Getting off on the right foot
To the editor:
On Jan. 1, 2014, Montgomery County will embark on a new form of government. A form of government that will require a board of county legislators (9) led by an elected county executive. It is a change that is long overdue. I'd like to commend the people of Montgomery County for having the common sense and foresight to overwhelmingly passing this resolution last November.
On Nov. 5, we are at another crossroads. We will be electing our new legislators and county executive. A smooth transition into this new form of government is essential for Montgomery County to get off on the right track and working efficiently as soon as possible. This is no time for on-the-job training. The county executive position needs someone with insight, experience, leadership and knowledge of the workings of county government.
I have known Dominick Stagliano most of my life and proudly consider him a good friend. I had the honor to serve along side him on the county board from 1998-2002. I witnessed, first hand, his concern for the people of Montgomery County. He is thorough in his ability to investigate, dissect and resolve problems with disregard for political affiliations.
Dominick is a family man with two children and four grandchildren. He has over 20 years of public service as village trustee, mayor and town and county supervisor. He currently serves as chairman of the county Finance Committee and CFO of the county Health Insurance Trust. He is one of a very few town supervisors who maintains the fiscal records for the township without the assistance of outside accounting, thereby generating a savings for the town of St. Johnsville. While chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, he also served as budget officer.
Dominick has spent his career managing people as a general contractor, construction manager, clerk of the works and warranty service manager for a multi-million dollar nationwide building construction company. He is a proven leader with a background in preparing and implementing budgets and has a unique ability for problem solving and attaining goals as well as management of personnel.
He is a veteran, serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Vietnam.
It is imperative we get the new county government off on the right foot and I truly believe Dominick Stagliano is the only person qualified to do that. I urge you to exercise your right to vote and vote for Dominick Stagliano as Montgomery County executive.
Remember, experience matters.
A part of the solution
To the editor:
I am writing this letter to ask for your support and vote for the best candidate. Ron Hinkle is presently seeking the highway superintendent position in the town of Mohawk. Mr. Hinkle is a lifelong resident and independent businessman in our area. Ron's strong work ethic and ability to work and lead in a positive way will help our town. His experience running his own business will assist the taxpayers of our town by controlling expenses.
As town councilman, I have experienced an adversarial relationship with incumbent superintendent over the last four years. Specifically, has considered any attempt to gain equipment inventory usage and costs reports as "micro managing." Additionally, under his leadership the town has accumulated 11 full-size dump trucks for our work force of six full-time employees. This is a great variance from other townships in our area. In general, I am not sure that the taxpayers are getting the best management of our tax dollars.
I've learned long ago to not find fault without having a fix for the problem. Ron Hinkle will be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Please vote Tuesday, Nov. 5, for Ron Hinkle.
The writer is a Mohawk town councilman.
Recognized character and abilities
To the editor:
Jeffrey Stark is a candidate for the elective office of 7th District legislator. The usual approach used when someone seeks elective office is issuing a list of improvements they wish to secure for the residents they are obliged to represent. This is a proper avenue to take.
However, one single person cannot realistically hope to ever fulfill the individual promises made, unless a majority of fellow legislators agree with the agendas put forth which, unfortunately, cannot expect to happen, except perhaps, occasionally.
But, when the inclusion of a person's character traits are factored into the equation, the odds favoring expected successes to be realized literally skyrocket.
When the Knights of Columbus building 209 in Amsterdam officially opened, Knight Capobianco publicly said of Jeffrey: "You people have no idea the amount of time and labor this man put into this building. If you saw it when we first acquired it, you wouldn't believe the transition, both inside and out. I cannot express to you my admiration for him, and what he's done here."
For his part, Jeffrey touched upon one essential point. The need for additional young members to ensure the viability of the organization as a positive impact in the community.
When the voters go to the polls on Nov. 5, each one should seriously consider what Jeffrey Stark's recognized character and abilities have already created, and what more he can continue to do as their chosen 7th District legislator.
Joseph R. Stark,
An asset to the people
To the editor:
I am writing this letter as a person that can vouch for the character of candidate Ken Mazur. Ken has done, and continues to do, several hours a week of volunteer maintenance at Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine. He is hard-working and dedicated. When he begins a job, he sees it through to the end. I am certain that Ken will be an asset to the people of the 1st Ward of the city of Amsterdam.
The writer is superintendent of operations at Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville.
Failed and misguided leadership
To the editor:
I have been a lifelong resident of the city of Amsterdam. I am also an avid golfer who enjoys using the Amsterdam Muni golf course and its facilities. I have never been very active in community issues and activities, but that does not mean that I do not care about them, it means that there were other priorities (family and raising three girls) at the time.
