Responding to Bill Baker’s Letter
As a candidate for the Averill Park Board of Education, I would like to respond to Bill Baker’s questions appearing in Letters to the Editor in the May 5 edition of The Advertiser.
Questions 1 through 4 ask me to share my beliefs regarding the 2020 presidential election results and the events of January 6. I don’t believe that my beliefs around these events have any connection with my ability to serve effectively on our Board of Education. Focusing on candidates’ opinions of these matters further politicizes the current election and is not in the best interest of our kids, so I won’t answer these questions.
Regarding question 5 (“Should LGBTQ persons be employed by Averill Park school district in any capacity?”), my answer is yes, if they are the most qualified to perform the duties associated with their job. We need the best people to help run our schools and should never discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation, race, religion, gender or any other characteristic. It’s also important to note this sort of discrimination is (rightfully) protected by law and any discrimination of this sort exposes the district to potentially costly legal action.
Adam Stewart, Averill Park
No Doubts in APCS Board Elections
If you attended the Meet the Candidates Night at APHS on Tuesday, May 3, I think you’d have to agree that candidates Borton, Gendron and Spallane are working hard to politicize the Board election and foist their ‘conservative’ values on our school district. They mimic the same hollow rhetoric their compatriots across the nation are pushing ….masks are bad….their rights are being taken away…vaccinations are a conspiracy….schools should be controlled by parents….on and on.
It’s easy to see the fallacies in these ideas. Are we to take no public health action and watch our children suffer ? Are we expected to have parents approve the next calculus textbook to be used at APHS ? Are we to ignore the serious social and emotional challenges our children face every day ?
These three are well organized, well-funded and certainly highly committed to their objective. They proudly state they are working as a ‘pack’ to further their values and if elected they will continue this approach. Could anything be farther from the goals of public education ?
If this troubles you, do not sit idly by and neglect to vote. Go to the APCS website, read the bios, then come out with your friends, relatives and family to stop this dangerous gambit. An election can tell a community a lot about itself and your vote COUNTS !! If you’re seeking good candidates, I would recommend Meaghan McGarry and Samantha Hicks, both currently on the Board and seeking re-election, and Adam Stewart.
The grand finale Tuesday night was Mr. Borton’s complaint that all members of the current Board are “liberals”. I don’t know why he’s surprised at this because providing a robust public education for all our children has been a basic liberal value through history. We’re proud of it and we continue to do it despite certain obstacles.
Bob Crowley, Poestenkill
North Greenbush needs more walkways
The Route 4 roundabout project appears mostly complete. I believe that I heard at one of the town meetings that more pedestrian walkways were to be included in it, but had to be removed from scope because of costs of the overall project. Beyond this Route 4 project, I have heard other town resident comments about the need / desire for more walkways.
I encourage the NGB Supervisor and Town Board members to reach out to Glenville or Scotia. An April 23, 2022 article in the Daily Gazette discussed how those two towns were seeing $12 million in federal grant funding and $2 million in state funding for pedestrian pathways along Route 5s. We need more proactive solutions to address the town’s needs. Residents want more pedestrian pathways in town and the Town should help achieve that goal.
Michael Myer, North Greenbush
Q-Anon in Averill Park?
Revision to previous submission
There is a movement afoot to grasp control of our Averill Park school board by right-wing radicals seeking to install what they term as conservative, traditional values. These right wing radicals, Q-anon worshipers and Trump acolytes are a danger to our community, and especially our schools. In their desire to provide more parental input in learning, they want to interfere in learning, allowing right-wing parents to distort their children’s views about racial and LGBTQ issues, and put people of color and LGBTQ Americans back in their “traditional” place in society. What will then be taught by right-wing parents?
Since the “Meet the Candidates” night will not allow direct questions to the candidates, I would like to remind all district residents to vote for intelligent, well qualified candidates. At the “Meet the Candidates” radicals used their code words “governmental overreach”, “liberal indoctrination” and “parental rights” to reveal their desire to fundamentally change the education of Averill Park kids. If you meet any candidates put a few direct questions to them.
1) Do you think that the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen” from Donald Trump and was there “massive election fraud” in the 2020 Presidential election that benefited the election of President Joe Biden?
2) Was the act of storming the Capitol on January 6th to stop the counting of electoral votes a patriotic or criminal act?
3) Are you a member of the Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, or any other violent groups?
4) Should Roe vs Wade be overturned, and abortion be made illegal?
