letters to the editor/opinion

Our Letters Policy

Posted 10 June 2021 at 7:00 am

We appreciate input from our readers, and we publish letters to the editor without charge. While open speech and responsibility are encouraged, comments may be rejected if they are purely a personal attack, offensive or repetitive. Comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Orleans Hub. Although care is taken to moderate comments, we have no control over how they are interpreted and we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of comments and the rationality of the opinions expressed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content and brevity. Please limit the length of your letter (we suggest no more than 500 words) and provide your name, telephone number, mailing address and a verifiable email address for verification purposes. Letters should be emailed to news@orleanshub.com.

Primaries: Candidates are welcome to send letters and are encouraged to include information about their background and goals if elected to public office.

State needs to rethink bail reform, or community remains vulnerable to repeat offenders

Posted 26 July 2021 at 4:34 pm

Editor:

On May 19th after working a 15-hour day we were woken up at 3:30 in the morning by our security system which observed a person with a flashlight in the farm market.

My husband and son were able to restrain the criminal until the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office could respond. They responded in record time (many thanks to them!). The criminal was taken to Brockport Police Department, fingerprinted and then was released. This is the second time since August 2020 that we have been broken into by career criminals and this time it was a face-to-face encounter. In this situation we were fortunate that no one was harmed. It could have very easily turned out much differently.

It is very disheartening after working 36 years, 7 long days a week, to have someone try to take what you have worked so hard for. We employ people and give back to the community. We have also spent a lot of money for security.

The repeat offender does not go to jail, but keeps committing crimes, which cost everyone. We have had to spend thousands of dollars on security, many sleepless nights, and the police respond to the same criminals instead of being able to help other people. The crimes these criminals are committing are getting worse and worse because there are no consequences. Bail reform enacted by New York State is a failure. All it is doing is promoting criminal behavior.

Now there is talk of our elected state legislators voting to release convicted murderers and rapists.

Something needs to be done! If you do not agree with the current system of bail reform contact your state representatives. If you do agree with the current system, let the criminals come to your home at 3:30 am.

Lora Partyka

Partyka Farms in Kendall

Rise in Covid cases shows people are dying of disinformation

Posted 23 July 2021 at 9:53 am

Editor:

“Are you on the side of truth or lies; fact or fiction; justice or injustice; democracy or autocracy?” asked Joe Biden recently, encouraging people to stand to defend the right to vote in America. Biden’s questions also apply to another important test of our time, the coronavirus pandemic.

Covid cases are up in all 50 states, a 125% increase and deaths are up 23%. It is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, those who believe the lies, the fiction.

Notice how what we search for online keeps popping up afterwards. Mathematical programs, algorithms are designed to feed us more of what we searched online. Just 12 people, a new dirty dozen have been identified as responsible for 65% of vaccine hoaxes, disinformation not fact checked by social media. Propaganda is believed as truth. Algorithms should be regulated.

Experts have been disregarded; politics is trumping science. Public health no longer has meaning. Everyone should root for public health. Local elected officials do photo ops saying they are working to get the border to Canada open but they fail to promote vaccination. Vaccination is key in mitigation of the pandemic.

My congressman, Chris Jacobs, voted against H.R.1 and on March 3rd. Jacobs deceives, wants us to believe that campaign finance would come from taxpayers. The money would actually come from a “Freedom from Influence Fund” under the U.S. Treasury through collected funds from a fee assessed on criminal and civil fines with banks or corporations that commit corporate malfeasance.

Who is Jacobs representing? His voting record shows a lack of ethical, moral code. Jacobs sided with the insurrectionists. That people die doesn’t matter to Jacobs.

Our democracy and people are dying of disinformation. Our unvaccinated children are the most vulnerable.

Carol Nochajski

Wilson

Republicans are working to make voting more difficult

Posted 20 July 2021 at 8:00 am

Editor:

Republicans are lying about voter fraud to suppress voters, especially voters of color. The voter suppression laws passed in states like Georgia and Texas limit polling places, hours of voting, and restrict mail-in voting.

