Senator wrong to criticize 'bonus'

I'm disappointed at comments made by Senator Bonacic in which he is critical of the $200 per child payment to families receiving public assistance. Among them, he said, "Governor Paterson's giveaway " fails to require responsibility or work."

This slandering of citizens who turn to public assistance is sad and shows ignorance. He has no appreciation for the unpaid work of caring for children, either.

Just because our society decided long ago to withhold the means of survival from mothers and other unpaid caregivers doesn't mean that caring for children is not very hard work. Raising children requires the person to shoulder responsibility beyond belief and to work (without pay), no days off.

The question isn't why we choose to "waste" stimulus funds on poor families. Instead, ask how we continue to keep welfare payments to these families so low, at about 40 percent of the poverty line, with no cost-of-living increases, and then say that a $200 "bonus" is generous. It is so puny, it's shameful. He'd help more by vocally pushing for an increase to the federal Child Tax Credit and make it cover us who care for our elders, as well, than he does criticizing poor mothers.

The senator's statement that people who have not been in the (paid) workforce are not worthy of help makes no sense when you consider that Delaware County has negative job growth (-4.30 percent) and unemployment is 10 percent. To criticize any adults for turning to the stingy welfare system to take care of their children is to pretend these statistics don't exist. He should apologize and then become better informed.

If the senator believes that everyone on welfare should have to "work," then he'll have to bring back child labor "" because kids are most of the people on welfare.

Diane Pagen

Delhi

Pagen is a licensed master social worker.

'Oligarchy' here before Obama

I usually read the letters of radical Republicans with a feeling of slight irritation, but Rev. Wright's letter was just enough to provoke me to respond.

First of all, his use of the word "oligarchy." Hilarious mostly in that we already had a nifty oligarchy in effect before Obama came to office. The top 300,000 wealthiest people in America have more wealth than the bottom 50 percent combined, more than 150 million people.

As we, I hope, all know, money is power, leading to a logical deduction that those top .2 percent of the population have most, if not all, of the power. Interestingly enough, Obama's health care plan taxes just the rich.

I think that all humans should have a base standard of health that everyone receives. As technology improves, that standard will get better and cheaper, until no one has to worry about simply living anymore. Idealistic maybe, but a worthy goal. Right now, far too many people in this country have that worry _ capitalism is great, but we need to care for even those who can't keep the pace.

Another item that provoked me to respond was his use of the word "orwellian," Orwell's masterpiece "1984" was centered on surveillance and misinformation. That was where the government gained its power.

I believe it was Bush's administration that allowed secret wiretappings, not Obama's. I also believe it is the public extremists, Republicans and Democrats alike, that are saturating the media with misinformation.

Obama's health care plan does not control people's lives, it keeps insurance companies from controlling people's lives. Reading the bill, instead of abhorring it for its length, could help you see that.

Jacob Puritz

Oneonta

Puritz is a student at State University at Albany.

Corrigan wrong on city finances

When I came on the city's Common Council in 2004, then-Mayor Muller assigned me to the Finance Committee. I was fortunate to serve with Asa Allison for a couple of years. He was a great mentor.

This is my sixth year as a member of the Finance Committee and my second as its chairman.

I don't usually respond to criticism. However, a couple of events have brought me to do so.

Recently, while speaking at the Muller Plaza, Jason Corrigan (candidate for mayor), stated that the city's property tax was increasing at a rate of 15 percent each year. This is totally inaccurate.

In 2004, the tax levy totaled $3,963,050. In 2005, we saw an increase of 1.85 percent to a levy of $4,036,310. In 2006, the levy was unchanged from 2005. In 2007, the levy dropped 2.48 percent to $3,936,310. In 2008, the levy dropped again by 2.54 percent to $3,836,310. In 2009, we saw an increase of 4.5 percent to $4,008,944. The overall increase from 2004 to 2009 was but $45,894, which equates to 1.15 percent.

The second event was the letter I received from Mr. Corrigan on Monday of last week. In this letter he claims the aldermen have caused the city to be sued more than eight times in 2008 and 2009.

He goes on to claim that these lawsuits have cost the city an estimated $60,000 in attorney fees.

The total spent on litigation from Jan. 1, 2008, to July 31, 2009, is but $17,724.80. The amount spent on the litigation Jason cited is $15,472.80.

Thank you for allowing me to use this venue to correspond with the voters of Oneona. I just wanted to clarify these inaccuracies for the voting public.

Paul Robinson

Oneonta

Industrial hemp can help our farmers

Congratulations to the Chenango County Board of Supervisors for its foresight in adopting a resolution in support of industrial hemp as an agricultural crop. The roll call vote on this July 13, issue was a unanimous yes, giving a thunderous affirmation to resolution #145-9P, which reads ""¦ it shall be the policy of the Chenango County Board of Supervisors to support the legalization of industrial hemp as an agricultural crop and to promote the development of industries for its processing into products and forward policy to state and federal legislators."

Our own local legislators in this farming heartland of Central New York have researched and learned enough of hemp's potential to be the agricultural steppingstone to so many local niche industries and a helpmate in rebuilding our regional economy. The farming of hemp garners Canadian farmers $250 to $300 per acre profit. Central New York farmers could experience the same profits _ a real cash crop.

Both economically and environmentally, industrial hemp can become an important part of the sustainability pie. There are 25,000 known applications, from paper, clothing and food products to construction and automotive materials. Profits await.

Earl Callahan

New Berlin

Things changing in Oneonta

What happened...

To no riding bikes on inner-city sidewalks?

To no overnight parking Tuesday in the Dietz Street parking lot so it could be cleaned?

To picking up doggie doo in parks, etc.?

To the old-time summer trolley?

To Main Street getting retail shops to put feet on Main Street?

Joan Hull

Oneonta

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