5) Should the Safe Act be repealed, allowing ownership of assault weapons and hi-capacity magazines like those used by the Sandy Hook and Parkland shooters, and many others?
Right-wing, Q-Anon, radicals have no place on our School Board.
Bill Baker, Burden Lake
We manage a low-income senior housing project located actually in Burnt Hills, New York. We have a major concern that has been brought full-focus to our attention that will potentially have a very serious issue for any institution that has a 911 alarm monitoring service or if you have a POTS – or plain old telephone system connected via copper phone lines.
From the inception of phone system in decades, I have never known it to go down where one could not get dial tone that is – with copper land-lines. This will all change if Verizon Direct has its way and only fiber is available for one’s phone service.
A question needs to be asked and hasn’t been satisfactorily answered yet to my knowledge.
What if power is knocked out regionally and your 911 alarm system doesn’t alert as there is no power to the system ? We have been told that we can install a battery that will last 8 hours which we have – but then – you will need even more batteries after that. But we have easily had outages that last even longer than 8 hours to over 24 hours or more. And what about those places in more rural and remote areas ? If power is knocked out – and cell towers are knocked out… do you send smoke signals ? What happens if your senior complex or hospital or institution that relies on this 911 monitoring systems and those batteries do not work ? Your alarm system is worth nothing…as no power…no call to 911. I know that I have lost my phone service with Spectrum when their service has gone out during a power outage on more than one occasion.
So – the question needs to be fully answered. If Verizon chops off all means / support for copper phone lines… will you be able during an emergency event be even able to call your son or daughter or better yet 911 if needed ? This is a very untenable issue – that definitely needs to be re-examined if Verizon intends to terminate use of copper telephone lines in the entirety and go only elusively with fiber.
Kristine Collie, Project Manager
DEC: WM to investigate itself
And yes, people, if you are reading that title as saying that the NYSDEC has delegated the task of determining whether or not politically powerful Waste Management, the permittees of the DEC- permitted and regulated Poestenkill transfer station, are the source of the PFAS in our drinking water in Poestenkill to Waste Management themselves, you are reading that correctly, that according to an April 11, 2022 correspondence on NYSDEC letterhead from Eric Hausamann, Chief, Section D, Remedial Bureau D, Division of Environmental Remediation to Waste Management of New York, LLC, Attn: Warren Harris, Sr. District Manager, 424 Peters Road, Gansevoort, NY 12831, which correspondence concluded by stating, “Please contact me at 518-402-9759 within the next 15 days to indicate your willingness to perform the sampling and/or to discuss the scope of the requested water testing.”
In the meantime, however, in a FOIL response on April 25, 2022, the NYSDEC made it clear that it is continuing to defend the position taken in a January 8, 2022 determination of DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Sean Mahar that the Poestenkill transfer station is not the source of the PFOS contamination in our groundwater as was reported by NEWS 10 on January 8, 2022 in a story titled “Officials no closer to finding source of PFOA contamination in Poestenkill, says councilmember” by Richard Roman to wit: “We have extensive investigative work underway in this community to evaluate any potential sources of groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the Middle School, and have already preliminarily ruled out several potential sources including the transfer station and Poestenkill landfill,” and it is also continuing to defend a 31 January 2022 determination by Susan Edwards, the superior of Eric Hausamann, that the transfer station is not the source of the PFAS contamination, both of which are political decisions unsupported by any evidence.
So this scam on us by the DEC continues, big surprise!
Paul Plante, Poestenkill
Averill Park CSD needs to REFOCUS
Our voice is rarely heard and we suspect it is the voice of many in our community. Years ago we sent our children to Catholic grade schools and paid tuition. As tuition rose the principal and pastor decided to cut costs by getting back to the basics. Shouldn’t Averill Park CSD permanently do the same? Are the extras really necessary and beneficial to all? Can retirees and others bear the burden yearly of increased school taxes ? The extras like the numerous college credited offerings for high school students call for increased teaching hours and do not benefit all. Simply put, we need to trim the fat.
Let us refocus on the basics like communication skills, life skills, listening skills, application of Math and Science, and citizenship. As one who teaches in our schools these skills can be improved upon. Vote for representatives that will fight for the biggest bang for our buck while assuring our children master lasting skills and knowledge that really prepare them for whatever lies ahead of them. Let us refocus on the long term and not be so short sighted.
Steven Constable, Resident APCSD