But most sinister of all is these laws give control of election boards to party partisans. In Georgia, prior to the new law county election boards were selected by both parties. Now Republicans are removing Democrats and people of color from election boards.

In Texas the new law prohibits poll watchers from being removed even for violating election laws, (NPR reported 7/12/21). Furthermore, with the rush to pass these bill you would think that voter fraud is prevalent, you would be wrong.

In Atlanta, WDEF reported on 2/18/21 “ATLANTA, Georgia (WDEF) – After a day of hearing evidence of election fraud in 63 cases, Georgia officials have decided to pass 24 of them on to prosecutors.” The report also stated that: “But more of the cases go back to the 2017-19 local and state elections.”

The Texas Attorney General’s web page on election integrity states that they have prosecuted 155 people for election fraud since 2005 and 43 cases pending. That is in 15 years with tens of millions of votes casts they have less than 200 cases of voter fraud. Everyone wants only those eligible to vote, to do so in safe, secure, free and fair elections.

But Republicans are trying to make voting more difficult, especially for people of color, by creating long lines where people have to wait for hours. Republicans are not pushing voter suppression laws out of concern for fraud, they are pushing these laws because more people voted and they don’t like the results.

William Fine

Brockport

Local municipal budgets, priorities show little regard for historians and artifacts

Posted 14 July 2021 at 7:28 am

Editor:

Upon her passing on February 18th of this year, Betsy Hoffman was one of the longer (if not longest) tenured historians in Orleans County.

As county historian, my colleagues never ran out of stories to share about their work with Betsy over the years. Her expansive knowledge of Carlton was second-to-none and without question, she was a dedicated public servant. That’s why I was not surprised to hear that she had amassed a large collection of Carlton-related historical materials and was relieved to hear that those caring for her estate offered that collection to the Town.

I was, however, incensed when I was informed that Betsy’s successor made quick work of filing parts of that collection in the dumpster. It brought to mind a series of unfortunate misunderstandings about the role of the local historian, the qualifications that are required to serve the community with the utmost integrity and ethical standards, and perhaps some of my own experiences as county historian.

New York State has the unique distinction of requiring each village, town, and county government to appoint a local historian (NYS Arts & Cultural Affairs Law – Section 57.07). That law does not mandate compensation, recommend qualifications, or specify municipal support of that position through space and resources. As such, New York has a hodgepodge of full-time and part-time historians, professionals and amateurs, and an overwhelming majority of public servants who attempt to engage with their communities on a miniscule budget, using limited technology, and with no office space.

Over the last five years, Orleans County invested significant resources into the Department of History thanks to the tireless support of Ken DeRoller, John DeFilipps and Lynne Johnson. The Historian’s office went from a damp, cold closet-sized space in the basement to an upper-level “suite” of rooms to house some of our community’s most precious resources. Yet other historians are not as fortunate. The lack of investment in the position often means that local governments struggle to find qualified and passionate candidates. Even worse, without financial resources and space, historians end up storing public collections in their home where they remain inaccessible.

In 2017, the New York State Historian conducted a survey of county and borough historians in the state. That spurred me to gather similar information from town and village historians in Orleans County in 2018. Considering the circumstances, I thought it would be worth sharing some of those findings.

Of the nine historians who responded, only one received a job description when appointed, compensation ran anywhere from $206 to $2,000 annually, and no municipality (except the County), required a minimum number of hours from the historian. Those who provided responses said they worked anywhere from 3 hours to 20 hours in a given week, which means no historian in Orleans County (except the County Historian) earns minimum wage for their work.

Moving to municipal support, only 1/3 of local governments provided office space, seven historians did not have access to a government-provided email address, and only one historian had a separate web page for historical information. In a digital world, historians are expected to operate in the 20th century.

As portions of the population continue to cry out against the “destruction” of history, we should turn inward and look to our own support of documentation, preservation, and interpretation in our communities. In my experience as both a librarian and a historian, I can tell you that a budget provides the clearest picture of what a community values. With practically no pay, minimal resources, and no space, we should not be surprised by what happened in Carlton.

