Thursday, August 24, 2006

Our Readers Respond...

Dear Editor:

Ms. Camacho should be applauded for attempting, albeit poorly, to make the argument for bilingual education.
As our public schools flounder with accommodation and forced tolerance for varying heritages, sensitivities, beliefs, religions and most importantly languages, we witness the corresponding failures of same in our schools and its students. Conversely, our private and parochial school students continue to thrive, excel and produce more college-bound students and subsequent graduates than ever before! In fact, other-language families that insist on the best for their children are enrolling their children in these same schools, whether financially difficult or not. Their heritage, language duality and beliefs are practiced at home, as it should be.

Supporting multi-culturalism does exempt those same people from becoming part of our society’s thread through assimilation. Forcing us to accept what they want will only further resistance and ultimately exclusion from the
very fabric Ms. Comacho argues for.

Stop thinking as a Hispanic, and more like the American they believed they could be by coming here (hopefully legally). This includes learning the English language, for free at night school, as other immigrants have. They will then find more acceptance, success and a bigger slice of the American pie they can dig into. If not, they will always be those “other people” with their hand out looking for something-for-nothing.

White Plains

Dear Editor:

Thank you so much for this paper! I couldn’t help thinking how it will change a lot of people in some very positive ways. Thank you for your excellent piece on Pirro! She and her husband are so vile, I never understood how she could be re-elected. The paper is well thought out and prints out real news from real people. I was particularly pleased to see the Living Latino in Westchester column. I was an ESL instructor for many years, so the article was just right on the mark. Perhaps a follow-up article could be done on the award-winning Washington Irving Elementary Bilingual Program in Tarrytown. Perhaps even an occasional piece in Spanish and the other languages that are used here would be of interest.

The huge linguistic diversity that the county now has would make for an even broader readership. Spanish, though, is essential. On another point, given the fall of Joe Lieberman, I also would like to suggest a story on the candidates that are challenging their rivals in the Sept. 12 primary elections. As you may know Johnathan Tasini is challenging Mrs. Clinton, Jessica Flagg is up against Eliot Engel, and there are others throughout the
county running for state offices.

For many years I have felt disenfranchised from local goings-on. I went to high school in Dobbs Ferry and then basically left the country as there were no jobs after my finishing my undergrad degree at CCNY, which it seems lost far too many people though it was tuition-free. This was in the mid-1970s when the reactionary Herald Statesman was still the only paper widely read.


In Our Opinion...

What is George Pataki, a ‘lame duck’ governor who, at last polling, garnered a 9% approval rating, doing in Iowa? Last week found Pataki back in Iowa where, we are told, he was “campaigning and raising money for legislative candidates, and testing the waters for a possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.” Really?

Many in Iowa, and in other parts of the country, well removed from New York, believe that his greatest vulnerability lies in the general perception that he is a Northeastern Moderate. Of course, we, here, in what was once the Empire State, know that fact may ultimately be the least of his problems. Simply stated, George Pataki has been a huge let down to voters across New York, Democrats and Republicans, moderates and conservatives, alike.

Pataki, who ran on a platform that promised fiscal conservatism and a trimming of state government in order to bring taxes under control, quickly showed his colors upon taking office in 1994. Within weeks of moving into the governor’s mansion Pataki went about pulling money from programs for the elderly and the disabled, cynically
balancing his budget on the backs of those who were virtually defenseless and who could least afford it. At the same time, he filled the ranks of state government and the many hundreds of state authorities with his cronies and pals, many of whom proved to be common criminals.

For example, there was Robert Boyle, appointed by Pataki as Chairman of the Port of New York Authority, and the Javits Center. Boyle, who ripped off the Hudson Valley Hospital Center, in conspiracy with Al Pirro, for more than $600,000 was frequently described, together with Pirro, by Pataki, as his “best friends and fundraisers.” Incidentally, Pataki was a member of the hospital’s board of directors when Boyle, it’s chairman, and Pirro, pulled off their fraudulent scheme.

Then there was Jack Gaffney, former Supervisor of Cortlandt, and fatherin-law of Pataki’s, and Jeanine Pirro’s, campaign director, Kieran Mahoney. Pataki appointed him Chairman of the Bridge Authority. However, a six-
figure salary wasn’t enough for Greedy Gaffney, who double billed, and converted more than $188,000 according to charges brought against him by the DA of Ulster County. He ultimately copped a plea to a reduced charge when Eliot Spitzer, at the behest of Jeanine Pirro, stepped into the case.

Closer to home, there’s George’s wife, Libby, who, from the start, made it clear that she was going to make being the governor’s wife a windfall no-show job, with two major corporations at a time, to the tune of more
than $350,000 year. One of those Corporations, for which she was a “consultant,” was Este Lauder, particularly amusing to her old friends and her former cosmetics consultant, who knew her before she became the First
Lady of the State, and knew she couldn’t put her eyeliner on straight.

In short, while George, Libby, and their cronies were busy stuffing their pockets for the past twelve years, New York State has been in deep decline, particularly upstate. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost. At the same time, extraordinarily high property taxes, and inadequate public schools have driven many families from the state. Such is the Pataki Legacy. And, now he wants to do the same for the whole country.

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