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Re-read this history

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To the Editor:

Responding to Richard Rossi’s letter, he is obviously getting his information from the uneducated ramblings of Rush Limbaugh, rather than the history books. Rossi says that socialism didn’t work for the Pilgrims, and begs us to go back to the year 1620. He calls the Pilgrim’s early settlement an “essentially socialist commune.”

Simply explained, the Pilgrims were a small group of people who sought financial backing from a company in England with a business purpose of beginning a fishery and sending fish back to Europe. The rules were set up by a corporation, not some communist or socialist doctrine. The Mayflower and all that she held on board was common stock, as in capitalism. On arrival, however, it was discovered that the borrowers could better pay off their debt, with an extremely high interest rate, through farming. Subsequently, each settler had farmland which was rotated yearly. However, the settlers were not motivated to till the land since it would be turned over to someone else the next year. Therefore, that system was abandoned allowing each settler to retain his/her land. The lack of labor and shrinking harvests referred to in Rossi’s letter were the result of loss of lives due to drought and illness—not the result of lazy settlers!

Make no mistake, the Plymouth Rock Pilgrims were on a commercial and religious venture. They borrowed money in order to escape from the mandatory Church of England.

Initially, the settlers consisted of “gentlemen, commoners and servants.” Fortunately, and ahead of their time, they established a government with just and equal laws. Let that not be confused with socialism either, but rather the precursors of our democratic way of life.

Actually there are preserved diaries and much information available on our settlers. Please don’t twist a complex history to suit your political needs.

Gloria Zola-Mulloy,

Holding federal workers hostage

To the Editor:

During the campaign, Trump never mentioned his fantasy wall on the southern border without the tag line that Mexico would pay for it. He made that apparently groundless pledge literally hundreds of times. Once in office, reality intervened when the center-right Mexican president Pena Nieto, stung by Trump’s disrespect for his country, disabused Trump of that bit of chicanery.

With the current center-left Mexican president Obrador, it’s not worth asking. Beyond that unfulfilled, nonsensical promise, Trump enjoyed two years of Republican control of Congress. He continued to use his mythical wall to fire up crowds but it apparently was not his top legislative priority.

The first order of business was to overturn the ACA, which didn’t go so well when it became obvious that people were not going to lose coverage for pre-existing conditions without a fight. Some Congress people learned this lesson too late and lost their seats as a result.

Aside from rolling back essential environmental and gun control regulations, ending DACA protection and withdrawing from key international treaties, the only substantive legislation Trump managed to pass amidst his chaotic government by tweet was a massive tax cut for millionaires like himself and corporations, which is currently harming states like New York and bankrupting the US treasury.

Despite controlling both houses of Congress, there was no concerted effort to find funding for his wall. With that control about to end in December and after being criticized by rightwing spokespeople, Trump decided to use 800,000 federal workers as hostages with a $5.7 billion down payment on his wall as ransom. Putting aside the issues of the feasibility, efficacy or need for a nearly 2,000-mile physical barrier, is that a responsible way for the US president to behave? ‘Give me money to deliver on (half of) my campaign promise or I will punish 800,000 innocent government employees’?

Trump wants his vanity project and is willing to do real harm to these government workers, their families, communities and the nation until congressional Democrats abandon their core beliefs, pay the ransom and free Trump’s hostages. Trump’s methods are anathema to decent, responsible governance. Mitch McConnell could admit that Trump’s actions are a sick caricature of the legislative process, but he’s in no position to criticize. Trump took ownership of the shutdown. He claimed that most of the unpaid workers are Democrats and therefore deserve losing their livelihoods!

Can anyone imagine even a small-town mayor making such a partisan, divisive, unfeeling statement? The American people are not buying this brinksmanship. A majority blame Trump and Republican senators. When will the pain of these unpaid federal workers outweigh one man’s loss of face?

Matt Frisch,

Don’t further legalize marijuana use

To the Editor:

The New York State Association of Chiefs of Police representing over five hundred Police Chiefs, Commissioners, Superintendents and other command level police executives, stands in opposition of the State’s intention to propose legislation that would legalize regulated marijuana in New York State.

As Police Officers, we are sworn to enforce Federal, State and Municipal laws and to protect the public. Marijuana is illegal under Federal law and is classified as a “Schedule 1” drug which means that the federal government views cannabis as highly addictive with no medical value.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that “The epidemiological and pre-clinical data suggests that the use of marijuana in adolescence could influence multiple addictive behaviors in adulthood”. New York State is currently battling an Opioid epidemic with law enforcement and public health professionals on the frontline and it would be counterintuitive to condone the use of marijuana.

Aside from the numerous health related issues with the use of marijuana, we are concerned with how the legalization will impact public safety. Of great concern is traffic safety. New York has been making great strides in lowering traffic fatalities to the lowest numbers on record. In comparing data in Colorado (which legalized marijuana in 2013), the first year that marijuana was legalized traffic fatalities increased 62% in that one year.

The detection of impairment by drugs on the roadside must be performed by a certified Drug Recognition Expert, which is a law enforcement officer that has undergone at least two weeks of classroom training and an additional one week of practical field training. It is anticipated that law enforcement would have to add approximately 650 new Drug Recognition Experts to handle the necessity of the increase in suspected impaired drivers.

Most law enforcement agencies within New York State have twenty or less members. Without the appropriate funding from the State, the financial impact could be crippling to some municipalities.

In addition to the need for new DRE’s, legalizing regulated marijuana would necessitate retiring a large majority of Police K-9 dogs that are trained to detect marijuana, as their detection capabilities would no longer be admissible in court. The replacement of these K-9 officers could easily take 5-7 years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There has not been ample time or studies conducted in order to see what pitfalls may arise should marijuana be legalized in the state of New York. Only after bringing all stakeholders together for meetings, studies and dialog can an educated, informed decision be made.

Once again, I must emphasize that the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police is in opposition to the legalization of marijuana. I urge the State to proceed cautiously, learning from other states that have already suffered the deleterious effects of this decision, before moving forward with legalization in New York State.

Chief John Aresta,
New York State Association
of Chiefs of Police

Editor’s Note: The debate about legalization of marijuana use is heating up in New York State. The News takes no position on the matter at this time but believes it is important to publish varying ideas an opinions that will help readers develop informed opinions on the issues.

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