be overseen by Sunrise Management and Consulting, the same group that recently completed the successful conversion to apartments of the former Draper School in Rotterdam. The project will maintain the historic character of the building and be a complement to the other revitalization efforts underway in the Eastern Avenue corridor.Gary HughesSchenectadyThe writer is majority leader of the Schenectady County Legislature and chairman of the Economic Development Committee. Check AAA coverage before leaving areaI am 87 years old, live in the Tri-City area and winter in Florida. I am a Plus Member of AAA; good service when needed in your immediate area. I had a nightmare experience in Florida with AAA. I had a flat tire and called the 800 number on my membership card. The reply was “You have a one-hour wait to speak to an agent of AAA.” I was on a main road, so I called local police in Greenacres, Fla. When they arrived, they also tried calling AAA using my membership card. They got the same response. The police officer was great. He called the local AAA in Greenacres and they said they would offer service for cash only. They would not honor AAA. The officer called a second garage and they were there in 15 minutes and towed me to a local tire repair garage. My total time as an AAA Plus Member was three hours to get service.The summary of this story is if you intend to travel out of your area, I would test the AAA 800 number first to be sure they respond.I use AAA garage repair in my area; the service is good, prompt, and like most garages, not cheap.James P. StevensMechanicville Tully has experience, dedication for NiskyI’ve known Kim Tully for years and I’ve observed what a valued member of the Niskayuna community she is. Kim is a concerned, conscientious and dedicated person. My children go to school with her children, and I’ve seen her significant input and involvement at all school activities. She has served as secretary and co-president of Rosendale Elementary School and is currently serving as secretary for Iroquois Middle School and co-president of PTO Council. Kim also holds three teaching certificates from the state Department of Education in Childhood Education, Students with Disabilities and Literacy. This background enhances her deep commitment to education in our school district and her ability to serve our community well. Kim has the perfect qualities for being a board member. She is extremely bright and friendly, open-minded, creative and devoted to furthering the education of our children in the best possible manner. I believe Kim Tully will be an asset to our education system and support her for election to the Niskayuna Board of Education.Alyssa Kahn EhrlichNiskayuna Pigeon’s extinction shows lack of caring Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionCheck Alzheimer’s patients for LymeLyme disease is increasing in the area.I have had two friends ho were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. But after four years of treatment, they were found to have Lyme disease. They were then treated for Lyme and recovered and lived a normal life.Actor Kris Kristofferson was told he had Alzheimer’s and was treated. He later was found to have Lyme disease. He recovered in three months.If you have a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, have them tested for Lyme disease. It can’t hurt, but you could save them.A study in Toronto, Canada, involving 1,000 diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients using PET, found only 50 percent had Alzheimer’s the rest had vascular problems.Bob WilsonBurnt Hills More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes
Elsewhere, welterweight star Nate Diaz (20-11) defeated Anthony Pettis (22-9) by unanimous decision in his first appearance since losing his rematch against Conor McGregor in 2016.A trilogy fight against McGregor could now be on the cards and Diaz is open to reigniting his rivalry with the Irishman.”I’m gonna fight the baddest dudes at the biggest shows, that’s what I want to do,” Diaz said. “If it’s up to everyone who is involved, if they want it, they’re going to call me.” Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearMiocic (19-3) was fighting for the first time since losing his title to Cormier (22-2) at UFC 226 in July 2018.Prior to the bout, Cormier’s coach Javier Mendez had suggested the fighter should retire, rather than take on Jon Jones — who labeled Miocic “the greatest heavyweight of all time” — in a trilogy fight.Stipe is hands down the greatest heavyweight of all time. I have nothing else to say— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 18, 2019Asked about the possibility of calling it a day, Cormier conceded he must take serious consideration over his next move.”You don’t make decisions based on emotions. But this is a tough pill to swallow,” he said.”At 40 years old, and so many other opportunities [available], I need to speak to my wife and make an educated decision as to what we’re going to do.”Cormier added when asked where the fight went wrong for him: “I think [Miocic] made great body shots. He hit me with a number of right hands and I didn’t really feel anything, so maybe I took those for granted.”He landed a great one and did a good job of following up. He’s a fantastic champion, congratulations to him and his team.”BADDEST MAN ON THE PLANET #AndNew #Again #SM pic.twitter.com/MwYU1G02Ru— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) August 18, 2019UFC president Dana White, meanwhile, advised Cormier to take time over his decision.”I don’t know what the future is for Cormier,” White said in the post-fight press conference.”I told him, ‘Don’t think about whether you want to fight again, you don’t want to fight again and any of that stuff. Just relax. Go home and spend some time with your family and we’ll talk about all that s— later.'” Daniel Cormier insists he will not make a decision on his retirement based on emotion after the 40-year-old lost his heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.Cormier’s rematch with Miocic was ended in the fourth round on Saturday, with the latter having landed a flurry of punches.