Over the past several months I have listened to many conversations concerning the proposed changes at the golf course and have read many articles in The Recorder concerning this topic. The mayor and the golf commission want to have the three major operations (restaurant, maintenance of course, and pro shop operations) at the golf course bid on. The reason given is because it is believed that the course is under performing and by bidding on these areas additional revenues and efficiencies can be generated for the city.
As far as I know the golf course generates income for the city and does not cost the taxpayers any money. If this is incorrect, I ask the mayor and golf commission to provide the financial specifics in writing for the past three years so an accurate assessment can be made.
All operations of any entity should be monitored and evaluated. The golf course is no exception. But I have to ask myself if the city residents would not be better served if the current leadership in the city focused their attention on the real issues in the city. As I see it, some of these issues are the declining population in our city, deteriorating infrastructure, murder and gang activity in the city, drug activity in the city, lack of economic opportunity in the city, high tax rates and lack of proper control over the finances of the city by the current administration. As a taxpayer these issues are important to me.
What I think a sensible approach would be is to renew the contracts of the concessionaire and head pro for three years. These people have been very good for the course and will continue to be. This will take the focus off of the golf course. Then the city leadership can focus on and correct the major issues that the city faces and that affect each of us in the city. The golf course is running fine; do not use it to distract attention away from the real issue mentioned above and to hide the under performance and poor prioritization of issues by our elected officials. Act as responsible civic leaders.
Can't pack up and go home
To the editor:
I am your representative in the state Assembly, but more importantly, I am a father. My children's well-being and future are the most important things to me. Education is the foundation of our society and we owe it to our children to provide them with the best education possible. An open and honest dialogue is extremely important when discussing education and our education system -- it's the best way to ensure that questions are being answered and proper measures are being taken to guarantee the success of our children. And for this reason, I believe New York State Commissioner of Education John King was wrong to cancel the remaining statewide town hall forums that were scheduled with the New York State PTA to discuss the Common Core.
Commissioner King's decision angered me because it's our job as public officials to listen and have an open dialog with people. And yes, sometimes people will not agree with what is being done but that does not give elected officials the right to simply pack up and go home. Parents and educators need to be heard and provided a forum to ask questions and hold officials accountable for the decisions made on behalf of the children's education. As commissioner, he must be able to openly discuss any and all issues affecting students, as well as make himself available to answer questions and listen to parents and educators' concerns.
Another issue I have with Commissioner King canceling the forums is his excuse that the decision was made based on disruptions from "special interests." Parents and teachers who are legitimately expressing their concerns must not be viewed as a nuisance. They are looking out for and providing a voice for our children.
It's been reported that the forums will be rescheduled to discuss the Common Core. While this is a good first step, I think the commissioner needs to go further and hold an additional forum in Montgomery County. In addition, these forums must ensure that parents and educators have ample opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions. Government should have an open and honest dialogue with the people it represents, and Commissioner King needs to realize that this dialogue is not something to be taken lightly.
The writer is a member of the New York state Assembly from the 111th District.
The haunting truth
To the editor:
Halloween is upon us and we will soon be noticing the scary sights and sounds that come with it: from children's trick-or-treat chants to scary costumes and movies.
Therefore, this a great time to remind people about the tricks being played on youth by the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry promises treats -- rebellion, fitting in, being cool, being glamorous, but instead delivers nicotine addiction and ill health that haunts many for a lifetime.
The tobacco industry spends $1 million a day to market their deadly products in stores. At almost every convenience store in New York state, kids are inundated with colorful tobacco product displays surrounding the cash registers and tempted by cigarettes in candy-colored packages. The tobacco industry pays retailers to display tobacco products in these highly visible locations where youth are continually exposed. Licensed tobacco retailers in New York state display an average of 18 ads per store and over 82 percent of retailers dedicate 50 percent or more of the merchandising space behind the counter to openly visible tobacco products.
Studies show that even brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences youth intentions to smoke. A 2012 study by the surgeon general concluded that tobacco marketing is a cause of youth smoking. It gives the youth the impression that tobacco products are easily accessible.
Our youth face enough scary obstacles and tough decisions; do they really need to be constantly bombarded with advertising that could potentially be life threatening? Removing tobacco products from the view of our kids is an easy way to help save many youth from facing early death and disease from tobacco.
For more information or to sign a global petition, please visit www.realitycheckofny.com.
The writer is program coordinator for Reality Check Catholic Charities of Fulton & Montgomery Counties.