Lanotte will make district best it can beI support Patricia Lanotte for election to the Niskayuna school board and ask the district’s voters to join me in voting for Pat on May 21.As a financial analyst, Pat understands budgets inside and out. She knows that a school board must track expenditures throughout the school year to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent appropriately for the education of our students.Pat understands the need for long-range planning. The educational and mental-health issues every school district faces are ongoing and require a multi-year vision with community input. How else can any community overcome the overwhelming obstacles that schools and families grapple with daily?Pat knows the issues and articulates pertinent questions and appropriate, sensible solutions. With her experience in business, in the military and as a former Niskayuna school board member, Pat has already made positive contributions to our district. She keeps the focus on serving all students.She’s committed to providing sufficient teaching and support staffing in our schools so that no child is overlooked or under-served. As Pat says, “It is my belief that as a community, we are no stronger than our most vulnerable child.” The Constitution is not racist documentChristopher Ognibene’s May 5 letter notes that Frederick Douglass once described the Constitution as “wicked” for its supposed racism. But he ignores the fact that Douglass later took quite a different view.In a July 5, 1852, oration, Douglass said that, in the Constitution, “there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing [slavery]; but, interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document…” He continued, “Take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”That it took our country so long to get from 1789 to emancipation is a grievous wrong, but it does not indict the Constitution itself.The letter also perpetuates a common misunderstanding about the Constitution’s three-fifths clause.The purpose of this clause, while on its face hateful, was to prevent slave-holding states from claiming slaves as full persons, which would only have increased those states’ population numbers and thus their number of seats in the House of Representatives. The three-fifths compromise was devised to reduce the representation, and thus the power, of the pro-slavery faction.Jessica Hornik EvansAlplausMore from The Daily Gazette:Cuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccineEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census That name is fascism.Anthony J. SantoRotterdam With your support, Patricia Lanotte will work tirelessly on behalf of the community to help make our schools the best they can be.Please vote on Tuesday, May 21, at Niskayuna High School. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.Stephanie SchechterNiskayuna Greatness achieved by correcting courseThere are many slogans being bandied around in America today. Among the emptiest is “Make America Great Again.”Were we great when women were denied suffrage? When Jim Crow laws and less blatant forms of discrimination were common across the country? When American citizens of Japanese descent were interred in concentration camps during World War II?Did it make us great when our use of Agent Orange poisoned many Vietnamese and American soldiers and the environment of southeast Asia? The same can be asked about land mines, which are still causing death and injury in that area. Are we proud that we have used torture in defiance of the Geneva Accords?Do we look with pride at our destruction of Iraq and our justifying it with claims of non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction while looking the other way at the atrocities perpetrated by our friends, the Saudis? Tully has experience to address needsHaving worked with Kim Tully on Rosendale Elementary’s PTO board and parented with her on the sidelines of t-ball games and at publishing parties in classrooms, I have come to know her as the exact person the Niskayuna school district needs on its Board of Education.Kim has worked collaboratively with members of the PTO, community organizations and athletic groups, with the sole goal of bettering the lives of Niskayuna’s children. She unwaveringly supports opportunities that enhance students’ experiences in our schools, and she’s an advocate for strong academics, reliable mental health services and enrichment for all who attend school here.Kim’s already substantial work in our community will allow her to serve with a clear understanding of where our district thrives and where it can improve, and Kim is someone willing to take on what faces Niskayuna school district in its future.I think the absolute best leaders for our schools are educators themselves. As a certified teacher and director of educational advisement at Tully Rinckey PLLC, Kim will be able to address the district’s needs, challenges and goals in a way that sees all sides of an issue — certainly a unique perspective in this year’s election.It is for these and so many more reasons that I will be voting for Kim Tully to represent all of us on Niskayuna’s Board of Education.Jessica LaFexNiskayuna Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionIsrael should honor Holocaust victimsAs I write this, it is Yom HaShoah, or Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. People of all countries around the world, especially Israel, have been advocating messages of tolerance, humanity and the overall theme of “never again.” Nothing that I disagree with.But as they advocate these messages, Israel directly contradicts itself with its treatment of Palestinians. Putting aside for now the details of Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine, in the present conflict, thousands of Palestinians (not Hamas fighters, but citizens, including children) have been killed by the Israeli government in bombings on the Gaza Strip in schools, hospitals, houses, etc. or being shot by soldiers of the IDF.So many of those not killed have been maimed, especially by IDF snipers, which according to the diagnosis of doctors in Gaza was done intentionally.And as we speak, Palestinian children as young as 12 are being held in Israeli military detention centers for small crimes like throwing stones. And some Israeli politicians have called for a genocide of the Palestinians.I wish Israel would practice what it preaches to the world on Yom HaShoah. Its treatment of Palestinian civilians is a heinous insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust 70 years ago. And the idea that criticizing Israel for these war crimes is anti-Semitic is not only absurd, but also cheapens the charge of antisemitism. As a letter written by Holocaust survivors in response to the 2014 Gaza bombings said: “Never again must mean never again for anyone.”Matt OillGlenville Does it make us great to have a president who alienates long-standing allies, praises dictators and actually said he “fell in love” with one of the most cruel and absolute dictators in history?I hope the questions are rhetorical. True greatness lies in recognizing past errors and correcting course.To pursue greatness means seeking solutions to the problems that face not only our citizens, but the world’s citizens.National wealth should be used to provide a decent education, health care and child care for all Americans.Our relations with other nations must be governed by cooperation with those who share our values and goals. Greatness is a set of goals worth striving toward and includes grappling with climate change, eliminating nuclear weapons, insuring human rights and dignity for all, and preserving as much of our natural environment as possible.It will never be achieved by pandering to wealthy elites or shouts about “walls” to keep the “others” out.These tactics have a history as ugly as their name.