September 11, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Sept. 11, 2013


---- — Wonderful experience

TO THE EDITOR: The SUNY Plattsburgh Summer Safari 2013 offered a summer theater workshop for young performers, ages 8 to 18.

Under the incredibly multi-talented direction of Gilles and Mary Fortin and Kym Taylor, 45 children in 13 short days were transformed into the world of live theater. What an experience they had. Every participant was able to demonstrate the confidence he or she acquired in the art of acting.

It is difficult to realize that in this short period of time these young inexperienced novices found themselves presenting a remarkable, full-scale, professional performance of Disney’s “My Son Pinocchio Jr.”  It was awesome.

On a personal note, I had the lifetime opportunity of observing my 9-year-old granddaughter, Sophia Anna, change from a shy but willing, insecure but eager-to-become-involved-beginner to a self-confident, excited and devoted student of acting. I am confident that other parents and guardians can give similar testimony.

Mary, Gilles and Kym have touched the lives of these young performers forever. Bravo and thank you.

Also, kudos to Kate Chilton, the SUNY Plattsburgh director of college services, for making this live theater event become a reality through Summer Safari.




Veterans access

TO THE EDITOR: Advocates and activists in the community of disabled persons have worked for years to educate people in government, private business and health-care providers about issues of disability that remain barriers in our County, regardless of the many laws that have been passed to create equal access and opportunity for all.

In a Jan. 6 article in the Press Republican, I was interviewed regarding advocacy I have been doing for years to further our progress. I am sad to report that much of our county, many private entities and some health-care providers remain inaccessible to people with disabilities. All efforts, both individually and collectively, seem to fall on “deaf” ears.

Our veterans are experiencing a great injustice that has been ongoing for years. While ambulatory veterans (meaning those who can climb into a car or van) get free rides to the VA Center through the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) ride program, the most disabled veterans who need transport in a ramp-equipped van are left without a ride.

We are asking people who disagree with this to come to Trinity Park from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 13 or the U.S. Oval from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 14 and sign a petition and learn more about the issues. Come stand or sit to show your support for all veterans equally.

We stand for all veterans. No one should be left out because they are in a wheelchair or need a ride via stretcher.

Our signs will say, “We stand for veterans.” Please come, bring a sign & stand with us to show your support for all veterans.

For more information, call 563-9058, the North Country Center for Independence.Thank you.




Supervision questioned

TO THE EDITOR: In regard to the Press-Republican article that included this:

“Legislator Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) questioned the sheriff about the daily roll call when, he said, jail staff reportedly talk about how ignorant and clueless legislators are about jail operations. The sheriff said he’s not at every roll call but has not heard that kind of talk the times he has been present. White, who runs roll call, told the Press-Republican after the session that legislators are bashed on occasion.”

My concern is that the sheriff is allowing the undersheriff to incite his staff in violation of his new work rules, at roll call, and to provoke hostile feeling against the Franklin County Legislature and the legislators specifically.

My understanding is that this is a daily occurrence and that it may have influenced the young deputy to go out and specifically target a legislator.

My additional concern is that the undersheriff has no concept as to our decision-making process to eliminate a 3.5 percent pay increase that was coming to these union employees at a very difficult time of year, when many of their fellow county employees were getting nothing or were being laid off.

We exercised an option that was written into the union agreement; we did not do anything unethical or illegal. Could it have something to do with a pay raise that the undersheriff did not benefit by because of what he said to another legislator?

This situation goes to the greater question that was asserted by Legislator Maroun: Has the Sheriff lost control of his staff and the running of the jail?

If he doesn’t know what his second in command says on a repeated basis, does he know what is actually going on under his nose?


District 7 legislator

Franklin County Legislature


Voting rights

TO THE EDITOR: As the summer heat began to build in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated decision that gutted key components of the monumental Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The decision in the case of Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years and opened the floodgates for a wave of attacks on voters.

Only strong action from Congress can fix the court’s mistake.

Before the ink was even dry on the decision, several states rushed to implement racially discriminatory anti-voter laws, including several states where the League of Women Voters had previously succeeded in blocking voter restrictions in the courts and state legislatures.

Sadly, this is only the beginning. Without a strong Voting Rights Act, our ability to fight off anti-voter legislation and keep our elections free, fair and accessible is significantly weakened.

As we approach the 48th anniversary of this historic civil-rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act remains an essential protection against the thinly veiled discrimination that still threatens Americans’ right to vote. Congress needs to move swiftly to overcome this decision and restore the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act.

The Shelby decision is a call to action for all who believe all Americans should have fair and equal access to the ballot. Now is the time to look in the Press-Republican (Sundays) for the contact numbers of your member of Congress and tell him or her to repair the Voting Rights Act before any more damage is done.

Meantime, be sure that the local League of Women Voters is pursuing the issue within its study group on Election Reform.

For more information about this group, please contact Sara Hurwitz, study chair, at 324-6041; Suzy Johnson, co-chair, at 561-0917; or me at 561-7199.


Plattsburgh League of Women Voters president