So, my advice to the “stop erasing history” crowd: march down to your town hall, hold your elected officials accountable, and tell them to put their money where their mouths are. Support our historians, give them the resources necessary to be effective, and ensure that we do not lose important historical collections to uninvested, unqualified appointees put in place to simply fill a vacancy.

Matt Ballard

Statesville, NC (formerly Clarendon, NY, former Orleans County Historian)

Don’t discard history even if it seems unimportant or unpleasant

Posted 13 July 2021 at 9:00 pm

Editor:

It can’t just be me that keeps seeing comments on social media and articles in the news about erasing our history. I am saddened by the fact that people have put all of our country’s history in one silo. That silo is one of shame. Things happened throughout history and history was recorded. How would we know what happened before us if it had not?

We learn from it and hope that we don’t repeat some of it. Laws are made to avoid some of it happening again and to help the people who were wronged. Women can vote, slaves were freed, countries went to war to defend a certain way of life which allowed people to exist as human beings – not Jews or slaves for example.

I feel like this is trickling down to our little Orleans County in some ways. I am a local town historian and have been for 15 years. In the beginning, when I asked people to share pictures or stories, they often didn’t bother. I just kept right on asking. Why you say? Because it is our history and after a generation has died off then how will we ever know?

I am fortunate enough to say that many people in the county know that I am a historian. I get invited to speak at schools and other historical societies frequently. I am always sharing what I have or what I learn with others because that is what I am supposed to do.

Every now and again people will send me items through the mail or bring me boxes of items that they don’t know what to do with but could not bring themselves to throw away. I TAKE IT ALL! I look at everything and make piles for other historians in other towns if it pertains to them. It sometimes takes a lot of work but let’s face it, we are not in it for the pay!

I was made aware of a situation where a decades-long historian passed away and her records were in her home. The town did the right thing and went and collected an entire room of historical items. Books, pictures you name it.

What happened after that makes me angry. Someone spent a good portion of their lifetime collecting these items and saving them. An individual was appointed to the job and then proceeded to throw away books, photos and newspapers in the dumpster.

Thank God for the town clerk who went into the dumpster and retrieved as much as she could from underneath garbage and maggots. The town should be so lucky to have an individual who cares this much. It is now being dried out and hopefully saved for future generations.

This town clerk like my own is the records officer for the town and totally understands the significance of some records. While some records are not nearly as important as others historically, she knows to ask me (the historian) before she gets rid of anything due to its future historical value.

The gratitude of a high school student doing research or a distant family member being shown an old photograph or story about their ancestor is priceless!

Melissa Ierlan

Town of Clarendon Historian

In border trip, Jacobs turns to fearmongering rather than seeking solutions

Posted 9 July 2021 at 7:16 pm

Editor:

My representative is Congressman Chris Jacobs. In January, Mr. Jacobs voted to overturn the election in Pennsylvania and Arizona, even after both states certified their election for Joe Biden as free and fair.

Neither Mr. Jacobs nor has anyone else ever shown any evidence to the contrary. Before the vote Mitch McConnell told lawmakers: “The voters, the courts and the states have spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever.”

My congressman does not care if he damages our Republic forever, all he cares about is himself. For example, Mr. Jacobs traveled to the Southern border with other Republicans and Mr. Anthony Aguero who was hired as a guide and translator. (CNN reported on 7/2/21 that Mr. Aguero was one of the insurrectionist on Jan. 6th and a known criminal, with several arrests, the last for vehicular assault.)

The trip to the Southern border was a staged political event to demonize and dehumanize migrants coming this country for a better life. My congressman wants to blame President Biden for these people coming to America. Never mind that migrants from Central America and Mexico pick our fruits and vegetables and milk our dairy cows.

Mr. Jacobs wants to block their entrance, which financially hurts local farmers. My congressman would rather pal around with insurrectionist and criminals than work on real problems like immigration reform.

Instead of running on a policy platform, my congressman wants to run on fearmongering and scapegoating. We deserve better.

William Fine

Brockport

Sidonio thanks voters for support in Murray Republican primary

Posted 8 July 2021 at 4:38 pm

Editor:

I wish to take a moment to thank the residents of Murray for their support in this Primary Election.

