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Comment Archives: Last 7 Days

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

"There are still way too many guns in NYS." SAYS WHO?

I have to laugh at idiot politicians who pass laws about things they know NOTHING about. Several firearms manufacturers are making and selling semi-automatic rifles that are fully compliant with the ridiculous NY SAFE act. They operate exactly as the banned weapons. So the features that politicians deem as dangerous really don't mean anything do they? The politicians simply make everything more difficult and expensive for lawful and law-biding gun owners, and create more paperwork and bureaucracy for the sake of their anti-gun agenda. What a waste of time.

Posted by Andrew on 10/20/2014 at 6:22 AM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Mike Bruton, semi-automatic so-called "assault weapons" as defined by the SAFE Act (there is no definition of "assault rifles") were banned for sale or transfer in New York State the second Cuomo signed his detestable law on January 15, 2013. From that moment on such firearms, which if you knew anything about firearms have no fundamental difference from other semi-automatic firearms except military-looking cosmetics, were permitted only for existing owners who registered them with the state. Any owners who did would never be allowed to leave them to family members or any New York State resident. Upon their death the guns, which can cost $1000 up, would need to be turned into the police for destruction or sold by the estate to a gun dealer for half its value for sale in the majority of states where they are legal. Almost no owners of so-called "assault weapons" have registered them. They have converted them to magically non-assault weapons by changing the stocks to ones manufactured in response to the law. By eliminating cosmetic features that define them as "assault weapons" under the SAFE Act yet leave them mechanically and functionally the same owners can own and shoot them legally and leave them to their families or sell them for their full value if they can find a gun dealer who will do the now required background check for private sales for the $10 the state says is the maximum they can charge. Some have sent their unaltered guns to friends and families in other states in hopes that they will be legal again in New York. Others have chosen to take the risk and keep their unaltered guns here.

You are typical of anti-gun people in your belief that "There are still way too many guns in NYS". Like others who think like you the problem is not just what kind of guns there are or who has them but that the number of them in general is too many. People like you who hate guns want the United States to adopt the gun laws of Europe and the rest of the world that has banned or severely restricted the private ownership and carry of firearms, the "to keep and bear arms" part of the Second Amendment you wish didn't exist.

History lesson. Americans fought a violent revolutionary war against England that began when British troops tried to confiscate Americans' guns at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. They fought that war not to be like England but to declare our independence from it, to be something new and different, a country that, still stained by slavery, would become the freest in the world, its citizens exercising liberties never seen before. One of those liberties was the right of citizens to own and carry (keep and bear) firearms.

Most Americans still believe in that right. Americans like you clearly don't. The Second Amendment stands in the way of your goal of European-style gun laws. Please be honest and admit it and please, no "well regulated militia" argument that the Second Amendment applies only to organized military units. The Supreme Court has ruled on that and determined that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right not dependent on belonging to any military organization.

I welcome people like you trying to repeal the Second Amendment because it will expose how you really think and feel. I welcome it because I don't think you will ever convince 2/3 of the states to repeal one of the original amendments of the Bill of Rights.

Of course I could be wrong. America passed the 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol for 13 years before ending it with the 21st Amendment, the only amendment repealing another. If America could do something that stupid it could possibly repeal the Second Amendment. I doubt it but for you and other anti-gun Americans there's always the chance. Go for it.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim Harte on 10/19/2014 at 11:58 PM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

It's troubling how easily we dismiss blatant cronyism, simply because "the other guy" has done it in the past. It wasn't right then, it's not now. The residents deserve the best candidate for the job and the Councilwoman was right to speak up on behalf of her constituents. They also deserve a board chair who has integrity.

What I want to know is: how much is the abrupt change going to cost the taxpayers? Castro's contract was recently renewed, how much do we have to pay him out? And I'd like to hear more from Moses: his explanation about needing a new director to change course rings hollow. You don't hire an interim to lead a course change, you hire an interim to caretake while you do a diligent search for a permanent director. Will there be a proper search for the permanent gig?