CLEAR LAKE — The first pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together on the development of land north of State Highway 122 and west of North 32nd Street on Clear Lake’s east side.The Clear Lake Planning & Zoning Commission last night approved their review of the preliminary plat of the Courtway Park Development on the 62 acres that used to be Andrews Pre-stressed Concrete. The commission also approved the site plan for one of the lots in the development for a “cross dock” trucking and distribution site.Nick Frederiksen of the Des Moines-based planning company ISG says they plan to develop the land into 11 lots. “Lots one through six are designated as commercial, more commercial-based. Lots seven through 11 will be designated as light industrial. That would be the northern portion of the project. Originally this was set up as “Phase 1” and “Phase 2” on it because we didn’t know about the development opportunities through development of working with the city and the Halls, we decided to develop the entirety at once.”Frederiksen says the roads in the development will be completely paved. “It’s going to be an eight-inch hot mix asphalt roadway with curb and gutter throughout the project. Storm water is being detained on site…that water is being detained and released at a rate that was agreed upon with the city’s engineer.”While a large-scale hotel and conference center is likely to be the keystone of the Courtway Park Development project, Frederiksen after the meeting would not confirm to reporters what would occupy 10 of the 11 lots in the development.One of the lots would be used by North Carolina-based Old Dominion Freight Line for a $5 million capital investment, creating up to ten full-time jobs, for what’s commonly referred to as a “cross dock” or “less than truckload” distribution facility. Greg Estes is senior construction manager for Chase Construction of Nashville Tennessee and represented Old Dominion at last night’s meeting. “The way it works — the best description is that it’s like an airport. Trucks come in, things get moved to another truck and it gets moved out. It’s trucks coming in and trucks going out and moving freight all around the area.”Estes says a number of things will go through the cross-dock facility. “They haul everything, anything you can imagine. Somebody said 90-percent of what you touch in a day is hauled on a truck. They haul freight of every kind. If you go on the dock, you’ll see anything from a lawn mower to a pile full of cookies.”The Planning & Zoning unanimously approved forwarding the preliminary plat for the Courtway Park Development as well as the site plan for Old Dominion to the City Council for review at their meeting this coming Monday.
Re: “Gonzales grilled over eavesdropping” (Feb 7th): Why waste all of that time, effort and emotion on the nomination of, committee hearings for and confirmation votes on Supreme Court justices, and on the briefing, oral argument, and the publication of written opinions and dissents on cases before the court when all we need is to have Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tell us what is constitutional and what is not? – Marshall Barth Encino Classiness of Bush Re: “Politics, mourning mingle at Coretta Scott funeral” (Feb. 8): I again witnessed the calmness and classiness of our president (Bush 43) as he spoke at the Coretta Scott King funeral, then saw Jimmy Carter and the Rev. Joseph Lowery proceed to turn the funeral into an anti-Bush political rally and whip up the hatred of the mostly black crowd into a near frenzy, a near Paul Wellstone-type political funeral. The last five years President Bush has held his calm and has not criticized or harangued against his critics and enemies, while Kennedy and Kerry and Clinton and Carter and Durbin and Daschle and Dean and Gore and others of that ilk have lost their minds with hatred and viciousness and anger against Bush. And Bush? Throughout all the vitriolic hatred from the Democrats and the media, he has remained calm and on message with never an unkind word against any of his critics. – Bob Sharp Arleta Postal shootings Re: “Condo slaying prelude to postal center spree” (Feb. 1): Gun control: 6, Second Amendment: 0. Too bad one of the postal crew wasn’t armed; some of the victims might still be alive. Or perhaps we need strategically placed AK-47s stored behind glass, with a small hammer attached by a chain: “Break glass in case of terrorist attack.” The real tragedy is that the shooter had to stop to reload, and nobody charged her in that vulnerable moment. Even cornered rats will fight to the death. What happened to the survival instinct of those still near her? – William O. Felsman Woodland Hills Connecticut leads From an Associated Press article: “Connecticut cops have ticketed more than 2,400 people for driving while talking on handheld cell phones in just the law’s first three months. The law, which took effect Oct. 1, allows cell-phone use with headsets or other hand-free devices. Driving while using a handheld phone is also banned in New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.” I think this is fantastic. How many more people have to be run down and