For it is they who choose the governance of our community and I am grateful for their confidence in electing me as the Republican nominee for Murray Town Supervisor.

Now that the Primary Election is over it’s time to set aside our political differences, end the infighting and get back to work. We are public servants. Every Councilman, Justice, Clerk, Highway worker, Assessor, Code Officer, Planning and Zoning Board member work for the people of Murray. Everything we do is for the community. Remember that.

Our “Team” extends beyond the Town Hall to every corner of Murray. What can we do better? Every voice deserves to be heard with mutual respect both inside and outside of the Town Hall.

The things that are worth doing are never easy. We have great opportunities in Murray. Unlimited possibilities to be had if we work hard together and respect one another.

I promise to do my best for you.

Sincerely,

Joseph Sidonio

Murray

Zelazny appreciates support shown in primary for Shelby Town Board

Posted 8 July 2021 at 9:10 am

Editor:

It is with great honor that I can officially say that I received the voters of Shelby full support! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for electing me during the Republican Primary and giving me an opportunity to be your voice in Town Hall.

Furthermore, a congratulations is needed for Councilman Seitz and Supervisor Smith for their re-election. Additionally, even though Bill Bacon came up short, he deserves a debt of gratitude for his years of service. It takes a lot of courage to even decide to run, let alone serve, as one can imagine.

I do not take this challenge lightly nor will I let you down. I will fight for transparency every step of the way, bring a strong fiscally conservative voice to curb spending, and make sure the Town of Shelby residents have a voice front and center.

Even if you did not vote for me, you still deserve to be heard. This campaign was all about bringing a fresh perspective to the status quo while emphasizing the rights of the entire community. I am sure there will be disagreements along the way, but I look forward to working with everyone for the betterment of Shelby.

If you see me around town do not hesitate to stop and talk or ask questions. I want to be the best councilman I can be so that we can make Shelby great again, together!

Thank you again for your trust, support, and encouragement.

Eddie Zelazny

Councilman-elect

Town of Shelby

State’s accelerated review for large-scale renewable energy usurps Home Rule by local governments

Posted 6 July 2021 at 9:51 pm

Editor,

A quick clarification and comment regarding the July 2, 2021 industrial, renewable energy siting letter submitted by Ms. Joanne Scanlon of Rush, New York.

Ms. Scanlon states the following in her letter:

“The approval of Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center is a victory for us here in the community, and for the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting that provides an efficient process to get shovels in the ground for large-scale renewable projects while preserving local community involvement. ORES was created under climate-forward legislation signed by Governor Cuomo, and replaces an arcane, unworkable predecessor.”

Ms. Scanlon, in her letter, is making comment that the Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center (Mount Morris, New York (Livingston County) is a victory for “us here in the community.” To clarify, Mount Morris, New York (Livingston County) is approximately 28 miles distant from the Town of Rush, New York (Monroe County).

Webster’s definition of the term community states the following:  ”A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”

Clearly, Mount Morris, New York (Livingston County) is not the same place as Rush, NY (Monroe County). Additionally, if Ms. Scanlon is indicating that the people of Rush, NY and Mount Morris, NY are in any way homogenous regarding support/opposition of renewable energy projects or even anthropogenic climate change, her comments ring as highly disingenuous.

Lastly, her comment that the Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center is a victory for the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting is also disingenuous. The new “efficient process” she references is now under legal challenge.

This legal challenge/lawsuit from numerous, statewide town and environmental groups, has been filed because the new siting law (94c) eliminates all meaningful local zoning laws and constituent inputs from the siting process. 94c eliminated Home Rule. In fact, the lawsuit was filed after ORES ignored each of the thousands of public comments that were submitted as a part of the new 94c regulation development process and as a result, left the regulations unchanged. To be clear, the unchanged 94c regulations were written by a pro-wind/pro-solar lobbying group hired by ORES. Smelling fishy yet?

Ms. Scanlon clearly seems to have either forgotten or ignored Article IX of the New York State Constitution which protects the Right of Home Rule for New York State municipalities. New York State, with the passing of 94c has actually usurped the Right of Home Rule from every village, town, city and county in New York State.