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GeorgeOconnor on 10/19/2014 at 8:15 PM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Mr. DeCoursey,

Thank you for responding, and " Seneca Manor [is ONE of how many RHA] developments? "

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/19/2014 at 6:36 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

There are still way too many guns in NYS. And, semi-automatic assault rifles have yet to be banned. So, in my opinion, the NY SAFE Act is flawed in that it is too permissive. After Sandy Hook, it would have been irresponsible for Governor Cuomo to have done nothing. O'Brien did the right thing when he voted in favor of the NY SAFE Act.

Putting a tv celebrity on the ballot is a ploy. Rich Funke will act in Republican lockstep. It's an illusion to think we know him.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Mike Bruton on 10/19/2014 at 3:38 PM

Re: “Arguments for and against redistricting prop

The City News article mistakenly states that "[e]lected officials would be unable to serve on the panel...;" while in reality only state level elected officials and some others may not serve. The amendment allows local elected officials, including county executives and legislators who may be considering a run at the state legislature, to participate in drawing the lines for themselves and their potential fellow legislators, with whom they will be soon negotiating for power. Other states with such commissions include an ethics provision that prevents commission members from running for such offices for a period of time. NY Prop 1 does not.

This is one of the many overlooked serious flaws with the proposed amendment. While it may be a baby step forward, it is a small step into cement, entrenching a still too flawed system into the constitution where it will be even more difficult to improve. New Yorkers should reject this illusion and insist on real reform before the next redistricting.

As a NY judge stated in his ruling that the word "independent" did not fairly describe this proposed commission, “Legislative semantics do not change the reality that the commission’s plan is little more than a recommendation to the Legislature, which can reject it for unstated reasons and draw its own lines.”

Posted by Sarah Y on 10/19/2014 at 2:09 PM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Hi Howard - Reasonable question especially as it wasn't covered in this article. One of the well-known local reporters, Rachel Barnhart, reported separately from Seneca Manor (a large public housing development on the northeast side) and found residents there rallying behind the former director shortly after his dismissal. She has glowing quotes in the article ("whenever Alex is asked to come to one of our sites, Alex comes" and "He was always there for us. All the residents in here liked Alex,"), including a quote from the president of the residents council.

10 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lincoln DeCoursey on 10/18/2014 at 3:55 PM

Re: “Police chief responds to problems with city's red-light camera program

red light cameras is is just a way to open the door for invasion of privacy next they will be used to monitor city residents and there will be one on every street every corner this program changes nothing except the city now can get more money from its already poor residents its funny it only affects non city officials just like many other programs

Posted by i swear on 10/18/2014 at 2:21 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Tom, people leave cars and kitchen knives around where children can get them. Michelle Wright, a 13 year-old black girl, brought a kitchen knife in her backpack to Jefferson Middle School in 1995 and fatally stabbed 12 year-old Stephanie Givens, another black girl, in the neck over a boy. I had just moved from a street four blocks away that had five murders in the 18 months I lived there. How's this for a plan, license kitchen knives, enact mandatory storage and training laws and prohibit access to minors. While we're at it we can enact the same restrictions on hammers, screwdrivers, bleach, wasp spray, antifreeze, gasoline, baseball bats and anything else that could possibly be used as a weapon. We could enact legislation holding the owners of cars personally responsible for any crimes, deaths or injuries committed with their cars by unauthorized users like car thieves. According to that law my neighbor would be in prison for allowing pot to be smoked in her car by the thieves who stole it from their driveway and left it reeking on Avenue D.

Or we could work to change the mindset of people who commit murder including 13 year-old girls who commit premeditated murder over the attention of a boy.

Or we could lock up murderers for life to protect the public so they can never kill again, at least out of prison.

Or we could keep gun laws we already have that might possibly do some good and get rid of ones like the SAFE Act that do nothing than make anti-gun people feel good that they're "doing something".