how many more accidents have to happen before the state of California wakes up and does the very same thing. How stupid are they in Sacramento, or do the wireless companies have Sacramento in their hip pockets? – Jere Stone Woodland Hills Gonzales on the stand Re: “Gonzales grilled over eavesdropping” (Feb. 7): What is alarming is the way Gonzales alluded to other secret operations. The Congress or judicial system knows nothing of these illegal programs, and Bush claims he has the right because the Congress gave him the power to go to war with Afghanistan (go figure). Bush has broken over 200 FISA laws – laws which explicitly govern the way foreign and domestic electronic communications must be monitored. There are questions about how the administration acted during the 9-11 attacks, (i.e., releasing 140 Saudi nationals during our no-fly zone and other glaring evidence); he also ratted on our own CIA agents, and lied about reasons for war with Iraq. Bush needs to be brought to trial and impeached. – Mary Altmann Agoura Tiresome attacks Re: “State of the Union speech does little to boost Bush” (Viewpoint, Feb. 5): Marianne Means hates George Bush. We know that already. I thought his State of the Union speech to the people of the United States of America was filled with hope, love, promise and joy and applaud him. The tiresome attacks by the leftist legislators and their supporters have been noted by your readers as self-serving and regrettable. We shall overcome. – Theodora Howell West Hills Bubble of anger Re: “Alito’s first ruling” (Your Opinions, Feb. 5): Charles K. Sergis first condemns the “nutty” Democrats for opposing Samuel Alito’s nomination. Then, he calls Alito as “nutty as the Democratic senators” after being on the bench for only one day. I am now convinced that the right-wingers would rather sit in their bubble of anger than be happy; you can’t win with them. – Patrick Owens Woodland Hills Not a valid method Re: “Judging better teaching” (Your Opinions, Feb. 1): My letter regarding “Public schools triumph” was criticized severely, based on the use of “controlled variables” as a “standard in statistical analysis.” In addition, the criticism implies the study proves that “public schools are actually doing a better job of teaching than private schools.” First, altering data after collection is not a valid statistical method. The variables may be used to analyze the study, but not alter it. The data is the data. Second, I do not believe the article said anything about teaching. There are many factors that go into math scores. They may be used to judge the results and to ask questions that need to be studied in the future. The technique of altering the data to change the result is observer bias. – Stephen A. Borowsky Northridge ACLU back to ‘basics’ Make no mistake: if there is anything representing “back to basics” about the ACLU, it assuredly isn’t in an attempt to promote, say, the American principles of the authors of the Declaration of Independence that focus on God – saying that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Rather, the ACLU is far more likely to continue to align with the views of its founder, Roger Baldwin. In 1935, 15 years after he founded the group and with Stalinism in full bloom, Baldwin wrote: “I am for Socialism , disarmament and ultimately, for the abolishing of the State itself … I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control of those who produce wealth, Communism is the goal.” – Robert W. Van de Walle Granada Hills Overwhelming evidence Re: “Atheism as conclusion” (Your Opinions, Feb. 6): Atheists have an irrational fanatic disbelief in the overwhelming evidence that surrounds them every time they step outside their home on a crisp spring day. – Roger E. Lindsey Castaic 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Protecting Americans Re: “Gonzales grilled over eavesdropping” (Feb 7th): There is a difference of opinion among law experts about the constitutionality of electronic surveillance of individuals that are suspected of terrorist ties. I believe very strongly that until this is settled in court all available tools should be used to protect Americans from terrorists. “Democrats pressed Gonzales for details about the program and other similar operations,” but luckily for us the attorney general did not reveal them. Only helpful fools would reveal their game plan to their opponent and terrorists are very determined opponents. – Bill Zelenka Granada Hills Just ask Alberto Re: “Bush’s tough choices” (Feb. 7): Translation: “Bush wants to feed more machines, less people.” The 90,000 homeless in L.A. outnumber the Iraqi “insurgents” by 2 to 1. The 120,000-plus “insurgents” (or so-called gang members) outnumber the police force in L.A. alone by 3 to 1. The amount of money our government spends to fight these problems is probably some small fraction of a percent of the $2 trillion it is spending on the “war” in Iraq, and now Bush wants to spend more on defense and less on programs to help the truly needy in our own country? Like most of America, I now become physically ill at anything that comes out of George W.’s mouth. – Mike J. Friscia Lake View Terrace