My understanding, from 8th grade Civics class, is that our government was enacted to protect The People’s rights not bestow or usurp them. 94c is a clear usurpation of the rights of every municipality and citizen of the State of New York and if unchecked, is a sword that will cut all that is near and dear to The People.

It is clear to me that Ms. Scanlon either needs additional education on 94c and the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act or may actually fully support of 94c and the thinly veiled eminent domain process that it represents.

Ms. Scanlon should, at a minimum, review the definition of the term “community.”

Thank you.

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates

Infrastructure bill doesn’t do enough to address climate change

Posted 5 July 2021 at 12:10 pm

Editor:

A compromise infrastructure bill for roads and the like was hailed as a success. This young Nobel Prize nominee puts the success in prospective:

“People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” – Greta Thunberg

The thermometer and fires in Lakes in the Artic prove the magnitude of the problem. Some sacrifice is required of anyone who puts their family and children first. There are no easy answers. No cheat sheet.

We funded the transcontinental railroad. (It created new jobs.) We again have to come up with the seed money for climate change even if that means “wealth taxes” on those who have benefitted disproportionately as they convinced us to shove the problem down the road.

Conrad F. Cropsey

Albion

New state review process will result in more renewable energy, with benefits for community and climate

Posted 2 July 2021 at 9:34 am

Editor:

This is in response to an Orleans Hub article on June 25, “State approves first two large-scale renewable energy projects through ORES.”

The approval of Morris Ridge Solar Energy Center is a victory for us here in the community, and for the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting that provides an efficient process to get shovels in the ground for large-scale renewable projects while preserving local community involvement. ORES was created under climate-forward legislation signed by Governor Cuomo, and replaces an arcane, unworkable predecessor.

The need keeps getting greater to transition to renewable energy with these large-scale projects as the profound effects of climate change become ever more evident. The Pacific Northwest is suffering unprecedented blasts of triple-digit heat, farmers in the drought-stricken American West are selling water rights instead of planting crops, we see changes in wildlife and agriculture here, all because of climate change.

Large-scale solar power is the perfect antidote for our climate woes, directly replacing climate-killing burning of fossil fuels. It also brings major economic benefits. Morris Ridge Solar comes with jobs and economic investment. We can all celebrate its advent

Joanne Scanlon

Rush

This Independence Day, learn about Constitution and seek to protect voting rights

Posted 30 June 2021 at 10:36 am

Editor:

July 4th is a good time to reflect on our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

As a combat veteran I know the sacrifices the founding fathers made in signing the Declaration of Independence. I know the screams of dying buddies; I know Independence is not just picnics, cherry pies and fireworks.

I also know this nation is fundamentally an ideal. An ideal based on self sacrifice for the common good to benefit society. The Constitution starts with “We the People of the United States,” and talks of the common good.

The Declaration of Independence states that governments are instituted to secure the unalienable rights of individuals but governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Currently, in Republican-led states, there is a push to prevent minorities from voting violating the principles of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Furthermore, it is a betrayal of the sacrifices made by all who fought to defend the ideal of this great nation.

I encourage everyone to read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to support the inclusiveness of both documents and vote and take part in our democracy. Thank you.

William Fine

Brockport

Food distribution volunteers appreciated unexpected assistance

Posted 26 June 2021 at 8:22 am

Editor:

So many times the Orleans Hub reporter/photographer, Tom Rivers, is behind the scenes gathering news, writing articles, and taking photographs.

What readers don’t see is the man who is willing to pitch in and help when needed. Case in point, the most recent food giveaway at the Ridgeway Fire Hall on Friday, June 25. Tom was there to report on the giveaway, but the story doesn’t end there!

We were short-handed, and Tom put his camera down to pitch in and help us distribute food to those waiting in line. I just want to thank Tom Rivers for his help during this giveaway. It is much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Curt Strickland

Albion

Critical Race Theory latest target of those who seek to misinform, stir division

Posted 24 June 2021 at 11:27 am

Editor:

When we talk about just about anything that needs a solution(s) we look at strengths, weaknesses, compromises and then improve it. In the last few months a legal theory that rejects Marxist and Socialist analysis been tagged by a partisan press as both Marxist and Socialist. Crazy contradictory stuff.