I grew up in New Jersey, the worst state in America for gun owners, where the equivalent of a New York State Pistol Permit is required for a Daisy Red Ryder bb gun, the same as Ralphie longed for in the film "A Christmas Story", because NJ classifies air guns as firearms. NJ is the last state in the nation that doesn't allow citizens to carry concealed handguns for self defense. Permits are automatically denied to average citizens and only issued to retired cops and probably the judges and politicians who enact the policy. In NJ hunters and target shooters must travel directly to and from the range or the hunting area with no "deviations of travel" like their hunting partner's house, a restaurant or anywhere.

I lived 14 years in Manhattan where bb guns are illegal, it is tremendously expensive and difficult for average citizens to own rifles or shotguns and concealed carry pistol permits are only issued to wealthy people like Donald Trump and Robert De Niro. In NYC all guns including rifles and shotguns are registered with the New York Police Department. Because of that when NYC passed a new law banning rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 5 rounds the NYPD was able to notify the owners, who legally bought and registered the guns for a fee of around $160 each, that their previously legal gun was now illegal and needed to be turned into the police for destruction, removed from NYC permanently or mutilated by a gunsmith to hold no more than 5 rounds. These were not cosmetic military style so-called "assault weapons", which were already illegal in NYC, but common hunting guns. That's why gun owners say confiscation follows registration.

People say why don't we register guns like cars. No one is trying to ban cars or certain kinds of cars. When the government mandated safety belts it didn't mandate installing them in Model T Fords or any car manufactured before the law. It didn't make car owners turn in cars that didn't meet the new law's requirements. Government, as evidenced by NYC, does do that with guns.

I have lived my entire life in states with the most draconian restrictive gun laws in the country. NY and NJ do not need more gun laws yet they keep piling them on. If not for the Second Amendment states like NY and NJ and municipalities like Chicago, NYC and Washington DC would (and have but are being slowly repealed by courts) Australian style confiscation and severe registration laws designed to keep normal citizens from owning and using guns.

Nancy Lanza probably used bad judgment teaching her son to shoot. Despite that, my reading of the case is that she had her guns locked up in a safe which he defeated while she was out of town on a three day trip. That could happen to anyone the same as having their car broken into and stolen by their teenager or a thief. Some things can't be absolutely prevented. If given enough time a determined person can steal anything you own.

To absolutely eliminate future mass shootings would require eliminating all the guns in America. That can't happen without repealing the Second Amendment. If that happened we'd probably have mass resistance to confiscation that would inevitably turn violent.

Will you volunteer to be the first one through the door on the confiscation squad?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim Harte on 10/18/2014 at 1:45 PM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Mr. DeCoursey,

How do you know " he seemed to have the confidence of the population that it serves?" Are you making things up?

1 like, 11 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/18/2014 at 1:17 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Sandy Hook was committed with a legally purchased gun left lying around by the mother of a mentally ill child.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/18/2014 at 11:37 AM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Paralyzed for fear of the NRA is not a good reason to do nothing.

Law abiding citizens have been known to leave their guns out where children have access to them.

Safe Act has been around long enough for the haters to have developed their own better plan....but where is it?

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Tom Janowski on 10/18/2014 at 11:35 AM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

It does seem odd for the board to oust Castro after only a few years on the job - especially as he seemed to have the confidence of his agency's employees and the population that it serves. The previous board had done an extensive national search to select that director, and now a local party fixture is swapped in without the benefit of anything of the same background in housing that Castro had.

But it's the mayor's job to appoint (most of) the board members and its the board's prerogative to dictate that agency's leader solely according to its pleasure - so I don't see what could possibly come of an ethics probe.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lincoln DeCoursey on 10/18/2014 at 2:00 AM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Mr. Schnurr, I don't suppose Robert Duffy's Administration waged an "effort to systematically exclude [BOTH] capable Latinos [AND CAPABLE AFRICAN AMERICANS] from positions of influence" --- did it? Of course not, or you would have" spoken truth to their power" --- right? Or, are you fearful of "speaking truth to [CERTAIN TYPES] of power?" Don't be hypocritical.

2 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 8:39 PM

Re: “Council member calls for investigation of RHA dismissal

Whether or not any laws, rules, or formal ethical standards were violated in the removal of Alex Castro as RHA executive director and his replacement within Coucilmember McFadden, it clearly represents the latest manifestation of a 10+ year effort by Chairman Gantt, Mayor Warren, and other members of their faction within the Democratic Party establishment to systematically exclude capable Latinos from positions of influence. It is long past time for more people to speak this truth to their power.

20 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Terry Schnurr on 10/17/2014 at 7:23 PM

Re: “[UPDATED] Cooperative Extension plans a move

It's great to hear that the Cooperative Extension will get a new home if it needs one, although this is perhaps rather unfortunate news for that building's smaller tenants - there are a handful besides the Extension itself, as I recall.

It's good to hear that the county is thinking about Highland Park's south end. It's seemed to me that the portions of the park south of Highland - the section near Al Sigl (with the exception of the vets memorial), and especially the southeastern leg along South Goodman could be much better utilized with some further attention and investment.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lincoln DeCoursey on 10/17/2014 at 7:00 PM

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

This article reminds me of very sound advice that Dr. Joy DeGruy gave us (when she was in town for a three-day workshop this past July). She noted that we (black folks) cannot continue to allow people who have severely limited or no historical and/or cultural knowledge-base and understanding of us --- to just come into our communities, and work with our children and families (without proper training). I am not a gambler. However, I would be willing to bet anything that not only do many of those involved in the initiative discussed below, not have proper training, but in some cases, they have little or no formal educational training at all. Yet, we (black folks) continue, not only to allow people to do exactly what Dr, DeGruy explained we should not do, but in many cases, we even assist them in the process. Some of the idiots (in the original sense of the term) who are involved just assume that their involvement is sanctioned because people like Bolgen Vargas is "leading" them. However, there is an abundance of evidence, including amazing statistics cited in the article, which indicates that (with regard to widespread academic change and improvement) Vargas does not have a clue. Throughout his so-called "watch" ---conditions have clearly and steadily continued to deteriorate. WE MUST WAKE UP, AND WRESTLE CONTROL AWAY FROM THE HUSTLERS AND EXPLOITERS OF OUR CHILDREN --- PERIOD.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 4:24 PM

Re: “ROC the Future is moving forward

"Gotta Say It" --- you on point (dead right) --- with one exception, i.e., ..I don't think "spending 50 million of its overflowing savings, building [ANOTHER] small, K-12 charter school that is directly linked to the surrounding community agencies" is a solution. Instead, here (below) is what I am unequivocally convinced is needed:

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the seven (7) point platform below represents an objectively correct, and clear direction for our children and families.

1. Establishing relevant, broad-based, parent, student and community engagement at every level of the system, and throughout the community (movement)

2. Addressing / ending systemic, social promotion

3. Development / Implementation of effective, authentic, alternative educational models

4. Systemic change regarding standardization (in order to produce a new reality, in which the overall, initial focus is on properly and adequately laying the academic foundation upon which all else is built)

5. Addressing / reducing systemic / institutionalized racism, and establishing cultural equity

6. Working for relief from federal and state mandates (increased autonomy, and local / community control)

7. Reducing / mitigating the impact and effects of concentrated, widespread poverty (equitable resource acquisition and efficiency, which includes rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption)

Rationale: There is a dire need to work collaboratively and cooperatively with parents, grandparents, guardians, students, other family members, committed educators, Board members, and anyone else who is serious about widespread change and improvement within the RCSD --- in the process of building an ongoing movement, which I am thoroughly convinced will be necessary in order to produce substantial change and improvement. Of course, any credible movement must necessarily center around concrete issues and conditions that are negatively impacting our children and families. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