In fact Critical Race Theory is simply a type of legal analysis (Frankfurt School) which looks at a law’s effects and examines them to see if they shed light on the law’s original intent, its strengths and its shortcomings to inform the future and do things better.

CRT sheds light, for example, on one consideration that came up when the Constitution was written. Slavery would still be legal if so many slave states had not traitorously left the Union  and lost their votes in the Senate. The South lost the 1/3 needed to block abolition; even today,  with 50 states, there would not be enough votes in the Senate overturn slavery with the 1/3 blocking right.

To add insult to injury, the south also lost the ability to count non-voting Blacks as citizens which it had counted towards proportional representation in House of Representatives. That is why Democrats in the 1880s passed Jim Crow laws designed to keep Blacks from voting.  (Jim Crow-like restrictions that target poor blacks are again an issue. True there are no fees for voting now but there are no collection boxes and few polling places near where Blacks live under these laws now either.)

It’s also important to know that the final fury for the Civil War started because northern states refused to return escaped slaves. In fact just over in Syracuse its citizens would not let the US Army take former slaves back south to their owners. That was one of the major issues the South pointed to when it said it had to succeed to preserve slavery.

Now, we study the ins and outs of pitting the promise of liberty contained in the Declaration of Independence versus the formality of the Constitution. Preserving that balance was part of traditional legal interpretation taught in law schools since 1802 and why some Supreme Court Justices even now always consider the effect, if any, their decision may have on the promise of “Liberty.”

It is relevant to discussions of Constitutional change. For example, in order to pass the 13th Amendment doing away with slavery, a provision making it legal to enslave blacks for crimes had to be included. Then that compromise was dealt with under the 14th amendment which required “due process” to all citizens when liberty is at stake. And the 14th, and then the 15th amendments, gave Congress the power to trump those Jim Crow laws. It did that in the ’66 Civil Rights Law  the Dixiecrat arguments then are the Republican argument now. Interesting, eh?

Also it’s relevant now when debating Confederate statutes that when the legal bars on building those monuments were removed at the turn of the last century, hundreds of Confederate-related statutes, roads, and schools were erected in dozens of states with NO ties to the Civil War! Knowing that informs the debate on whether or not there is a legitimate historic tie to the  Civil War or to racism when arguing about what to do with them. That is why so many say it’s a community decision about what it wants to say about itself.

Critical Race Theory looks at historic fact to help lawyers, politicians, prosecutors, judges, police, and historians discuss the implication of their jobs. History informs. Even discussing numbers stuff like the compliance rate with reporting hate crimes is affected. For some it’s simply outlook. CRT is one tool for problem identification and solution. You need to know what’s going on to address it.

Misrepresenting Critical Race Theory is pretty low politics. It shows the speaker has not read Wiki to learn what it’s about. Moreover it’s racist to call something that is not racist, racist – it’s a “Woke” rewriting of history.

Who is going to claim we should not try to have accurate facts? Who is going to claim they know all there is to know?

For example the numbers tell us that tax cuts over the last 40 years have created a wealthy class. Is that Marxist or just economics? And we just had a President who the conservative courts uniformly have held violated fundamental Rules of Law. Is discussion of that off limits too? And shouldn’t we be discussing and investigating how Facebook data and other sources show that Republican precinct data ended being used for ad buys by fictitious Russian hackers.

Since facts are important isn’t it interesting to know that the earth’s crust trapped twice that amount of heat from the sun since 2006 or do we ignore the thermometer?

Ignoring  data is tearing us apart. Frankly, as a society, we need to deal with the limits of gullibility. Today it’s CRT. Tomorrow will it be the thermometer again?

Non-Civil War states may have to stop claiming their statues are historic. Better answers about putting a higher percent of polling places in white neighborhoods is worth straight answers.  Someday it could be how the middle class vanished.

Agree or not but listen and talk respectfully but the current descriptions of CRT are WOKE.

Conrad F. Cropsey

Albion