- the need to get focused (with laser-like precision) on the foundational academic development of our children --- by doing everything that we possibly can to make certain that they master literacy skills and knowledge --- that is, reading, writing, math skills and knowledge at or above grade level (right from the very beginning), which is one of the most important reasons why we must address / change the standardized testing process, i.e., because it is driving everything that happens at the classroom level, and deprives teachers and support staff of the necessary time and energy to concentrate on developing foundational skills and knowledge. Instead, largely because of state and federal mandates, rules, regulations and policies --- teachers find themselves (more and more) teaching narrowly to tests. There is no mystery surrounding the reason why so many of our children don't do well on tests. It's because they don't have adequate reading, writing, and math skills, which again represents the very foundation of all knowledge, and which is necessary for them to be able to master higher-order knowledge and skills --- such as critical and analytical reading, writing and thinking. So, I'm saying, if we lay the foundation properly, then we won't have to worry so much about tests. If the proper foundation has been laid, then the testing issue will take care of itself (as long as that which is being tested, is fundamentally the same as that which is being taught). So there are two issues wrapped up together: 1) the need for more local control (as opposed to far too many dictates from the state and federal governments, and 2) the need to free teachers and support staff up --- so that they will have the time and energy to focus, again, with laser-like precision, on laying the academic foundation upon which all knowledge and skills-development is built. This issue is even more important when we consider that huge numbers of our children enter the system lagging far behind their middle class peers --- right from the very beginning.

The latter referenced issue is clearly among the most important of all issues we face, and is connected to another issue, i.e., the issue of widespread, concentrated poverty. Please don't misunderstand me regarding this critically important issue. I do not subscribe (under any circumstances) to any theory or idea about children not being able to learn because they live in poverty. If this was the case, many whom I've known (as children of migrant farm workers) would be among the most uneducated people on earth. On the other hand, for us to stick our heads in the sand (as an ostrich would do), and pretend that issues and conditions that often come along with abject poverty ---does not impact our ability to educate well --- is frankly ridiculous, but the main point is that we need to do all we can to make sure we have the necessary, equitable, resources to provide whatever our children need in order to develop to their full potentials, which is currently not the case, and to be honest, in order to secure such necessary resources probably will require a struggle and a fight (politically speaking). As you probably know, often those who need less --- actually get more --- because they are well organized and very effective advocates for their children (often exclusively). The other side of this coin is, we must make sure the vast amount of resources that we do receive (nearly $800 million dollars) are being utilized efficiently and effectively, which obviously is not the case currently, and which raises another issue, i.e., rooting out massive waste, and possibly fiscal mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption, which is currently occurring in the RCSD.

Two other critically important issues, which we must deal with are 1) the need to address individual and institutionalized / systemic racism and the establishment of cultural equity relative to curricula, hiring and retention practices, as well as other ways, including revisiting a number of existing policies and practices. I realize this is a sensitive issue, but it is one that we cannot shy away from. It needs to be addressed; 2) it is amply clear that traditional educational approaches and systems will not work for many of our students, especially many of those who have been shuffled through the system via the criminal practice of social (age) promotion. Therefore, we must get serious about developing authentic, alternative models of education.

In my humble, but staunch view, probably not much of this will get done unless and until we build a deadly serious, ongoing, movement of parents, grandparents, guardians, students, extraordinarily committed educators, politicians, including and especially Board members, and anyone else who is really serious about widespread, fundamental change and improvement --- working cooperatively, collaboratively and constantly around concrete, well defined, measurable goals strategies and tactics, which is in essence what a movement is.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Howard J. Eagle on 10/17/2014 at 3:46 PM

Re: “O'Brien has earned a second term

Tom, why do you think doing something, even if it doesn't make sense, is better than doing nothing?

As far as children killed by gun violence, I am sick of I and other legal gun owners being blamed for the negligent or criminal use of firearms by others. I have three kids. I care about children as much as you do.

I live in a suburb bordering a poor high crime city with almost daily shootings. All of those shootings are committed by young black males. When I moved here 23 years ago there were 5 murders in the city neighborhood I moved to in 18 months, again committed by young black males. In the suburb I live in and every other suburb in the county and beyond there have been no shootings, none. In 23 years there hasn't been a criminal shooting committed by a white person anywhere near here.

Before you call me racist know that FBI statistics confirm that what is happening here is happening across the country. Blacks make up about 12% of the U.S. population yet commit over half the murders. Not all blacks commit those murders. Most are committed by young black males who make up about a quarter of the black population and about 3% of the U.S. population. 3% of the population commits over 50% of the murders. That's fact. If it isn't, show me statistics that refute the FBI.

None of those murders are committed with legal guns. None of the shooters could ever legally buy a gun because they have criminal records before they turn 18, the minimum age to legally buy a gun. They are already criminals when they commit murder with criminally purchased or stolen illegal guns.

I and my gun and the guns of other legal gun owners have nothing to do with that. If you want to "do something" about gun violence try to convince young black males that this is the 21st Century when civilized people don't settle grievances and real or perceived insults with violence. Young urban black males have a perverted sense of what they call honor that to them must be defended with violence. That's crazy and a horrible tragedy for young black males and their families.

You want to "do something". Do what you can to change that mindset. Failing that, lock up every murderer for life. I'm against the death penalty but strongly believe that murderers should die in prison. Other capital punishment opponents should accept that as the minimum justice survivors of murder victims will accept.

The vast majority of gun violence is not committed by legal gun owners. It is committed by criminals with illegal guns. Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents are on record in interviews as saying they are not concerned about legal gun owners but catching illegal ones. Criminals are on record in interviews saying they don't care about gun control. It's not a concern to them because they are criminals and don't follow the law.

Yet you and other gun control advocates keep focusing on legal gun owners. The only way it makes sense is that you hate guns and gun ownership and want to see them limited as much as possible to everyone. If you injected most gun control advocates with truth serum they would admit what Bill Maher is honest enough to say without it, that the Second Amendment is the problem that stands in the way of their goals, that the Second Amendment is, in their minds, b.s., an anachronism left over from the 1700s that should be gotten rid of.

To which I say, go for it. If you don't like average law-abiding Americans owning and carrying guns try to repeal the Second Amendment. The Constitution spells out how.

Until then, leave legal gun owners alone. We're not the problem.

As far as school shootings, fortunately they are rare. Without infringing on citizens' constitutional right there are probably steps that can be taken to keep guns out of the hands of the seriously mentally ill as long as it doesn't include every gun owner who is not dangerous seeking routine mental health treatment. The fact is that there is nothing that can be done to absolutely prevent all mass shootings other than to get rid of the Second Amendment and the constitutional right to own and carry firearms and collect and destroy most of them the way Australia did. Even then criminals would have guns but they generally only shoot at each other or individual robbery victims. If you want to "do what has worked in other countries" like Australia you need to get rid of the Second Amendment. Of course, I and every other gun owner will resist you every step of the way.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jim Harte on 10/17/2014 at 3:14 PM

Re: “Keep Louise Slaughter

Is it too much to ask for you people to try something new? Like, say for example, giving an independent candidate a chance instead of someone who will quite obviously toe the party line? Neither party is what's best for our country. You MAY be able to argue that one is a lesser of two evils, but you would then be ignoring the third option: an independent that is actually GOOD rather than the lesser of two evils (democrat and republican are both evil, in different ways).

Slaughter is just another example of what is wrong with partisan politics (anyone who supported the ACA blindly, ignoring the wishes of the majority that never wanted the ACA to be forced upon us in the first place falls into this category) and should NOT be re-elected. Write in a candidate if you don't like the other guy, just stop with the lesser of two evils already!!!

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by ACSuperstar on 10/17/2014 at 2:07 PM

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